Neither Shiv nor Tom are very likeable people. They’re hypocritical, power hungry, and selfish, but so is everyone else on Succession. Pointing this out isn’t exactly cutting-edge analysis, but what’s unique about Shiv and Tom is how complex their love story is because of these shared traits. How can two people with similar selfish and mean traits ever be together? Are they a ticking time bomb or could they actually work together like Bonnie and Clyde?
The respective performances of Snook and Macfadyen, the latter of whom received an Emmy for Best Supporting Actor in 2022, give Shiv and Tom’s characters a well-deserved nuance. Every moment they share on screen together, whether tender or spiteful, is embedded in a sense of genuine caring. Snook and Macfadyen act like they both understand that they don’t work but still want to be together – they know Tom and Shiv’s relationship isn’t so black and white. Despite all their baggage and selfish desires, the two feel like they want their characters to stay in love with each other. This dynamic is far more interesting than the disinterested and mutually exploitative couple they could have been. The latter would certainly have been easier to write and play, but what’s the challenge in that?
As you watch their final scene in this latest episode together as they interlace their fingers on their bed, you realize how important it is that Shiv and Tom were portrayed in this way. They are the ultimate representation of love in the Succession universe – something to be appreciated but doomed to fail.
“Succession” airs every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET on HBO and streams on HBO Max.
https://www.slashfilm.com/1238587/successions-season-4-premiere-wouldnt-have-worked-without-sarah-snook-and-matthew-macfadyen/ The season four premiere of Succession would not have worked without Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfadyen