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Two Takes: UnREAL “Clarity” 

Two Takes: UnREAL “Clarity”
Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime
Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

So much for essential honesty, huh Rachel? On Lifetime’s UnREAL, the Everlasting producer unloaded a bunch of lies. However, she did achieve a certain truth when she uttered this telling piece of dialogue:

“I just tell one lie and I can’t stop. It’s like breathing to me. it’s so easy. And it feels so good. I just want it more and more.”

We knew that on UnREAL, it was just a matter of time before Rachel’s attempt to ban lying from her life would end in most dramatic fashion. In “Clarity,” she lied to Wall Street guy. She lied to Owen. She fired the bartender with a lie. Hurricane Rachel did damage. One casualty? August’s Man Bun. RIP.

In other news, Jay pitched his idea to Quinn and connected with one of the suitors. Quinn dealt with a #womanproblem, one that allowed Rachel to put two and two together regarding August and Quinn’s recent hook-ups. And Madison showed some depth.

Oh and Rachel dropped some knowledge that might come back to bite her in the butt. She told Dr. Simon about last season’s murder. Dun. Dun. Dun.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Tina: Yeah, “Clarity” was kind of an ugly episode of UnREAL (in the best sense possible, of course). It was good that Serena was rethinking her dumbing down of herself, but everything else was pure ugliness. I mean, we need to start with Rachel because the woman needs our attention. She needs help.

Everlasting, the lying, the manipulation, the forbidden sex, the toxic relationships, it’s all an addiction to her. Plain and simple. It’s all difficult to watch, which I seem to say a lot about the things that go down on UnREAL. The way she described the lying was scary to me. It’s clear she needs to remove herself from this environment. But then we’d have no show, which would upset me greatly.

Cortney: I completely agree. This environment is Toxic with a capital “T” for Rachel. And the worst part is she knows it and yet, she’s still there. I guess they say the first step is admitting you have a problem, right? So she’s admitted it, now what? I agree that hearing how she described it is upsetting, but I also appreciate that she has the wherewithal to see it. If she were totally delusional, I feel like that might be worse. Maybe?

As far as telling Dr. Simon about the murder, I don’t even know what to say. They aren’t technically patient/client so is there really privilege and confidentiality there? Me thinks not. To me, the most disturbing part was that she actually felt a high from that and the “power” it gave her. Scary. But not surprising. It’s something we’ve seen in Rachel from the beginning. We know she has issues, we know she manipulates, we know she’s good at it and we know she gets high off it. Sad, but true.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

However, the one thing that didn’t ring true for me this episode with Rachel was her weakness in Quinn’s office when Quinn started berating her. When watching, all I could think is “who is this girl?!” As evidenced last week, Rachel usually stands tough and has a snappy push-back for all Quinn’s bullshit. Yet, this week, she appeared like a small child about to curl in to the fetal position because mommy was being mean. What did you think of that scene, Tina? Did it feel un-Rachel to you? Or do you think she just reached her breaking point and couldn’t keep up the bravado anymore?

Tina: I think Quinn knows Rachel’s triggers and she got some good shots in. I thought that Rachel would fight back more in the moment, but she didn’t.

Actually, let’s talk in depth about this Quinn/Rachel convo. Rachel had just realized Quinn was doing Man Bun. That he was her UTI. Then the exchange transitioned from the control room to Quinn’s office where Rachel showed her concern (I’m not sure it was completely sincere concern, however. I don’t think Rachel can help anyone else before she can truly help herself first).

Rachel says that Quinn could get fired for doing Man Bun. That she’s drinking a lot and that’s something that’ll cancel the effects of any medication she would be taking for said UTI (which Quinn didn’t seem to realize).

Quinn can’t take it when her flaws are exposed so she goes on the offense and does the same to Rachel.

First, she utters the words that always allow herself to treat Rachel like crap:

“After everything I have done for you.”

How many times does Quinn say these words to herself? She goes on to say she’s sick of picking up after Rachel’s messes. “Covering s**t up.” She thinks she always knows what’s best. She always does what she wants. To which I had to laugh. Yes, Rachel always has an agenda she’s trying to push. And she will very rarely veer from her agenda because she feels it’s the only right angle or option or opinion. Everything Quinn is saying is true.

But I feel Quinn does this, too. She’s no wilting flower. She’s a bulldozer. And here she picked at Rachel’s wounds. Rachel’s feeling hella guilty over the season two murder. Cortney, we’ve both worked in television production. I learned early on to never let your bosses see you sweat (read: show shed or unshed tears). Learned that lesson the hard way.

Unfortunately, Rachel’s having to learn that lesson over and over again. She and Quinn are in a bad place. I hope they both realize at some point that they share an unhealthy, toxic, codependent relationship. We’ll see who’ll be able to walk away first. If one of them will be able to walk away.

Cortney: I absolutely agree. The fact that these women are so similar is the exact reason they know what buttons to push and what’ll hurt the most. This similarity could be used for good, but instead, it’s used to hurt one another even more. Two bulldozers who both think they know best going head to head.

As you said, it’ll depend on who walks away first….but like with a game of chicken, I can see that being considered a “weakness” or loss and I don’t know that either will give up that stand, even if it is in their best personal interest.

And yes, the second Quinn saw Rachel’s moment of weakness, she pounced. And for someone who *claims* to care about Rachel and know what’s best for her, that feels awfully ironic. I don’t even know what more to say about these two. They truly believe in their own deluded way that they care about one another and are looking out for one another, which says just as much about them as it does about the other.

As far as Quinn’s drinking, that came a little out of left field to me. She’s always been one to have a drink in her hand and yet everyone just seems to be noticing now? I don’t know that she’s acting all that different or any more irrational in front of the team than she has before, so why are people suddenly concerned?

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

It’s not like they all know about her crossing the line with Man Bun. That being said, his clear attention towards her and wanting to “whisk her away” and then coming in to kiss her in the office was interesting. Even more interesting, her reaction. Dare I say, when he was with Serena, I noticed a wee-bit of jealousy on Quinn’s face….was it just me or was there something there?

Tina: Before I talk about Quinn’s jealousy, I need to say something about Rachel’s reaction when she found out about Quinn being with Man Bun. It wasn’t this huge betrayal that I thought it would be. And I should have known. It’s never about the men with these two. It’s about the job. It’s about their place with each other. It’s about themselves.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Although, Rachel does have different ways of dealing with things. Showing “concern” felt like her way of drawing attention to the s**show that is Quinn right now. I think that Quinn’s drinking even more than usual stems from feeling the network pressure to deliver. Failure is not an option as they say, right? Quinn refuses to go down with this Everlasting ship.

She’s not only going to make sure the show is a ratings-winner, she’s going to make damn sure she brings the network future winners as well. Every episode this season she’s mentioned something to the effect of having a knife to her neck when it comes to this show. That’s where I think the drinking more than normal comes from. Well, that, and the whole not being happy or letting herself be happy or feeling good enough stuff. So it doesn’t seem so out of character to me.

I think Quinn did feel a sting of jealousy. How could she not? Man Bun uttered pretty much the same words to Serena that he did to Quinn previously. Ouch. But Quinn didn’t take him up on any of his suggestions. That’s on her.

What did you think of Jay’s big pitch to Quinn? Did you understand what kind of show he wants to create? Oh and I also want to get back to Rachel at some point. Remind me after we talk about Jay.

Cortney: I have to say that I was a little surprised by Jay’s pitch. Well, maybe not surprised, but a little confused? I didn’t totally get it at first…and maybe I still don’t know, but I *think* I have a better sense.

I also found it interesting that he formed a connection with one of the contestants. I didn’t see that coming. But apparently it’s potentially going to work in his favor for the show, so more power to him. I will say that I was both surprised and not surprised by the way Quinn approached it.

Quinn is Quinn and throwing people off is her game. But as you said, she also feels pressure from the network and only wants a sure-fire hit. That being said, I do like Jay and want to see him both get his own storyline and succeed, so I’m interested to see where this goes. I mean, after all, Madison had her own pilot (which she never fails to remind anyone), so I think it’s about time for Jay too.

What did you think? And what’s your other Rachel point?

Tina: I’m going to have to give Jay some more time. I didn’t totally get the concept of his potential series. But I’m willing to sit back and hear him out some more. As long as he gets more and more airtime. Same with the connection he made with the suitor. That was interesting, but I don’t know if I’m on board yet. More evidence please.

And my other point about Rachel…well, we touched on this earlier. But how do you feel about her getting that crew guy fired? And the fact that Madison displayed some serious depth to call Rachel on what she did. What was Rachel’s purpose?

Cortney: The crew guy or the bartender? If you mean the bartender (who may also be a crew guy, I’m not really sure how that all works!), I think Rachel accused him of stealing the booze in order to protect Quinn. If it looks like he was stealing it, then it can’t look like she was drinking it!

Honestly, I think this is a part of their twisted relationship. Bash each other and say horrible things but also protect each other at the same time. It’s messed up. And for Madison to be the voice or morality and reason…well, that just makes it even worse. Now, not only is Rachel ruining the lives of the people ON the show and the people who work on the show, but also of their families, too. Sure, she’s been doing this all along but I don’t think she’s ever considered what happens to those outside her little bubble of destruction.

Speaking of Madison, she was assigned to produce Serena this week. What did you think of that? And what did you think of Serena returning to her true form after a horrible Medieval Times jousting match (which was cringe-worthy beyond belief) and the revelation that one suitor was only there on a bet??

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Tina: I appreciate Serena’s willingness to admit that listening to Chet was a dumb move. Because it was. I’m interested to see what we’re going to see next from her. As for Madison producing her, that was a spiteful move on Quinn’s part. Madison never should have been given the opportunity. She’s not ready. Even though she may think she is. She has a long way to go, pilot or no pilot.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

The bet was gross but is the kind of conflict I could see happening on a show like this. At the end of the day Wall Street bet guy sticks around. Good guy Owen sticks around. And so does Man Bun, although I guess we’ll have to call him by his real name — August — since someone we couldn’t see cut off his excess hair while he was sleeping in his favorite hammock.

Do you know who does go? The silver fox that didn’t get any sort of good or bad edit. He was just there. And that’s a little disappointing to me considering Cameron Bancroft plays him. Bancroft’s best known for playing one of Donna Martin’s college boyfriends on the OG Beverly Hills 90210. He’s also no stranger to Hallmark Channel having appeared in Cedar Cove and Chesapeake Shores.

Okay, Cortney. Is there anything else we’ve left out? Did we forget anything? Do you have any random thoughts about this week’s episode of UnREAL?

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Cortney: Hmm, I think we covered it all. The only other thing we failed to mention was Chet going off-book and trying to film his own behind-the-scenes show. And getting Rachel on board. You know when Rachel sides with Chet, things are BAAAAD. Anyways, Chet is manipulating the footage with some post-magic and I’m curious to see how that plays out. Will Brad and the network be on board? My guess is yes.

After all, it is Chet and they seem to side with most anything he does, which is cause for concern all around and will likely on send Quinn further down her spiral. As far as the suitors, I didn’t like Wall Street from day #1. I still really like Owen. And I have no clue who snip-snipped the man bun, but I’m eager to find out who is attempting to de-beautify August and why!

UnREAL airs Monday nights at 10/9c on Lifetime.

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