There was no Game of Thrones bloodbath, no Sopranos-level ambiguity for fans to argue about forever.

Instead, the century’s most talked about television drama ended on a note of quiet tragedy as Logan Roy’s boys and girl stood on the burning deck of daddy’s company, surveying what they had done.

In homage to Logan’s birthplace there was a spot for Burns - plus the most expletive-strewn Scots rendition of I’m a Little Teapot ever heard.

To add to the hype surrounding the finale, HBO announced there would be no press preview. In the UK, this meant getting up at 2am on Monday to watch the first screening as it aired in the US. Only for Succession.

The sale of Waystar to Scandi tycoon Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) was near. Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong), who has been failing to grab the crown from episode one, believed he had enough votes on the Waystar board to scupper the deal and keep the family business in the family. “Carpe the diem people!” said Kendall, rallying his troops.

Younger brother and co-plotter Roman (Kieran Culkin) was missing, last seen throwing himself on the mercy of a protesting mob. Sister Shiv (Sarah Snook), was firmly on Matsson’s side, having been promised the CEO job in the new company. Or so she thought. Who could have imagined the “Sad Swede” was a snake like everyone else?

There was enough frenetic plotting in the finale to satisfy even the most ardent fan of cod-Shakespearean drama. At one point the siblings talked so much about killing each other and seizing the crown it became almost a comedy routine. (These scenes show Armstrong was right to call a halt after four series. Succession only ever had one plot, and there are only so many times you can riff on King Lear without skirting parody.)

Allegiances shifted by the hour. Greg (Nicholas Braun) hovered around Tom (Matthew Macfadyen). Invited by Matsson to “self-pitch” for the CEO job, Tom promised to make all the savage cuts to staffing the boss required. The deal was sealed when Tom, in a stomach-churning piece of ass-kissing and disloyalty, did the dirty on Shiv, the mother of his child. (She, in turn, described Tom to Matsson as “a highly interchangeable modular part”.)

As at the close of series three, the siblings found it was them against the world again. Not that this made the choice of successor any easier. Kendall says dad tipped him for the post when he was seven. According to Roman, dad gave him the nod at a man-to-man meeting. “What else did he say when no-one else was around?” teased Shiv. “That he was the Zodiac killer? That he did Tupac?”

In one of the strongest scenes, the trio call in at dad’s apartment where eldest brother Connor (Alan Ruck) was having a “sticker sale” of the contents. Anything you covet, said Connor, put a sticker on it. In one room there was a video playing of a dinner party hosted by Logan. He is surrounded by his nearest and dearest employees and Connor. No “rats” as he once called the siblings.

Connor, so often treated as the family fool, mimics Logan singing I’m a Little Teapot. After the laughter comes Burns’ Green Grow the Rashes (“The sweetest hours that e'er I spend, Are spent amang the lasses, O”). The camera cuts to a tearful trio, seeing their dad happy, as he rarely was with them. For the first time they give way properly to grief.

Poignancy moves aside for plot as the board members assemble. Kendall is ready, but he’s been ready before. The jury delivers its verdict and just like that it is over, bar the shouting and actual fighting.

The trio are reduced to what they always have been - kids in search of their father’s approval. The serious people have taken over. The final minutes are given over to reactions as Shiv makes her peace with the future (damn you, patriarchy), Roman becomes sanguine over a martini, and Kendall, the past caught up with him, goes under, we expect for the last time.

There may turn out to be better dramas than this in years to come, but for characters, performances and humour Succession will be the hardest of acts to follow. In the end the crown belongs to Armstrong, for willing these monsters into being and making us care about their fate.