UnReal season 2, episode 6, “Casualty,” cannot find a healthy balance between what is working both behind the scenes and on camera.
Jeremy knows where the bodies are buried. That one fact is dictates the series of events that unfold in “Casualty.” It is the reason why Rachel is going to bury her abuse. It is why Quinn is going to push herself into a hole yet again. It is why Chet is going to be able to step back into Everlasting. And it is why the UnReal audience is not going to be invested in the suitor or the contestants this year.
“Casualty” turns the honesty mirror on last season’s “Fly,” where Adam went home to Faith’s very conservative family farm and a secret that could ruin her family was revealed. Sound familiar? This season, however, I didn’t bat an eye at the baby drama unfolding for Beth Ann. It’s par for the course 16 episodes into the series. But watching Rachel running around, thriving on the fleeting exhilaration that came from Beth Ann’s pregnancy announcement. Suddenly, somewhere between the trailer where she slept the night and documented the bruises Jeremy left on her face and arms, to the fields of Alabama, we boarded the same train that we just missed when last season started.
We’re inching towards a complete Rachel meltdown, but first we need to weed through the overwhelming amount of forgotten character development, a minefield of forgettable contestants finally getting their spot in the limelight, and a few journeys down paths paved with good intentions.
Quinn and Rachel want to make a name for women in the industry but that comes at the cost of tearing other women down day after day. It also costs them their ability to trust, to love, to open up to anyone including themselves. Quinn had Chet guiding her around for years and when it comes down to her and the network all she can prove to be is one great idea. Without a follow up act to Everlasting what is she leaving behind?
Rachel is crafted in Quinn’s shadow. Look at her family dynamic for starters. She is isolated from the people who raised her, by choice and necessity, and left with a pseudo family at work. The only people to call ever refer to her as their “kid” including her own mother try to medicate and remove all stimuli from Rachel’s path. Without Everlasting and an outlet for her twisted aggression what will be left of Rachel?
Coleman may not have the spark needed to light the flame under Rachel, or the contestants for that matter, but he does seem to be the only person the show who cares about people over ratings. Rachel has a way words that can make any person believe the line, “I really think he is starting to fall for you.” There is something in her soothing voice that lures all the ladies into her confidence and keeps everyone who is privy to the secret of her tricks at bay. So when it comes time for people to help, the only way to do so is to play Rachel at her own game. No consoling words, no action steps for recovery. Deceit, sabotage, and backstabbing. It’s the UnReal way after all.
But while Rachel’s problems are buried out of sight and out of mind, Quinn’s are pushed in her face by Wagerstein. In an almost meta moment, “Casualty” felt as if it was pushing Wagerstein’s contractual obligation to appear on Everlasting and also fulfilling the actress’ contractual agreement to appear in X number of scenes on UnReal. Sure, Quinn has intimacy issues and maybe this is her last shot at love, but did we really need Wagerstein delivering this information.
Speaking of blurring lines between UnReal and Everlasting, both series seem to suffer from a bit of too much happening behind the scenes fighting for attention on screen. The focus of season 2 is certainly turning the cameras on the production rather than the contestants. But the drama on camera is fighting for too much attention. Jay and Madison working the girls deserves more time than watching the contestants do all the work for them. As far as we saw in this week’s episode, Jay and Madison told them to go in a room and sat back and waited for something to happen.
At least the craziness of the drama is not sitting well with Darius, who finally let off a bit a steam at the start and close of the episode. It’s high time someone stopped falling for the tricks and false promises of Rachel and everyone on set and started demanding answers.
Right now there is a lot of screaming into the abyss on UnReal. No one is answering the call, instead we are hearing amplified echoes of season 1. And that voice belongs to Adam.
• Darius is everyone watching the “reality” of Everlasting, “Pump the breaks, pump the breaks.”
• “Are you having a stroke?”
• Chet slightly redeemed himself from pushing Rachel’s abuse into the shadows by reaching out to people for help. But, in true Chet style, that lasted until he found a more tempting project to work on with Tiffany.
• Adam is back! And scruffy! And tan! And… uh oh.
• Those pictures better be saved on the cloud!
Watch UnReal season 2, episode 7, “Ambush,” Monday, July 18 at 10:00 p.m. ET on Lifetime.