Sunday, October 8, 2017

REVIEW: 'Survivor's Remorse' - Reggie Has Advice for Cam as He Prepares for a Big Decision in 'Future Plans'

Starz's Survivor's Remorse - Episode 4.08 "Future Plans"

Cam and Reggie discuss the future. Cassie seeks spiritual affirmation. Missy needs a favor from her parents.

This season of Survivor's Remorse has felt a little more scattered with its main stories. All of the characters and plots they are involved in remain great. However, there aren't as many episodes where the main plot includes all of the characters bouncing off one another on some kind of controversial topic in some extremely silly way. This season Cam has been off in his own story. Reggie and Missy have been in their own story. M-Chuck has been in her own story. And Cassie has been in her own story. There's been enough crossover to ensure that it still feels like an ensemble driven series where the characters remain a constant part of each other's lives. And again, all of these stories remain excellent. It's just a slight but noticeable change to the way this season has been structured. It reveals that all of them have their own concerns in this world. They are each trying to grow in their own unique ways. Most of the time that change is an inner journey. They've only become better people because of the actions they've taken to improve themselves. They've all grown in significant and meaningful ways. But they are all still on the path to be even better as well. Cam is serious about marrying Allison and putting the finishing touches on proposing to her. Reggie and Missy are figuring out the details of this latest business deal while proving they are responsible enough to handle this money. Cassie is trying to find her enlightenment by being confirmed in the Catholic church. And M-Chuck is learning at college while still being a little insecurity about herself as well. These are all very fine and interesting stories. This cast remains terrific and makes all of these individual moments work well. It's allowed things to be a bit more serialized as well. As such, it feels like the show is still just ramping up to some big moments instead of producing some episodic highlights in any given story.

Of course, I say all of this and then one of the best moments of "Future Plans" is Cam and Reggie discussing what's been happening in their lives and trying to get the other to understand the big plans they have for the future. It's just such a great discussion. This show does honest and real dialogue better than so many shows out there. Cam and Reggie are friends, family and business partners. Their lives are affected by what they both do. Cam feels the need to tell Reggie about proposing to Allison before it happens. Reggie doesn't believe he needs to be looped in on the discussion. Nor does he believe he needs to congratulate Cam for something that hasn't happened yet. There is the full expectation that Allison is going to say yes. They've already had the discussion about whether they should get engaged. This is something that they both want. Cam believes it's just as simple as that. They've talked about it. And now, he is going to act on it. He's just sharing the happy news with Reggie in person. It's news that deserves to be celebrated and shared in person. He's eager to name Reggie his best man. Yes, he's getting carried away a little bit. Reggie does a nice job in bringing him back down to reality. He's ensuring that Cam is walking into this decision having completely thought it through. Cam saying that he's marrying Allison and not her family is a great joke. It's wonderful to see Reggie get a kick out of it too. So, Cam still seems a little naive. But this moment is still played as a genuine thing for him that will turn out well.

And then, the show takes a potentially awkward turn in Cam sexually objectifying his future mother-in-law. He's simply listening to advice that Reggie is giving him. Reggie wants Cam to be sure that he's still going to be interested in Allison twenty years from now. Cam takes it as Reggie being unhappy in his own marriage. Cam doesn't even fully know what's going on between Reggie and Missy right now either. He doesn't know about the fight they had over money and financial responsibility. He's still the client caught up in his own world who still wants to be there and supportive of Reggie. His life is just his first priority. That's perfectly fine as well. Reggie and Cam are purposefully setting the conversation about the real estate deal to the side for another day. That could potentially be worrisome. It could signal that trouble is brewing in that storyline because it's delaying Cam's involvement in it for as long as possible. Or it could just ultimately be nothing because he's too busy dealing with things in his own life. Again, that scene between Cam and Reggie is so great. It's heartwarming while also being hilarious. Cam then going to see Allison's mother is just weird. His perception of her changes because of what Reggie says. Reggie is right to say that the family dynamic Allison came from will inform her marriage to Cam. It's important to do the research and ensure that things will be capable of lasting for awhile. But this story doesn't really delve into that. It's mostly just Cam having this awkward fantasy about Allison's mother. And then, he still proposes to Allison in the end. It makes it seem like Allison isn't even an active participant in her own engagement. That's potentially awkward and troublesome. And yet, it's still a really deserving and earned moment as well that signals at a bright future for the two of them as a couple.

In additional awkward dynamics with parents, Missy has to have a conversation with her parents about opening up her trust. She wants to use that money in order to be a part of this great deal that Chen has planned. She has read over the documents and believes it to be a sound investment. She is ready to create her own financial wealth. She no longer wants to be beholden to her parents or Reggie. Yes, she's capable of entering this deal because of the money her parents set aside for her a long time ago. She believes she has the maturity to handle it responsibly now. She is able to convince them of that. Of course, they still have their trepidations. They don't know if this is a wise investment. They haven't read the business plan. They don't know the exact details of what Missy and Reggie are planning. But they do trust their daughter and are willing to reach out to their financial advisor to handle all of this. It's a decision that could go awry in so many different ways. It could be a disaster for Missy and Reggie. It's been talked up so much across these last few episodes. And yet, it also has the potential to carry them to a new stage in their relationship. It could make them even more successful and secure in their lives.

And finally, M-Chuck has always been a big and broad personality. She's always had the confidence to say and do whatever she wants. She hasn't always cared what other people thought about her. She's felt confident even though she was very insecure and uncomfortable in her own body. She's grown so much across these last two seasons. She's gotten the clarity she has always wanted in her life. And now, she's pursuing her dreams in school. She's already learned so much in her psychology classes. But now, she is insecure and embarrassed during her writing class. Her teacher has tasked everyone with writing the first paragraph of their autobiography. They are reading those passages out loud and anonymously. One student makes a big deal about being open with what he had written. It's not surprising that that student then pulls out M-Chuck's essay and reads it out loud. It's clear that M-Chuck wrote more than what was required for the assignment. Her first paragraph is very beautifully written while also being able to convey the uncomfortableness she has always felt in her life. And then, she's actually written out what happened to Cassie that led to her conception. That's the moment where she doesn't want to be open with the other students in her class. She could simply ask the other student to stop. The class would honor her wishes. But she then runs out of there as quickly as possible. She's exposed herself in this story and isn't ready to face everyone with that information yet. She doesn't want to change how they perceive her. And yet, it may have forged a new relationship for her as well.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Future Plans" was written by Benjamin Neivert & Brendan O'Malley and directed by Iain B. MacDonald.
  • Cassie is really taking this confirmation stuff seriously. It also feels like the easy joke for her to be having all of these serious and deep questions in a class that mostly includes young teenagers. But that also feels true and genuine as well. She actually wants this and is putting in the effort to be there. Plus, the priest has the great advice that she needs to calm down a little bit.
  • It's fascinating to have Chen suggest to Cassie that she should visit Rodney in prison. She's never felt the need to go see him again. She's never wanted to reconnect after he was arrested. And now, she may only be doing it because she deems it necessary to be confirmed. But it could foster an interesting conversation as well. Cam has reached out and grown because of it. Perhaps Rodney will have the same effect on Cassie.
  • It's great that Chen makes a joke that his pilot could fly from Atlanta to Boston in his sleep. It's the show being aware that it does travel between the two locations a lot. It seems even more so this season as well. The Calloways have so many roots in Boston. It's understandable why they return so often. It can also be a little ridiculous as well considering they have the connection to actually do it all the time.
  • It's appreciated that Cam's proposal to Allison isn't this big spectacle. It's true to their relationship that it's just a very quiet and intimate thing. Sure, it's just him blindfolding her and taking her to a random part in the city only to be down on one knee once the blindfold comes off. But it's effective because of the simplicity. It was the expected moment to end the episode on. But it still works too.
  • It's going to be interesting to see if this new girl who reaches out to M-Chuck will be just a friend or someone more romantic. M-Chuck has learned to stop throwing herself into casual sex to avoid dealing with her problems. She knows about these past patterns of hers. That's what makes it fascinating to see what she would be like trying to date again after all of this growth.