[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for Season 3, Episode 2 of Succession, “Mass in Time of War.”]
Looking at the situation from all sides is sole sister Shiv (Sarah Snook) who despite being wounded over being passed on as Waystar’s interim CEO, still played the game to her advantage. Listening in on Kendall’s plans as she mulled over her thoughts, Shiv ultimately remains loyal to Logan but with a catch.
By the episode’s end, she uses the disappointment in not being chosen as CEO to her advantage, getting Logan to name her as Waystar’s President. The position sets her up nicely for the battle ahead, but only time will tell how it will all unfold. Below, Snook offers insight into Shiv’s power moves, what’s next for her in the family civil war, and more.
When Shiv shows up at Kendall’s is it because she’s wavering on her loyalties to Logan or is it motivated by gathering information?
Sarah Snook: Yeah. I would say she’s wavering. I would say she’s doing her own personal due diligence on who’s the more powerful person at this moment. And what does Kendall actually have? Is it more than what Logan can offer and has she tied herself to the wrong ship?
Does that mean her visit is a direct reaction to Gerri’s (J. Smith-Cameron) appointment as Waystar’s CEO?
It certainly is a disappointment [for Shiv] to see that Gerri has been heralded as the new CEO. But at the same time, I think she’s savvy enough to not tie herself to a potentially sinking ship. So the fact that Gerri is chosen as the new CEO, she does feel genuinely a little bit protected by that. I think it’s smart in a s**tstorm to step back and not be the face of it when you’re not responsible for it. Though, at the same time, she would have been able to really take a lot of energy and power to try and help change the culture of Waystar.
Despite being on different sides, Shiv and Kendall do want to see change at Waystar. Was it a mistake to allow Roman (Kieran Culkin) to join the conversation?
Well, she forced his hand as well. If she says, “Don’t let Roman up.” Then Kendall says, “Well, you’re on my side, you have something to hide.” So she has to help Roman up because if she doesn’t, then Roman said she was in Kendall’s to jump ship. And she has to go further to scramble back to her dad. So the appearance of being an observer is more powerful to her in that moment. And she can make her decision up later as well. And maybe she can get Roman over to her side too and then that’s even more powerful against her dad. I think she was more into a long-term strategy.
These characters are always fighting, but Shiv does show some solidarity towards Kendall when she mentions how cold Logan was. Does she have compassion for her brother at that moment or is it outweighed by her loyalty to the family and company as a whole?
Yeah, I definitely think she has compassion for her brother and wants to be there for him, if this is something that she can truly believe, he is honestly kind. But I think part of it is working out whether Kendall is full of s**t in this moment or if he is contrite and genuine about helping these victims, despite his otherwise fairly toxic male behavior. She wants to be there for him, but [only] if it’s genuine.
In terms of where she stands with Gerri, is Shiv fearful that because of her connection to Roman she’ll be left on the outs?
Totally. She doesn’t really have a teammate, she does have Tom (Matthew Macfadyen), but she doesn’t look to him as a teammate really. She’s comparing herself between Roman and Gerri, but not looking towards what kind of an ally that she has become and that’s a detriment.
When Shiv talks to Tom over the phone, she asks for his input but also mentions her other siblings are also meeting with Kendall. Does she include that detail to save her own image in front of her father?
No, I think she has sort of come to the end of what she can find out here. She is genuinely torn between, do I side with dad or do I go side with Kendall. If I side with Kendall, I still am a nobody. In terms of the market, I still don’t have the power that I need, but if I go with dad, he could be a sinking ship. It genuinely is a crossroads [and] the only ally she really has in a true intimate sense is Tom.
Speaking of Tom, what can you tease about his and Shiv’s relationship heading into the rest of this season?
Sometimes they get along and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they know who each other is and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes they want to be there or sometimes they’re looking over the shoulder to see who else there is on the dance floor to dance with. But I think both of them are probably in a position where it would be dangerous to underestimate the other.
And in the final moments of this episode, Shiv doesn’t greet her father publicly as he wished. Instead, Shiv sits inside the car to greet him. What’s the motivation behind that power move?
I think she definitely has a bigger goal in mind, but I think she’ll get it. I think she’s also a person who wants to get it on her own terms. Particularly as a woman in the company she wants to establish that she’s a person of her own agency. She’s not going to be told to get out of a car and be trumped around, like she probably used to be. It comes up again in a later episode where she’s sort of told what to do and she does comply, but [there’s] a bit of backlash there. She’s trying to establish a little bit of personal power from her dad.
Succession, Season 3, Sundays, 9/8c, HBO