[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Succession Season 4, Premiere Episode, “The Munsters.”]
Succession is back and more brutal than ever for only Roy daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook) as the long-awaited fate of her and backstabbing husband Tom’s (Matthew Macfadyen) relationship was revealed in the Season 4 opener, “The Munsters.”
Operating on two different coasts, Shiv is busy trying to get The Hundred — her new venture with brothers Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin) — off the ground when Tom rings to inform her he’s recently met with Naomi Pierce (Annabelle Dexter-Jones) publicly. Although she makes the off-handed assumption that they’re involved in a romantic entanglement, Shiv’s resulting annoyance is juxtaposed by the fact that she’s still wearing her wedding ring.
Ultimately, Shiv and her ousted siblings discover that dad Logan (Brian Cox) is working on securing the purchase of the Pierce family’s conglomerate days before Waystar Royco is set to sell to Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård) and GoJo. This lights a fire under Shiv and Kendall to go after the organization with a little convincing on their part to get Roman on board as well. Ultimately, the kids outbid their dad for the company, but Shiv’s celebration is short-lived as she heads home.
There, she runs into Tom at their formerly-shared New York apartment — she’s been “hoteling” when back east, according to Tom. It’s at this point that the darkly comedic show gets surprisingly painful as Shiv accuses Tom of gross behavior, acknowledging his newfound duo moniker with her cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun), the “disgusting brothers.”
While he’s eager to talk things through and offers to go through the painful details of their marriage amid their apparent ongoing separation, Shiv doesn’t want to waste time or tears, avoiding displays of emotion to opt for a divorce request. By the end of the episode, the pair are laying in bed together holding hands, and proclaiming they gave marriage a try.
Below, Snook opens up about Shiv’s mindset in this sad sequence of events, where certain storylines may take viewers in the final season, and much more.
Shiv and Tom’s breakup is quite sad at the end of this episode. Where’s her headspace as the situation unfolds, and what can we expect as the season continues?
Sarah Snook: Yeah, I think there’s probably a little bit of frustration in Shiv at her own inability to sort of express what she means and wants and what she needs from Tom without feeling like she’s giving him all the power. I think in her family, she’s grown up to feel that love is transactional and so how do you navigate having an honest conversation with your husband without that lens? It is difficult. I think that she doesn’t know how to move forward from that with Tom.
Does Shiv feel any sense of guilt over the breakup? It’s no secret she wasn’t the nicest person to Tom.
I think she was very good at compartmentalizing and she probably doesn’t think it’s her fault and doesn’t see that his betrayal might be reciprocity. But yeah, I think she’s just hurt by the betrayal and doesn’t see that she could have played a part in creating that. Or at least if she knows that she does, she doesn’t want to admit to it.
How does this development impact her relationship with Kendall and Roman, which is strong at the beginning of this episode, as well as Tom’s relationship with Logan?
Well, in the first episode we see Tom sort of simpering and sucking up to Logan and trying to make sure that he is gonna be looked after. And I think it puts them on opposite sides for sure. What it does do is draw her brothers and her closer together in a way because they have a common enemy in their father, but now they have another common enemy in Tom, and that hasn’t existed yet in the seasons’ arcs because she was always sort of sided with Tom or on his side. Even if she’s vocally with her brothers, she sort of has to stick up for her husband a little bit, but now they’re on the same side.
Speaking of that sibling bond, will it remain as strong and intact as it appears in the premiere? That’s one aspect of Succession that’s always unpredictable.
I mean it’s also what their dad’s been going after his whole life. And so in some ways, they’ve had a massive win straight out of the park against their dad and that feels really good for them [Laughs].
When Logan calls and congratulates the kids on “saying the biggest number” and winning the Pierce acquisition, is he a little proud of them?
No. I think at the end of Season 2, he was proud of Kendall for revealing himself to be a bit of a killer and annoyed at him for doing it in the first place. But, there have been times when the actions of Roman or Shiv have hurt him, but he’s been proud. I think he’s just genuinely pissed off. I think he’s in such a sort of existential place at his birthday party, and also he’s about to get everything that he ever wanted and sell up and be out of the job. And I don’t think he’s happy at all or proud.
Every character has evolved in their own way since Season 1. How has Shiv?
She’s certainly more confident and more able to sort of speak her mind. I think there’s an aspect to her that she will sit quietly and observe and listen and then act kind of rationally sometimes. And I think, maybe, she’s been able to control that rashness or at least focus the energy of the rashness a little more. She’s still a spitfire but gets what she wants.
Succession, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO and HBO Max