Matthew Macfadyen and Sarah Snook in the 'Succession' Season 3 finale

This Succession Theory About Shiv Will Absolutely Wreck You

The clues are there.

Graeme Hunter/HBO

Each season of Succession ends with a significant twist of fate. Season 1 took Kendall out at the knees after he left a kid to drown; Season 2 showed Kendall going rogue on his family. However, Season 3’s game-changer is the biggest to date, as Logan decided to sell Waystar RoyCo, cutting all four of his children out of the deal in the process. Everyone has something to lose now, but it’s the youngest sibling who may suffer most on the next season of Succession, primarily if these theories about Shiv being pregnant wind up being correct.

Warning: Spoilers for the Succession Season 3 finale follow. In the penultimate episode of Season 3, Shiv had a heart-to-heart with her mother, Caroline, who admitted she should never have had children. It would be a blow for any child to hear a parent say that, but especially for Shiv, since Caroline compared herself to her deeply ambitious and child-free daughter; according to Caroline, Shiv shouldn’t have kids.

But if there’s one truth about Shiv, it’s that if someone tells her she can’t or shouldn’t have something, it suddenly becomes all she wants. A perfect example would be the control of Warstar RoyCo. In Season 1, Shiv wanted nothing to do with her father’s company until she was told that was a wise choice, since Logan would never give it to her. Now, it’s all she sees. Similarly, after the Season 3 convo with her mom, Shiv went home that night ready to make a baby right with Tom. It was a fateful choice, since Shiv got dirty and frighteningly honest with Tom in bed that night, admitting aloud she thinks her husband will never be worthy of her.

Shiv’s brutal truths were a significant factor in the outcome of the season, as they seemingly hardened Tom’s heart and led him to betray Shiv to Logan in the finale. But fans suspect it may be even more pivotal if it turns out Shiv is now carrying Tom’s child.

Before we get too into the theory, here’s the big problem: Shiv and Tom’s encounter happens less than 24 hours before the finale’s closing moments. The chances of Shiv already being pregnant (and knowing she’s pregnant!) are about nil. That’s not how that works. And yet, fans noticed things seemed off. So, whether they’re blatant clues or mere acts of foreshadowing, here are some hints that Shiv could be with child in Season 4.

1. Shiv Didn’t Drink At The Wedding

Graeme Hunter/HBO

Considering her older (not eldest!), brother nearly perished after passing out inebriated in a pool and wound up hospitalized overnight, it’s an understandable choice for Shiv to abstain from alcohol right after that. But also, Shiv is a drinker, and Caroline’s wedding is a stressful event. It seems relatively suspicious Shiv wouldn’t have a cocktail or a glass of wine, especially since it’s all extremely high-end stuff there in Chiantishire.

That’s where the psychological factor could come in. Shiv couldn’t have known whether she was pregnant right after her efforts with Tom, but it’s possible part of her is already deciding not to drink in preparation for becoming pregnant.

2. Shiv’s Tummy Touching

It’s the universal signal on TV for “pregnant female character” to touch their stomachs in a significant manner. The most suspicious touch comes at the end of the finale, when Shiv realized Tom was the one who told Logan the siblings were coming to stage a coup. Once again, like with the alcohol thing, it could be a psychological move, in which her subconscious focus on wanting to be pregnant caused her to touch her belly unconsciously. But it’s just as likely Shiv is simply holding herself because the sheer enormity of her suppressed rage is making her nauseated.

3. The Nero Connection

Graeme Hunter/HBO

There is one other clue that could point to Shiv being pregnant next season. It’s the Nero-Sporus conversations that have been laced through Tom and Greg’s interactions for quit a while now. In Episode 4 of Season 3, Tom told Greg the story of the Roman emperor Nero, who murdered his wife, Sabina, by pushing her down the stairs. In his guilt-ridden grief, he then had a young boy who looked just like her, Sporus, castrated and married him as a substitute. Tom’s line to Greg at the time — “I’d castrate you and marry you in a heartbeat” — was an instant meme. But it was also a foreshadowing, as the story came up again in the finale, as Tom readied himself to sell out Shiv in a way he could never come back from, and invited Greg alone for the ride. “Do you wanna come with me, Sporus?” he asked Greg. Symbolically, it was time to push Shiv down the stairs.

So, how does this relate to Shiv being pregnant? According to legend, Nero pushed Sabina down the stairs was while she was pregnant with his baby. Coincidence? We’ll have to wait and see.

Succession Seasons 1 through 3 are streaming on HBO Max. Season 4 is expected in 2022.