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Succession S4, Episode 7: Why Shiv's Big Pregnancy Reveal Hasn't Broken Yet

Contains spoilers for "Succession" Season 4 Episode 7 — "Tailgate Party"

Everyone on "Succession" keeps secrets. It's the name of the game as these rich, wannabe-CEOs toss around business word salads and quietly plot against one another to fill the throne vacated by the late Logan Roy (Brian Cox). His daughter Shiv (Sarah Snook), though, might be keeping one of the more explosive secrets around, at least as far as her future is concerned. In the aftermath of Logan's death, it's revealed, through a phone call with her doctor, that Shiv is pregnant; considering the timeline of the entire series is about a year, the baby's father is, in all likelihood, Shiv's estranged husband Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen).

The weird part here is that, since Shiv's pregnancy was revealed, nobody — including Shiv — has said a single word about it. While filming, Snook was pregnant in real life, but the decision for Shiv to also be pregnant came about later than you might think. "Tailgate Party's" directors, Shari Springer Berman and Robert Pulcini, spoke to Vanity Fair about how this choice came to be — and according to Berman, when they signed onto the episode, Shiv's pregnancy reveal didn't exist yet.

"We knew that Sarah was pregnant," Berman told the outlet. "But we didn't know that Shiv was going to be pregnant. We didn't have that specific piece of information when we shot it." Ultimately, Jesse Armstrong told Berman and Pulcini that Shiv would be pregnant, but as she recalled, "we didn't know when the audience was going to find out."

Shiv's journey into motherhood is fraught, to say the least

To say that Shiv's relationship to parenting and motherhood is... complicated, to say the least. At the end of Season 3, her own mother, Caroline (Harriet Walter) told Shiv that she regretted having children and that she wished she'd simply gotten a bunch of dogs instead; she also tells her daughter that not everyone is "made to be mothers," creating clear questions in Shiv's mind despite the fact that she and Tom were exploring fertilizing her eggs at the time.

Making matters worse, Shiv and Tom's relationship has been on the rocks since the end of Season 3 as well, when Tom betrayed his wife's trust to ally himself with her powerful father Logan. (Shiv's relationship with Logan wasn't exactly amazing either; basically, she's set up to fail considering she was raised by wolves.) They're separated by the time Season 4 kicks off, and though they rekindle an intimate relationship during Episode 6, "Living+," it certainly doesn't mean they're getting back together.

So why hasn't Shiv at least told the man who's probably the baby's father? Lorene Scafaria, the director of "Living+," had an idea that she shared with Vanity Fair: "There's still a lot for Shiv to unpack, between losing a parent and having a child—the two biggest seismic shifts in someone's life—plus whatever complications she's feeling for Tom." This definitely feels right, but at a certain point, the news will have to break — before Shiv's water does.

The blowout between Tom and Shiv is a bad sign for their future family

With "Succession" coming to a close, it feels like the actors are preparing their best Emmy reels for the next awards season — and Macfadyen and Snook definitely entered that conversation in "Tailgate Party." Holding a pre-election bash at their lavish apartment, the couple steps out onto the balcony and has what becomes a horrible, blowout fight. Tom tells Shiv that she's a selfish person who shouldn't have children; Shiv fires back that he's a "hick" and "servile" and that he's only with her for her power, which he has now stolen. It's ugly, vicious, and the most honest conversation they've ever had.

Berman spoke to the brutal honesty of the scene, comparing it to Edward Albee's famous play. ""it felt very 'Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf,'" she said. "It was incredibly uncomfortable to shoot for everybody, because it's so raw. They go there in a way that people in Succession don't really—saying directly what they mean."

"So much of Succession dialogue is half committal," Pulcini agreed. "There's so much subtext in every line. To get a scene like that, especially between these two, was so exciting. The characters have been through such a labyrinth.... Lines that direct in Succession are very powerful."

The final season of "Succession" is airing now, with new episodes every Sunday at 9 P.M. on HBO.