What would mess with the already out of control behind the scenes team of UnReal? How about a reporter posing as a contestant?
Yael, or “Hot Rachel,” is definitely up to something on the current season of Everlasting. She is always around just on the edge of the action, but never truly involved. She says, “Help a sister out,” more times than Quinn and Rachel have yelled “cut!” Her move to steal the keys to the camera crew’s trailer in “Treason” finally set off some alarms.
Looking back over the past few episodes of UnReal there are red flags everywhere. What do we really know about her thus far? Yael is listed as a fashion blogger on the whiteboard in the production hub and she graduated from Sarah Lawrence, a school that has a rather famous writing program.
Yael has an uncanny way of being in the right place at the right time without making her presence stand out. While the other ladies are bickering or fawning over Chet’s baby, Yael is playing the part of appalled/smitten bystander and secretly gathering information from the conversations happening around her. She finds ways to steal camera time from Jeremy, chat up Coleman on set, and even tries to connect with Rachel.
Rachel does not have the time of day for “Hot Rachel” but everyone else is certainly leaning into her kind heart.
In episode 2, “Treason,” when Yael falls in the pool, she claims it was to get Darius to notice her. However, just a few scenes before it happened, Yael paid close attention to a passing conversation between Madison and Rachel in which Madison admitted that succeeding at her job as a field producer was the most important thing to her. So when Yael and Madison meet up after her dip in the water, Yael grasps onto that insecurity and feeds Madison exactly what she wants to hear — that she was just trying to help both of them get what they want.
Let’s look at another alliance, Yael and Ruby. In the first episode, Yael is all too eager to jump in and offer Ruby a bathing suit for the sudden poolside meet and greet with Darius. So when it comes time for Ruby to lean into Jay’s suggestion to put on a dress and dazzle Darius, who does she feel comfortable turning to? That’s right, Yael.
In every interaction Yael digs just a tiny bit to get information. She never presses an issue nor does she ask too many follow up questions. Instead she follows the same basic formula in every interaction — small gesture, “happy to help,” one question. She stays relevant enough with the contestants that they all welcome her into their group chats and keep her in the loop, yet she remains standoffish from Darius just enough to keep his interest piqued. In fact, the two have not had a conversation since the pool incident, yet she is still around.
Yael’s undercover work would also explain why she would go after Jeremy. The man is a mess. For the past few weeks, I’ve been trying to figure out how keeping Jeremy around as a foil for Rachel made any sense in production meetings. But now, after realizing that he is simply being used as a pawn in Yael’s greater scheme, makes his limited involvement easier to stomach.
An exposé on the secrets behind a dating show would create a very meta storyline within UnReal‘s universe. The series was born out of co-creator Sarah Gertrude-Shapiro’s experience on The Bachelor. In a sense, Shapiro is writing her own story into UnReal. Not only did Yael attend Shapiro’s alma mater, Sarah Lawrence, but she is also doing exactly what Shapiro did with her stint on a reality show. Sure, Yael is approaching the situation as an investigative journalist, but the endgame is the same — blow open a window into the world of reality television.
Watch UnReal season 2, episode 5, “Infiltration,” Monday, July 4 at 10:00 p.m. ET on Lifetime.