UnREAL: “Treason” Season 2 Episode 4 Review

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The contestants play powderpuff football and Rachel makes some of her most dangerous moves yet.

There’s a moment early on in this week’s episode when Jay shows Rachel the skimpy powderpuff football uniforms Chet ordered for the contestants while they were still in charge. Rachel’s casual eye roll and a resigned “okay,” surprise him, and he asks, “who are you?” in response.

Sure, at this time Rachel has other things on her mind than the uniforms. Darius has been keeping a major injury a secret from her, and now she has to try and keep it a secret from everyone else. On top of that, there’s her mounting worries about what will happen when Quinn finally confronts her about her betrayal. Still, Jay isn’t wrong to question where her head is at. This season has seen Rachel fully embrace the darkness of Everlasting without looking back once. Yes, she made some very questionable decisions last season as well, but there was always at least a moment of hesitation—a second where she had to pause and question if what she was doing was really worth it.

There doesn’t seem to be much questioning this time around. Rachel’s crusade to make a “revolutionary” season of Everlasting has clouded her judgement entirely, and with that single goal in her mind, everything else has fallen to the wayside.

Quinn and Rachel’s divide escalates this week. It’s not helped by the fact that Quinn receives news her deadbeat dad has died. This bit of backstory is an interesting addition to her character, and one that drives home the point that, as much as these women are angry with each other, they really need each other. Rachel has parents that tried to turn her into a psych experiment. She appears to have Coleman on her side, but who can really say where his intentions lie at this point. Quinn thinks she has Chet momentarily when he comes to her aid in order to take down Rachel, but he’s really just thinking of himself. Also, he’s a total idiot. Rachel and Quinn are truly alone in a sea of backstabbers and opportunists, themselves included. If you take away everyone else, all they have left is the show they work for.

This seems to be enough for Rachel right now. “Treason” sees her produce an episode of Everlasting like a pro, even flawlessly handling Quinn and Chet’s attempt at sabotage. The problem is, she burns a major bridge along the way. Darius’ doctor tells him he can’t take any sort of pain medication, because numbness to the pain could cause him to make things even worse. Romeo is on the doctor’s side, but Rachel is able to steer Darius in a different direction. It’s almost frightening to watch how easily she’s able to get under his skin and convince him to take an epidural so he can continue making the show. In her mind, it seems, the show is the only thing that matters. Or perhaps it’s the only thing she can focus on because she’s too scared to really think about her fight with Quinn.

This move, of course, leads to a blowout between Darius and Romeo that ends in Romeo being fired. In a powerful scene, Romeo chews out Rachel for causing this rift, asking her if she even knows what it’s like to lose someone that close to you. The truth is, Rachel did lose someone that close to her, but I don’t think she’s fully felt the effects of it yet. It’s clear that her breakup with Quinn is going to have one hell of an aftershock.

“Treason” is a solid episode of UnREAL, but, like Jay, I’m still a little confused about Rachel’s endgame. Has she really changed so much from last season that she’s willing to do whatever it takes to get the show produced the way she wants it? I just don’t know if I buy that sort of intense motivation from someone who had a mental breakdown only a year ago. Perhaps Quinn has invaded her mind so deeply that now all she wants is more power. Or perhaps Rachel’s finally seeing the industry she works in for what it really is, and she knows the only way to make a change is to play by their rules. Appleby’s performance is often deliberately dense, so Rachel’s intensions are somewhat of a mystery.

For now, though, we do get an ending scene of Rachel sharing a beer with Coleman—the only person who will drink with her after Quinn all but spits in her face. Things are heating up between the two of them, which may or may not be a good thing. I’m certain about one thing, though. Rachel needs more than just the show. Because the show will end up eating her alive. Grade: B

 

Some Other Notes:

  • I did not like how easily Chet was able to get back in Quinn’s good graces this week. It felt like an undermining of her character. Still, I’m glad he’s seemingly off the show now that he’s been arrested for literally stealing his own baby (honestly, why….). He was a fitting antagonist for season 1, but season 2 needs to move on to bigger and better things without him.
  • Yael’s hookup with Jeremy is gross, but her grabbing his set of keys at the end made me excited about whatever she’s planning. Right now my prediction is that she’s going to blackmail her way into becoming the suitor on whatever Everlasting‘s version of The Bachelorette is.
  • Also stepping up this week is Ruby, who finally takes Jay’s advice and gets her head in the game. Her “private” chat with Darius is heartfelt, and I like that it genuinely seems that way until the camera pulls back to reveal that Jay and his team are filming. Once again, UnREAL presents an excellent moral quandry. Having Ruby win this season would be a big deal, but is the cost her dignity worth it?
  • Another frightening thing that happens this week is Madison becoming better and better at being a producer. If Rachel is on her way to becoming the new Quinn, then Madison is going to become the new Rachel, and the vicious cycle will continue.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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