Tom Wambsgans (Matthew Macfadyen) and Greg (Nicholas Braun)
Warning! This article contains spoilers for season four of Succession.
Logan is dead; Waystar Royco’s future hangs in the balance, possibly leaving the Roy family name altogether; American democracy seems more than a little unsteady; the Roy kids are all at each other’s necks; oh, and, as usual, everyone seems to have their own self-serving agenda.
While the penultimate episode definitely painted Kendall and Shiv to be the main competitors left in this bloody battle for their father’s crown, a TikTok suggestion implies there could be a third serious contender (hint: it’s not Roman).
Nameberry’s editor-in-chief, Sophie Kihm, came to her theory by looking at the names on the HBO show.
She asked: “Do the names on Succession reveal the show’s ending?”
Sophie pointed out how names are “very intentional” and have a special meaning throughout the series – the surname Roy even means King in Latin, while Siobhan’s nickname Shiv is a slang word for a knife.
Tom (Matthew Macfadyen) and his wife Shiv (Sarah Snook).
The specialist continued: “Typically TV writers use relatively common surnames for their characters, there are various reasons why they do this – and we don’t have time to get into this right now – so always pay attention when there’s a highly unusual surname on a TV show.
“In Succession, that surname of course is Wambsgans.”
To refresh your memory, that is Tom’s surname, the outsider who married Shiv. By season four, he is head of Waystar’s main news outlet, ATN, has several brutal exchanges with his estranged wife and is clearly very sleep-deprived.
But, while Shiv dubs him and his family “striving and parochial” (oof) and he’s often written off as the career-climber, Sophie suggests on TikTok that there’s more to his name than you might think.
After explaining the etymology of the name, she points out that it could point to another hidden reference.
The TikToker explains it’s more likely that Wambsgans is a reference to MLB player Bill Wambsganss from the early 20th Century, who is famous for one thing – completing the only unassisted triple play in World Series history.
She said: “He took out three players at once at what is essentially the finale of baseball.
“It’s no coincidence that Tom shares a surname with Wambsganss, so you have to wonder if Tom will complete an unassisted triple play and take out all three of the Roy siblings and become the leader of Waystar Royco in the Succession finale.”
This theory about Tom in Succession is wild. 👀 pic.twitter.com/xoOXJV90iF
— Christina Garnett (@ThatChristinaG) May 25, 2023
However, some people in the comments pointed out that there’s a chance Tom has actually already fulfilled this prophecy at the end of season three, when he betrayed Shiv (and her brothers).
He told Logan how the three Roy kids planned to scupper his attempts to sell Waystar Royco by taking over the board – and Logan was able to outmanoeuvre all of them.
That put Tom in Logan’s good books and left Kendall, Roman and Shiv out in the cold right up until their father’s death, when the family was still pretty estranged.
Succession is available to stream on NOW, with the final episode arriving on Sky Atlantic and NOW in the UK on Monday 29 May.
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