Shiv And Tom’s Marriage Breaks Just As Fast As It Mended In Succession Season 4 Episode 7

This post contains spoilers for the latest episode of "Succession."

Maybe we were foolish to get our hopes up. For weeks now, "Succession" fans have been side-eying the show's main couple, crossing our fingers and hoping that cutthroat one-percenter Shiv (Sarah Snook) and folksy new money weirdo Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) might yet make their marriage work. On social media, fans have whipped up fancams, scrutinized the characters' body language, and created a copious amount of art referencing Macfadyen's role in 2005's "Pride and Prejudice." When the pair finally did rekindle their romance, viewers celebrated. Yet just one week after the pair's apparent reconciliation — which, within the speedrun timeline of the final season is closer to a day or two — they're already on the outs again.

Tom and Shiv's latest fight was the blowout they never had when their marriage ended with a whimper (and a knife in the back) between seasons. All of the couple's most serious moments until now have felt somber, muted, and often shaped by Shiv's PR-like spin on the situation and Tom's relative silence. "If I think about it, I think a lot of the time I'm really pretty unhappy," Tom quietly admitted to Shiv way back in the second season finale. The foundation of the pair's marriage has always been shaky, but it crumbled when Tom sided with Logan (Brian Cox) last season, creating a rift that left the pair once again sharing a sad, soft moment in the fourth season premiere. "So this is it, huh?" Shiv asked when the pair lay on their bed together. "Yeah, we gave it a go," Tom answered. Gone were the show's signature multi-clause insults: these were just two people mourning the loss of their relationship.

Shiv And Tom Leave (Almost) Nothing Left Unsaid

Except, we should've known that in one of the best-written shows on television, things will never remain unsaid for long. So this week, when Tom tried to make a quiet exit from his own pre-election party, citing exhaustion, it was no surprise that the pair ended up in a knock-down, drag-out verbal fight. Out on their apartment balcony, with a crowd of influential people just on the other side of the door, the two have the type of argument you only have once — and the type of argument that serves as the greatest hits collection of every other argument you've ever had before. 

Tom brings up Shiv's affair, her unwillingness to have kids, and that time she was a little too eager to throw him to the wolves during the cruises scandal. Shiv brings up Tom's poorly timed engagement, his strategic reasons for marrying her, and that fateful betrayal in Italy that left her without a dad to turn to for the last months of his life. Then things really start to get ugly.

The elephant in the room in this scene is Shiv's pregnancy, which is still in the early stages (she had a phone call about a 20-week appointment a few days earlier). Tom, convinced that Shiv is as cold as the scorpion paperweight he gave her earlier in the episode, tells her he thinks she's incapable of love and shouldn't have kids. Shiv starts to cry and tells him that's not nice to say, but by the conversation's end, she seems to have gotten in just as many digs as her husband. "I have given you endless approval and it doesn't fill you up because you're broken," he says. "I don't like you," she answers. "I don't even care about you. I don't care." They leave the conversation with Shiv's secret still intact.

Is There A Way Forward For These Hateful Lovers?

In any other series, this would be a relationship-ending conflict, but "Succession" isn't any other series. The episode's last shots look like something that comes just before the climax of a romcom, as both parties lie awake separately in the night, missing one another. It's a scene that presents not a sense of finality, but one of questioning: is there really no going back? Shiv and Tom are only a few rooms away from each other, but the distance between them now might be insurmountable.

"Succession" season 4 has included lots of surprises, and the roller coaster second courtship of Tom and Shiv is one of them. While it took the pair six episodes to fully reconcile, it only took one day to blow everything up. Yet the show seems more focused on the pair than most of its other main characters this season, and I get the feeling they might not be done yet. Tom and Shiv are a toxic, broken hot couple in the vein of Nick and Amy from "Gone Girl," Alma and Woodcock from "Phantom Thread," or any other number of twisted fictional lovers who get off on hating one another. There's one major difference between these two and the spiteful lovers that have come before them, though: with near-endless power at their fingertips and a major election set to unfold next week, the future of Tom and Shiv's relationship might just end up entangled with the future of the free world.

"Succession" airs new episodes on HBO and HBO Max on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET.

Read this next: 10 Worst Things The Roys Have Done In Succession

The post Shiv And Tom's Marriage Breaks Just As Fast As It Mended in Succession Season 4 Episode 7 appeared first on /Film.