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Two Takes: UnREAL “Confront” 

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

A reporter threatens to shine the spotlight on Quinn. Madison learns some harsh truths. Jay sets aside his morals for a shot at success. And Rachel confronted her assaulter only to discover a secret that drives her straight in to Quinn’s arms. This episode of Lifetime’s UnREAL was anything but dull.

Despite the presence of a reporter on set (thanks to Chet’s insatiable ego), bad behavior was at an all time high at Everlasting. And unfortunately, said reporter is anything but the fluff piece journalists Chet normally has in his back pocket. No, this woman is out for the truth and has her nose to the ground when it comes to the master-manipulation going on behind the scenes.

After revealing some unexpected truths to Serena, she then used her investigative ways to get Madison to sing like a songbird and as a result, her bull’s eye is now focused on the sun around which the Everlasting solar system rotates — Quinn.

Cortney: Tina, where do we even start with this episode? Between Bun-gazi, Alexi’s obvious drug-filled ballet performance (how did anyone not catch on to that sooner?!) and the big Rachel revelation at the end, my head is spinning. And there’s oh so much more!

Let’s start with the reporter….what do you think of her and the sh*t she’s already stirring up on her first day? With the body count on Everlasting rising and more people “in the know” thanks to Rachel’s reveal last week, I feel like the presence of a reporter, especially one who clearly sees behind the curtain and isn’t easily fooled, can’t be good for Quinn & co.

Tina: Chet should know better than to bring a reporter to set, especially since there’s a whole murder secret he’s keeping with Quinn, Rachel and Jeremy. But, you know, his ego is on blast 24/7 so this move isn’t surprising. It shouldn’t be surprising to him that the reporter isn’t there to shine a light on him. Of course she’s there to get the goods on Quinn. There’s been so much bad press for Everlasting in the past, there have to be a ton of reporters out there wanting the inside scoop.

Madison’s easily manipulated. All reporter lady had to do is tell her she feels like Madison’s the next Quinn basically. I keep hearing this but I’m not seeing it. It was a stupid move on Madison’s part to let the reporter anywhere near Serena. But it makes for good TV. Serena finds out information like the whole Bun-ghazi (love the nickname) thing was created to distract the reporter. And that Rachel had to convince Alexi to pretend to be into Serena. Ouch. Big ouch.

What did you think of the reporter’s presence? Does Quinn get her rocks off destroying other women?

Cortney: I think it is a recipe for disaster! And while I agree Chet should’ve known it was a bad move, I also kind of wonder if he did know and that’s why he did it…to take Quinn down? I mean that’s really the only way he’s gonna get back on top, right? As far as Quinn’s desire to destroy other women, I think it is the fact that the reporter claims she does it because she “hates herself” that was most interesting. Quinn seems like such a confident woman with no qualms about what she does so to think of her hating herself is interesting.

As far as destroying other women, it’s such a weird thing to watch because she does it in such a manipulative way by claiming it comes from a good place and she does it because she cares…and maybe she even believes that? For example, with Madison this week, she told her she is harsh on her because she wants her to grow and become a success…heck, she even compared what she’s doing with her to what she did with Rachel! Which, if you’re Madison, should make you run for the hills!

That being said, back to the reporter. She definitely opened a can of worms and I think it’s just the beginning. Not only did her reveal to Serena result in some tense moments, but it also led to a Rachel/Quinn good cop/bad cop moment where they admitted Quinn’s inappropriate rendezvous with August — another thing that could spell disaster for Quinn and the show. Luckily, they have Serena’s jockey “ride” in their back pocket and used that as blackmail…but still, with all these secrets being exposed, I can see this all exploding in more ways than one.

Now, because we are talking contestants, what did you thinking of Alexi this week? Can we say “hot mess??”

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Tina: I didn’t realize that Alexi is some world famous dancer. That’s how much I haven’t been paying attention to the suitors vying for Serena, I guess. But, he is. And we got to see a little bit of his world. Something else we saw is that he’s a coke user. And I’m not talking about the sodapop. He’s someone who’s clearly not on this show to find love. He’s in it for the publicity. And this is the first episode the show has really focused on him.

He’s a mess. I’m not going to qualify and say “hot” because I don’t think of him like that. But he’s definitely a tool that Quinn and Rachel used to throw some drama into the mix. And Serena kind of fell for it. So that makes me think. Is she a bit too gullible or trusting or too open to these guys? It surprises me that she kind of fell for his schtick.

Meanwhile, after two seasons and some change, Jay finally sold his soul in order to get what he wants. A host for his Passport to Dance show that he hopes to make a reality with Quinn’s help. So I’m quickly going to move from the contestants to Jay here.

What did you think of Jay deciding to dangle coke and bribe Alexi into being a host for his pilot? What did you think of Jay’s boyfriend? Did you realize or remember he even had a boyfriend? Bringing Jay’s BF on suddenly at the Serena/Alexi date seemed kind of jarring to me. What are your thoughts?

Cortney: As far as Serena, I totally agree! I can’t believe she found anything charming or appealing about Alexi’s shenanigans. He’s so all over the place. And not in a good way.

As for Jay, I have to say that the coke bribe hurt a little. Jay may be an Everlasting producer, but he’s always seemed to hold on to a little more moral integrity than the rest of them. The fact that he’s desperate enough to not only allow but facilitate drug use is a big step down for him. Not to mention that he’s also lying to his boyfriend in the process.

Speaking of his bf, I don’t think we ever knew he existed. It definitely felt jarring. How did he get to the stage? How did he even know they’d be there? It all felt so out of left field. That being said, you know I do adore Jay and wanted him to have more of a storyline…but so far, I’m not sure that this is the kind of storyline I wanted for him. It seems everyone gets sucked in to the Quinn bubble eventually and it never turns out well for them. I guess we’ll have to wait and see if he’s the latest victim.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Speaking of victims, let’s jump to Rachel. I mentioned before Quinn appearing to want to help her “girls”….well, this conversation is a perfect example of Quinn’s true motives — yes, she supposedly cares, but only when it suits her.

Rachel: Don’t you want me to get better?
Quinn: Of course I do, just not now. Can’t you wait until the season is over?

Yes, she said it with a smirk on her face, but she was dead serious. If it doesn’t benefit the show, it doesn’t benefit her. Case closed. And yet, it was Quinn that Rachel went to in the end after she found out that her father knew that her mother’s patient raped her and did nothing about it.

Tina, what did you think of this reveal? I have to admit, I was surprised that the guy Rachel has been tracking is not a past lover, but rather her mother’s patient who assaulted her at 12 years old. We know Rachel has some major baggage, but I didn’t realize how closely this was haunting her. For someone who is already so fragile, I expect this will only accelerate her downward spiral.

Tina: This reveal unfortunately does explain a lot about Rachel. The pain is always in her eyes. You can see it. All the time. She still lives and breathes it. So I like the fact that she’s dealing with it. I’m not sure what she hoped to accomplish by going over to the guy’s place. It seemed like an unsatisfying confrontation.

I wonder if she’ll go further with her exploration of this part of her past. I wonder if she’ll achieve any sense of closure, I hope so. I want more for Rachel. I want peace for her. And I’m not sure she’s going to get it with this situation. I’m anxious to see what happens with this in the future.

For much of the episode she seemed revived when it came to her job. And as much as she does love her job, I like that she’s working on herself at the same time. Because she really needs to. And she can’t compartmentalize it like Quinn wants her to. I feel like if she keeps compartmentalizing it or putting working on herself aside for another day, she will end up like Quinn. She’ll be bitter and unhappy and laser focused on her career to the detriment of everything else.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Of course, by the end of the episode, she did turn to Quinn for comfort. Their relationship is so funny. Last week they were at each other’s throats. Hell, earlier in the episode Quinn basically told Rachel to suck it up and save the wallowing for after the season is over. Yet, Rachel still goes to Quinn when she needs someone to lean on. It’s all so fascinating. I don’t know how to classify their dynamic. Do you?

Cortney: Nope! And I think that’s what makes it so compelling. You don’t know where they’ll be from one minute to the next. And yet, while you so badly want to shake Rachel and be like “what are you doing?! Don’t you see what she does to you?!” — there is also a part of you (or at least me) that sees a little of the pull that Quinn has on Rachel.

Yes, she’s awful with a capital “A” most of the time, but deep down there does seem to be some part of her that cares about Rachel and Rachel doesn’t have anyone else who really cares about her, so by default, Rachel keeps being pulled back in to Quinn’s orbit. It’s sad. And yesss, I want so much more for Rachel. I want her to stand on her own two feet and to find the confidence and determination in her life that she has in her job. She deserves it. And sadly, she knows it and yet she keeps wavering to do anything about it.

Speaking of Quinn caring, what did you think of her comment to Dr. Simon?

Quinn: Slow your roll, dude. That was not part of our deal. You are a safety net. You are a walking Xanax dispenser. You are not here to deep dive in to Rachel’s psyche.

It’s things like this that make me wonder if she’s putting on a show or if she really cares. Honestly, I don’t think she wants Rachel to get better because if she does, it would mean she would say c’est la vie to Everlasting and Quinn would lose her forever. And as much as Quinn fronts as a strong, independent woman, I think she’d be a little lost without Rachel as well. Even if she would never admit it.

As far as visiting the guy’s house, that definitely wasn’t a good move. But I think she was looking for some closure…or at least a confrontation that would make her feel like she’s finally standing up for herself. Also, I found it interesting that the guy didn’t actually know she was 12 years old. While that’s super sh*tty on his part, I think that speaks even worse about the mother. I mean, we’ve never thought Rachel’s mom was mother of the year, but this, this takes it to a whole new level.

Tina: I mean what does it say about me that I do love the moments where Rachel and Quinn aren’t at each other’s throats and that they’re relying on each other or delivering spectacular promo-moments of Everlasting together? I actually liked Rachel turning to Quinn at the end there because, like you said, Rachel doesn’t have a lot of people who care about her in her life.

As for Dr. Simon, I do so love his presence. He’s asking the questions he needs to ask. He’s not confessing anything that Rachel told him, which we wondered about last week. Doctor/patient confidentiality is in full effect here. Good to know. He’s not backing down from Quinn either. He sees her sarcasm and he raises it with some serious truth.

In this case, he wonders if Quinn even wants to help Rachel. He also tells her he sees Rachel headed for a meltdown and he’s going to do his best to prevent that from happening. So Quinn better get on board. It’s nice to see someone fighting for Rachel’s mental health this season.

We still have much to talk about. There’s Bun-ghazi and how Quinn manipulated the whodunit reveal. Madison and Gary. And even the suitor that made a move this week. I’m not sure what his name is but do you think he genuinely has feelings for Serena?

And speaking of Serena, how about her telling Quinn she only wants to deal with Rachel from here on out? Rachel actually did the essential honesty thing with her and confessed to the August/Quinn hookups. And August is still in the competition. CRAZY!

Cortney: So, let’s start with Bun-ghazi…who really did it?? I mean, first the guys didn’t want to be outed then they were all vying for the spot! Clearly the footage was manipulated, so who do you think the real culprit is??

And is it bad that I don’t even remember which guy pretended to have feelings for Serena? lol. And see, the fact that I said “pretended” even when I don’t know who it is shows that I’m feeling it’s fake. Honestly, right now, firefighter Owen feels like the only legit one to me. I wish we’d get back to him.

As far as Rachel telling Serena about August/Quinn, it was essential honesty but it was also major manipulation…only Rachel can pull off a double-whammy and deliver both in one slug like that! The fact that Serena kept August is concerning, but it’s not like she had many other good options!

At least August isn’t a total jerk, which is the best adjective that I can think of to describe Billy. I have to admit, I love that she cut him in a classic mic-drop kind of way — BITCH! So good. And let’s be honest, even though Serena doesn’t know about it yet, a lot of them have done just as bad, if not worse. I can’t wait for her to find out that one guy is here on a bet. I want to see her put him in his place as well.

As far as Jeremy’s date, that was the most random and jarring thing ever. No set up, no follow through and let’s be honest, Jeremy has kind of just been background these past few weeks, which made it even more bizarre. But that wasn’t the only bizarre date.

Madison asked Gary to actually take her out after Rachel pointed out that she was his “hidden lady” and he agreed only to cancel at the last minute. Not a shocker. Instead, they stayed in, behind hidden doors where no one would see them. However Madison, finally seeming to catch on, used this to her advantage. What did you think of this? Is Madison showing a little Quinn-ly-ness here?

Tina: 1. The Bun-ghazi culprit definitely wasn’t Zach. It was Billy, right? Is he the one that got into the fight with Alexi over Serena? Quinn manipulated things to swing Zach’s way, which started a bit of a free-for-all with Billy who felt it was his “crime” to take responsibility for. I can definitely see him pulling a douche move like that. It certainly wasn’t Zach.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

2. I’m not saying the suitor that kissed Serena is pretending, but I can’t be sure. This was an out-of-the-blue moment. It seemed like they shared a scene away from the cameras. Serena was drinking by the lake, the suitor walked up to her. She asked him a “What if” question as in what if they met each other outside the show, “in the real world”…

He said he would ask her for her number. And he wouldn’t let her leave before making sure it was real and then he’d call her up and ask her out. We haven’t seen this guy much so I have no clue whether or not he’s sincere about liking her. Guess time will tell.

3. Oh yeah, one guy is here on a bet. Which one is that again? I’m going to have to look at our previous Two Takes to refresh my memory. I just can’t keep these guys straight yet.

4. This week Jeremy seems more background than ever before. It was just odd giving him one scene (basically) in the episode.

5. I’m not sure what to think about Madison just yet. I really don’t want to compare her to Quinn because everyone seems to be doing it and I just don’t see it. I am hoping she’s realizing Gary’s just using her and that her pilot might not be going anywhere. I do have a feeling she’s going to do something to make sure it doesn’t just sit there.

All in all this was a pretty good episode with a couple meh moments. I can’t believe we’re already four episodes in to this third season. As long as they keep dissecting Rachel and Quinn’s psyches I’m here for it. There’s so much meaty material with those two.

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

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