While Cassie is being wooed by a wealthy suitor, Cam engages in some reckless behavior with a female reporter.
Credit: Starz

This may be the only time in recorded history where I am dissuading someone from watching an Audrey Hepburn movie, but considering everything that went down this episode, perhaps Cassie Calloway should have reached for the Moonstruck VHS, and not Roman Holiday. Because rather than Hepburn’s sheltered princess, whom Cassie bemoaned was “unable to reach for happiness because it would put her entire kingdom at risk,” she would’ve gotten some Reggie Vaughn-approved straight talk from Olympia Dukakis’ Rose Castorini instead: “Don’t s— where you eat.” And in a perfect world, Cassie also could’ve imparted the Brooklyn matriarch’s wisdom onto her son, who found himself mixing work with pleasure this week, with disastrous results.

“Don’t s— where you eat” was the theme of this week’s episode, with the popular expression making several appearances — and causing the presence of a little too much defecation humor for my taste. But at the same time, the crass remark got the message across, as both Cam and Cassie embarked on potentially dodgy relationships — Cam with a sports reporter; Cassie with the man behind Cam’s endorsement deal, Da Chen Bao — despite heavy warnings in each case from Reggie.

Although Cassie is still dating her beau, Blair, apparently she’s been texting with Chen, who miraculously didn’t entirely weird her out during his last visit. At a launch party for Cam’s new sneaker line, which, like the episode, is named “The Dagger,” Chen gushes to Reggie about his promising trans-Pacific relationship: “It is amazing how seductive the right woman can be using only phonetic sentence fragments and emojis — helped by the new iPhone update to include all races.” Since Cassie, who unapologetically calls Chen “Crouching Tiger,” makes him “smiley face,” the sportswear mogul is willing to go all out to make her his, and he’ll spend millions to get what he wants. But while on the surface this sounds more creepy than romantic, Survivor’s Remorse throws us a nice twist at the end and presents the previously obnoxious Chen as a possibly upstanding individual.

But before that happens, Cassie does at least try to hear out her concerned relatives and takes their arguments into consideration. Missy, who grew up with money, cautions her aunt-in-law against falling for a rich guy’s wow factor. The Vaughns have a point: Chen is the power behind a large chunk of Cam’s money, and if this relationship ends badly, the consequences could be far-reaching. Meaning, if Cassie kicks Chen to the curb, she also better be prepared to say “zài jiàn” to things like that cozy outdoor bonfire in the backyard. Still, Cassie feels life is worth a little risk, observing that if everyone followed the Rules According to Reggie and Missy Vaughn, “pretty soon the world is going to be constipated and alone.”

So when Chen attempts to whisk Cassie away to Paris via private helicopter and jet, she’s touched, but she also tells him to slow his roll. Chen then gives the best argument for his over-the-top gestures, which can best be summed up as, “Yeah, they may border on Christian Grey-level freaky, but, hey, isn’t this better than getting to know each other through impersonal channels like social media?” He asks for one date, and he promises if it doesn’t work out, he will graciously step aside. Cassie relents, but sets some ground rules the way only she can: “Not Paris, France. Because I’ve seen that Liam Neeson Taken and I don’t go for that bulls—.” They try a local diner (“Even a greasy spoon is Alain Ducasse if I’m with you,” purrs Chen), but two seconds in the presence of a geriatric waitress with a bad smoker’s cough is enough to send them right back onto Chen’s helicopter, headed for an unknown destination. Tough break there, Blair, unless you too have a private jet we don’t know about?

NEXT: An invitation to the pants party

While Cassie’s dangerous liaison may still work out in her favor, Cam’s most certainly did not this week, with his reckless behavior producing an outcome that Reggie, for once, can’t fix. What began as a humorous story line about Cam and a beat reporter having an insatiable appetite for each other suddenly shifted into a sobering wake-up call about sexually transmitted diseases and an on-point commentary about Always. Using. Protection. After an Anchorman-inspired scene where Cam sheepishly admits he’s been blowing off post-game interviews with a smart, beautiful sports reporter because she makes his pants get all pointy, the journalist, Isa Catalano, stands up to reveal her own, yes-you-really-just-saw-that sweet secret: a pair of soaked-through chinos. Their attempt to “exorcise” their pent-up sexual feelings for each other in a single hotel-room sesh quickly turns into a sizzling affair, but a shot of Cam’s sex buddy exiting a doctor’s office and an ominous “We need to talk phone call” brings the rising basketball star back down to earth. No, he’s not going to be a dad — nice fake-out there, Survivor’s Remorse — but Isa has HPV. And she may have given it to Cam.

For all of the risks involved in Cassie’s new romantic relationship, at least she’s going in with her eyes wide open. Cam, on the other hand, has made it to the big time with about as much sex education as young preteen mom Brittany from last week. He’s so clueless as to the importance of condoms that both Reggie and his new paramour are flabbergasted at his Austin Powers-like behavior toward safe shagging. Reggie: “You should always have one on you, and another one on you. In fact, you should have a separate wallet for condoms.” And Isa, who could’ve had a really great story on her hands here about the lack of sex education among pro athletes if she wasn’t one-half of it, just bluntly asks, “How is someone in your position not better informed about health matters?”

The episode ends on a huge downbeat, because there is no way to laugh this off and move on to the next snicker-worthy subplot. Reggie frantically scours the Internet for answers about HPV, but there’s no test for the disease, and no amount of demands from Cam that he “fix this” is going to change his cousin’s predicament. I guess it’s a good thing there was no mention of Reggie’s new client, Jupiter Blackmon, or his burgeoning empire this week, because in the span of one episode, Cam has gone right back to being a full-time job for the aspiring management tycoon.

Stray observations:

  • I get that Cam and Isa are supposed to have a substantial age gap between them, but come on, Survivor’s Remorse. There is no way you will ever get anyone to believe that the actress playing Isa, Felisha Terrell, is 47 years old.
  • Isa may be hot for Cam, but she’s also got her eyes on the prize, conducting an interview with him just moments after orgasm.
  • Watch The Children’s Hour, M-Chuck, and you’ll never ask “Who the f— is Audrey Hepburn?” again.
  • Don’t ever leave us, Uncle Julius, because without your perspective, World War II history just seems dull by comparison.
  • Missy, expounding on the 1940 Blitz: “Two-hundred sixty-seven nights of bombs dropped on the English.”

    ​Julius: “They got all the dentists.”

Episode Recaps

Survivor's Remorse
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