Showrunner Jesse Armstrong discussed the “Sails out, nails out, bro?” line, expressed how "lovely" the memes are and spoke about the Pusha T remix in a post-season finale interview with The Hollywood Reporter. But he didn't want to go into too much detail about the finale twist. "I hope I won’t be too frustrating to you because I’m happy to chat about the show but I take the kind of 'Oh, I’d rather not sort of talk out the details' (approach)," he said. "I kind of feel like it’s nice to be able to have your own take on that stuff. I’d rather have people give me their thoughts about what happens. In the (writers) room we (have our own ideas) and then sometimes even the actors have a different take on that stuff, so different interpretations are valid." As for the memes, Armstrong said: "It’s lovely. I can sense that the show has hit with some people but it’s just not that useful going into the writers’ room and thinking about the show while having a ton of other stuff in your head. However, people have been sending me stuff, and the one with the 'Daddy’s Kiss' song was a remarkable piece of production and writing. I did clock that one."
Succession proves to be a satire, tragedy and fantasy: "Succession is never far from reminding us how miserable its main characters are—and that’s what makes it possible, even permissible, to keep watching," says Sam Adams. "The show is a satire and a tragedy, but it’s also a fantasy, comfortably reassuring us that the ultra-rich may be eliminating our jobs and destroying our world, but at least they’re not enjoying themselves...That’s also what every article on the subject tells us, but we do know that the wealthy live longer, that they exercise so much power that it makes democracy a joke, and that they grow more powerful by the day. That ruining our lives doesn’t bring them true fulfillment is the coldest of comforts—and yet it may be the best we can do."
How the Ellen-George W. Bush controversy connects to Succession: "Under the most kind of interpretations, the Ellen/Dubya kerfuffle is an illustration of two things: The curious, situationally laudable, human ability to occasionally find commonality even with people who might seem repugnant and the prodigious insularity of incredible wealth," says Daniel Fienberg, adding: "Ellen spent one Sunday afternoon sitting with the middling offspring of a second-rate dynasty and probably only benefited from the experience if the luxury box nachos were good. Audiences did the same for 10 Sunday evenings and were treated to one of the best-arced tragicomic seasons in recent TV memory, an elaborately composed prelude to a death, though it was never completely clear as the season went along whether it would be a literal or metaphorical death, a murder or a sacrifice or a suicide."
Succession is really a love story: "It’s just as satisfying to think about what Logan’s expression means in terms of the emotional dynamics of the Roy clan, all of whom avoid talking about trauma and seem incapable of feeling or expressing love in anything like a healthy way," says Matt Zoller Seitz. "And it’s here that King Lear, an often-cited comparison point, comes into the picture. While the show’s mile-a-minute plotting and razor-blade insults mark it as a comedy — like Arrested Development, Veep, and Seinfeld, its characters tend to be ruthlessly self-interested and unconcerned with whether anybody likes them — the dramatic aspect comes from its unflinching depiction of a family whose capacity to feel love, empathy, and compassion has been worn down to a nub by decades of a greedy and manipulative patriarch’s abuse."
While the first season was strong, the second proved masterful with its command of pace and themes: "It dropped hints that weren’t exactly subtle, but didn’t need to be when the payoff was so satisfying," says Caroline Framke. "It picked up seemingly stray threads, like the ticking time bomb of the company’s disastrous cruise division, with purpose and clear intent. It began and ended with prodigal son Kendall (a constantly simmering Jeremy Strong) giving a press conference at his father’s command, to dramatically different and equally important results. It traced the moral descent of characters like headstrong daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook), laying the groundwork for her embrace of power so that when she sacrifices an innocent woman to do it, it’s as disgusting as it feels inevitable. Comparisons of the show to Game of Thrones have proved tempting — both do revolve around warring families who slash and burn in pursuit of a throne — but Succession is far better at laying groundwork to earn its surprises. Game of Thrones routinely leaned on obscuring character motivations in order to shock its audience out of nowhere; Succession weaves its clues into the narrative and trusts that their natural endpoints will be satisfying enough on their own. As with any puzzle, guessing what might be coming doesn’t take away from the pleasure of watching it all come together."
Jesse Armstrong says he kept Jeremy Strong in the loop: "You know, me and Jeremy talk a lot, and at a certain point, yeah, he did," says Armstrong. "Because, you know, his preparation for his performance and his engagement with the character is really extraordinarily deep. It didn’t feel like a dereliction of duty not to lay it all out from the very beginning, but at a certain point it did feel like he should know where he was going. So yeah, we discussed that stuff before the episode was written."