'Succession' Uses Controversial Nirvana Song, Courtney Love Weighs In

Courtney Love praised the use of Nirvana's controversial song "Rape Me" during the Oct. 31 episode of Succession, "The Disruption." The song was played when Shiv Roy (Sarah Snook) tried to open a town hall for Waystar investors in the aftermath of the sexual assault allegations the media conglomerate's cruise line is facing, which could bring down the company. Kendall Roy (Jeremy Strong) sabotaged the event by having his assistants play "Rape Me," written by Kurt Cobain, over the speakers, making it impossible for his sister to conduct the meeting.

After the episode aired, Cobain's widow said she personally approved the use of the song and it would have made Cobain proud. "I've never felt so good about approving a usage of a song of Kurt's. You understood this: him, it's beautiful. I'm sure he's proud," Love tweeted, alongside a video from the episode. "Ask me who it's about one day. I might even tell you."

The use of the 1993 song was surprising, since Cobain's estate rarely allows original Nirvana recordings to be used in movies and television shows. In a follow-up post on her Instagram Story, Love said the Succession writers understood what Cobain's lyrics were about. "I was in the room watching (agog) as this song was written in about an hour, and I've never been so proud of approving one of Kurt's songs," she wrote. "This cue in [Succession] is as if they truly understood KC, what he was screaming his heart out... without specifics... about. I'm sure wherever he is, he's proud of this."

The scene in "The Disruption" was a perfect example of how Succession succeeds in bringing absurdity to the family battle at its center. At the end of Season 2, Kendall told the world about the sexual assault allegations Waystar covered up at the cruise line, setting up a Season 3 where his siblings Shiv and Roman (Kieran Culkin) are also trying to make Kendall look bad. The "Rape Me" sequence should also have been a triumph for Shiv right after their father Logan (Brian Cox) named her Waystar president. Instead, the scene ended with her embarrassed. Right after that, Shiv chose to publicly release a letter about Kendall's substance abuse and failed relationships, even without support from Roman and Connor (Alan Ruck).

The episode saw Shiv completely fall behind Logan to show support for her father. It's a far different position for her than it was at the beginning of the show, created by Jesse Armstrong. "It's an ever-evolving relationship, I think, and part of the joy of this show for me is the writing and learning new things about our characters as we go along," Snook told IndieWire. "I think Jesse [Armstrong] is a person who reserves the right to change his mind, which I like - unless it's in the final cut of the episode, like in the season, it may or may not never have happened. And so our relationship for Shiv and Logan as it's evolving, we learn more about what their history might have been at the same time. I love that." New Succession episodes air on HBO Sundays at 9 p.m. ET and are available to stream on HBO Max.