Ending Explained

‘Succession’: Did Shiv Betray Kendall and Roman? Are Tom and Shiv Back Together?

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Succession Season 4 Episode 5 “Kill List”on HBO follows newly appointed interim co-CEOs of Waystar RoyCo Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) and Roman Roy (Kieran Culkin) as they face their first trial by fire. The brothers are called to follow through on their father Logan’s (Brian Cox) plans to travel to Norway to calm Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard) down before the GoJo deal goes through. However, when they get there, Kendall soon convinces Roman to back him in tanking the deal.

This week’s episode of Succession ends with a tense stand off between the Roy brothers and Matsson that seems to evaporate any chance of the deal going through. But then it does. Their sister Shiv (Sarah Snook) has slyly outmaneuvered them and in doing so seems to have subconsciously taken revenge upon her brothers for squeezing her out of power.

So how exactly did Shiv seal the deal with Matsson? And is Shiv’s power play evidence that she’s turned on her siblings? Maybe even more intriguingly…are Shiv and her estranged husband Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) on the verge of getting back together?!?

Here’s exactly what went down on Succession Season 4 Episode 5 “Kill List…

Matsson (Alexander Skarsgard) in 'Succession' Season 4 Episode 5 "Kill List"
Photo: HBO

How Did Shiv Score the Deal With Matsson (Behind Kendall and Roman’s Back) on Succession? Who Is On the Final Kill List?

While Logan Roy intended to visit Matsson with only his tight inner circle, the Swede turns things upside down in this week’s Succession by insisting that a huge list of Waystar folks — including, somehow, Cousin Greg (Nicholas Braun)! — travel immediately to GoJo’s Norwegian retreat for a “culture” check. Everyone understands that this isn’t just their last opportunity to nail down the deal, but that the young, ambitious Swedes will be appraising the Waystar RoyCo dinosaurs for signs of weakness. Basically, if the likes of Gerri (J. Smith-Cameron), Karl (David Rasche), and Tom want to keep their jobs after the merger, they have to prove themselves indespensible.

Everyone on the Waystar side seems extremely nervous except for Shiv, and maybe Greg who is just happy to be there. When Roman, Kendall, Shiv, Gerri, Karl, and company go up to meet Matsson alone, Shiv handles a joke about hugs and sexual harassment well while her brothers are flustered in their private one-on-one with the mercurial Swede. Matsson balks at raising the price of the deal from $144 billion until he offers $187 for all of Waystar’s assets including Logan’s beloved ATN. Kendall seems intrigued, while Roman is emotionally upset given what ATN meant to their dad.

When the older board members learn about Matsson’s counter offer, they’re thrilled. Shiv, who has realized how closely intertwined ATN now is with the current GOP frontrunner, also thinks it’s a no-brainer to dump ATN. After a tense conversation with Matsson about the value of the overall brand, Kendall sours on the deal altogether. He privately convinces Roman that Matsson doesn’t get it and their dad would do whatever he wanted — and what Kendall wants is to blow up the deal.

After Kendall leaks a negative story about the summit to the press and forces the GoJo folks to sit through Waystar RoyCo’s upcoming box office flop, Matsson confronts the brothers. He accuses them of Scooby-Doo-ing him and trying to kill the deal. When Matsson goes for the jugular, first telling the Roy brothers their father would be embarrassed by them and then threatening to go to the board, Roman freaks out. He tells Matsson they will grind him down and Matsson merely says that Roman just fucked himself.

So the deal is done, right? Logan’s dream deal is over? Not quite…

The night before, Shiv paid Matsson a visit. They have a chill heart-to-heart and Matsson compares the unflappable Shiv and her sense of humor to her father. They straight up discuss what it would take to get the deal with ATN folded in done and Shiv says more money. Matsson is so relaxed in Shiv’s presence he reveals that he got caught up sending bricks of his blood to an ex…who happens to be his current head of comms, Ebba. Not only does this give Shiv some dirt on Matsson, but she handles it by openly advising him on how to smooth over the optics, offering Karolina (Dagmara Domińczyk) and Gerri as great allies for him.

When Roman and Kendall piss Matsson off, he goes Team Shiv. He takes her advice and offers the board $192 billion for the whole company which they are eager to accept. Only Kendall and Roman are upset with the deal, which Matsson predicts. In fact, he calls Shiv and asks her to take a stealth pic of her brothers in the dumps. Matsson is so Team Shiv that the only three Waystar loyalists not on the first draft of the titular “Kill List” are…comms head Karolina, chief counsel Gerri, and Shiv’s still-spouse Tom.

Speaking of which, what is going on with Shiv and Tom on Succession??

Sarah Snook as Shiv in 'Succession' Season 4
Photo: HBO

Are Tom and Shiv Getting Back Together on Succession?

Two big things seemingly happened in the world of Tom and Shiv on Succession tonight. First, they started to “hate flirt.” Shiv kicked dirt on Tom’s perfectly clean shoes in an attempt to make him seem less uptight and nerdy with the Swedes. Tom’s response was to flick her ear and insult her. For the first time in a long time — if ever?? — the two estranged spouses seemed equally fired up in each others’ presence.

Then, around the same time Matsson’s $192 billion offer comes through, Shiv both asks Tom if he wants to get dinner when they land in New York City and entrusts him to fire ATN head Cyd (Jeannie Berlin). The implication is Shiv might want to rekindle her romance with Mr. Wambsgans…or at least get closer to the father of her unborn baby?

Of course, since this is Succession, anything could happen in the weeks ahead, including Shiv shacking up with Matsson.