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Home » «The Heartbreaking Tom-Shiv Scene from the Succession S4 Premiere»

«The Heartbreaking Tom-Shiv Scene from the Succession S4 Premiere»

27 March 2023, Monday

On Sunday's season 4 premiere of Succession, Jeremy Strong's Kendall Roy and Sarah Snook's Shiv Roy, as well as Matthew Macfadyen's Tom Wambsgans, were the subject of a more somber darkness. After a day in which the siblings and Tom fought to purchase the liberal news empire Pierce Global Media – Shiv representing her siblings, while Tom was working on behalf of their mogul father, Logan – Shiv came home to a cold, modern house and ended her marriage to Tom.

Shiv and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) come face-to-face for the first time since season 3 of 'Succession' in the latest episode, although they do not directly address the topic of Pierce. It is instead made clear that Tom wants to explain his decision to warn Logan (Brian Cox) that Shiv and her siblings were planning to thwart his sale of Waystar Royco to Swedish tech mogul Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård). Both apparently spent, the two don't delve into the matter, as Shiv, Ken (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) are now set to acquire Piper following an offer engineered by Logan's nemesis Nan Pierce (Cherry Jones). Tom states, "There are some things I wouldn't mind saying, and explaining."

Shiv has activated all her defence mechanisms when Tom tries to talk to her about their future. She mocks him for hanging out with his cousin Greg and sleeping with models. Rather than clap back with a retort of his own, Tom calmly reminds her that they agreed to think it over. But whenever he tries to have a serious conversation, she declines. “I don’t think it’s good for me to hear all that.” Shiv speaks in her family's language, which is a mix of corporate-speak and profanity, “We both made mistakes, and too much crying and crap won’t help. So if you're done, let's walk away and say 'good luck,' yeah?”

Tom astutely bypasses creating a great emotional spectacle, or even bringing up the fact that his wife has a sorrowful look on her face. He does not beg or make an effort to please Shiv, instead enabling an emotionally charged setting within their darkened residence. This moment stands out as one of Tom's most compassionate scenes due to him being genuine in his reply to Shiv's blunt attitude. When she states it is time to "move on," Tom responds with a heartfelt "That makes me sad." Showrunner Jesse Armstrong has precision when handling his dialogue and character progressions, helping highlight Tom's words from the Season 2 finale: "I just wonder if the sad I'd be without you is less than the sad I get from being with you."

Shiv and Tom's relationship is one of the most complex explored on Succession, and revisiting their interactions over the course of the show reveals a great deal of depth. To start, their wedding night gives a particular insight into the dynamics of their relationship. As they prepare to consummate their marriage, Shiv avoids the intimate moment by proposing an open marriage to Tom. In the lead-up to his act of sabotage in season 3, Shiv's detached attitude towards Tom's inquiries about having children, his role at Waystar, and her failed attempt at dirty talk (“You’re not good enough for me, that’s why you want me. That’s why you love me, even though I don’t love you. But you want me anyway”) is representative of her inability to fully open up to him. His unwavering interest in her stands in stark contrast to the competition between her and her siblings, as Tom is someone who does not challenge her.

Ken and Naomi Pierce's relationship on 'Succession' is the only one that has been explored in depth over three seasons, and it's not exactly a healthy one. On Sunday's premiere, Ken was shocked to learn of Naomi's involvement with Tom, another name in the Pierce bidding war. Meanwhile, Connor, the siblings' half-brother, is about to marry Justine Lupe, whom he met when she was working as a escort. Roman uses sex as a form of control, and Greg is now engaging in transactional dating; during his time in Italy he tried to leave Comfry for someone wealthier, and now he's become involved with a woman in Logan's guest room.

Logan serves as the source of every other poisonous inclination that has been felt by the atrocious family. In recent times, his relationship with his industrious private assistant, Kerry (Zoë Winters), has become so close that his children are suspecting his intention to bring forth another heir. What is occurring with his wife, Marcia (Hiam Abbass)? As per Kerry, “She’s in Milan shopping, forever.” This could likely mean that she took advantage of the package Logan offered her when he was in danger of getting apprehended in Sarajevo at the start of the previous season. Shiv, Kendall, and Roman's mother, Caroline (Harriet Walter), exchanged her children's overriding position in the Waystar enterprise for a house her shady spouse was eager to obtain. Moreover, there is the mother of Connor, whom Logan had institutionalized.

As evidenced by even the most gleeful moments of Succession, loneliness exists amongst the affluent family at its core. This is made evident when Logan questions his security guard and perceived "best pal" Colin about people, phrasing them as "economic units". He goes on to explain how the pygmies form a market, including a job market, marriage market, money market, and market of ideas.

Shiv was brought up with the belief that it was not worth it to do something that brought no profit and thus, when Tom suggested that they have an open conversation, she chose to cut her losses and not bother. She definitively refused his offer of “making love” to her, instead deciding to stay up until morning. By the end of it, their hands were clasped together, as though in a truce, but their bodies were kept in an awkward and unnatural position, symbolizing the inability of their marriage to work.
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