“Succession” is widely thought of as TV’s Best Drama (winning that very award the last two times it was up for it at the Emmys). There’s going to be a serious hole in quality to fill when it, “Barry,” and “Ted Lasso” all end over the next week. So let’s look at how it might all end…
The Most Realistic Ending: The horrible Jeryd Mencken is allowed to become President (because the Electoral College are cowards), but refuses to help Roman and Kendall maintain control of Waystar RoyCo; hearing this, Roman officially shrinks from the fight and leaves Kendall to pursue keeping the company on his own. Kendall pulls moves that almost make him victorious (possibly with Tom’s help), but “Shiv” uses Kendall’s vehicular accident at her wedding to sink him.
After securing Waystar Royco, Lukas Mattson doesn’t want Shiv as his U.S. CEO (or really any position within his Waystar) and picks someone outside the family–possibly Lawrence Yee, the old Vaulter CEO we haven’t seen since the gutting of his company in early season 2 or possibly the long-suffering Gerri or even Cyd Peach, the looooong time network head of ATN. Gerri or even Cyd may seem unlikely, but tech CEOs have been known to pick older, more traditional female executives to make Wall Street less nervous (like Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg or Elon Musk and his shiny new Twitter CEO Linda Yaccarino). Cousin Greg is the only Roy that stays on in this new company, possibly as the network head for ATN. Kendall, Roman, and Shiv are forced to work together with their acquisition of Pierce, which none of them actually wants anymore now that their dad is dead, and realizing they overpaid for it.
The Most Likely Ending: A recount of Wisconsin ballots possibly costs Jeryd Mencken the Presidency, but he isn’t a huge factor in the finale. Roman is too humiliated from his genuine display of emotions at his dad’s wedding to show up for a real fight with Shiv, and knows Kendall is the real challenger for CEO/Chairman anyway. Kendall and Shiv battle it out with a series of incredibly personal moves (she almost certainly uses the knowledge of the waiter’s death against him and he might use her pregnancy), with neither side emerging entirely victorious. Lukas is uninterested in Shiv for the CEO role (and never was interested in her) and offers it to Kendall to avoid a protracted fight. Kendall is forced to work under an erratic, bullying chairman in Mattson–not any better than working under his dad. The Pierce acquisition isn’t mentioned since Kendall, Roman, and Shiv seem to have forgotten about it since their dad’s death; if it’s mentioned at all, Tom is made the new network President of Pierce News–quickly proceeding to “Change the culture” to a much worse place. Cousin Greg is made network president of ATN–much to the chagrin of his Uncle Ewan. Connor and Willa move into his dad’s NYC apartment. One of the final scenes is the four siblings together, and maybe we even get the insinuation that it’ll be for the last time.
The Most Satisfying Ending: A “Gliding Over All” or “Godfather Part II” style ending, with Kendall Roy using ruthless tactics to emerge victorious, but losing the entirety of his family in the process (only COO Frank, Head of Public Relations Hugo, and possible ATN President Greg stay on from the original crew). Lukas admits to Shiv that he never wanted to bring her on, never promised her a direct position, and has no real idea why she betrayed her brothers for a vague promise. Tom and Shiv’s marriage of convenience is unsure of where to go with both of them out of opportunities to use each other. Roman finally admits he is not good at anything and quits even pretending to work a job (or quits life altogether). Cousin Greg is made network president of ATN–much to the chagrin of his Uncle Ewan. Kendall folds Pierce into his acquisition of GoJo, and convinces his long-time assistant Jess to stay on with a job over at the more liberal-skewing Pierce. Cryptofascist Jeryd Mencken gets the smug smile wiped off his face, and he definitively loses the Presidential race after a recount in key states. Connor admits he can’t really afford the penthouse deal he made with Marcia, and sells the luxurious dwelling to Kendall instead. Kendall Roy has essentially become his father–even living in his home–by being alienated from his siblings and kids, but towering over a media empire with the combined juggernaut of Waystar, GoJo, and Pierce.