Succession: How a Show About Billionaires Delivered the Most Relatable Scene on Television

Episode 7 in season 4 of Succession, ‘Tailgate Party’, lays bare the relationship and marriage between the show’s toxic power couple, Shiv and Tom, and in turn delivers one of the most relatable scenes on the small screen.

The city skyline of the couple’s multi-million dollar New York apartment serves as the backdrop for this isolated and lonely setting. The camera angles and lighting enhance the drama, with the camera slowly zooming in on Shiv’s face as she delivers cutting insults to Tom, and he in return digging even deeper, with an apartment full of party-goers and some of the city’s most influential people watching on.

What makes this scene so powerful is the exceptional performances by Sarah Snook and Matthew Macfadyen, who play Shiv and Tom, respectively. They bring a depth and nuance to their characters that make the scene all the more intense. Snook delivers a tour de force performance, showing Shiv’s vulnerability and rage in equal measure.

The dialogue is sharp, the delivery is timed to perfection and the pain of the marriage is laid bare in a way that is rarely seen on screen. There is no polish, no resolution, and no holding back, they let each other have it in a way that is usually reserved for the bedroom- or at least away from prying eyes.

The scene is almost painful to watch, it’s success is in how relatable it portrays a couple whose past indiscretions, history, and pain all come to the surface in an all-consuming argument. As they exchange sharp words and accusations, their emotions are palpable, and it becomes evident that beneath the surface of their hanging-by-a-thread relationship lies a tangled web of unresolved issues. The raw vulnerability they exhibit is reminiscent of any couple facing the consequences of their actions (or simply years of marriage), as they are forced to confront their shared mistakes and pain they have caused each other.

The scene serves as a powerful reminder that even billionaires are not immune to the complexities and conflicts that arise in a long-term relationship. It is almost reassuring to realise that money, whether too little or too much of it, lies at the heart of so many relationship breakdowns.

The fight is a testament to the sharp writing, excellent acting, and nuanced portrayal of the 1% that has made Succession such a critical and popular success. If you haven’t watched the show yet, this scene alone is worth tuning in for.

Watch the scene here.

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