All the episodes of ‘Succession’ ranked from worst to best: Five constants that define the series

Thousands of IMDb users have rated the 39 episodes of the HBO show. Along with each installment’s score, we highlight recurring themes: water as a liberating element, asocial social gatherings, betrayal, Shakespeare and an excellent script that validates the current screenwriters’ strike

An unexpected plot twist and the impromptu embrace of three actors earned the episode a nearly perfect score—9.9 out of 10—from viewers.HBO MAX
Héctor Llanos Martínez

One of the functions of the Internet Movie Database (IMDb)is compiling thousands of users’ ratings of movies and shows. Viewers vote from one to 10 on the episodes or films that they have seen; they can also leave written reviews. In this way, IMDB ranks the highest-rated installments of programs like Succession, HBO Max’s cult hit series. Succession’s season finale just aired; below, we discuss the verdict IMDB users reached on the show.

In general, these viewers judged the series positively; even the lowest-rated episode has a score of 7.6 out of 10 and over 5,500 votes. The most highly rated episode the day after its final broadcast is close to perfection, according to the voters’ criteria: a 9.9. This is the complete episode list, ranked from worst to best, highlighting some of the moments that exemplify five defining tropes of the series: water as Kendall’s form of escape, betrayal, social encounters in which nobody fraternizes, inevitable comparisons with Shakespeare and an impeccable script that inspired perfect improvisation from the actors.

39. Lifeboats (Season 1, Episode 3: 01x03). Score: 7.6

Despite being the episode in which we see Roman Roy, the clan’s most wayward son, ejaculating at his new office window—or maybe because of that—IMDb users liked this episode the least. It’s a scene in which the screenwriters shine, defining the many complexities of a character who has very few of them. But Succession is a series that demands a lot of its viewers, so it’s hard to get into the show’s dynamic. And Lifeboats is one of the show’s first episodes, exemplifying its complicated relationship with the audience.

Roman Roy, Succession
Roman Roy being Roman Roy in his new office in one of the first episodes of 'Succession.'

38. Sh*t Show at the F*ck Factory (01x02). Score: 7.7

Once again, one of the earliest episodes is among the lowest-rated installments. Comparison with the show’s powerful pilot makes the plot of this second episode seem much heavier, clearly affecting how the latter is understood. While Logan, the patriarch, is hospitalized, his heirs fight about who will take over. Shocked by the characters’ behavior, viewers are still unclear about the story’s genre. “It’s like The Office, but with very rich people,” comments one TV Time app user. That confusion continues even now that the show has ended.

37. Celebration (01x01). Rating: 7.9

We’ve said that the pilot is powerful, but IMDb users “only” give it a score of 7.9. According to the comments, they find all the characters obnoxious. There is an uncomfortable and sublime scene that exemplifies that sentiment; it also reminds the viewer that this is HBO, the home of great stories. During a baseball game, the acolytes of tycoon Logan Roy try to humiliate a child who is of much humbler means than they are; he’s the son of the Latino couple who work serving the family. Roman offers a million dollars from an inheritance—which he hasn’t earned by the sweat of his brow—if the boy hits a homerun. The boy thinks nothing of it but fails amid abuse and cruelty from the adult millionaires who are competing with him on the field. Still, the patriarch approaches the child, and, unlike his less talented heirs, shows respect for the kid’s guts with a handshake and congratulates him in a way that seems intended for Logan himself, the boy who forged his own path at all costs.

36. Sad Sack Wasp Trap (01x04). Score: 8.0.

35. Return (02x07). Score: 8.2.

34. Prague (01x08). Score: 8.2 (it has more votes than the episode above).

33. I Went to Market (01x05). Score: 8.2 (it has more votes than the episode above).

32. What It Takes (03x06). Score: 8.3.

31. Lion in the Meadow (03x04). Score: 8.3. (it has more votes than the episode above).

30. The Summer Palace (02x01). Score: 8.3. (it has more votes than the episode above).

29. Austerlitz (01x07). Score: 8.4.

28. Vaulter (02x02). Score: 8.4 (it has more votes than the episode above).

27. Pre-Nuptial (01x09). Score: 8.5.

26. Argestes (02x06). Score: 8.6.

Another moment in which Logan Roy doesn’t exactly win the award for father of the year is when he slaps his son Roman. The reactions before and after that moment, both from the father and his offspring, once again showcase the scriptwriters’ talent for capturing decades of toxic family dynamics in a few seconds and from various perspectives.

25. Dundee (02x08). Score: 8.6 (it has more votes than the episode above).

24. Mass in Time of War (03x02). Score: 8.7.

23. The Munsters (04x01). Score: 8.7 (it has more votes than the episode above).

This is the first episode from the fourth season to appear on this list. It begins an overly baroque period in the show that focuses excessively on business moves; fortunately, that changes two episodes later. That’s why, despite how highly IMDb users have rated season four, this installment appears so far down the list. One of the most interesting things about this season is Roman’s evolution, the changes he undergoes; at times, he’s more mature and at other moments he’s more emotional (human?) than usual, even when he’s out of control. Early in the season, his rise as the favorite among his father’s successors—first overtaking Kendall and then Shiv—is also noteworthy. In this episode, we start to see some of those changes in his story arc.

22. Living+ (04x06). Score: 8.8.

21. Secession (03x01). Score: 8.9.

20. Too Much Birthday (03x07). Score: 8.9 (it has more votes than the episode above).

19. Retired Janitors of Idaho (03x05). Score: 9.0

18. Safe Room (02x04). Score: 9.0. (it has more votes than the episode above).

17. Hunting (02x03). Score: 9.0 (it has more votes than the episode above).

One of Logan Roy’s most perverse moments comes in this episode, when he forces some of the guests at his dinner party—his relatives and closest underlings (who are also potential traitors)—to play Boar on the Floor. The invented game consists of forcing a select few to humiliate themselves by getting down on their knees and imitating animal sounds in front of the rest of the guests.

16. Rehearsal (04x02). Score: 9.0 (it has more votes than the episode above).

15. The Disruption (03x03). Score: 9.1.

14. Honeymoon States (04x04). Score: 9.1 (it has more votes than the episode above).

13. Which Side Are You On? (01x06). Score: 9.1 (it has more votes than the episode above).

12. DC (02x09). Score: 9.2.

11. Tailgate Party (04x07). Score: 9.2 (it has more votes than the episode above).

10. Kill List (04x05) Score: 9.2 (it has more votes than the episode above).

09. Chiantishire (03x08). Score: 9.2 (it has more votes than the episode above).

08. Nobody Is Ever Missing (01x10). Score: 9.2 (it has more votes than the episode above).

The last episode of the first season largely defines the series. A social gathering, in this case a wedding (on other occasions it was a birthday or a bachelor party) serves for the main characters to continue negotiating their permanent power struggle in their personal corporate Game of Thrones. Instead of getting drunk and celebrating like the rest of the mortals, they are always scheming and negotiating. The characters’ encounters, misunderstandings and reactions in this episode are especially savage, even for the most twisted minds. A rich kid’s car accident in which one of his workers dies, a wife who waits until her wedding night to announce to her husband that she wants to have an open marriage, a rocket that explodes with possible fatalities because of the responsible party’s parsimony, a useless man who intends to run for President of the United States... and a father who takes advantage of all his children’s weaknesses to keep them under his control, even by blackmailing them when they are at their most vulnerable. He is Goya’s Saturn Devouring His Son, as Brian Cox himself described his character during a recent interview with EL PAÍS.

07. Tern Haven (02x05). Score: 9.3.

06. America Decides (04x08). Score: 9.5.

05. Church and State (04x09). Score: 9.5 (it has more votes than the episode above).

04. With Open Eyes (04x10). Score: 9.6.

This is the series finale, and there are many moments to highlight. One of them is very emblematic. Once again, Kendall Roy dives into the water to relieve the weight of his father’s permanent colossal presence, just when the son believes he will inherit his dad’s legacy. He has already resorted to doing that many times before in the series. This time, his two younger siblings stand on the shore of the beach as the business and emotional plots that have defined the series intertwine better than ever and careen forward at breakneck speed for the 85-minute runtime of Succession’s last episode.

03. This Is Not for Tears (02x10). Score: 9.8.

Hackneyed comparisons between Succession and Shakespeare have surfaced from the beginning. But it’s impossible to ignore that the season two finale is just that, a bunch of Shakespearean (or biblical) characters locked up on a luxury yacht, choosing which of them will be the victim of a human sacrifice. Patriarch Logan Roy’s look of pride when he discovers his son Kendall, brimming with killer instinct, is stabbing him in the back in front of the media is undoubtedly the most twisted moment in a series that is full of twisted moments.

02. All the Bells Say (03x09). Score: 9.8 (it has more votes than the episode above).

Once again, a season finale is among the audience’s favorites (the third season has one fewer episode than the other seasons). Here is the moment when the three Roy siblings look like.... siblings. They all support each other at the same time, probably for the first time in the whole series. But, unsurprisingly, there are also betrayals in the ongoing power struggle over the formidable family business. The look on Shiv’s face as she discovers her own husband’s betrayal—by maneuvering to help the Roy patriarch (and himself) to the detriment of his wife’s interests—shows how even the iciest hearts can be broken in a matter of seconds.

01. Connor’s Wedding (04x03). Score: 9.9.

An unexpected death: the major plot twist in the final season, as well as in the entire series overall. The screenwriters—who are now on strike in Hollywood—and the showrunners pounded the table and dared to fast forward to the predictable end; in the remaining seven episodes, they availed themselves of the opportunity to slowly develop what happens in a fiction when that fiction ends (as opposed to resolving the story in about an hour). This episode of the fourth season is an enormously emotional tale. The performances were at a higher level, culminating in an embrace between the three Roy siblings. According to the actors, that gesture was not originally in the script; it came naturally to them as a result of the intense emotions they felt from the story that Succession’s screenwriters had told so powerfully.

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