Opinion | The ‘Succession’ Finale Is Almost Here. Will They Get It Right?

The ending of “Succession” is upon us. So finish this bitter masterpiece?

Do they shoot ahead in time, stealing a web page from the legendary finale of “Six Ft Below”? Perhaps supply a glimpse of the longer term with that good-looking sociopath and potential president they’ve put in energy? Or simply minimize to black earlier than somebody assassinates Kendall. (I’m somebody who truly preferred the ending of “The Sopranos.”)

Attainable however not possible. None of these choices fairly feels proper.

That’s the factor a couple of good ending: It must be each ineffable and natural. And sadly, a wrong-footed ending can nearly smash an in any other case sensible piece of artwork. The greatness of the astonishing “Recreation of Thrones” was severely undercut by too many missteps in its remaining episodes. Jaime goes again to Cersei and a home falls on them? The elegant and beloved Daenerys goes bonkers and burns down King’s Touchdown? Bran will get the throne? What we would like from an ending is a grand “amen,” akin to we obtained from “Breaking Unhealthy.” However “Recreation of Thrones” was extra of a “huh?”

I’ve considered endings lots as a result of I’ve to put in writing them. Whereas I normally have a obscure thought of an ending once I begin writing a play, I don’t need every thing set in stone. If you happen to don’t map the story out too ruthlessly, it’s going to reveal itself to you within the writing — and there’s usually a secret topic, one thing each stunning and inevitable that your thoughts was holding on to, that in the end presents itself. One thing excellent, like an angel crashing by way of the ceiling. Or “I’ve all the time relied on the kindness of strangers.” Or the truth that there actually is a cabal of satan worshipers dwelling within the Dakota on the Higher West Facet. These are nice endings.

The ending ought to develop out of every thing that got here earlier than, but additionally be completely different from every thing that got here earlier than. An excellent ending might be about transformation, wherein our central character escapes, or finds real love, or discovers a profound fact and achieves interior knowledge (as in “Mad Males,” besides the profound fact was about Coca-Cola). Or it may be about justice, which rains down on those that deserve it and ruins those that don’t. (See each superhero film.) Or its reverse, the concept that justice has deserted everybody. (See “The Godfather.”) A great ending can contain a comfortable, mournful lack of hope. (See Chekhov.) It could actually have fun the restored and renewed order {that a} marriage can present to a disordered world. (See Shakespeare.) Or it may resolve with the notion that marriage is definitely not going to unravel something. (Once more, see Shakespeare.)

At its finest, a sublimely written ending will elevate every thing that got here earlier than into the realm of timeless knowledge: “So we beat on, boats in opposition to the present, borne again ceaselessly into the previous,” because the narrator of “The Nice Gatsby” concludes.

Tv affords completely different challenges — and never simply because the viewers will sit and stew for every week (or extra) obsessing about the way it all would possibly finish. Tv is constructed in a different way from other forms of drama, so naturally it ends in a different way, too.

You begin with a pilot episode, which can or might not make it to air, and then you definately inchworm your self by way of a primary season. At that time the ending is so far-off it’s onerous to take the concept of it severely. In any case, if nobody watches, you’ll simply be canceled anyway. So that you’re not making an attempt to think about the ending — you’re making an attempt to keep away from it.

That’s why actually nice endings are particularly onerous to come back by in tv. TV reveals usually are not about the ending; they’re concerning the center. They’re about how lengthy you may maintain that present on the air. When you’ve a success, typically nobody is in an enormous hurry to get to the ending, which is why phrases like “leap the shark” have entered the lexicon. The center is the place tv thrives.

For me, the ending of Season 2 of “Succession,” when Kendall betrayed his father, Logan, to the world and threatened to deliver the entire home of playing cards down on everybody’s head, was maybe the sequence’s most spectacular second. That whisper of a smile from Logan as he watched the disaster was mysterious, wonderful and human. Did he secretly need Kendall to seize the reins? Maybe so. It was undeniably nice tv. Then Logan went forward and destroyed Kendall yet again in Season 3. And the present went again to the beginning gate. There’s a sort of circularity in TV that’s inherent within the kind. For this reason so many reveals finish in what can solely be referred to as “the group hug.” “Mary Tyler Moore” did it; “The Workplace” did it; “Seinfeld” did an incarcerated model of it.

I believe that we aren’t getting a gaggle hug out of “Succession.”

As endings go, “Succession” is a particular case, and never solely as a result of the creator Jesse Armstrong selected not solely finish the present, but additionally when. (He’s mentioned it has “been sort of current” in his thoughts from the very starting.) With “Succession,” the ending has all the time been constructed proper into the title.

My daring prediction? I can inform you what received’t occur: Logan received’t come again to life. The kids received’t promote the corporate to somebody who reveals up all of a sudden from China with a greater supply. It received’t activate a deus ex machina that reveals up as a result of no one knew land the rattling airplane so they simply introduced in one thing from nowhere and that’s the top.

As for what will occur, I really feel assured in promising this: The ending of “Succession” will fulfill the story and never betray the spirit of what has come earlier than. Its creators have proved over 4 seasons that they’re higher than that.

That’s why I’ll be tuning in. I can’t wait to see the way it ends.

Theresa Rebeck is a playwright, tv author and novelist. Her most up-to-date play on Broadway was “Bernhardt/Hamlet,” and she or he is the creator of the TV present “Smash.”