Warning: Spoilers for the Succession Season 3 finale follow. Succession is a story about many things: capitalism, the rapidly changing media landscape, and the corrupting influence of wealth and power. But at its heart, it’s a story about abuse. All four Roy children as products of a toxic and cruel environment, but it’s Shiv, the one whose marriage is a recreation of her abusive upbringing, who more or less finally brought all the siblings down. The tweets about Tom’s betrayal in Succession’s Season 3 finale remind fans that the final moments of the episode were a long time coming.
In Succession’s penultimate episode, Shiv has a heart to heart with Lady Caroline Collingwood, the woman who birthed Shiv and her brothers, Kendall and Roman, and then basically gave them up in the divorce. In a reflective mood, Caroline said she did it so that Logan wouldn’t cut the kids out of the company. But the truth is, she never wanted children; she’d have preferred dogs. When Shiv asked why her mother didn’t do just that, Caroline responded that it was because she knew Logan would abuse them. “He never saw anything he loved that he didn’t wanna kick it just to see if it would still come back,” she said.
Shiv went home that night and became intimate with Tom for the first time in a while. Distracted by Caroline’s comment that Shiv would be a terrible mother, fans focused on the babymaking of it all. But what most missed was that this was yet another instance of Shiv recreating her father’s behavior: kicking the thing she loved to see if it would still come back, degrading Tom and expecting no consequences from her actions.
When the Succession finale finally brought Kendall, Roman, and Shiv together as a united front to take down her father, Shiv, in a moment of excitement, called Tom to fill him in on the plan. But when he asked what his piece would be, she didn’t answer, because there wouldn’t be one. This move was the mistake of a lifetime.
When the Roy kids arrived to stop Logan from selling Waystar to GoJo, Logan was ready for them. He’d gotten Caroline to change the divorce agreement, robbing the kids of their power in the company, and sold it out from under them rather than allow them to take him out.
After being devastatingly thwarted, Shiv asked who betrayed them as their father walked out. Then she saw the answer, as Logan clapped Tom on the shoulder as they passed in the hall. But Tom had already told Shiv whose side he was on long ago. He backed Gerri for interim CEO over her, and when Shiv consulted him about going over to Team Kendall earlier in the season, he demurred. Tom even pointed out to Kendall that as a failson, Kendall has screwed up continuously, but Tom has never seen Logan lose, not once. Plus! I think we finally know who notified Logan about the Roy siblings gathered in order for him to send those doughnuts. And like, can ya really blame him? Shiv hasn’t exactly been a doting wife to Tom.
Succession Seasons 1 through 3 are streaming on HBO Max.