Is Shiv Roy About To Get Screwed Over Again?

This article contains spoilers for season 4, episode 4 of "Succession." 

Siobhan "Shiv" Roy, played by Sarah Snook, hasn't exactly had the easiest go of things. The only daughter of media magnate Logan Roy (Brian Cox), she has had to try and prove herself at every turn, much more so than her brothers Kendall (Jeremy Strong) and Roman (Kieran Culkin), who seem to be given extra chances on account of being Logan's sons. (Connor, their half-brother played by Alan Ruck, has never been a contender for the family throne). For most of the first three seasons of "Succession," Logan strung Shiv along, hinting that he would put her in a position of power while never actually committing. Any time he had the chance to give an opportunity to one of the boys instead, he would, and Shiv was continually getting the short end of the stick. 

Now, with Logan dead (in the best episode of the series), Shiv has to jockey for position with her brothers on a completely different playing field. Without dear old dad to cause extra drama, can the siblings finally figure things out and find a way forward that works best for everyone? Or is Shiv going to get screwed over again, this time by her brothers instead of her father? Based on how things are going so far, it's looking like Shiv is gonna get shivved, metaphorically speaking. After the whole "Rape Me" fiasco where Kendall played the song during her press conference in season 3, it's honestly amazing Shiv trusts her brothers at all. 

Serious sibling rivalry

In the fourth episode of season 4, Kendall and Roman step up as the interim CEOs in place of their father. When Shiv tries to argue that she should be an interim CEO as well, the brothers dismiss her outright, explaining that two CEOs is confusing enough and no one will tolerate three. They promise her that she'll be involved at every level and will be on equal footing with them, but right out the gate, they're already holding her back. They say she's equal, but it's clear that they're only doing that to placate her. It feels a whole lot like when Logan convinced her to abandon Gil's (Eric Bogosian) presidential campaign by promising to make her CEO of Waystar-Royco, only to turn around and abandon the idea after she left Gil's team. It was a means to an end, a way for Logan to get Shiv away from a rival, and he probably never intended to make her CEO in the first place. 

Though the trio have been on much better terms since they decided to found The Hundred (remember The Hundred?) and then tried to screw over their dad, neither Kendall nor Roman has ever shown Shiv any kind of loyalty. What's to stop them from icing her out completely in order to focus on trying to outdo one another? Absolutely nothing. Roman may have never truly thrown his sister under the bus, but Kendall and Shiv have a lot of bad blood.

Shiv vs. Kendall

Roman and Shiv share the standard Roy family quota of "f*** you's," but they have mostly stayed out of one another's way in their various grasps for power and attention. Shiv and Kendall, however, have battled it out from day one, and they've both made some very low blows in order to hurt one another. Kendall's worst was probably the aforementioned attempt to humiliate Shiv when she was trying to take charge of the cruise division scandal and show her skills, but Shiv's response was just as cruel. She released an open letter that asked the public to give Ken space while he dealt with drug addiction and mental health issues. Connor refused to sign off because there was nothing in it for him, while Roman declined because he might be the only Roy sibling with a soul and he didn't want to wound his brother that deeply. 

Siobhan released the letter anyway, and it was absolutely brutal. After reading the letter on her show, talk show host Sophie Iwobi (Ziwe) ends it with, "And she's the f***ing nice one." In the public eye, Shiv has managed to maintain some semblance of likability, and she's absolutely willing to wield it like a weapon against anyone who crosses her. The power struggle is just as much a popularity contest as it is putting the most competent person in charge, and neither Paranoid Kendroid nor Dick Pic Romulus is winning any Miss Congeniality crowns anytime soon. Shiv's "niceness" may be fake, but it's one of her most potent weapons. 

Is Shiv screwed?

When it comes to the matter of Kendall totally throwing Shiv to the wolves, it's less a matter of "if" and more of a "when." He's keeping Shiv placated for now but it's unlikely that he's going to continue to do so for very long. He needs to take on the Old Guard and is already siding with them to do some pretty sneaky stuff without his sibling's approval. Ken is already working with Karl (David Rasche) to create a narrative that both Shiv and Roman disagreed with, so it's clear that the only person he cares about is himself. Shiv is going to have to be just as ruthless if she wants to survive, though she does at least have the power of public opinion on her side. If she can fix things with Tom and somehow ingratiate herself with the OGs (maybe Gerri?), she stands a chance at ending up the "winner" of this contemporary "Game of Thrones." 

Roman might be the dark horse, but it's entirely possible that Ken and Shiv may be set on mutually assured destruction, leaving Roman as the only Roy sibling not trying to commit tabloid fratricide. Romulus could potentially rise to the top after his siblings clear the battlefield with their own petty nonsense, but for right now, he doesn't seem like much of a threat to either of them. The trusting, exciting days of making The Hundred are gone, and we're back to one brutal sibling rivalry. 

"Succession" airs on HBO and streams on HBO Max every Sunday at 9 p.m. ET.