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‘Survivor’s Remorse’ recap: M-Chuck discovers a therapeutic replacement for random sex

This week is all about self-awareness

Season 4, Episode 3 | “Closure” | Sept. 3

Is it just me or is this show turning into a weekly therapy session?

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, simply an observation, given that so much of this season revolves around characters reckoning with past demons that are still haunting their present.

We’ve become accustomed to M-Chuck’s breakthroughs because the show has been following her through therapy sessions. What’s interesting is seeing Reggie (RonReaco Lee) undergo similar epiphanies with careful prodding from his wife, Missy (Teyonah Parris). Reggie’s always been prickly, and the further we dig into his character, the more we learn how much of that’s due to his own insecurities.

Reggie’s confession that he’s not sure he’ll be able to provide the life he thinks Missy deserves because he sees himself as too emotionally screwed up felt like something out of Lemonade. Underneath Reggie’s bravado is a man who’s not sure he’s worthy of the life he’s built, and those insecurities are rooted in class. Growing up poor can mean that you might become an adult who hoards money, or who has hang-ups about the thermostat or the type of towels you have in your house. But it also can really mess with your conception of self-worth. On top of that, Reggie’s playing host to a father who’s a recovering alcoholic. A part of him still worries that Trent (Marlon Young) is going to wake up at 4 a.m. and pummel him in his bed. And while it’s great that he’s sharing this stuff with his wife, I’m really hoping Missy encourages him to talk about it with a professional.

The title of this episode is Closure, but it would have worked just as well to name it Self-Awareness. Besides Reggie’s realizations, we’ve still got Cam and M-Chuck (Erica Ash) to dissect.

More than anything, Cam (Jessie T. Usher) is disappointed that he lost his father to prison and poverty. “It’s all so f—ing sad,” he tells Allison (Meagan Tandy) during a video call. There’s a clever, meta quality to Cam realizing what a cliché he and his father are, despite their best efforts to avoid it, in a show about a pro basketball player who grew up without a father and is now a multimillionaire.

And then, of course, there’s M-Chuck, who decides to pee and poop upon the grave of her three Rape Dads after a meal and some soul-searching with Pookie (Sir Brodie). “I thought I would feel better,” M-Chuck tells Pookie. Her emotional resolution about her “dads” doesn’t come about neatly, but in the course of pursuing it, she finds something else: a way to deal with her feelings that doesn’t involve sex with strangers. The best part is M-Chuck’s charming realization that therapy can work. We get to see her recognize her own “aha moment.”

(A side note: I miss Jimmy Flaherty (Chris Bauer). Pookie has replaced Jimmy as the older, wiser, straight male friend in M-Chuck’s life. It’s too bad, and I think that has something to do with Ash’s skill in sharing scenes with other abrasive types.)

So far, this season feels a bit disjointed, and it’s because the characters are physically spread out. Cassie and Chen are in China. M-Chuck and Cam are both in Boston, but unaware of each other’s presence there until the end of this episode. After three seasons in which these people spent so much time together under the same enormous roof, it’s strange to take in the separateness of their current lives. It also means there are more phone calls being deployed to advance the plot, which can get clunky.

Soraya Nadia McDonald is the senior culture critic for Andscape. She writes about pop culture, fashion, the arts and literature. She is the 2020 winner of the George Jean Nathan prize for dramatic criticism, a 2020 finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in criticism and the runner-up for the 2019 Vernon Jarrett Medal for outstanding reporting on Black life.