Warning: This article contains major plot details from the season 2 finale of Succession.
The couples on HBO’s Succession are falling apart just as fast as Waystar Royco at the end of the season 2 finale. Which relationship would you bet your life on in season 3? And who will be left alone like Cousin Greg? We don’t have Roman here to provide the live betting odds, so we decided to consult Mr. Loveline himself, Dr. Drew Pinsky, instead.
“These are very sick people. All of them,” Pinsky prefaced right away over the phone with EW.
Pinsky — recently revealed to be under the Eagle mask on The Masked Singer — spent more than three decades dishing out relationship advice on the radio show Loveline, as well as co-hosting a TV version of the show with Adam Corolla that aired on MTV from 1996–2000. He now hosts the podcast Dr. Drew After Dark where he often talks to celebrities about their relationships.
Here’s how it’s going to work. We’ll review where things left off with each Roy power couple after the finale, then Pinsky will give his take and tell us how likely it is that the relationship will make it through next season, on a scale of 1 (least likely) to 10 (most likely).
Tom and Shiv
Where we left off: Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Tom (Matthew MacFadyen) leave the yacht and go on a solo trip to a secluded cove to have their The Notebook moment of the season. Tom tells his wife he’s sick of being the dead cat, and Shiv is shocked Tom can actually speak up for himself. Shiv puts in a good word for him with her pops, Logan (Brian Cox), and Tom eats pop’s chicken. Oh, and Tom wants a threesome only if the third watches from the bathroom’s keyhole. Sorry Shiv, Tom is now the one who knocks! Tom tells Shiv he isn’t sure if the sad with her is as bad as the sad without her. Does that spell the end of their marriage?
“[Shiv] is what’s called a pro-social psychopath,” Pinsky tells EW. “Meaning, when she was in the politically-active arena, she was trying to make positive change. These people can have high degrees of moral compasses but still don’t feel anything. I think her dad recognizes that in her.
Her relationship with Tom is a perfect example of how that’s expressed.”
If that’s true, do we really see Shiv’s emotional side during the cove scene? “Maybe, but who knows. With psychopaths, they’re just behaving in a way they think they should behave,” Pinsky says. “They’re not really having an emotion. It’s just another part of the manipulation.” Shiv “may not be as bad as I’m thinking, but she might be even worse. I think she’s like her dad. It tends to be a genetic thing, right? It’s inherited.”
Tom being with Shiv was baffling even before their marriage in season 1. What does Shiv see in Tom that makes him a key piece in her puzzle? Pinsky has an idea.
“Tom in a way is like [Logan’s wife] Marcia,” he says. “Because for whatever reason, whether they’re sociopathic or narcissistic, the emotional part [of the relationship] is not that important to them. What’s important is other things.”
Chances of staying together next season: 9 out of 10 rocks that Tom maybe loves more than Shiv.“Not because it’s a great relationship, because it’s so sick and they have nowhere to go,” Pinsky says.
Dr. Drew’s dish: “I sort of see him pulling away, but I don’t see him leaving. I just don’t see it. He gets too much out of it. He’s too vulnerable if he leaves. He’s made a deal with the devil more than Marcia. Remember, Greg knows that he knew about the papers. About the cover-up. And now Kendall has those papers. There’s a lot of intrigue here. He’s in deep. He feels bad about what Shiv is doing. It doesn’t make him feel good. But I don’t think he really cares.”
Roman and Gerri
Where we left off: This is the power couple, even if we aren’t sure if they’re really attracted to each other or not. In the finale, Roman (Kieran Culkin) backs up Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron) hard when she’s mentioned as the possible blood sacrifice. Roman and Gerri also have a moment when they’re asking each other who will be in the blood sacrifice. There’s a trust there that goes beyond Roman getting hot when Gerri berates him.
“I have to think diagnostically about the personality structures of these characters these guys have created,” Pinsky says. “Roman is anti-social, oppositionally defiant and probably a drug addict too. He clearly has some very serious sexual hangups let’s just say.”
Now, what Pinsky said next hit us like a truck. Is Gerri secretly the ultimate mastermind?
“If you had to pick somebody with what appears to be the most mental health, it appears to be her. But you still have to ask yourself, what’s she doing there? Why is she doing this? Unless, in addition to being somewhat healthy, she’s strictly a machiavellian for her own interest and Roman is just something to bring into her deck of cards she gets to play with.”
Whoa, is Gerri using Roman just to have someone keep her at Waystar? Sly move Gerri.
Chances of staying together next season: 8 out of 10 Greg sprinkles.
Dr. Drew’s dish: “If it serves Gerri’s needs, [the relationship] will evolve.”
Marcia and Logan
Where we left off: Marcia (Hiam Abbass) has fallen off the face of the earth at the end of the season, likely because Rhea Jarrell (Holly Hunter) tried to slide in. We see Logan wake up from a slumber on the yacht answering a phone call, asking if “she” is coming. We don’t know who “she” is, but it feels likely he means Marcia.
“Here’s the deal: Logan is a true psychopath,” Pinsky says matter-of-factly. “Not a sociopath, a psychopath. He doesn’t have real feelings. Other people don’t exist to him, not emotionally. So why would a woman get involved with that? Well, money. Excitement and fun.”
Oh, what fun it is to clean up someone else’s feces!
“It seemed like in season 1, she was like a duplicitous participant in his bulls— for lack of a better way to say it,” Pinsky continues. “I have to wonder what that was. A severe co-dependency that he could manipulate? Probably something like that. She’s waking up to who he is and waking up to the fact that he doesn’t mean anything to her. And what he’s capable of. She’s sort of on her way out unless it serves her needs. She also has to be a sort of mercenary to be involved with him at all.”
Chances of staying together next season: 5 out of 10 pieces of lavender that Stewy can sniff during an important business meeting.
Dr. Drew’s dish: The marriage is “going to stay, but it’s not going to be in the same condition at all that it’s been in. Everybody has too much to gain from keeping it together.”
Connor and Willa
Where we left off: Willa (Justine Lupe) said YEET to Connor’s (Alan Ruck) iPad with a flick of the wrist stronger than Patrick Mahomes. Connor pleads with Logan for a small donation of 100 million dollars. And pops bottles during breakfast to deal with the existential crisis of dropping his presidential candidacy to get daddy’s money.
“[Connor] loves her. He’s a narcissist, but he’s immature,” Pinsky says. “He has magical ways of thinking. He’s grandiose about being president. A naive grandiosity. He’s in love with her. She’ll happily go along with it especially if he’s going to fund her plays.”
As for Willa: “It’s clear she’s had sort of an assful of him. She’s done with him and frustrated. He’s not even a little boy. He’s a man-boy. She’s not the brightest bulb in the pack. God bless her still willing to make the most of this relationship.”
Chances of staying together next season: 3 or 4 out of 10 tickets to Sands (which are very available).
Dr. Drew’s dish: “They both live in this little immature fantasy world. They could easily fall apart if she finds a shinier object. He could fall apart when she leaves.”
Kendall and Naomi Pierce
Where we left off: Logan basically tells Kendall (Jeremy Strong) that Naomi (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) is a bad influence because of their joint drug use and nudges Kendall to kick her off the yacht. Naomi tells Kendall that Logan only likes him because he’s broken. Logan’s number one boy literally kisses Naomi goodbye, but he says he’ll maybe see her on the other side. Kendall backstabs Logan. So is Naomi back in, or all the way out?
“They’re now [drug] using buddies who are using secretly and pretending to be sober. Which is the worst way to be,” Pinsky says. “They develop shame. They hide more things. The disease of addiction starts progressing. This ends in a bad place. Someone is going to overdose or end up in a hospital. Given Kendall’s now high-profile position, it totally will ruin that. Easily.”
Is Kendall’s decision to turn on his dad a plus or a minus for Naomi?
“Kendall is a very manipulative drug addict,” Pinsky says. “When he was on his ass, he was obsequious to his father, but all the while planning. [The show’s writers] scripted it in such a way that the way the dad rejected Naomi was especially meaningful to him. That moment kind of flew by fast, but it was played in a very vivid way. That may have been Kendall’s last straw. He really thinks he likes Naomi, even though he doesn’t know she’s just another drug for him.”
Chances of staying together next season: 1 out of 10 albums we want Kendall to drop after those legendary bars about his dad.
Dr. Drew’s dish: “Very unlikely. This is going to blow up in some way.”
A final note from Pinsky: “None of these are necessarily terminally apart. They could find ways back together. Just like teenagers do, they’ll break up again. You know what I mean?”