UnReal 2×08 digs itself even deeper into trouble, but did leave us with one surprise — we’re suddenly starting to see Coleman’s side.
There is no time for exposition, exploration, or emotions in “Fugitive.” After shoving the entire shooting under the rug and airing a clip show, UnReal picks up one week after Romeo went down at the hands of Rachel and Coleman’s poor producing. It’s hard enough to keep believing that most of Everlasting is live to tape with a few quick edits each week. But we’re at the point where accepting that Darius can have surgery and recover enough to walk, the show can throw together a clip show to get through a week with no footage, and watching Tiffany hook up with Chet has become par for the course.
I’ve had some qualms about season 2. “Fugitive” highlighted the issues I already had, while introducing more problems for the series, namely Rachel’s mother. How does anyone, including the third party psych evaluator not see that this woman is manipulating and causing her daughter harm? Rachel is not at fault for pushing people away. No one in her life has given her any proof that they will be on her side 100% of the time. It’s heartbreaking to watch as Quinn tries to insert herself into Rachel’s situation and get turned down.
But of course, when at first your don’t succeed in a plot, UnReal‘s M.O. is to throw the character into another storyline so you forget about all the good that character could do if they were only given one more scene. So instead of watching Quinn try to fight for Rachel, we see her resigned to the fact that she cannot battle Mrs. Goldberg and goes off in search of a child with network owner John Booth. That relationship is about as flat as they come. I’d be more interested in watching Chet and Tiffany.
Speaking of which, Chet and Tiffany? Are we supposed to feel a twinge of sadness watching Chet stare longingly at the monitor as Tiffany goes off with Darius on their overnight date? I am struggling to feel investment in Rachel and Quinn at the moment, I am certainly not going to give Chet any of my attention this season. If anyone on the show had a clear mission, I’d be more than happy to get behind their storyline and root for them until Everlasting‘s cancellation.
Which leaves us with the only people who want to be on set doing some semblance of a job — Madison, Yael, and Coleman.
Madison is on the rise as a producer, but she can only go as far as Quinn will let her before she bursts her bubble and grounds her in reality. Quinn is still bitter about Madison and Chet’s dalliance, but her reasoning for bringing it up continually sends that message that you cannot get ahead by taking shortcuts. Funny coming from a show that is based around finding shortcuts to get what they want. Either way, I am rooting for Madison to succeed this season and have her and Jay take over a spinoff show, maybe with Tiffany as a suitor.
Yael finally came clean as a reporter, which has been playing out in the background since the premiere. Coleman initially trying to bury her story makes sense, but it is his 180 turnaround by episode’s end that gave UnReal a bit of a boost. It’s not enough to get the show out of the slump, but it at minimum made the preview for next week’s penultimate episode more intriguing.
Rachel came clean to Coleman this episode about everything. And I mean everything. From the shooting, to past calls to the cops, to Mary’s death and the role the producing team played in it. All of that information is enough to bring the show down and get Rachel thrown in jail, a point that Quinn makes perfectly clear when she discovers that Coleman taped all of Rachel’s drugged up confessions. One other confession, however, left Coleman reconsidering his role not only on Everlasting, but in Rachel’s life.
While Quinn may see him as a person trying to get ahead and using Rachel just like she and Chet and pretty much everyone else would, Coleman is actually starting to win me over. His pitches to the network have always been on behalf of Rachel and himself, he trusts Rachel’s calls most of the time, and he recognizes that her baggage is a bit heavy, but he is not afraid to do some lifting. Coleman made it through the Adam affair, he made it through the Chet phase of production, and now he is set to go through the next ringer — finally seeing where Rachel comes from.
Rachel’s mother keeps her daughter at arms length for a reason. Rachel is not only a ticking time bomb waiting to explode and ruin her own life, but at any moment she could ruin her mother’s practice and professional life. When Rachel was young she was raped by a patient of her mother’s and her mother covered it up. Explains a lot about Rachel’s fear of being alone, removing all intimacy from sex, and her knack for sweeping things under the rug both professionally and personally. Watching Mrs. Goldberg lie through her teeth to the doctor performing the psych evaluation, was like watching another actress play Rachel. Everyone is so good at lying, the truth is impossible to find.
Coleman wanting to blow up Everlasting is the first plot line that I feel any connection to in season 2. With Yael on his team, I’m ready to head into the season finale and sweep season 2 under the rug with the rest of UnReal‘s issues.
• There were water tanks and we’re supposed to still feel invested in Darius and the contestants. I’m not feeling it.
• This summer’s spinoff web series should be all about Jay and Madison on vacation from set. Or Graham’s home life.
Watch UnReal season 2, episode 9, “Espionage,” Monday, August 1 at 10:00 p.m. ET on Lifetime.