Opinion | On ‘Succession,’ Marriage Reveals Its Sting

Scorpions are dreaded and reviled for good purpose. A remarkably aggressive predator, the scorpion has a nasty behavior of killing and feeding on its younger. And relating to love, scorpion mating is one among “the nastiest affairs in nature”:

“Women and men interact in prolonged and violent waltzes, shifting backward and forward, backward and forward, entrance legs gripping entrance legs, mouthparts locked collectively and tails whipping ahead, because the male repeatedly stings the feminine and the feminine thrashes about, seemingly livid at being dragged round,” a Occasions article as soon as put it. Afterward, the feminine typically kills and devours her companion.

A useless scorpion, one may conclude, isn’t the perfect present to supply your particular somebody. However in Sunday evening’s episode of “Succession,” a glass-encased scorpion wrapped in a crimson field — “slightly social gathering prezzie for being such a sizzling piece of ass” — is exactly what Tom bequeaths Shiv, shortly after they’ve introduced their marriage again from the brink of an eviscerating divorce.

“Who’s the scorpion?” she asks.

“You,” he replies. “I like you, however you kill me, and I kill you.”

Marriage is the place “Succession” hits viewers the closest. We might by no means enter a company boardroom or fly in a personal jet, however most of us enter non-public mergers of our personal. In marriage, we expertise the interwoven layers of reality and lies that may maintain a union collectively or wedge a pair aside, nevertheless devastating both approach.

And marriage is the theme of this week’s episode — the most effective within the four-season sequence. (Be forewarned, some spoilers forward.) It reveals the wedding of Shiv and Tom plunge from office sexting to brooding in separate beds in the identical cavernous house. The previous marriage of Kendall and Rava tumbles from co-parenting détente to shouting match. The unlikely marriage of Connor and Willa endures beneath the mutual recognition of his submission and her domination. And the upcoming marriage of creaky Waystar Royco and futuristic Nordic GoJo hangs within the steadiness. In a present during which folks hardly ever say what they actually imagine, and don’t imagine what they are saying they imagine, this episode hinges on the lies that maintain folks sure collectively, and the truths that drive them aside.