Succession's main characters looking at Logan Roy in season 4's key art.
Image via HBO

The 10 best episodes of ‘Succession,’ ranked

Plan on bingeing the best of 'Succession'? Here's the cream of the crop.

Succession is now considered one of the greatest shows of all time. The series followed the exploits of the fictitious Roy family, headed by Logan Roy (Brian Cox), as they operate their billion-dollar media empire Waystar Royco. Logan attempts to navigate health issues, internal power plays, and external takeovers while trying to decide who deserves to be his successor.

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While fans of the series have undoubtedly already watched every season from start to finish, in case you are planning a binge session, here’s a ranked list of the top ten episodes of Succession.

10. Season 2, Episode 9: “DC”

The Roys get called to testify for Congress as to their complicity with the sexual assault and murder allegations leveled against their dead uncle, Lester. “DC” is the episode that most likely reinvigorates Kendall, taking him out from under his father’s thumb and making him confident that he can run the company.

Shiv also speaks to the key witness in the case to turn her to their side, swallowing any misgivings she had about what happened to save her father’s company — in a way, we see Shiv turn into the person her father would want her to be.

The episode also contains a great subplot where Roman tries to broker a deal with some foreign investors and ends up being held hostage along with Karl. Though ultimately it doesn’t lead anywhere too interesting, seeing the usually overly sarcastic Roman sweat is extremely entertaining.

“DC” is also the beginning of Tom’s fears of going to prison as he is laughably terrible when giving his testimony. He even denies knowing who Greg is! This episode is undeniably great and filled with several tense moments — Waystar Royco may or may not crash, a few of them are harboring an active fear of landing in prison, and Roman is afraid of ending up dead. 

9. Season 3, Episode 8: “Chiantishire”

This episode may contain the greatest moment in recent television history. Roman, who is at a board meeting with Shiv, his father, and Gerri, sends the latter a picture of his privates, or so he thinks. He watches in sheer horror as his father’s phone beeps instead and he realizes that he sent Logan the picture intended for Gerri.

No man has ever been more uncomfortable on television than Roman is in this episode. Logan pulls him into his office to yell at him. This cringey yet hilarious scene is the perfect example of how funny the show can get.

At the end of the episode, which concludes on yet another cliffhanger, Kendall drowns, with no sign as to whether or not he survived.

8. Season 1 Episode 10: “Nobody is Ever Missing”

This is the episode where Kendall really loses his footing. The episode, even though it takes place during Tom and Shiv’s wedding, is mostly about Kendall. Spiraling out of control after Logan spreads rumors about his drug abuse, he falls off the wagon and starts using again.

Kendall ends up leaving with a waiter to get more drugs but gets in an accident where the latter doesn’t survive. This leaves a wet and miserable Kendall to walk back to the mansion alone. This is where he hits rock bottom in the series as the event directly influences his decisions going forward.

Logan learns that Kendall was involved in the accident and blackmails him into pulling out of the deal. From the moment the car accident occurs to the moment we realize Logan knows, there’s non-stop tension.

7. Season 4 Episode 9: “Church and State”

“Church and State” is the first episode from the fourth season on the list, though it’s certainly not the last one. The final season of Succession brought every storyline to an end in a truly poetic and often terrifying fashion. Before the heart-shattering finale took place, “Church and State” set out the chessboard as the Roy family bid farewell to Logan at his funeral.

Several things take place in this episode. Initially, Roman is expected to give his father’s eulogy but breaks down completely due to years of abuse and unprocessed grief. And that’s when Kendall comes in and takes over.

During the episode, the structure of power among Roy siblings shifts, with Kendall once again stepping in a critical moment. This ignites his desire for power even more, as he steps into Logan’s shoes more than he could have ever imagined. The final scene where he becomes a killer and persuades Hugo to become his “dog” is unforgettable.

6. Season 2 Episode 3: “Hunting”

“Hunting” might be the best example of Logan’s brash nature. He plays a game called “Boar on the Floor” with Greg, Tom, and Karl while the rest of the family and some others watch.

Once shuttered from the outside world he completely belittles the trio, telling them to get on their hands and knees and oink like a pig, before demanding them to fight over sausages he tosses to them on the floor. It’s a brilliant example of how dark the show can get sometimes, especially when they play on stereotypes of how the extravagantly rich behave behind closed doors.

The entire episode also has almost a tense looming scythe over its neck as Logan decides to try to take over the Pierce conglomerate.

5. Season 2 Episode 10: “This Is Not for Tears”

Pretty much the entire episode is the Roy family debating who to serve up to the Department of Justice as a sacrificial lamb, to take all of the blame so the DOJ leaves Waystar Royco alone. Several names bounce around before Logan privately suggests that Kendall be that lamb, so Logan holds the waiter’s death over his head.

At the last minute, Kendall gives a speech that is supposed to seal his fate by admitting his wrongdoing, but to everyone’s surprise, he instead throws his father under the bus making claims about his conduct and letting the world know that he is gearing up to take over his father’s company… again. 

One of Tom Wambsgans’ greatest moments also occurs in this episode. After they discuss throwing him in prison for their benefit, Tom loses it and brazenly sits next to Logan, takes a bite off the chicken he is eating, and walks away leaving everyone bewildered and the object of his little show of confidence in outrage.

It also serves as a nice bit of foreshadowing as Tom is seen taking more of a powerful position among the characters in the next season. This hilarious moment takes place just before all hell breaks loose with Kendall turning on Logan makes this a fantastic episode, which also won an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series in 2020.

4. Season 4 Episode 8: “America Decides”

Like many Succession episodes, “America Decides” has moments of comedic relief while keeping us on the edge of our seats. However, it’s also terrifying, since it gives a powerful image of modern-day politics, as the Roy family clashes with each other to select a new president of the United States.

At this point in season four, even though the siblings agreed to be on the same team, each of them seems to fight on their own. Shiv made a deal with Matsson, wanting to push the acquisition of Waystar forward, which would be theoretically the easiest if Mencken doesn’t win the election. On the other side of the bracket, Roman and Kendall back the ruthless candidate, because they believe he will shut the deal down.

As the siblings clash with each other, the tension reaches an all-time high, especially when Shiv’s secret plans are revealed. All this amidst the most important election night in the world, which provided us with one of the greatest TV episodes of all time.

3. Season 3 Episode 9: “All the Bells Say”

“All the Bells Say” is, hands-down, pure gold as it brings together almost two seasons’ worth of story for one excellent cringe-inducing and suspense-filled episode. For one, Kendall finally admits to Roman and Shiv that he was responsible for the death of the waiter back in season one. And despite them not being on the best terms with Kendall, their sibling love trumps their anger over petty arguments.

It also has one of the best Tom and Greg interactions in the entire series, when Tom asks “Do you want a deal with the devil?” and Greg responds with “What am I going to do with a soul anyway?” cementing Greg firmly at Tom’s side and surely trapping him in their abusive cycle. But the sheer joy on Greg’s face is hilarious considering the circumstances. 

Seemingly at the end of the episode, on a cliffhanger, Logan strikes a deal to sell the company and unsuccessfully tries to split the siblings up, but Kendall, Shiv, and Roman’s bonds are stronger than ever. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop Logan from winning, leaving the brothers dejected, as their father’s company, their birthright, has seemingly been sold off.

Logan leaves the room after telling them all off and runs into Tom. He pats him on the back and we can assume that Tom told Logan about the trio’s attempt to block the sale of the company. Shiv looks outraged at her husband and that’s how the season ends, on yet another cliffhanger.

2. Season 4 Episode 10: “With Open Eyes”

TV series finales are rarely the best episodes in the whole series. However, the conclusion of Succession comes remarkably close. “With Open Eyes” is a finale nothing short of spectacular, overturning the established order once again and serving a bittersweet ending to each of the siblings.

After “Church and State,” the Roy crew is in disarray, with Roman visiting his mother and seemingly giving up on their shared efforts to stop Matsson. While initially Shiv is still on the Swede’s side, she changes allegiance after she learns that GoJo’s owner picked Tom instead of her as future CEO of Waystar Royco.

With the sister back on their side, Roman picks himself up and the three form another alliance, in which Kendall is meant to become the CEO of the company after they halt the takeover. They even share the sweetest moment in the whole series when Roman and Shiv prepare a “meal fit for the king’ out of the leftovers in their mother’s fridge. But, like always, they are incapable of coming together when it’s most needed.

Once the voting begins, Shiv backs off because she loses faith in Kendall’s leadership. Roman joins the fray, and a heated discussion takes place, with everyone crossing the (non-existing at this point) boundaries. In his efforts to win his sister’s approval, Kendall desperately shouts “I’m the eldest boy” as his final argument, yet to no avail.

After that, the voting is finished, with Matsson taking over Waystar and Tom becoming a CEO of the company. “You can’t make a Tomlette without breaking some Greggs,” he once told Greg, and this time around he “buys out” Greg as his property.

The Roy siblings each venture into their own direction. Kendall is broken as he stares into the sea with a lifeless expression on his face. In the end, he has failed to enter his father’s shoes. Shiv joins Tom in a car, somewhat agreeing to a miserable life by his side. Roman, surprisingly, seems to have gotten the only “happy ending” out of them all, drinking a martini, a favorite drink of Gerri.

1. Season 4 Episode 3: “Connor’s Wedding”

Despite a seemingly perfect ending for Succession, “With Open Eyes” still doesn’t beat “Connor’s Wedding.”

Ever since season one, we knew that Logan had issues with his health. The show begins with him going to hospital. However, that storyline is basically put in the backseat for the rest of the series, until he suddenly dies during a flight to Sweden to meet Matsson. The trip itself occurs when his oldest son, Connor, is having a wedding in New York City.

The biggest reason why “Connor’s Wedding” is so powerful is because Logan’s death is so unexpected and takes place in the worst possible moment. By being on a plane and collapsing before anyone notices, he doesn’t have a real moment to speak to his children to say goodbye. The kids eventually do so by speaking through a phone to his ear, but it’s still far from what they’ve probably wished for. And yet, it’s poetic to see them being so disconnected from their father, even at the moment of his death.

Another powerful aspect of the episode is the acting. The whole cast has proven numerous times they’re immensely talented, especially in season four. But “Connor’s Wedding” takes the cake. To see each of the four siblings collapse in their own, unique way, yet try to support each other in the darkest hour is truly exceptional.

There hasn’t been a single episode of Succession that has shaken the board more than “Connor’s Wedding.” After it aired, the whole show had a different tone and stakes, with new alliances forging and each of the main characters trying their luck to take Logan’s place. But the series’ greatest achievement in character development is arguably proving that the creator of Waystar Royco was in a league of his own: irreplaceable, unique, and terrifying.


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