WARNING: This is a recap so major spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse
In this era of Peak TV all I ask for in the shows I watch is to make me feel something. Pretty simple request. But not always attainable.
Well, the season four premiere of the Starz series Survivor’s Remorse did its job and then some. The show has hit a sweet spot where the characters we know and love are concerned. They’re becoming more three-dimensional. We’re discovering more about them. We’re learning more about how they react to the highs and lows of life.
And it doesn’t hurt that this show continues to serve up stellar writing delivered by a phenomenal cast.
What I appreciate most is how it doesn’t take long for me to get caught back up in the lives of NBA star Cam Calloway and his quirky cool family. The attachment — or reattachment I guess I should say since this show has been off for 11 months — is instant.
At the end of season three, the topic of fathers gained traction and became a focal point for Reggie, Cam and M-Chuck. Reggie’s estranged dad was back in the picture. Cam helped M-Chuck find out about her paternal history, which wasn’t pretty. Cassie revealed how a gang-rape resulted in Mary Charles’ conception.
At the beginning of the fourth season, the action continues to center around father types.
Cam: His team is out of the playoffs. The first round loss stings big time. While he’s licking his wounds, Cam decides to reach out to his father who’s in jail. That means heading back to Boston and the prison where Rodney (Isaiah Washington) has been a resident for a long time, since shortly after Cam was born. Not sure what put him in this predicament, however. Can’t remember if they’ve ever talked about that before. But whatever it is, it’s something that resulted in him having to serve a serious amount of time.
The meeting is a bit tense. Cam’s angry while Rodney seems cool, calm and resigned. Cam wants to know why Rodney hasn’t reached out to him. Rodney tells his son he did reach out to him, and it was way before he ever became a superstar basketball athlete. He wrote a few letters when Cam was little. And then he got “distracted” in prison, whatever that means. And then he wrote more letters when Cam was 11 or 12. That’s news to Cam. Rodney says to ask his mom about what he’s talking about.
When he does ask her, Cassie’s defensive, which she often has to be with her kids. According to her, she and Rodney only had sex nine times after meeting at a fair. She says she made decisions when raising Cam and M-Chuck that she sticks by to this day. At the time Cassie’s in Shanghai with Chen visiting his parents. She’s knee deep in a clogged toilet and she’s trying to clean her shit up, literally. She doesn’t have time to entertain Cam’s questions and demands.
Later she calls and apologizes to Cam which is huge. Rodney did send some letters — 10 or 20 — she doesn’t remember. She was busy trying to raise kids. They were evicted during blizzard convictions. She doesn’t even know where those letters are.
I love when Cassie opens up about pre-series Survivor’s Remorse. We know it was a tough road for Cassie and her family. She raised Cam and M-Chuck. She had help from their grandmother until she died, she relays. And then her sister until she died. And finally her brother until he died. Cassie’s experienced devastating loss, devastating pain and she and her kids survived. She’s a different person now and advises her son to not “bring your past into your right now.”
To hear her actually talk about their collective past is awesome. It’s cool to be able to see how far they’ve come. The connection to this family grows deeper with every fact that’s thrown at us.
M-Chuck: Cam’s sister is also in Boston on her own journey to find out about “the thing.” She shows up at Julius’s friend Pookie’s door where she demands answers to what happened to her mom that fateful night. Pookie isn’t talking. He knows some things, that’s for sure. M-Chuck is sure of it. But he won’t talk without Cassie’s approval. Again, Cassie’s forced to mine her past while she’s in Shanghai. She just can’t vacation in peace, can she?
But she knows her daughter wants answers. So she gives them the good word. She tells Mary Charles that Pookie knows things she doesn’t even know. And she doesn’t want to know about it. Ever. Which is something I hope her kids will be able to stick to because so far they haven’t been able to keep her out of this. Understandably, she’s the only source they’ve been able to tap.
According to Pookie, two brothers and their cousin raped Cassie. Julius found Cassie walking the next morning covered in bruises and scrapes and…rope burns on her wrists.
M-Chuck: How the f–k did they get away with it?
Pookie: They didn’t.
M-Chuck wants proof that those boys are gone. They decide to road trip to Long Island to see their graves for herself. Is it wrong that I take satisfaction in their no longer being around? What they did to Cassie was evil. I do not condone violence but what they did to her was so horrifying and brutal. I don’t know. I don’t want them around today. I don’t want to ever see them in this universe.
Reggie: I’m trying to figure out what the show’s trying to accomplish with Reggie and his dad Trent. The man came back into Reggie’s life at the end of last season. This isn’t something Reggie wanted or needed considering the man is an alcoholic and was abusive in the past.
In “Fallout,” his father tries to help extricate him from a violent situation. Reggie leaves his confrontation with Trent to go home but when he opens the door to his car, he accidentally dings the car next to him. I mean, that car was super close to Reggie’s. Regardless, the four people in the other car — one of them is a giant — don’t take Reggie’s dinging their car too nicely. Reggie, as we all know, is never one to back down. Things escalate into a full on fight with Reggie’s father entering the action. The woman who helped instigate this brawl hits Reggie on the head with a bottle.
When the dust settles, both Reggie and his father are on the ground. Reggie’s worse off. He ends up having to trust his dad to drive him to the ER. Will there be a thawing out here? I feel like I need to know more about what went down between these two in the past. We’ll see where everything stands between the two next week.
-Those two cops sitting in their car witnessing the fight Reggie/Trent fight from afar. They have a conversation. They’re currently going through training to handle situations like this but don’t feel they’re ready to take this on yet. So they drive away. “Progress,” they say. That’s an interesting take. Is this what’s already happening in real life?
-I continue to adore Cassie and Chen. I’m beyond happy that after all that’s happened to her in her life, she is experiencing happiness.
-Something else interesting: Missy’s mom doesn’t think her marriage with Reggie is going to last. To her it was a rebellion. She thinks they’re too opposite to spend their lives together. Says she’ll be here when she leaves Reggie. Missy’s dad, on the other hand, is the voice of reason. I love Reggie and Missy so I’m pulling for them. I wonder how involved her parents — specifically her mom — are going to be this season.
-Shameless Plug: Pookie offers up Diet Dr. Pepper to M-Chuck. I try not to partake in soda too often (been losing that battle lately) but I love me some Diet Dr. Pepper.
-Mike O’Malley and the SR writers’ room: The dialogue was spectacular in this episode.
Guest Star Goodness
Isaiah Washington plays Cam’s dad, Rodney. On the small screen, Washington is probably best known for playing Dr. Preston Burke on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, and earlier this year he guest starred in an episode of CBS’ Bull. Washington currently plays Jaha on the CW’s The 100. According to his Instagram, he and his character will be back for the show’s fifth season. Apparently, Jaha’s first appearance will be episode 2.
Also, making her first appearance on Survivor’s Remorse is Vanessa Bell Calloway a.k.a. Missy’s mom, who made a couple of her own Grey’s Anatomy appearances during season 12 of the hit medical drama. Some of her other TV credits include Bounce TV’s Saints & Sinners (which was recently renewed for another season) and Showtime’s Shameless. But, of course, I need to mention the fact she was in one of my all-time favorite films, Coming to America.
Playing Missy’s dad: Isiah Whitlock Jr. He’s Gus Bradley in Spike’sÂ The Mist. He was Captain Reece on Law & Order: SVU and George Maddox on HBO’s Veep. He was also the corrupt State Senator Clay Davis on the late great HBO series, The Wire.
The song that played at the end of the episode: “Work” by Charlotte Day Wilson
Survivor’s Remorse airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on Starz.
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