📺 We watched the final two episodes of "Succession." I have thoughts. SPOILERS

Screenshot from The Onion. Headline says Succession Ends With Roy Family Saving Christmas. Image is obviously photoshopped, showing grinning Kendall, Roman and Shiv in Santa's sleigh.

I’m seeing some talk that Tom isn’t the winner because he’s just Matsson’s puppet. But Tom is definitely the winner. All he ever cared about was the money, buying luxuries, and the appearance of power and he got all those things. He doesn’t care about the reality of power.

Tom will remain perfectly loyal to Matsson—until the moment Tom sees it as advantageous to throw his loyalty to someone else. Probably Matsson knows this, and sees Tom as a useful tool.

The same person who said Tom isn’t the winner also compared Tom dismissively to Gerri. That’s nuts. Gerri is one of the winners of “Succession.” She was Logan’s loyal consigliere and assassin for 30 years, and she cashed out big and walked away.

Justine Lupe, who played the high-end-callgirl-turned-wife Willa, also played Astrid Weissman, Midge’s sister-in-law on “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.” Her role on “Maisel” is extremely different from Willa. On “Maisel,” she’s a the perfect midcentury upper-middle-class American housewife and mother, a shikse who converted to Judaism to marry a Jewish man and is now more Jewish than her Jewish family.

I love the video playing in Conner‘s apartment, and the kids’ faces as they watched it. We saw another side of Logan there, away from the kids and relaxed, affectionate and warm. Frank, Gerri, Karl and Jess were Logan’s real family, the people he loved and who loved him. Kendall, Roman and Shiv were not part of that family, and they knew it. Connor, on the other hand, was part of that family.

The entire four-year “Succession” story could have been told from Frank and Karl’s perspective, and it would be a very different story.

Why did Shiv vote the way she did? I don’t think we ever get a definitive answer in the show, but I think it was because in the end she just couldn’t stand to see Kendall win. According to discussion on Reddit, there’s a scene just before the vote when Kendall puts his feet up on Logan’s desk, and you see a look of disgust cross Shiv’s face. Neither Julie nor I saw that.

As the CEO’s wife, Shiv is in a better position as Kendall’s sister. But I don’t think she was calculating it through that far until after Tom was named CEO.

Of course, Tom isn’t the real successor. Matsson is the successor.

Roman is finally out, and he is relieved. He never wanted the responsibility. He just wanted to pretend to be a playboy and now he’s back to that.

A theme that emerged throughout “Succession” is that the people who appear to be in power—Tom, the President of the United States—are not the people in power. The real people in power are the people who pay those other people: the Logans and Matssons. In “Succession” we spend a lot of two seasons focused on a Presidential election in which one of the candidates is a neo-Nazi, and it turns out to be a minor plot point, not worth resolving in the finale. Because that election just didn’t matter in the universe of “Succession.”

Shiv is the sort of woman misogynist who sees herself as the exception. She is not the exception. She has become her mother, and is married to a man who literally sits in her father’s chair.

I love the rare sweet moment at the end of the show where Logan’s wives and mistresses all came together as this little supportive sorority. Marcia even takes Kerry’s hand. They were all the women that Logan betrayed, and in the end they stood by each other. Although maybe not—in the universe of “Succession,” you never can assume love and decency is real.

Does Willa care about Connor after all? Or is she just in it for the money? Yes.

In the scene at the bar at the end, Roman orders Gerri’s favorite drink.

I don’t know if we actually enjoyed the final season of “Succession.” Watching it had become compulsive.

I kept expecting Roman’s dick pics to go viral on social media. They were Checkov’s dick pics, and they never were fired.

“Succession” creator Jesse Armstrong shares his view on where the characters go after the season finale: Tom isn’t just going to be an empty suit. He’s got a lot of hard work ahead of him. But he will never be anything other than Matsson’s dog.

Armstrong says Roman is back where he started; the whole multi-year arc was just a detour for him.

Armstrong: “Shiv is still in play … in a rather terrifying, frozen emotionally barren place.”

Also Armstrong: “For Kendall, this will never stop being the central event of his life, the central days of his life, central couple of years of his life… Maybe he could go on and start a company, or do a thing. But the chances of him achieving the sort of corporate status that his dad achieved are very low. And I think that will mark his whole life.”

Why does “Succession” get so much more journalism and social media love than “Yellowstone,” which has similar premises and themes and is far more popular among the viewing public? I think it’s because “Succession” centers on the media business and New York, and therefore has more appeal to journalists and the professional-managerial classes that dominate journalism and social media.

I’ve read that “Succession” is a blue show and “Yellowstone” is a red show, and there’s a lot of truth to that. But “Yellowstone” is more nuanced and ethically diverse and more broadly focused across class lines. Go figure.

In our house, we watch both “Succession” and “Yellowstone.”

The image is from The Onion

Mitch W @MitchW