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Two Takes: UnREAL Season 3 Premiere, “Oath” 

Two Takes: UnREAL Season 3 Premiere, “Oath”
Photo Credit: Lifetime
Photo Credit: Lifetime

It’s been a year and a half since the last new episode of Lifetime’s UnREAL aired. Yes, the second season ended in August 2016. 2016! But here we are in 2018. 

For season three, the show is going with a female suitor a.k.a. a suitress (Caitlin FitzGerald). Serena’s a lady Elon Musk, apparently. And while she’s super successful career-wise, she can’t get her love life together. Enter Everlasting. Because that’s worked so well before.

Quinn is still Quinn. Only she’s in desperation mode because of everything that transpired while Darius was the suitor. She needs a comeback and she’s determined to make this new iteration of Everlasting a success. She has no other choice.

Meanwhile, Rachel’s all about wellness, both mental and physical. For six months she went off to some retreat. She’s taken steps to heal her mind, body and soul. She’s meditating. Or floating or whatever you want to call it. She’s celibate. And she’s on this anti-lying kick.

We’ll see how long that lasts now that Quinn’s lured Rachel back to what is and what always shall be the toxic environment that is the Everlasting set.

Tina: I can’t believe UnREAL is finally back. Like Rachel, I’m not going to lie. I’m super anxious to find out if this show will return to its season one goodness. I’m still crushed over the fact that season two wasn’t what I hoped it would be. So right now I’m nervous, anxious, hopeful, and scared. Scared because this show is brutal and goes to some seriously dark places. And it already looks like they’re not going to hold back. I mean, they may not resort to murder this time around, but they’re not going to tame it up either. And for that I am grateful.

Photo Credit: James Dittiger/Lifetime

Cortney, overall, what did you think of this premiere? Before we start dissecting, I’m curious to think if the show has improved in your eyes since last we saw it. And, yes, I’m making you give your opinion first because I’m so damn curious to know what you think.

Cortney: Ha! Well, first off let me say that I’m SO thrilled it’s back after SUCH a long wait that there’s a good chance my judgement may be somewhat clouded by that fact. I’m not saying something is always better than nothing, but since we’re only one episode deep, I’m going to go with that for now.

Honestly, it’s so hard to tell from one episode, but so far I’m being optimistic. As you said, it’s got a little of the season one vibe to it, which gives me hope. Will ANYTHING ever be able to live up to season one? Probably not, but I’m willing to take something that comes close…or closer than last year. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good things about season two, but overall, it just went a little too far off the rails.

Photo Credit: James Dittiger/Lifetime

But back to this season. We’ve got Quinn back in all her horrible-moral-less glory, which you know I love And as far as Rachel, I have to admit that I was a bit worried she would be too woo-woo and zen after her time off the grid, but from what we’ve seen so far, she’s still got that a little of that edgy Rachel oomph in her. Especially when she gave Chet a piece of her mind. That was my favorite scene of the whole episode and I’m really hoping it sets the tone for the season.

Rachel: You are an overpaid, incompetent man baby who is riding on the backs of women who do all your work for you. You’re too dumb to know how pathetic it was that we had to use you to push Serena through to the network just because you were born with a dick. I never got what Quinn saw in your fat, sweaty, drug-riddled ass, but whatever it was, you wasted the best years of her life and destroyed the one person who is ever gonna care about you. So that’s the truth.

All the things we’ve been thinking! All the things we’ve wanted to say! All at once! I loved this…especially after he called her “Little Weirdo” and she asked him to stop and he did it anyways. He’s an ass and he deserved this. Will it change anything? Doubtful, but I bet it felt damn good for Rachel to get this off her chest. When it comes to honest Rachel, count me in. Other things, like Serena, Jeremy and the suitors, I’m not quite so sure about (although some of the suitors are awfully easy on the eyes!), but I’m sure we’ll get to those things next.

Tina: Yeah, the roasting of Chet by Rachel may have been my Moment of Goodness for this episode as well. I’m also cautiously optimistic about the state of season three. I’m not sure if the men vying for Serena will be memorable like the season one women who wanted a piece of Adam, however.

But that’s okay. My interest mainly lies with the crew, of course. That’s where the real drama happens. Each and every single one of them belongs in the Hot Mess Hall of Fame.

So we’ve touched on Quinn, Rachel and Chet (who has a new girlfriend that seems to be around because she’s hella less complicated than Quinn). Jay is back and he and Quinn are hustling on a side project that feels so very sketchy to me. Not sure if that’s going to materialize at all.

Madison’s sleeping with the network prez. She’s had a bit of a makeover. Gone is mousy Madison. I think we can now call her Manipulator Madison. She says she’s only slept with Gary once. But we now know that was #FakeNews. She’s gunning after Quinn. Yes, Madison wants to be Queen of Everlasting.

And then there’s Jeremy. Cortney, I know you have thoughts on Jeremy the Murderer. I think when we were texting about the premiere, the word “pathetic” may have come up?

Cortney: Before I get to Jeremy, I have to say that Madison is a total disgrace to women everywhere. In this episode, it was vaguely hinted at the fact that this season would address the whole women empowerment movement that is so relevant in the world right now and yet, Madison’s behavior is 100% enabling the very thing we’re trying to break free of and setting us back in our efforts. Don’t get me wrong, I know it happens, but that doesn’t mean I have to support it…I really just hope that the show handles it in a way that doesn’t reward or condone her behavior.

And yes, I can totally see her as a mini-Quinn, but I think even Quinn has some morals and lines she won’t cross and when it comes to standing up to Gary and manipulating him, I appreciate that she uses her mind rather than her body. Okay, off my soapbox.

Photo Credit: James Dittiger/Lifetime

Now on to Jeremy. Pathetic was indeed the word I used. Sadly. As I mentioned in my text, I really liked Jeremy throughout parts of the first season, but he went off the rails last season and while I recognize that his drinking and anger management issues are partly to blame, the way he behaved changed things for me.

It was always set up as though Rachel was the one who went off the deep end and had demons that resulted in their break up, but after last season, it became clear that he did too. And I don’t blame him for that, but seeing him beg and plead like a sad puppy dog in this episode felt wrong to me. It was, in a word, pathetic. Yes, I admire him for admitting some of his problems and wanting to apologize, but what he did to Coleman was WRONG. With a capital W! Even if he did it “for Rachel” and in his mind because “she asked him to,” that still doesn’t excuse it. Murder is murder and trying to justify it, not to mention put that burden on her, is not cool.

I’ll be honest, it’s been so long that I don’t remember all the details of what happened at the end of last season, but the fact that a blood oath (which is both unsanitary and in my mind, not really that powerful — I mean, how does that stop someone from speaking up any more than a verbal promise?!) is involved reminds me that there are serious stakes at play and everyone can be implicated. How about you, Tina? What are your thoughts on the fallout from last season (of which there seems to be little aside from personal guilt)? And of Jeremy?

Tina: Well, I’m happy that the show didn’t sweep the whole murder plot under the rug. They went there and they have to deal with it. And they are. I’m just hoping that this year, they don’t take too long to resolve this inane plot point. It was a line they crossed that I wish they hadn’t crossed, you know? I definitely wanted Coleman out of the picture but not like this. And I don’t like having this major crime hanging over the heads of the people we’ve grown to sometimes love and sometimes hate.

Something I am happy about is the presence of a new shrink. I feel bad that poor Wagerstein was thrown under the bus. I really am. But I’m beyond happy that the new therapist on the block is Dr. Simon played by Brandon Jay McLaren. I already like him, although I thought he was here for the effed up bachelorette and the suitors. Nope. The way things played out it feels like he’s here for the unstable genius known as Rachel. In which case, I’m going to need a little more time to properly judge.

Embed from Getty Images

McLaren, for those of you who don’t know, has appeared in shows like The Killing, Graceland and Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Also, Ransom, which recently aired on CBS. I’m happy he’s Rachel adjacent. I”m not sure how long she’ll keep her celibate and no-lying ways. But looks like no matter what she thinks right now, she’s going to need him.

Cortney: You know I’m a big fan of McLaren from his Graceland days, so I was beyond excited to see him pop up in the Everlasting control room. And I’m eager to see where his character goes. Wagerstein was always a treated as a bit of a joke, but Dr Simon seems like he may be more of a force to be reckoned with.

While I’m glad that he was taken aback by the moral-free way that Everlasting operates (if anyone walked in there and wasn’t, I’d be concerned!) , I also really appreciate that he’s not looking down on them from a pedestal of holier-than-thou perfection. He has some demons in his closet, as does everyone on this show, and I like that he seems to be here because he learned from them. It gives me hope that he may have a better sense of how to work with Rachel in a more positive and productive way than anyone else thus far…not that that would take much.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

So, before we wrap, we touched on it a bit but I briefly want to go back to the suitress and the suitors. I have to say that so far, even though he broke the rules and whisked Serena away, I’m #teamfirefighter (Alex Hernandez). He’s sweet. And hot.

Tina, you can’t deny this. Also, the business guy is just too smarmy and slick for me. Man-bun (Adam Demos) is too earthy. And the jockey…oh the poor jockey…that whole situation was horribly awkward and a total disaster, but also gave Rachel a glimpse of what she may be in for this season with Serena.

Photo Credit: James Dittiger/Lifetime

Tina: It seems like Rachel may have her eyes on man-bun, don’t you think? Yeah, I like the firefighter so far.

Embed from Getty Images

For any Hallmark Channel movie fans, that’s Marcus Rosner playing Warren the cowboy. The jury’s out on the business guy. I’m not writing him off just yet. And, yeah, the less said about the jockey the better. His time on Everlasting was truly disastrous. I wonder if he’ll pop up again in a future episode.

I do have a couple stray thoughts. I adored Rachel and Jay’s exuberant reunion. Those two are friends but it’s always so tentative because of all the s–t that goes down among the producers. The backstabbing and outmaneuvering takes precedence. But at least we got one genuinely nice moment between the two.

And something I forgot to say about Dr. Simon. I love all the expressions and emotions he conveys while watching what actually goes on in the control room and how the producers manipulate so many things. He sees the crazy and I appreciate that. Whether or not he’ll be able to stop any of it from spreading is anybody’s guess.

Any stray thoughts on your end?

Cortney: Yes! Rachel and Jay was a definite high point for me. Her genuine giddiness to see him felt like a much needed breath of fresh air among all the other sh*t she had to deal with. I’ve always liked him and hope this season doesn’t change that.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Rachel definitely has her eye on man-bun…maybe because he reminds of of her off-the-grid “stable life” or maybe just because Rachel can’t go a season without a man — vow of celibacy be damned. We’ll have to wait and see on that one.

I feel like I should probably have more to say on Quinn since she really is a force and Constance Zimmer blows me away with her ruthlessness each week. But being that this was only episode one, I have no doubt there will be much more Quinn-talk in our future so for now, let’s call it a wrap as we eagerly await the next episode and where the Everlasting train wreck takes us in season three.

UnREAL airs Mondays on Lifetime at 10PM/9C.

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