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Two Takes: UnREAL “Gestalt” 

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

The latest episode of UnREAL could be described as awesomely “intense madness.” So much happened. Both Rachel, Quinn, Jay, Madison and even Serena in a sense, scored some big wins. Huge, actually.

While others experienced some stinging losses. Moral of this story: don’t go head to head with Quinn.

There’s a lot to talk about. It’s better to just dive right in to this week’s Two Takes. Prepare for what’s undoubtedly going to be a long ass conversation of what went down in “Gestalt.”

Tina: Cortney, I think we’re going to have to break this down by character. That might be the simplest way to tackle this recap. And categorize them by whether they’re a winner or a loser. First up: Quinn. I’m calling her a winner.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

At the beginning of the episode, it seemed like she was going to be down and out. She left Rachel in charge of Everlasting while she and Jay headed to LA to pitch the s–t out of Passport to Dance to Gary. I’ve decided it doesn’t matter that I have no idea what the concept of this show is. I’m just going to go with it.

Too bad Gary farmed this meeting out to his lesser coworker. This happens so often, I get why Quinn didn’t take the slap in the face lying down. She will not be ignored. If it had been up to Jay, he would have been like, ‘mmmkay I’ll meet with Not!Gary.” But Quinn knows the game. Gary didn’t take Quinn seriously. Her pitch was going to that great big nowhere up in the sky or down in hell, whichever location you so choose.

By the end of the hour, Quinn was on top thanks to major machinations and getting Madison on her side. She humiliated Gary at the same time. What did you think of this rise of the Quinn Phoenix? Epic, huh?

Cortney: It was classic Quinn and a reminder never to cross her (not that we didn’t already know this). She takes no bullish*t, especially when it comes to her career. Definite winner. I loved her speech to NotGary and I loved the reckless abandon with which she shut down the show.

No consideration for what was happening on set or what it would mean to anyone else. She said she was going to pull the plug and there were no ifs, ands or buts about it. I have to admit, the look on Jay’s face during all of it did give me a bit of a chuckle….quite a power move for your first network experience, no?!

Tina: I don’t know if I’m going to call Jay a winner in this episode. I feel like he was basically along for the Quinn rollercoaster ride. Plus, he’s in far too deep with Alexi when he has a boyfriend at home. And, to be honest, I still don’t know if I’m feeling Xavier.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Cortney: Agreed, I’d call him a winner-by-proxy, if anything. And yes, we’ll definitely have to discuss Jay, Alexi and Xavier more, but first, back to Quinn. As far as getting Madison on board, I kind of saw this coming last week, but man oh man, Gary did not. While we’ve questioned Madison’s smarts in the past, it’s clear she’s catching on and she knows where the power lies. Her pilot isn’t going anywhere and like she said (or thinks), she’s more than just one pilot.

And it turns out, her snooping ways paid off as she shared Gary’s less-than-legal activities with Quinn, allowing for an EPIC blackmail confrontation, in front of ALL the contestants nonetheless, when Gary showed up on set. I almost have to watch this scene again — Quinn was ON FIRE. And, as always, ended up getting her way in the end.

Tina: I’m going to consider Madison a winner. Because, as you said, she figured out who to ally herself with. She knew Gary was just blowing smoke up her you-know-what. And even though she can’t trust Quinn as far as she can throw her, she knew that her direct boss was going to win this power struggle. But you saw what happened. Once Jay and Rachel bowed out of partying it up with Quinn at the club, she left Madison’s butt behind.

And speaking of the blackmail scene. What were her terms? She gets Passport to Dance greenlit straight to series. Four more shows in development by the end of the year. And carte blanche on Everlasting. In return she won’t spill the goods on the fact that Gary “borrowed” 18 mil of Everlasting‘s international profits to cover his losses on other shows. Wow. Gary falls on the loser side of things this week.

Cortney: And don’t forget the nine mil Quinn snagged as well! While the club scene made me a little uncomfortable (mostly just because clubs make me uncomfortable! Lol), I did like seeing Quinn let loose a bit and running in to an old colleague. I’m curious if that will go any further as the colleague was the very talented Tracie Thoms from the movie version of Rent, who seems like more than a 10-sec drop in.

But back to the Gary confrontation. One thing that was not so cool — Chet following Quinn in to her office afterwards and trying to make a move. He was turned on by her power. I was disgusted by his arousal. Gag. But true to form and riding high, Quinn put the man in his place.

Tina: This is vintage Chet. Earlier he couldn’t get you-know-what up for Crystal, the safe choice for him. But once Quinn exerts power, he can’t keep it down. He equates that with what? Love? Lust? He has a jones for powerful women, I guess? Regardless, it wasn’t the time nor the place. Chet‘s a LOSER this week.

Cortney: As far as I’m concerned, Chet is always a loser in one way or another. lol Another guy who could be labeled a loser after he threatened Quinn and felt her wrath as a result — August. He demanded to speak to her in front of the crew — another big “no-no.” She’s the boss, he’s a contestant, he doesn’t dare demand anything. And thanks to a Rachel-assisted set-up, he paid dearly. What did you think of this, Tina?

Tina: August made too much noise and you can’t do that around Quinn. He told her he’d play the sexual harassment card. And she asked Rachel to fix it. So, where it felt like Quinn was building a dynasty a la Shonda Rhimes in “Gestalt” with her multiple shows in development, she asked Rachel to Olivia Pope it and destroy August. Her job was to make it so nobody would believe anything he said.

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

And setting up him up with that Ranger chick, did the trick. Oh I rhymed there. Actually, Rachel’s schemes also put her in even more good standing with Serena.

What saves August from me considering him a complete loser this week is the fact that he fought for his Everlasting life and pulled a scheme of his own. He blabbed about the big suitor secret: that Jasper had a bet going. If he’s the first one to sleep with Serena, he collects 400 thou, do not pass go.

Cortney, was August a loser this week? How about Jasper?

Cortney: First off, love your Shonda/Olivia parallel — spot on! While I momentarily felt bad for August since that was a brutal set up, I have to admit that I too was impressed that he finally outed Jasper so I can’t call him a total loser.

As far as Jasper, that guy has always been a loser, but the fact that his secret has stayed secret for so long is what shocked me the most. I’d expected someone to use that to their advantage by now and I’m glad that August did.

Another thing that shocked me, how and why Serena fell so hard and fast for him. I mean, sure I get the underdog thing (although he’s never really come off as an underdog in any way until now), but it just seemed so out of the blue and far more intense than I’d expected. Maybe that’s because I’m still #teamOwen?

Nevertheless, I’m glad she found out the truth before it went any further. And even more so, I’m glad she threw the JockeyCard in his face. Not only did he lose Serena but he lost the $400k as well. Lose lose. Or should I say for us, win win?

What did you think of Jasper? And also, while on that topic, what did you think of Jeremy’s comments to his new Lady Love about the whole situation (and Rachel’s follow up comments to her about Jeremy)?

Tina: Jasper‘s a loser plain and simple. I wish Serena had cut him. But we’ll get to that player move later. I’ll move to a newly shaved Jeremy. Josh Kelly looked good. But his character’s always the same Debbie downer. A loser in my book.

I feel like Charlie starting to become aware of Rachel’s darkness, I guess you’d call it, is going to continue in this second half of season three. I hope she doesn’t become too much of a problem. I don’t think Rachel’s warning Charlie off of Jeremy is going to help her drop her suspicions either.

Meanwhile, let’s direct our attention to Dr. Simon. The good doctor tried to get some Rachel background from Jeremy, but the DP didn’t really budge too much. He did make an observation that Simon’s fallen into the Rachel Vortex. First “trigger buffet” and now we get “the Rachel Vortex.” I am loving these terms the show’s coming up with.

According to Jeremy, “many a man has been sucked in by that tiny, dark force.” He is onto something. But, to me, he’s laying all the blame for everything that’s gone wrong at Rachel’s feet. And while she should shoulder a lot of blame, he’s a grown ass man who made his choices and he needs to own what he’s done.

Cortney: You took the words right out of my mouth! One minute Jeremy is telling Rachel he loves her and begging for her forgiveness and then next, he’s bashing her to everyone who will listen. I mean, I get a “man scorned” and all, but he has to own up to his actions and take some responsibility.

Tina: I can’t with Jeremy. As for Doc Simon, Quinn released him from Rachel duty. But he didn’t let up one iota. Rachel said she was handling things on her own, and he didn’t believe her. Which is a wise move. But the question is: is he acting in her best interest or is he falling into the Rachel Vortex? I need more evidence but he was coming off a tad obsessed. I’m worried about him.

And then there’s the matter of Rachel leaving her dad with the therapist in her makeshift home on the set. I do concur with Dr. Simon on this point. Rachel should not take it upon herself to wean her father off of lithium. He needs a professional to do that. He’s been taking it for years and years and years. What worked for her is probably not going to work for him. I’m scared for Rachel’s dad.

Thoughts on Dr. Simon? Is he a winner or a loser?

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Cortney: I agree the jury is still out on him. I wouldn’t say that I see him being obsessed. At least not yet. He was brought here to help Rachel and he clearly sees she has issues (as well as that wee-bit pesky murder bombshell she dropped last week) so to me, it’s his professional duty to help her. Granted, the camera thing at the end was more than a bit creepy and crossing the line, which is why I’m reserving judgement.

However, I do think adding Rachel’s dad to the mix will give Dr. Simon some insight in her background and mental state, for the better or worse.

Now let’s concentrate on Rachel and her dad. I hardly know where to start with this. Every time Rachel’s mom enters the mix, I understand more and more why Rachel is the way she is.

And I feel even worse for her. Her mom is legit crazy and clearly used her suppose therapist “expertise” to both manipulate and drug her daughter and her husband. This is such an abuse of power and goes against everything a therapist *should* stand for. I’m honestly horrified.

That being said, after many attempts to get ahold of her father, Rachel finally decided to take action and rescues her father from mom’s clutches. However, like you said, I don’t know that this drastic measure is going to help him. Does he need to get away from the mother and off lithium — yes. But is it safe for Rachel to be the one to spearhead that — probably not.

Not to mention the burden that puts on Rachel’s already fragile mental state. And yet, she told her dad she was happy, really really happy. Where do you think that came from, Tina? Was she just trying to comfort him? Or in her moment of victory, do you think she was riding high and somehow believed it?

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Tina: It’s a little bit of both I think. It was a huge win for Rachel to get her dad away from her mom the medicating monster. However, I fear she’s going to control his life like her mom did, albeit in a totally different way. She has his best interest at heart, but she’s so sure her way is the right way, she sounds a little bit delusional. She sounds like that when she says she can handle everything by herself. And she sounds like that when she insists she knows what’s right for her dad.

Regardless, it was so nice to see the two spend time together. It was awesome to hear someone talk to Rachel with such love and caring in their voice. We don’t get that a lot on this show. Don’t get me wrong. It was odd to see them “camping” in the grip truck, as if that’s the best environment for her dad to be living in right now. But the scenes were wonderful and heartbreaking and I enjoyed seeing the show tackle this father/daughter relationship.

Asa feels hella guilty he couldn’t do more to protect his daughter back when she was 12. And now Rachel’s going to do everything she can to protect her father. We’ll see how it all plays out. This is UnREAL so I have a feeling things are going to get very, very, extremely turbulent. Especially when Rachel’s mom is involved.

Cortney, any more thoughts on whether Rachel’s a winner or a loser this week? How about Serena?

Photo Credit: Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

Cortney: Just one final thought on Rachel being a winner — when she found out her dad knew all along, I was expecting anger, rage and fury. I honestly, envisioned a horrible confrontation, but instead, Rachel recognized that her dad was also a victim of her mother’s manipulation and was totally understand and supportive.

I actually really enjoyed that understanding and maturity from her. And like you, I liked seeing the two of them together and seeing someone who genuinely loves and cares for her. Look forward to (hopefully) more of that next week.

As far as Serena, she was definitely a winner in my book. She faced a sh*t-storm of revelations and rather than crumbling under them, she put everyone in their place and showed them who’s really in charge.

To be honest, I probably would’ve axed both guys just to get them out of my face, but she decided to go the other direction and keep both guys around (possibly to “out” them next week??) so I’m interested to see how it plays out. This is a woman with a plan and Tina, I think we realize that like Quinn and Rachel, she’s someone that you don’t want to mess with.

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

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