Kendall Is Repeating History In Succession Season 4

This post contains spoilers for "Succession" season 4, episode 7 "Tailgate Party."

"Succession" is in its final season and each character's narrative arc is coming to a close. But with Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), the golden failson, the arc is being brought full circle. The middle child of a late Murdoch-like media titan, Kendall has always been a driving force of the series, swinging on the mighty pendulum from heir-apparent to heir-apparently-not. He reaches great heights in his Icarian quest to inherit his father's company, but his will to power always crashes and burns.

It happened in season 1 when he attempted to usurp his father after being denied his promised succession rights, and it will happen again in season 4 as he attempts to cling to his late dad's declining empire. It doesn't take a crystal ball to see this one coming, though — the show has been drawing very clear parallels between Kendall in the first and fourth seasons.

First, there's his triumphant voyage into work, one of the opening scenes of the series that is mirrored in season 4. In both scenes, Kendall is listening to rap with the full assurance that he will inherit his father's company. The scenes might mirror one another, but they also draw attention to much he's changed — for better or worse.

"We see this very gradually, the erosion, over the course of four seasons," Strong shared some insight on his character's season 4 arc to Vulture. "Whatever his principles or moral code might be, the line in the sand gets redrawn and redrawn to the point where, when he gets the objective — or when he feels that he might get it — I'm not sure how much of him will be left."

History repeats itself again in episode 7 when Kendall strikes out on his own again and betrays his family — with the very same advisor he trusted in season 1.

He's teaming up with Frank again

The troubled nepo-boss-baby was encouraged to deprioritize his family in favor of business from the very first episode of the series when his father punishes him for coming to his birthday party in the midst of an important deal. Logan (Brian Cox) later affirmed that he would put his business before his children by cornering Kendall into taking the fall for the cruises scandal. Logan always put business before family, and Kendall finally learned that the only way he could fill those "big, big shoes" was to do the same.

With his father gone, Kendall has finally let go of his loyalties to his family. He tells Hugo (Fisher Stevens) to run hit pieces about Logan just one day after his death to make himself look more competent, he shoulders Shiv (Saran Snook) out of his plans with Roman (Kieran Culkin) to tank the GoJo deal, and then he teams up with Frank (Peter Friedman) to butt his siblings out of the company altogether.

Frank was one of the first people Kendall turned to when he went up against his father in season 1 and at the end of season 2 and is Kendall's most trusted member of the old guard — and Roman's least trusted. When he teams up with Frank to vy against the rest of his family once again, he brings his ambitions and rebellions full circle.

"I remember reading in Anton Chekhov's letters, 'Tell me what you want and I'll tell you who you are,'" Jeremy Strong mused. "Kendall told us what he wanted from the first episode of the first season. The show has explored the ways the thing he wants shapes, misshapes, and deforms him."

The Living+ launch was L to the OG all over again

Kendall might be a little sharper in season 4 than he was in season 1, but he's still just as delusional. His "moon shot" product launch packs an empty promise of eternal life stacked on a house of cards, featuring fabricated numbers and an edited video of his late father predicting doubled earnings. His manic energy is reminiscent of the coked-up Kendall that took his sneakers off in a business meeting and rapped loudly on his way to work.

"[T]he bombast and grandiosity that you see in the back of the car in the first episode of the first season with the Beastie Boys — I loved rediscovering that," Jeremy Strong recalled. "It's like Tom Cruise on an aircraft carrier in 'Top Gun.' I made a Maverick jacket! That's what Kendall wanted that moment to be."

The character is visibly spiraling before the product launch, but his grandiosity pays off and he emerges successful. The falsified projections and his schemes against his siblings are due to land him in a lot of trouble, but for now, they are paying off. Strong explained what it was like to feel a rare moment of happiness for Kendall.

"Jesse [Armstrong, series creator] and I talked about Richard III, how this season is that line: 'Plots have I laid, inductions dangerous.' He's taking a play out of his father's book. What Kendall says to his brother in Norway is 'Dad would have done whatever the f*** he wanted.' So I feel heady and empowered.

"It's not often that Kendall feels that sense of self-possession, largess, and grandiosity. I felt it in Scotland with the 'L to the OG.' And I felt it at the beginning of the birthday party, before I crashed and burned and plummeted to some very painful depths. But in this one, I got to stay up there!"

Kendall has always wanted to be the one true heir of Waystar

It took four seasons, but Kendall is finally in the head seat at the table. The only trouble is he's splitting the pie with his brother and sister, then handing the whole thing off to a Swedish tech billionaire (Alexander Skarsgård). Kendall has wanted one thing since the very beginning of the series, and now that he is closer than ever to his life's sole objective, he's not going to give it up without a fight. That means beating out not just Matsson but Roman and Shiv for the kingdom — to rule with "one head, one crown," as he tells Frank in episode 7.

By striking out with Frank to take down his siblings, "Succession" reminds us what Kendall has wanted from the very beginning — to be his father's sole heir, without exception. Waystar RoyCo was always a thinly-veiled symbol of Logan's affection for the Roy children, but with Logan gone, it becomes a symbol of his legacy.

Kendall always knew that his succession would involve the death of his father, which is why he was never afraid to take him down. The lesson that Logan imparted on Kendall in the series premiere finally stuck, and he fulfills this prophecy the very same way he began the show.