GoJo Is Crumbling In Succession — But Waystar Is A Dead Man Walking

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

The cracks in GoJo, the Ikea-fied tech machine buying Waystar RoyCo, are starting to show in episode 7 of "Succession" season 4, but is it enough to make the declining legacy behemoth more powerful than the spunky new streaming service in the modern media landscape? The newly minted co-CEOs seem to think so, but they are riding some pretty strong waves of grief and ego-maniacal delusion. GoJo might be in rough shape, as episode 7 reveals, but Waystar is still far worse off.

The first signs of trouble at GoJo started to show in episode 5 "Kill List" when the head executives at Waystar pay a visit to the streamer's cushy company retreat. The Musk-like CEO, Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), confesses to Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) that he has been sending bricks of his blood to his head of communications Ebba (Eili Harboe) following a messy breakup. Luckily for him, Shiv wants the sale to go through, so she conceals this information from her conniving brothers.

Meanwhile, Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) plot to blow up the deal. They tell everyone Matsson is "flaky" and leak rumors of bad blood to the press, but to no avail — Matsson just ups his offer to an undeniable number. The Roy brothers' only move is to bump their stock so that Waystar's value exceeds what Matsson is capable of paying. Kendall achieves this by inflating his projections unrealistically, essentially lying to shareholders. He temporarily achieves his goal but at the cost of any future success for the company. If he does hold onto Waystar, he will undoubtedly be held accountable when Living+ pans out more like Fyre Festival than a healthcare revolution — a business plan reminiscent of a very real and disastrous CEO.

GoJo might have shown its soft underbelly at the election eve party in episode 7, but it's still not quite as soft as Waystar's. Kendall may be on top for now, but Lukas' presence still looms.

Ebba is a ticking time bomb, but so is Gerri

Matsson openly gripes about his top executives at Shiv's party. He complains that his "number two" likes partying and drugs too much and he has a "communications officer who's terrified of communicating." He and Ebba even get in a yelling match in front of the entire party where she says that she wishes he would fire her. It might seem like an uncalculated move for Matsson to sow discord with his own employees so publicly, right? Well, it still might have been smarter than Roman's erratic firing in episode 6 "Living+."

Ebba could ruin Matsson by publicizing his harassment, but Gerri could do the very same to Roman. The youngest Roy brother alienated his own senior management by firing her for real and he made the mistake of doing it behind closed doors without any witnesses to back him up. Now all he has is his word against the "many, many photos of his genitalia" in Gerri's possession. She definitely has something important of his in her hands — I hope it goes without saying what that is.

Kendall and Roman get hold of all this salacious information about the blood bricks during the party, but it's only once they warm up to a stricken Ebba that she drops the real bomb — Matsson has been fabricating his subscriber numbers in India, like, a lot. That means he's been lying to shareholders for some time and that, if this comes out, his own company's value could plummet, tanking any chance of him buying out Waystar. This could be huge for the failsons' desperate attempts to kill the deal, but they are pretty quick to throw stones considering the very glass house they just built.

India might look bad, but Living+ could be even worse

Living+ isn't just a metaphorical glass house — it's real estate, like Disney Apartments with the empty promise of eternal life. Kendall took it on as his brainchild and pulled the numbers from his own head — against financial advisement — to encourage investors. He even manipulated a video of his father talking about the product, making it appear as though he said it would double the earnings of the parks division.

Bumping the stock beyond Matsson's reach was an almost uncharacteristically clever play on Kendall's part, but it isn't built to last. He wanted to build a Living+ house in a day, but as the subtext of the saying goes, it takes way longer than that to build something of substance.

Waystar's only hope is to be sold to another company, and the lies that Kendall tells to sell Living+ are just the tip of the iceberg of impending demands for accountability. What about the still-simmering crisis in cruises or, more pressingly, the Roy siblings' promise to buy Pierce with the money from the GoJo sale? If they made any sort of binding agreement to that sale, could they be bankrupted by it?

Kendall seems to think he can take Waystar for himself and eat GoJo and Pierce along with it, but he is purely delusional. He thinks he can have anything he wants because he has never been denied anything — he even got his father's company, as he had always been promised, even if it came with a caveat or two. He has no grasp on the financials, and he is going to run his family legacy company into the ground. He is vying to captain a sinking ship and happily steering it into the ocean.