What Happens With Shiv And Tom At The End Of Netflix’s “Succession”? Therapists Weigh In On Their Toxic Dynamics

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Shiv And Tom Succession: Therapists Discuss Toxic Dynamics

The first year of marriage is often described as a challenging journey, but for Shiv and Tom, it’s been much more than that. Their tumultuous relationship has kept Succession fans on the edge of their seats for four seasons, and the finale left us with mixed emotions.

As reported in Elite Daily, the couple found themselves in troubled waters at the end of Season 3 when Tom betrayed Shiv and her brothers by exposing their plans to oust her father, Logan Roy, from his media empire.

The subsequent episodes were filled with ugly attacks and hurtful words, so when they appeared hand-in-hand (kind of) in the finale, the victory felt superficial.

Related: 4 Reasons Why Staying In A Bad Marriage Is Worse for Kids Than Divorce

What Happened Between Shiv And Tom In The Series Finale?

In the Succession finale, Siobhan Roy proposes giving their relationship a real shot, asking Tom (Tom Wambsgans) if there are any good things about the nightmare they’ve shared.

She believes that once you’ve reached the depths of your relationship and said the worst things, you’re somehow liberated.

According to Patrice Le Goy, a licensed marriage and family therapist, Shiv’s understanding of vulnerability exposes her disorganized attachment style. She uses sarcasm and disdain to shield her emotions, as true feelings of sadness or hurt seem unsafe to her. 

Shiv and Tom

Shiv’s push-and-pull relationship with closeness stems from her emotionally abusive father and emotionally neglectful mother. She tries to keep people at arm’s length with her sarcasm but occasionally ventures into attempting closeness, albeit awkwardly.

However, in the Succession series finale, Tom betrays Shiv once again by accepting Lukas Matsson’s proposal to become the American CEO of the Waystar-GoJo acquisition. This decision is driven by Matsson’s sexual desires for Shiv.

Tom’s comment, “Why don’t I get the guy who put the baby inside of her, instead of the baby lady,” exemplifies the deeply ingrained patriarchal dynamics that hinder Shiv’s power and autonomy.

Madison McCullough, a licensed clinical social worker, points out that in the Succession series, Shiv is the most powerful woman, but ultimately she couldn’t “win” Succession. The patriarchy, both in the larger world and within the Roy family, ensures that a man always comes out on top.

Shiv’s eulogy at Logan’s funeral, where she says, “He couldn’t fit a whole woman in his head,” underscores her struggle to exist as a woman in a male-dominated and misogynistic environment. She lacks examples of successful women thriving in this world.

Related: What Is Disorganized Attachment And How It Can Ruin Your Relationships

When the tie-breaking vote in the GoJo acquisition falls to Shiv, she chooses to go against her heir-apparent brother Kendall and allows the deal to proceed, making Tom the CEO.

McCullough suggests that Shiv’s vote is driven by her desire for power. She realizes that if the deal falls apart and Kendall takes charge, she’ll be sidelined. By putting Tom in a position of power, Shiv is as close as she can get to power without having it directly.

Le Goy adds that this decision aligns with Logan’s teachings, which ingrained in his children the belief that only one person can be the winner.

By supporting Tom, she becomes winner-adjacent and gains influence over him, while also bolstering her immediate family’s power. This feels like a safer bet for Shiv compared to trusting her family of origin, who have repeatedly disappointed her and let her down.

Shiv’s proximity to power comes at the cost of repeating her mother’s fate—a cold wife to a power-hungry CEO. Although many fans may have hoped for a reconciliation between Shiv and Tom, their barely touching hands in the backseat, looking in opposite directions, is not the ending we envisioned.

The lukewarm hand-holding scene conveys a sense of resignation. It wasn’t what Shiv had wanted for herself, and so she can’t fully respond to Tom’s attempt. However, she’s willing to continue partnering with him to make the most of their situation.

Le Goy suggests that when it comes to Shiv and Tom, she may not feel safe enough to fully embrace Tom even if she wanted to, considering his betrayal. She requires proof of his loyalty before opening herself to him again.

Nevertheless, Le Goy remains hopeful about Tom and Shiv’s future, especially with their baby on the way. They need to learn how to be vulnerable, process difficult emotions, and contain them without unloading everything onto each other.

On the other hand, McCullough believes that neither of them perceives their relationship as needing redemption. They willingly choose toxicity and abuse because it aligns with their craving for cutthroat competition. But it’s clear that such a dynamic comes with equal measures of pain and dysfunction.

Related: When Relationship Becomes Business: 5 Signs Of A Transactional Relationship

In conclusion, Siobhan and Tom’s relationship has been a rollercoaster ride throughout the Succession series, leaving fans intrigued and emotionally invested. Their journey is characterized by betrayals, power struggles, and a battle against patriarchal forces.

What are your thoughts about the Succession finale? Are you hopeful about Shiv and Tom’s marriage? Let us know your opinions in the comments down below!


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