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Now that we’re all currently suffering from a dearth of in-development entertainment, given the ongoing statuses of both the WGA writers strike and the SAG-AFTRA actors strike, it’s easy to forget how recently the cast of HBO’s Succession was lighting up the small screen with F-bombs, back-stabby grenades, and more. Though star Sarah Snook largely remained mum in the aftermath of the drama’s shocking finale, she’s now opened up with more of her thoughts on Shiv and Tom’s combined fate, and she doesn’t seem to think it was even close to a winning resolution for her character.
With the Emmys on the way in September, HBO is poised to potentially celebrate many wins, as Succession’s stars dominated the nomination announcements. And as part of that awards-specific wave, Snook spoke with Variety about saying goodbye to the acclaimed conversation-starter, and shared that it was as she was reading the script for the final episode, “With Open Eyes,” that she discovered Tom would be the character set to take over in Logan Roy’s stead. And she was taken aback, saying:
I was like, ‘Are you fucking kidding me?’ . . . I never really considered that Tom becoming CEO is Shiv, by proxy, winning. For Shiv, that is so not a win! That is: ‘I’m once again power adjacent. I’m not the winner.’
As disappointing as Tom’s rise to the top was for those expecting and hoping to see Shiv take over throne, it wasn’t so difficult to make the mental leap to thinking that she might be content playing backseat warlord with her hubby as a maneuverable and wounded puppet. Getting to partake in all the power without having to be the direct target of others’ wrath, so to speak. But Shiv isn’t really a backseat-taker, even if she literally is always being driven around by family staff.
To Wit, Or To Twit
No, Shiv had grown very weary with the idea of being at the right hand of the power without being the source of it. She’d long chased the carrot of responsibility that her father dangled above the heads of all his children (sans Conner, probably), and is likely still seething over the idea of subsisting on Tom’s table scraps instead of running the whole shebang.
Of course, Succession's series finale could have gone in a completely different direction had Shiv stuck with the original family-minded plan to vote for Kendall to take over as CEO. Which technically wouldn't have put her any closer to the gig itself, but would have given her more agency in the final call. And unlike some viewers may have suspected, Sarah Snook says Shiv's choice regarding the vote wasn't a chess move to better Tom's position, at least in her mind. Here's how she put it:
I have heard that people thought that Shiv was thinking 10 steps ahead, and that if Tom’s going to get the CEO-ship and she’s got a kid with Tom, then the closest she can be to it is by saying “No” in this moment. But I think it’s just pure instinct. I think it’s trigger response. It’s scratching an open wound that is always there with the siblings. And this was in the script in the big print — when she sees Kendall put his feet up on Dad’s desk? There’s something in her that goes like, “Ahhhhh!” Sorry to swear, but “Motherfucker!”
For Shiv, it always seemed to be easier for her to side with Kendall (as well as Roman) whenever he was feeling down and out and at a complete loss for what his next move will be. On the flip side, anytime Ken is fully confident, energetic and ready to rock'n'roll, that's when she seems more likely to drop the goodwill and let her fangs protrude. I would love to know where she ends up after everything that happened on the show, and to see just how fucked up her and Tom's kid will be over time. Now if only creator Jesse Armstrong was willing to make that happen a few years down the road.
While waiting to see how well Succession’s cast and crew do at this year’s Emmys, all four seasons can be streamed in full with a Max subscription. And then check out all the best shows to stream on Max when you need a break from the Roy family’s acidic relationships, and don't forget to check out Snook's 2023 horror thriller Run Rabbit Run with a Netflix subscription.