[WARNING: spoilers for the season three finale of Succession]
After writing the Succession season two finale, creator Jesse Armstrong thought to himself, “I hope I can write another as good as that. And I don’t know if I can. That might be as good as I’ve got.” It wasn’t: the season three finale was even better. The high point of the episode — if not the season, if not the entire series (with the exception of “L to the OG” — was Kendall, Shiv, and Roman walking in on “Mom and Dad f*cking us,” as Shiv put it. They essentially have no power in their own’s family company after Tom tipped off Logan about their attempted coup. It was a shocking twist, but the pieces were there.
The episode ends with Tom consoling Shiv, even though she saw his friendly embrace with Logan seconds prior. She knows, everyone knows. But in an interview with Vulture, Sarah Snook, who plays Shiv, revealed how that wasn’t always the case:
When I watched them film the episode’s final scene, they tried the last moment a few different ways: one where Shiv doesn’t catch that Tom-Logan moment and another where only Kendall clocks it. In the one that aired, Shiv sees it. When we talked in the summer, Snook wasn’t sure what the ultimate selection would be, but she had hopes for a cliffhanger. “Part of me, as an actor, is always wondering what is more interesting to the audience to see, not just what we’re going through in the character,” she told me. “At the end of an episode, having something that narratively projects into the next season sets it up quite nicely. If Shiv knows, but her brothers don’t, and Tom doesn’t know that Shiv knows — there’s a lot of potential there.”
Snook also discussed the multiple endings with Entertainment Weekly. “we did versions where she didn’t see him. The hand thing had to come outside the building rather than in the room with them. And so, we did versions where she didn’t see through the door, didn’t clock it. And we did a version where there was more soliciting of Roman to Gerri and the rest of the top tier,” she said. They settled on the take that made it to the final cut because “it felt natural, because Tom had closed in with physical proximity.”
If only she paid attention to the opening credits!
This is why you should never “skip intro.”