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‘Succession’ Precap: One Burning Question Ahead of Episode 6

Every Friday, Ringer staffers gather to answer one key question ahead of Sunday’s ‘Succession’ episode. This week’s topic: Shiv’s hopes.

HBO/Ringer illustration

It’s Friday, which means Succession’s newest installment is around the corner. What can we expect from Episode 6? Read along as we examine one burning question heading into the next chapter of Succession’s final season.

The burning question heading into Episode 6: What does Shiv actually want? And can she get it?

Kai Grady: Over the past three and a half seasons, Shiv Roy has been nothing short of enigmatic when it comes to revealing her true desires. She’s always been something of a wild card in both her career and her personal life, which makes it quite difficult to accurately pinpoint what she truly wants. It’s even unclear whether her ambiguous nature is by design or simply due to a lack of deep conviction toward any one thing. One minute she wants to pursue politics that are in direct opposition to those of her father, and the next she’s enamored of the thought of succeeding Logan at Waystar Royco, a company whose values she despises. I think what Shiv wants more than anything is respect—from Tom, from the “elders,” and, of course, from her brothers. She wants to prove to everyone that she’s more than just Logan’s daughter and that Pinky can, in fact, dance. In the remaining five episodes, Shiv’s new (albeit strange) partnership with Matsson will not only give her the runway to earn said respect, but it will also allow her to make a fool of Roman and Kendall for good measure.

Alan Siegel: Shiv’s part of one of the most influential dynasties in America, is filthy rich, has infinite professional options, and yet seemingly still wants more. I think the problem is that she’s not sure what she wants more of. To me, she’s torn between trying to follow in the footsteps of her ruthless father and getting the hell out of the family business. I’m not sure she’s fully made her mind up.

But in the meantime, with her hollowly brash brothers running things and her estranged husband attempting to worm his way to the top, she’s quietly making consequential moves on her own. (See the way she expertly and subtly won over creepy tech billionaire Lukas Matsson in last week’s episode.)

Katie Baker: I don’t think Shiv knows what she wants, but luckily, I do: a FRIEND. It’s become a meme at this point to ask who the hell these people are, to wonder if Shiv has ever felt the touch of a gal pal being all, “Oop, your tag was just sticking out there.” But I can’t think of anything that would serve her better—in this time of uncertain pregnancy, marital discord, loss, and corporate thrill—than just one person, any person, who isn’t trying to swindle or sweet-talk or dominate or undermine her in some way. Maybe she should join a ZogSports league? Go to one of those ceramics painting places? Get drinks with whatever personal shopper she’s been keeping busy? I don’t care! I know there’s an intentional point being made that the Roy siblings don’t know how to live in the real world, but it kills me all the same. Some people need to get laid, but Shiv? Shiv needs to be copied on an email thread that begins with “Hey, ladies!”—and fast, or else.

Julianna Ress: Shiv wants what everybody else wants: power. But it’s even more personal for her because she’s never gotten over how the Waystar CEO title slipped through her fingers in Season 2. “It feels like I’m the only one who lost something that they actually fucking wanted here,” she said after Logan’s death. “And it’s not coming back.”

As for if she can secure the top job, I mentioned in last week’s precap that Shiv has some damning information on Kendall she could use to her advantage, since he admitted to vehicular manslaughter to her and Roman at the end of Season 3. And after her suspicions were raised about the unflattering stories on Logan in the press last episode, she might be inclined to leak some Roy family dirt herself. Plus, she’s got a nice little rapport with Lukas Matsson going (and some damning information on him as well), but her history of catastrophically fumbling the bag doesn’t bode well for her being able to maintain any power she gets her hands on.

Ben Lindbergh: Shiv is the most inscrutable sibling—not only to us, but also, perhaps, to herself. I’m not sure she knows what she wants—and even if she does, I’m not sure she could bring herself to say it. One thing she’s sought is her father’s approval, and it’s too late for Logan to give her that. It’s not too late to obtain love and professional validation from her living relatives, but her quest for the latter often interferes with her unspoken pursuit of the former. Although Shiv gravitates toward Matsson’s attention like a light-deprived plant turning toward the sun, she still cares about Tom. But because her history with Logan has conditioned her to think she can’t concede that without appearing weak, she’s pushing her husband away. Insults are the Roys’ love language, but Tom isn’t really a Roy, and for all of his trash-talking of Greg, affection via verbal abuse isn’t all he wants from his wife. Maybe the prospect of motherhood will help Shiv express and receive the non-transactional love that Logan and Caroline withheld—as long as she doesn’t adopt their approach to parenting.

Austin Gayle: Rewatch Shiv’s closing scene with Tom last episode all the way through her candid iPhone snapshot of the CE-bros in mourning. She’s 10 feet tall and bulletproof; she’s putting her favorite “spelunker” on an emotional roller coaster and sharing selfies of her spoils with her new, conventionally attractive boy toy. What does Shiv actually want? Um, those 90 seconds repeated over and over until she’s built a Norwegian castle out of frozen blood bricks. She’s done falling while everyone smiles. She wants to take the gondola all the way to the top and puppeteer the peons from the ridge. She wants power.

Can she get it? Of course not. She can’t handle it. No Roy can. And now there’s a time bomb in her stomach that might blow everything up first.

Jomi Adeniran: Shiv wants her piece of the pie, just like her brothers. The problem is, while Kendall and Roman were actively embedded in their father’s company, Shiv was out doing her own thing—which has set her back extensively. Now, she’s on the outside looking in, and it looks like she’ll do anything … anything to get in the door. By chatting with Matsson about frozen blood and coke, she saved Gerri and Karolina from the potential chopping block and gave herself a much-needed ally. With the season halfway through, anything is possible.