SPOILER ALERT: This article looks at the eighth episode of the fourth season of «Succession,» which aired on HBO on Sunday.
Fans of «Succession» on Sunday had one word to describe their viewing experience: activation.
«America Decides,» the eighth episode of the fourth season, is set in the fictional ATN newsroom during a hotly contested election night between far-right Republican candidate Jeryd Mencken and center-left Democratic candidate Daniel Jimenez.
Without patriarch Logan Roy at the helm of Waystar Royco, the Roy brothers were calling the shots on election night for the first time, exploring how to get the most views from ATN, even if it meant broadcasting misinformation and announcing the results. key swing states ahead of time.
The result? Chaos, anxiety and plenty of déjà vu for viewers, many of whom had been following actual election coverage from home for the past two cycles.
«Jesse Armstrong, you have to pay for our therapy to put us through election PTSD, how dare you?» a fan he tweeted, calling the creator of «Succession» by name.
“Watching election coverage, even for a fictional election, is triggering,” one wrote. user.
«Me tuning in to #Succession for entertainment but having to relive the trauma of the last two elections and face the truth of the corrupt capitalist hell we live in,» someone else tweeted.
A pivotal plot point during the episode involved a firebombing of a Milwaukee polling place, which some swing state voters said caused anxiety. ATN called Wisconsin early, giving Mencken a huge lead in the dummy race.
«as a Wisconsinite who stayed up until the wee hours of the morning in 2020 anxiously awaiting the Milwaukee vote count, that episode of Succession was a real trigger,» one person tweeted.
The episode was also difficult for journalists, some of whom shared memories of their own experiences in the newsroom on stressful election nights.
«OMG As a former journalist this episode of Succession is driving me crazy,» wrote one. user.
«Tonight’s ‘Succession’ is so uplifting to anyone who has ever worked in a newsroom, had something go wrong during a busy day or night with the news and had a manager who literally doesn’t know how everything works.» , ran up to them and started freaking out. like that’s going to help EVERYTHING,» added another user.
A «Succession» fan, a former journalist, said that they usually like to rewatch the episodes. But not this one.
«I usually watch every episode of @succession at least twice, often in one night,» they said. wrote. «But as a former television journalist who has covered 11 presidential elections and who knows how many state and local elections, I will need a night or two to recover.»