UnREAL: “Fugitive” Season 2 Episode 8 Review

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After last week’s controversial episode, UnREAL does some solid course correction…at the expense of its authenticity.

The most frustrating thing about this week’s episode of UnREAL is that we still don’t get to see the aftermath of Romeo’s shooting from his point of view. Yes, it’s nice to know that he’s not going to die, but it would be even nicer to see how he felt about the whole experience. Instead, we’re treated to an episode that focuses on Quinn trying once again to keep the show together after and event that, in actuality, should have gotten it cancelled.

Luckily, “Fugitive” has an ace in the hole this week, and that’s Darius. It’s great to see him both taken down a notch and taking control within the same hour. His scene with Ruby is especially satisfying because it gives her a much more proper sendoff than the one she received as a contestant on Everlasting. Denée Benton is fantastic as Ruby lashes out at Darius for the way he ended things. Equally as engrossing is the conversation between Jay and Darius where the two talk about playing the system in their favor instead of getting played.

Darius’ eventual return to Everlasting is triumphant, to say the least. Coming in at the tail end of a terrible contestant-run elimination ceremony, he saves Tiffany, dismisses Jamison—mainly because she’s a cop—and, most importantly, puts Quinn in her place. When he looks at Tiffany during their date and says, “This is what we both want,” you know he’s not talking about romance. Darius has figured out how to play the game, and I’m excited to see what happens now that he’s calling the shots.

Aside from this, the rest of this week’s narrative lies with Rachel, and it’s both very troubling and very interesting. On one hand, there’s the truth about the rift between her and her mother, which makes absolutely no sense and is more than a little soap operatic. What kind of therapist would keep her daughter’s rape a secret just to protect her practice? And if this is true, why would she bring another doctor in if there was a chance her secret could get out? Also, why did that doctor just walk away when it was so clear Rachel was about to expose the whole thing?

These questions aside, my main issue is how one-note Rachel’s mother now is. Yes, this explains most of Rachel’s mental issues very well, but it just seems way more to the tune of other programming on Lifetime than it does to UnREAL. One of my favorite things about the show is how everyone is out for personal gain, and so they each go through varying shades of selfish behavior, often at the expense of their own morals. In short, no one is outright good or bad. Compared to this, Rachel’s mother is like the villain from a Disney movie. This is the same reason why I loathed Chet at the beginning of the season (now he’s completely nice and I still kind of hate him because I don’t get where he has a place on the show anymore). This sort of outright evil seems cartoonish when put against everything else that’s going on.

The intrigue of Rachel’s storyline, however, lies with Coleman. So, as it turns out, he’s the worst. Like really, really bad. Unlike Rachel’s mother, though, his motivations are totally believable. The world of Everlasting is an all-encompassing, soul-sucking virus. So much so that, when the story takes us off-site to the hospital where Rachel is, or the diner where Darius meets Ruby, it’s jarring. It makes perfect sense that, when at his lowest, Coleman gives in. He feeds the monster that is the world of the show and uses whatever tactics he can think of to get ahead.

What makes his character so disturbing is how he keeps saying he wants to protect Rachel and he has her best interests at heart. It’s unnerving to watch as he takes her from the hospital to the very place she was trying to run away from, just so he can further his own career as a producer. I had a feeling that this relationship was going to come back to bite Rachel in the ass, but I didn’t realize it would be this dangerous. UnREAL is putting Rachel in a position where there will be no one left to save her, and I think that’s a good thing. If she’s truly to overcome this, she needs to save herself.

UnREAL might be on Lifetime, but let’s be honest for a second. It’s better than most of what’s on there (sorry, Dance Moms). A lot of season 2 has unfortunately felt like the network has been putting pressure on the show to appeal to its core demographic. Still, as much as “Fugitive” annoyed me, it also kept me completely enthralled. That’s the power of UnREAL. Even when it’s messing up, you still can’t look away. Grade: B+


Some Other Notes:

  • As I guessed last week, Yael is a reporter. Kind of a letdown that she isn’t gunning to be the next suitor, but whatever. I don’t like her partnership with Coleman, but I’m interested to see where it goes.
  • Still, I think season 3 definitely needs to have a female suitor. If this season of The Bachelorette has taught us anything its that girls can be just as dirty as boys, and boys can be just as petty.
  • Quinn and Booth having a baby is a total snoozefest and also makes zero sense because they’ve known each other for like 2 weeks, tops.
  • Yay to Jay for stepping up this week! Madison, no one likes a suckup.
  • Chet hooking up with Tiffany, however brief it was, was SO. GROSS. Please never make me watch that again. Ew.
  • The continued roasting of Graham is amazing and I don’t want it to stop.


By Mike Papirmeister


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