TV

UnREAL: Season 2, Episode 8 - "Fugitive"

J.M. Suarez

UnREAL continues to be compelling television for all the same reasons Everlasting is: it’s unafraid to create drama around deeply flawed characters.


UnREAL

Airtime: Mondays, 10pm
Cast: Shiri Appleby, Constance Zimmer, Craig Bierko, B.J. Britt, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Michael Rady, Genevieve Buechner, Denee Benton, Monica Barbaro, Kim Matula, Karissa Tynes, Ioan Gruffudd
Subtitle: Season 2, Episode 8 - "Fugitive"
Network: Lifetime
Air date: 2016-07-25
Amazon
Jay: I am not Rachel.

Darius: No, give it up, Jay. Just because you’re a brother doesn't mean you're not part of the machine.

Jay: Of course I am. Obviously. I'm gonna tell you something that took me a long ass time to figure out. The way you're playing it, you've been working against the machine when what you gotta do is let the machine work for you.

Following last week's huge episode, "Fugitive" has a great deal to address, including the outcome of Romeo’s (Gentry White) shooting and Darius' (B.J. Britt) injury at the hands of the police, as well as Rachel's (Shiri Appleby) breakdown and hospitalization. While almost everyone at the center of Everlasting is falling apart in some way, Quinn (Constance Zimmer) continues to steer the show and consistently deliver content for maximum dramatic effect.

The big revelation this week came from Rachel, as she confided in Coleman (Michael Rady) the root of her issues with her mother and her mental health history, after Coleman convinced her to leave the hospital. Rachel was raped by one of her mother’s patients in their home when she was 12 years old. Instead of getting the appropriate treatment and her mother's support, Rachel was forced to keep the trauma a secret for fear of how it would affect her mother’s practice. Most terribly, Rachel's mother has spent years reinforcing the idea that no one could truly love her if they knew. It's especially horrible because she’s also been treating Rachel as a patient, with high doses of medication and hospitalizations, on and off since it happened.

In telling Coleman, Rachel unburdens herself momentarily, but it's likely that she’ll try to play it down (as she often does when vulnerable) once she's fully back to working on set. Although learning about Rachel’s past has been a long time coming, the fact that she barely interacted with Quinn this episode speaks to the deliberate distance Rachel is putting between the two. Quinn isn't someone to sugarcoat or mince words, and Rachel is surely not ready to fully confront all that's happened in the last few episodes with Quinn just yet. Quinn’s protectiveness and loyalty to Rachel are indisputable, but her approach is often harsh and unforgiving.

Confiding in Coleman may turn out to be a mistake, but for now he’s saying the right things. However, he’s also discovered that Yael (Monica Barbaro) is actually an undercover investigative reporter intent on revealing all of Everlasting's secrets. She appeals to Coleman's moral superiority and by the end of the episode he appears to be on her side, but it's unclear if he's actually playing her or she's playing him. What's most damning is Coleman's insistence that Rachel confess the kind of behind-the-scenes manipulations that often blur and cross ethical lines. Rachel's clearly in no shape to be divulging the show's secrets ("I can't live with this anymore. They should've just arrested us. Cause we killed her."), but that doesn't stop Coleman, even though Quinn interrupts and puts an end to the recording.

Darius has been struggling with his role on Everlasting, but this episode puts things into perspective for him in ways that he's only threatened to in previous episodes. He tried to convince Ruby (Denee Benton) that he was done with the show and football, and wanted to be with her, but she’s not going to give in to his private plea after he so publicly rejected her on television. It’s a strong stance that reinforces her high standards, while simultaneously leaving him to lick his wounds by lashing out at Quinn (and Rachel, though they haven’t had contact since the shooting) by fully embracing his part to play on the show.

All the behind-the-scenes turmoil doesn't stop production, and the women are given their own episode in which they’ll vote out one of their own by the end. Jay (Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman) and Madison (Genevieve Buechner) are pushing their individual contestants to move forward, but the women decide to vote out Tiffany (Kim Matula), despite the show’s agenda. Asserting himself after returning to the show, Darius vetoes the women's choice and instead eliminates Jameson (Karissa Tynes). It’s a power play that Quinn respects in the moment, but it’s doubtful that she’ll allow it to continue if it’s at cross purposes with her own vision for the show.

With only two episodes left, UnREAL still has much more to explore. Above all is seeing if Quinn and Rachel find common ground before the end of the season. Coleman's plan will almost certainly end badly, especially since going up against Quinn and Everlasting is always a bad idea. While it may appear that the show is trying to set up some grand romance and happy ending for Quinn with John Booth (Ioan Gruffudd), it’s more likely that Rachel’s needs will override any plans for a future with children. UnREAL continues to be compelling television for all the same reasons Everlasting is: it’s unafraid to create drama around deeply flawed characters.

7

From genre-busting electronic music to new highs in the ever-evolving R&B scene, from hip-hop and Americana to rock and pop, 2017's music scenes bestowed an embarrassment of riches upon us.


60. White Hills - Stop Mute Defeat (Thrill Jockey)

White Hills epic '80s callback Stop Mute Defeat is a determined march against encroaching imperial darkness; their eyes boring into the shadows for danger but they're aware that blinding lights can kill and distort truth. From "Overlord's" dark stomp casting nets for totalitarian warnings to "Attack Mode", which roars in with the tribal certainty that we can survive the madness if we keep our wits, the record is a true and timely win for Dave W. and Ego Sensation. Martin Bisi and the poster band's mysterious but relevant cool make a great team and deliver one of their least psych yet most mind destroying records to date. Much like the first time you heard Joy Division or early Pigface, for example, you'll experience being startled at first before becoming addicted to the band's unique microcosm of dystopia that is simultaneously corrupting and seducing your ears. - Morgan Y. Evans

Keep reading... Show less

Under the lens of cultural and historical context, as well as understanding the reflective nature of popular culture, it's hard not to read this film as a cautionary tale about the limitations of isolationism.

I recently spoke to a class full of students about Plato's "Allegory of the Cave". Actually, I mentioned Plato's "Allegory of the Cave" by prefacing that I understood the likelihood that no one had read it. Fortunately, two students had, which brought mild temporary relief. In an effort to close the gap of understanding (perhaps more a canyon or uncanny valley) I made the popular quick comparison between Plato's often cited work and the Wachowski siblings' cinema spectacle, The Matrix. What I didn't anticipate in that moment was complete and utter dissociation observable in collective wide-eyed stares. Example by comparison lost. Not a single student in a class of undergraduates had partaken of The Matrix in all its Dystopic future shock and CGI kung fu technobabble philosophy. My muted response in that moment: Whoa!

Keep reading... Show less
9

The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less
Books

'The Art of Confession' Ties Together Threads of Performance

Allen Ginsberg and Robert Lowell at St. Mark's Church in New York City, 23 February 1977

Scholar Christopher Grobe crafts a series of individually satisfying case studies, then shows the strong threads between confessional poetry, performance art, and reality television, with stops along the way.

Tracing a thread from Robert Lowell to reality TV seems like an ominous task, and it is one that Christopher Grobe tackles by laying out several intertwining threads. The history of an idea, like confession, is only linear when we want to create a sensible structure, the "one damn thing after the next" that is the standing critique of creating historical accounts. The organization Grobe employs helps sensemaking.

Keep reading... Show less
9

Alt-rock heroes the Foo Fighters deliver a three-hour blast of rock power that defies modern norms.

It's a Saturday night in Sacramento and the downtown area around the swank new Golden 1 Center is buzzing as if people are waiting for a spaceship to appear because the alt-rock heroes known as the Foo Fighters are in town. Dave Grohl and his band of merry mates have carried the torch for 20th-century rock 'n' roll here in the next millennium like few others, consistently cranking out one great guitar-driven album after another while building a cross-generational appeal that enables them to keep selling out arenas across America.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 Popmatters.com. All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.

rating-image