We May Not Get the Shiv Pregnancy Reveal We Want

An anticlimactic end to the storyline would be frustrating, yes, but also a great reminder that people's pregnancy choices or outcomes aren't anyone's business!

We May Not Get the Shiv Pregnancy Reveal We Want
Photo:David M. Russell / HBO

The day after Logan’s death, in the cold open of Episode 4, viewers of Succession, aka Roy Family Rumble, learn that Shiv is pregnant. Her doctor called to let her know that her tests were normal (at least someone in this family is normal) and that she’ll follow up soon to schedule her 20-week exam. So Shiv’s probably in the first half of her second trimester. But hold the baby shower diaper cake! Shiv hasn’t told anyone she’s knocked up.

Two episodes later, still no one else knows about Pinky’s pregnancy, not the least of whom is very likely baby daddy Tom. For a lot of reasons, this is maddening. Shiv, let down your walls with literally anyone challenge! I suppose I’m glad that she is scheduling sob sessions in a private conference room between dressing down CEBros Kendall and Roman and not holding it all in. But there’s that relevant proverb: Grief shared is grief halved. Alas, the Roy kids are not good at sharing anything. There’s also just not a world where I don’t 100% believe that Tom wouldn’t buy himself and that baby a matching Ralph Lauren set. Tell me that wouldn’t be great for morale!

What’s more worrisome is that Shiv concealing her pregnancy has allowed her to partake in some non-pediatrician approved behaviors without judgment or second thought from others. She’s definitely drinking some Norwegian beers and toasting champagne—not great, but as far as risks to the fetus, these are on the lower side. What’s less clear (and a hell of a lot riskier) is if she’s been drinking the whiskey in her hand, or if she partook in Mattson’s cocaine offer in Episode 5. There’s a strong argument to be made that she’s just keeping up appearances and that turning down those offers would bring unwanted attention to her at a moment she’s 1) having a hard fucking time 2) trying to assess her standing in the future of the company. The corporate ladder, everyone knows, gets a little wobbly for pregnant people trying to climb it. And that says nothing about how Roman or Kendall, who’ve already begun to ice her out, would react to news of her pregnancy.

So, in some ways it makes a lot of sense that Shiv is biding her time. Plus, while we the viewers are made to painstakingly wait a week between episodes, it’s been confirmed that Season 4 takes place over a very condensed timeline (almost, but not quite, 1o consecutive days.) She is still just a few days out from that phone call from her doctor that we saw in Ep 4. That hasn’t stopped internet speculation and panic about Shiv’s pregnancy.

Some people have wondered if she’s had a miscarriage or an abortion, the latter of which is legal in New York through fetal viability or later if the patient’s health or life is at risk. It’s also worth noting that someone of Shiv’s wealth and access could probably find a way to get an abortion whenever she needed it. But if her pregnancy were to end either way, at this stage of it, she’d be out for the count for at least a day if not more, either from recovery time, possible travel, or from cramps and passing tissue. I don’t think she’d be kicking it at a corporate rave retreat like she has been.

All of this conjecture and hand wringing, a lot of which I’ve partaken in, contradicts a fundamental belief I hold: that it’s none of my fucking business, or Tom’s, or her brothers’, or anyone’s what Shiv does or doesn’t do regarding her pregnancy. As far as we’ve seen, she isn’t severely putting the fetus at risk with her behaviors. And while I would love for her to share it with someone else for dramaturgical reasons, it’s entirely within her right not to. Tom did, as we all know, betray her just weeks ago, and despite affectionately gnawing each other’s forearms this episode, they are still in the process of getting a divorce.

Obviously, this is a television show whose partial appeal is the online theorizing and therapizing we all get to partake in on a weekly basis. I don’t think anyone is necessarily upholding anti-abortion stances for shaking their fist at their laptop screen while watching Shiv writhe in a prison of her own emotional inaptitude. But the perpetual brilliance of the writing and acting on this show is the grey area it drags us into: Rooting for any of these characters is morally dubious, yes; so is, as it turns out, trying to police them. As Uncle Ewan advises Cousin Greg in the Season 2, it’s best to keep your “snout out of the trough.”

At some point, Shiv’s blazer button doing the herculean task of hiding her secret will burst open. But there’s a good chance we might not see that before the season ends. We have about four more days with the Roys, and while certainly a lot can happen, I can see us not getting the satisfying reveal we want. How frustrating and anticlimactic, yes! But it would also be the perfect reminder that now matter our feelings about Shiv or how much we think we understand her, we’re not owed anything when it comes to her or anyone’s pregnancy.

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