Cam’s contract expires at the end of the season, so it’s time to start seriously considering the big wide world outside of Atlanta. Or at least, it’s time for Reggie to make purposeful stops in Indiana and Wisconsin to field some potential deals for Cam. All of this effort has one underlying purpose – to get Jimmy Flaherty nervous enough to offer Cam more money.
It’s a classic comedy setup that goes all the way back to I Love Lucy (and probably earlier), where a character goes for the greener grass/job and winds up losing the grass they had originally. But SURVIVOR’S REMORSE takes it further, with a series of mind games that only Reggie can orchestrate.
Bao is back in town, with plenty of innuendo to amuse Cassie and gross out the rest of the family. But he also offers his deal making skills, in the event Reggie gets into a tight spot. This point never really develops though, and for his part, Reggie is a smooth player, soliciting beat reporter Isa Catalano to spread some rumors of Cam’s exit in the media. Isa’s one claim to fame is that she slept with Cam while on the job, so clearly that makes her trustworthy. Or maybe she’s just there for the drama?
M-Chuck is off to college, but her going away party turns into a sideshow when Jimmy Flaherty arrives. He gives credit where credit is due, which means a gorgeous Prada backpack for M-Chuck and a stern lecture for Cam and Reggie for betraying his trust. Jimmy’s anger is laced with personal hurt as well, “this isn’t just business, it’s business between friends.”
Is it though? Jimmy is a (surprisingly) lovable character and has been an advocate for the family for the past season, but at the end of the day it is still transactional. When Cam does well, Jimmy does well, so he’s always been there for Cam, crisis after crisis. And that means the Calloway’s owe him. Without getting too deep into the “ownership” of black male players by rich businessmen, Jimmy’s protest that Reggie “isn’t experienced enough” in higher levels of negotiating could just as easily be a play on his race as his age. But the question isn’t is Jimmy racist but “is he Cam’s friend or his boss? As Reggie says, “You can’t be friends with someone who pays you.”
Of course, Jimmy’s one saving grace (even despite his cringe-worthy interview with Isa Catalano) is his friendship with M-Chuck. He believes in her potential, so much so that his glowing reference helped her get into college. Jimmy and M-Chuck are mentor and mentee, but interestingly enough, Jimmy may also be the surrogate father that M-Chuck has been wanting all along.
All of this helps Jimmy, but makes the situation feel even more awkward as the Vaughns, Calloways and one Flaherty sit down for a Palm Sunday dinner. The event stays civil though Cam and Reggie come to sharp words afterwards. Cam is the idealist who wants business dealings to be clean and open. Reggie knows that there’s only one way to ensure a good life, by getting as much money as possible, whatever it takes.
Luckily for Cam, Jimmy thinks like Reggie, and decides that conceding is better than losing his star player. Showing up at the Calloway home mere seconds after Reggie’s midnight deadline, Jimmy is ready to celebrate a new deal and the family is relieved. But that’s when Reggie makes the biggest move of all – saying no after Jimmy said yes.
Reggie is either a brilliant negotiator or entirely out of his mind. The fresh refusal forces Cam to make a choice, trusting his cousin instead of dumping him as a rep, like Jimmy suggests. Now there’s a bigger ask, more money, and a new deadline for Flaherty to accept or refuse.
It goes without saying that there’s a lot at stake besides Cam’s multi-million dollar basketball career (but I’ll say it anyway). The Calloways have learned to love Atlanta, have made friends, climbed the social ladder and are not relishing the idea of giving any of that up. There’s so much shade thrown on Milwaukee, Indianapolis and retired strippers in this episode that it’s cringe worthy even if you don’t have the faintest connection to them. Ultimately, the Calloways see any move from Atlanta as a step back to square one.
Although Cam is the prize, this is Reggie’s episode, and there’s no room for a B-story. Bao’s offer of help doesn’t materialize into an actual role in the plot, M-Chuck’s college prep is a small blip on the radar, and Allison appears for a smiling but voiceless cameo. How does she feel about her boyfriend possibly moving out of town? How does Cam feel about possibly leaving her?
We’ll never know, first because those points were ignored but secondly because at the very last second, Flaherty takes the new deal. While the rest of the family celebrates, Reggie stays the distant negotiator. He may have one, but his relationship with Jimmy will never be the same.
Season 3, Episode 8 (S03E08)
Survivor’s Remorse airs Sundays at 10PM on Starz
Heather is a fan of all stories that reflect life, but it doesn’t hurt if they’re set on another planet or in another time.
Heather West | Contributor