What They Said: Three Revealing Conversations from Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
WARNING: Spoilers for Survivor’s Remorse “Closure”
The latest episode of Starz’s Survivor’s Remorse featured conversations that showed characters really digging deep into their thoughts, emotions and motivations.
They were working on their s–t and it was really nice to see, even when the exchanges took a negative turn.
Reg, M-Chuck and Cam were all trying to achieve some semblance of closure where their fathers were concerned, a theme that’s been taking up time on this show since the end of last season.
“Closure” is another example of how good the writing is on this show. For me, it felt like some steps forward were taken. The conversations were satisfying and revealing like when M-Chuck questions whether or not she can let go of the pain.
M-Chuck: Maybe deep down I don’t even want closure. Anguish fuels me.
Pookie: Even if it does, maybe anguish just begets more anguish. Maybe unhappiness is just a disease.
By the end of this third episode of the fourth season, Reg, M-Chuck and Cam all found themselves in Boston, either reunited or about to be reunited for the first time this season, which makes me anticipate the next episode greatly.
There were three conversations that were particularly powerful. Before I start in, here are some of the credits for this episode. I want to show respect for the people responsible for bringing these stories to life:
Story by: Paul Oakley Stovall & Luther M. Mace
Teleplay by: Mike O’Malley (SR Creator)
Director: Salli Richardson-Whitfield
Cast: RonReaco Lee, Erica Ash, Jessie T. Usher, Teyonah Parris,Tichina Arnold, Meagan Tandy,Â Sir Brodie, Isaiah Washington
Conversation #1: Cam Facetimes with Allison
We haven’t seen too much of Allison this season so automatically the conversation these two have is a plus. Cam needed a sounding board and Allison provided just that. He called her to read her another letter of his imprisoned dad’s. And then he let loose with his frustrations. He got a bit emotional while unloading all this pain:
Cam: These letters are him trying to get to know e. Or at least have me get to know him. It’s like a mid-life reversal of my entire life. You know I don’t blame my mother. I get why she didn’t…I get why she hid them away. I blame the f–kin’ landlord who evicted us in the middle of a f–kin’ blizzard so she couldn’t even get up on a ladder to get these letters. G-d damn it’s all so f–kin’ unnecessary. It’s all so f–kin’ sad. I feel so bad that I never got these and knew this. Or that I had this impression of him that is not accurate.
Allison: Nobody told you and you’re not a psychic.
Allison: Yeah, babe, it’s f–ked up.
Cam: Yeah, that’s exactly what it is. It is f–ked up. He’s just sitting in there, years rolling by. Life in ruined. My blood, my flesh and blood. And all this time, I could have felt, you know, connected.
Allison: Do you want me to fly up there? I’ve got frequent flier miles saved for this kind of emergency.
Cam: You are not cashing in frequent flier miles. If I need you here, I’ll buy you a ticket.
Allison: I don’t need you to worry about me.
Cam: Pretty much the only person I’m not worried about is you. I gotta just…I’m gonna go back to the prison in the morning. I gotta just try and get through tomorrow. I don’t know if he’d even want to see me again.
Allison: He will. I wish I was there to hug you.
Cam: Me too.
Allison: And then I’d give you some head. (Cam laughs)
There’s the Survivor’s RemorseÂ I know and love. Never far from going all racy on us. Allison gave Cam a much needed distraction. I love those two. Looking forward to seeing more of them as the season continues.
Conversation #2: Reg and Missy in their bedroom
Reg’s abusive and alcoholic father, Trent, stayed the night at their house after the trip to the ER. This was on Reg’s invite. His dad’s presence in the house was the perfect opportunity to learn so much more about this character. He’s always so confident. But thanks to a hellish childhood there were some underlying insecurities and some real fears we became privy to in this episode.
Missy offered her husband her strength and tried to convey to him how much he means to her. Their conversation in their bedroom started out pretty tense but, ultimately, it provided us with some rare insight into Reg’s damaged psyche:
Reg: Listen, Missy, this was all my fault. Okay? And I knew better. Maybe I, you know, I may not be made of, or…I may be incapable of all that you deserve.
Missy: You’re everything I want. And you’re everything I need.
Reg: That may not be true.
Missy: It is. I was meant to be your wife. And you were meant to be my husband. We…we are, are a pair. A twosome. An example of all the good in the world. Right here. You are, despite whatever trauma you have been through, the man you are, and I love, I love who you are. All of you. All that’s tried to undo you. And all that you have accomplished since.
Reg: That’s just it. See ’cause things happened. The man downstairs with the nice comforter that you bought at Restoration Hardwareâ€¦
Missy: Pottery Barn.
Reg: Okay the man with the comforter from Pottery Barn, see, was of no comfort. Even tonight, even after everything that’s happened when I lay my head on the pillow, a small part of me will be thinking that Trent Vaughn is under my roof. And Missy? I ain’t absolutely certain I won’t be woke up at four in the morning by a punch in the face. And the taste of my own blood. And open my eyes to some, you know, drunk and enraged man trying to beat up his son. Even now you want to know what I’m asking myself? Where in this house is the liquor and why didn’t I lock it up? So what I am saying to you. Or what I’m trying to say to you is that I may be — what’s the word I’m looking for? Overcompensating for that lack of comfort. I may be trying to make this life, a life that I ain’t built for. It’s one you deserve but it maybe one that I am incapable of providing for you.
Missy: He is not you. And you are not him.
Reg: Missy, I got a lot of unresolved shit.
Missy: And you can resolve it. You, you are starting to resolve it right now.
Reg: All right. Listen. What if I am simply incapable of delivering to you a happy life? What if I’m so damaged and I am so wound tight due to that damage that at the end of the day I can’t be who I want to be?
Missy: The fact that you can sit here and admit your fear proves that you are more than your doubts.
Missy: You are capable of being the man that you want to be. We all have doubts and questions, okay? But living, living is about building a life that might deliver the answers we want. And we can search for those answers together.
I don’t feel like we’ve ever gotten this good a look at Reg in the history of the show. I could be wrong, but that’s what it feels like. He’s a survivor of an abusive childhood. And now we’re finally getting to see why he’s as ambitious and unrelenting as he is when he’s in manager mode. Totally enjoyed this intense conversation.
Conversation #3: M-Chuck and Pookie at Pookie’s house
All the M-Chuck and Pookie scenes this season have been great but the ones in “Closure” were spectacular. They talked in the diner. They talked some more while she relieved herself on the graves of the men who raped her mother (which served as closure in M-Chuck’s mind). They sang another Donna Summer song in the car (“Heaven Knows”). And they talked about psychology and Carl Jung when they got back to Pookie’s place. That’s the conversation that spoke to me the most because it represented an M-Chuck that’s sort of at peace with herself. It’s not where I thought she’d be after confronting her beginnings.
M-Chuck (on therapy): It’s like going to the gym for your mind. I’m actually feeling mentally fit despite the public defecation you just witnessed.
Pookie: You can’t witness something when your head’s turned away.
M-Chuck: I can set you up with a good mental trainer if you want.
Pookie: Thanks but nah.
M-Chuck: Just saying people helped me. My friend Jimmy let me use his private plane to come up here and do all this. I could help you if you ever need it.
Pookie: If I’m in a crisis, I’ll let you know.
M-Chuck: I know you got the Jesus statue on the dashboard. Just letting you know some things you don’t just gotta pray off.
Pookie: I hear ya.
M-Chuck: Thinking about taking some psychology courses next semester, I’ll check out Jung. And some humanities courses. I sorta gotta get straight with the human mind. Get my head straight.
Pookie: Your head is fine. Your heart might need a little TLC.
M-Chuck: Couldn’t everyone’s? A lot of things happen in life. Unexpected things. Unexpected shit. Day-to-day human stuff has a way of tripping people up even if they do therapy. Mothers get raped. Uncles get hit by cars. Details of your fathers emerge. Permafrost melts. Oceans rise.
Pookie: Can’t stop the oceans from rising and rain from falling. Hurricanes and earthquakes, that’s just the way things go.
Pookie: But you can stop deciding to define your life through the filter of the things that other people did to result in you being here. I’ve been trying to figure things out a lot myself. And have the faith that things that I can’t control being controlled by a God who loves.
M-Chuck: This an actual real God?
Two things. 1) I miss Jimmy (Chris Bauer). We haven’t seen him yet this season, have we? 2) Can I talk about how amazing Pookie (Sir Brodie) is? Total MVP. He’s so insightful and patient and such a good friend. He’s a solid presence. As M-Chuck told him, ‘being here with you, a friend, that’s allowing me to just process stress, it’s unusual but good. It’s grounding me.”
She said for once she’s not escaping stress with distraction (read: sex). She’s forced to really work on her issues. What’s refreshing here and in this entire episode is that the conversation simply flowed. There was nothing interrupting the participants. These moments were allowed to breathe and be in the present. And as a result, we’re allowed to get to know these characters even more. Just as they learn more about themselves. Plus, not one character’s baggage dominates this show. The writers spread the love and for that I am grateful.
Honorable Mentions: The Cam/Rodney (Isaiah Washington) convo at the prison was pretty good. They left things off in an okay place. Then there was the M-Chuck / Cassie phone call. I just love what Cassie said to her daughter in this moment:
Mary Charles: I love you, Ma.
Cassie: You know I love you. I hope you know that now more than ever.
Mary Charles: I do.
Cassie: Mary Charles?
Mary Charles: Yeah, Ma?
Cassie: Well, uh, look. Look we all…we all do what we gotta do. And sometimes we don’t know if how we went about what we did was correct. You know, secrets and shit. Things you admit. Things you omit. But you’re a miracle. And now you know how much a miracle you really are. So don’t you take nothing else away from this other than that. The world is around the corner, Mary Charles and when you get back to Atlanta, turn that corner, baby.
The cast knocked it out of the park with their performances and the writing was stellar. Team Survivor’s Remorse continues to dole out the good stuff week after week.
Survivor’s Remorse airs Sunday nights at 10/9c on Starz.
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