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Succession “The Disruption” Review: Did Shiv Go Too Far?

Succession “The Disruption” Spoilers Ahead

Sarah Snook on Shiv Roy in Succession "The Disruption"
Photograph by Macall B. Polay/HBO

Asking if a character on Succession took something too far is like asking if water is wet. On a show where “too far” isn’t a concept that’s understood, the answer is complex. Does that even exist in the grand scope of things? Are we even asking the right question?

The answer might be a solid maybe here. A hard yes to a degree. If Roman and Conner opted out of participation, should that not have been a clear sign that this wasn’t the way to go? Should this not have told Shiv that she’d be taking it too far?

If we watched a complex figure like Kendall fall apart with torment and agony, is it pain that’s merited? This season is pulling on the Roy family’s strings hard, it’s getting darker and even more personal—they’re each going straight for another’s throat. The words are cutting deep and they’re cutting wide, but again, on a show like Succession, how far is too far? What could possibly be worse than a sibling stabbing you so hard in the back your whole being crumbles as a result of it?

I don’t know the answer—too far is too convoluted of a definition within the complexities of this show, but it still demands discussion. They’ve both gone too far, too quickly, but this publicly? This was personal. This was gut-wrenching, and I’m just as concerned with how Shiv will deal with the fall out of understanding the brutality behind her actions as I am with how Kendall will come out of this in the public eye.

The Roy family knows humiliation, they know chaos, they know scandal, and they know the pangs of betrayal. They know how to bury the truth in a publicized spectacle, they know about self sabotage even, but when it’s their father’s legacy versus their currently tarnished bond as siblings? The ramifications will likely be darker, more brutal. 

You can hurl forward every cunning remark that exists and find forgiveness, but how do you come from back from something that has the power to completely obliterate hope in anyway?

Succession’s “Disruption” is true to its title. It’s vicious and bold, but it slows down right at the brink of a howling storm without a promising end in sight. But where television is concerned, it’s the best kind because the moment Jeremy Strong plays on Kendall’s guilt and fears is just the kind of harrowing performance you often wait eagerly for with a show like this. A moment of true vulnerability. A moment where you genuinely question why you feel bad for someone who’s done terrible things.

And then we have to ask the question of whether or not it was deserved. Yes, the Nirvana song was cruel and deeply uncomfortable, but did Kendall even manipulate the stereo? We didn’t see it, we assume it. But we saw Shiv’s choice carefully go from an idea to a full fledged knife in the back.

It’s absolutely something he’d do, but did he? Some viewers on Twitter seem to think otherwise, which is riveting considering Jeremy Strong’s performances throughout the episode, and that final moment where he allowed pieces of Kendall to come out to the surface while still keeping so much masked.

This betrayal actually breaks him. It shocks him in a way he wasn’t expecting and Strong brings that utter shock to life through both his physicality and his budding expressiveness. It gets to him—slowly and then all at once. It’s always an exemplary testament to a performer when a grown human can make themselves look small. Because small isn’t just the opposite of large conveyed through height, it’s an emotional, guttural sadness that pierces out of a person in a moment of desperation and vulnerability that leaves them free of armor—in need of someone, anyone. It leaves them unmasked and unguarded.

And Jeremy Strong brought that sadness to life with every move he made from the slow walk away to the way he clutched onto his knees in the control room. (An interesting spatial location considering the sheer lack of control he had in the circumstances around him.) At this moment, Kendall Roy is entirely alone, defenses down, and genuinely uncertain of his next move.

What are your thoughts on Succession “The Disruption?” Do you think Shiv took it too far?

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