The latest episode of “Succession,” titled “Tailgate Party,” sees Shiv (Sarah Snook) and Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) hosting a pre-election fundraising party while trying to balance the tension in their marriage.
“When Jesse [Armstrong] told us about the episode, he pitched it as a ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ kind of piece in that marriage tensions at a party, trying to keep up a good front, trying to keep up a happy marriage face,” Snook said during Sunday’s behind-the-scenes featurette.
Creator Jesse Armstrong noted that Tom and Shiv are in “quite a curious place” during the episode.
“They both know exactly what happened,” he said. “But while she won’t talk about it, she has this kind of leverage.”
Among the guests at the party is Gojo CEO Lukas Matsson (Alexander Skarsgård), adding an extra amount of pressure for Tom.
“He’s got to make a good impression on Lukas Matsson. He feels like he’s got to do a good job because he’s running the whole show,” Macfadyen said. “Things are going wrong. The stakes are very high because of who’s in the running to be president.”
The episode culminates in a 5.5-minute argument between Shiv and Tom on their balcony.
“Sarah and I were talking and we sort of worked out that they hadn’t really screamed and shouted at each other in that way,” Macfadyen said. “The lid has always gone quite quickly in their arguments.”
Snook said that it was “great to explore a different dynamic with two characters.”
“It’s really fun to just yell at somebody and go at that pace with somebody that you trust and doing that with Matthew, who is such a darling to yell at,” she added.
“It’s a brilliant scene because they both feel like they’ve been struggling with all kinds of things. And he’s really wounded again by her belittling him in front of all these incredibly powerful people at this pre-election party that they’re hosting,” Macfadyen said. “And it sort of becomes farcical through the episode. I mean it’s just a wonderful episode.”
Watch the two actors break down the pivotal scene in the video above.
“Succession” airs Sunday nights at 9 pm ET/PT and is streaming on HBO Max