The succession final season specifically chapter 7, shows us what is perhaps the most brutal fight in the entire HBO series, between Tom and Shiv. Characters Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfadyen take a break from hosting the Roy clan’s traditional pre-election party at their posh Manhattan apartment to finally deal with the state of their troubled relationship.
And HBO wants to leave the discussion in cult status, which is why it decided to upload the 220-second fight on YouTube.
Siobhan and Tom intersect with mutual accusations, with personal offenses, from defying a marriage of convenience to the inability to conceive children.
The episode’s director, Shari Springer Berman, explained to ew his inspiration for the scene:
«I thought of George and Martha, I thought of ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’, which is one of my favorite works. There was a big line, which we cut because maybe it was a bit too explicit a wink. Someone confronts Shiv about the fight and she says, ‘Oh, that was nothing, it’s Burton and Taylor in a car that we crashed all the time, with Grace Kelly’s driver.’ Yeah, it didn’t make the cut, but it was nice to hear the allusion.”
The co-director, Robert Pulcini, in the same interview, commented more background on how they worked the fight into the script:
“Starting with the scorpion as a gift, everything goes from bad to worse. They have done such horrible things to each other. The scorpion is a way of defining the tone of your relationship, we can love each other and make fun of it, but it doesn’t work. I thought I’d never seen dialogue between them in Succession that wasn’t coded in some way. Usually everything is half compromised when they say something.
Springer Berman recounts how they managed to build up such intensity:
“We left them alone on the terrace for a while, while they performed their lines, which became a private rehearsal for them where they worked things out. We watched them through the glass while shooting other things. We could see where it was going and then they tested it in front of us. Yeah, they’re both just remarkable, they’re just remarkable actors. It was cathartic to read this very human struggle between these people who don’t always act in a very human way. One of the lines that is completely devastating is when Tom says, “I don’t think you’re very good at mothering someone,” which, knowing that she’s pregnant, is just awful to hear.”