SURVIVOR’S REMORSE Review: “The Photoshoot”

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This week on SURVIVOR’S REMORSE, Cam has an awkward moment during a photoshoot. Missy, his newly minted media consultant, stands up to colorism in celebrity culture. Meanwhile, Cassie’s long distance relationship with Chen hits some speed bumps.

After successfully advising Cam to victory in last week’s episode, Missy has clearly found her stride, taking over some management responsibilities from Reggie. M-Chuck prepares for an interview as the whole family weighs in on Cam’s wardrobe choices for a magazine editorial shoot.

Cassie is shocked when Chen reveals, via Skype, a personal sex-bot made to look exactly like her. The situation gets worse when Cassie gets an unexpected delivery: a sex-bot in the likeness of Chen.

Later, Allison joins Cam for his shoot with Trina, a stunning model. The shoot takes a sharp downturn when Cam is forced into overtly sexual poses with Trina, and Allison decides to leave. But Missy’s problems with the shoot run deeper, her initial choice for Cam’s partner, a dark-skinned model, was replaced at the minute by a rather light-skinned Trina.

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Reggie advises Missy to choose her battles and let this one go. But she won’t, of course, and her refusal leads to a heated argument with Derrick the photographer, and ultimately to Missy getting her way.

More importantly, it leads to a bold and rare discussion of colorism in sports marketing, fashion, and entertainment as a whole. For Missy, it’s not about light-skinned black women vs dark-skinned black women, but about black women and girls together, standing up against an industry that says only some shades are beautiful.

At home, Cassie tries out Chen’s sex bot. And to her credit, she really did try. But even without the awkward sex bot coaching via Skype, it’s clear this relationship has run its course. Chen, however, is devastated by the breakup.

Reggie tells Cam about the change in models, but Cam is less impressed with Missy’s principles. He argues that since his name is the one on the line, he should have had a part in the decision-making. He also brings up another side of the colorism argument, hasn’t Missy just committed colorism herself, by firing a light-skinned model?

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One of the things I like about this show is that it’s non-committal in a good way. When Survivor’s Remorse gets topical, it always manages to be well-rounded; the answer is gray, never black or white. In this instance, Missy’s brave stance against colorism is muted by Trina’s perspective, as a woman who’s been discriminated against.

Away from all the drama, M-Chuck gets coaching and lunch with Jimmy Flaherty. Jimmy offers to give her a while she works on her college applications. Another dream team unites, or reunites, as Chen flies to Atlanta and surprises Cassie.

After a semi-victorious day, Missy is a little deflated, but still game for a fiery battle of words with Reggie when he offers some constructive criticism. Reggie and Missy banter often, but this time felt different. Their ideological divide is shown by their physical divide on opposite sides of the room: wife vs. husband, passion vs. prudence, #blackgirlmagic vs. mansplaining. Could Camp Vaughn be headed for a real crisis? The safe answer is: Yes.

TB-TV-Grade-B+
Season 3, Episode 5  (S03E05)
Survivor’s Remorse airs Sundays at 10PM on Starz

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Heather makes things for TV by day and writes by night (also sometimes by day). She 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.
Twitter: @Elianarra

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