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'UnREAL' fan recap: How will the show handle the fallout from this week's explosive final scene?

Season 2 | Episode 5 | “Infiltration” | Aired Jul 4, 2016

On this week’s UnREAL, “Infiltration,” Quinn explains that Everlasting isn’t scripted, and they don’t make things up — they make things happen. It’s true, in that the contestants aren’t (usually, anyway) in on the storylines that are being crafted. Quinn and Rachel create situations and, after 14 seasons, know enough about the human condition (and the specifics of each contestant’s own psychological background) to predict how things will play out.

This week, Jay’s dream couple, Ruby and Darius, seem to really be hitting it off, yet again — but that isn’t making for dramatic TV. To spice things up, Quinn pushes up the dream-suite date (an overnight in a “private” room) and has Darius choose between two supposedly viewer-selected finalists for the date — Yael, aka Hot Rachel, and Dominique, the pro basketball player. Rachel sets up Dominique to out Yael’s secret relationship with Jeremy, and the blow knocks both women out of the running for the coveted date. In a rogue move, Darius gives the honor to Ruby, and Jay just about wets himself with happiness. He’s obsessed with their romance, both because of what it would mean for the big picture (the first black couple on Everlasting) and on a personal level (he compares watching them fall in love to watching The Notebook). 

Quinn, never one to let the storyline slip out of her control, has a backup plan. She calls in Ruby’s activist father, who hasn’t heard from his daughter in weeks and is fraught with worry. She’s also set up several cameras (with audio) in the suitor’s room — which is against the rules. Of course, since Quinn made all the rules, she doesn’t have qualms about breaking them. When Rachel hears that Quinn planted cameras in the room, she rushes out of the gala she’s attending with Coleman at Cinderella-like speed, desperate to get back to set before the Darius/Ruby love story turns into a big, messy pumpkin. Of course, Quinn is a step ahead of her and already has Ruby’s dad barging in on the suite by the time Rachel and Coleman arrive.

Rachel is faced with a big decision: tell the cameras to go away and security to remove Ruby’s father from set, or let him and the cameras into the suite to capture their dramatic family moment on camera. Coleman has the final word on all things Everlasting at the moment, and Rachel has his support. If she wanted to pull the plug, she could. But Quinn appeals to her inner reality-TV producing goddess and points out what great TV this will make. Ultimately, Rachel cracks and lets the cameras in, disappointing Coleman, crushing Jay’s soul, and proving to Quinn that she hasn’t really lost Rachel yet.

After the drama settles, Quinn demands a surprise, middle-of-the-night elimination ceremony, where Darius spares Yael (he says he’s not there to judge anyone, but that’s probably just because he’s desperate not to be judged himself), cuts Dominique, and in a surprise move, also cuts Ruby. Ruby is head-over-heels in love with Darius, and he’s super into her, too, but she has high expectations for him. She wants him to use his position and platform for the greater good, and that’s a very intimidating prospect for a guy who’s struggling just to keep his career afloat. He says he couldn’t stand disappointing her every day by not being the man she wants him to be and sends her packing. It’s devastating because Ruby’s growing love for Darius was so clear and so sincere and because Ruby was one of the coolest, most interesting girls to ever enter the Everlasting house.

But the real story this week didn’t happen in front of the Everlasting cameras or at the fancy-schmancy network gala. Earlier in the episode, Rachel shows Coleman something very disturbing — a picture of herself that’s clearly been used as a dart board for several weeks. She explains that she found it in Jeremy’s trailer, and Coleman pieces together the fact that Jeremy and Rachel used to be a thing. He offers to fire Jeremy, but Rachel protests; he’s good at his job and fast, she explains, and it’s better for the show to keep him around. Coleman doesn’t totally honor these wishes. Using some vague excuse about pressure from the network, he demotes Jeremy in a move designed to get him to quit. This leads to Jeremy drinking his feelings and peeing on Coleman’s car, which leads to Chet trying to help Jeremy get in touch with his feelings, figure out what’s really bothering him, and gain clarity.

And boy does he. After much pain (both emotional and physical), Jeremy admits that the reason he’s really hurting isn’t because he was demoted/effectively fired. It’s because he’s still in love with Rachel, and he thinks she’s toxic, a black hole, and all-around terrible for him. So when he sees her later, changing out of her gala gown and returning it to the wardrobe truck, he snaps. Still drunk, he corners her, berates her, and, when she attempts to push her way past him and leave, brutally assaults her. It’s a scary moment on the show. It’s not that UnREAL has never gotten, well, real before, but it’s the first time something so traumatic has happened so directly to one of our heroines, and it’s jarring and hard to watch. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, know that the violence is brutal and realistic and possibly triggering.

Chet, in a rare moment of goodness, steps in to save the day. It’s weird to think of anyone, least of all Chet, saving Rachel, but she needed it in this moment, as she was being overpowered by someone twice her size. Chet may be on a weird, troubling quest to reclaim his masculinity, but that doesn’t mean he stands for violence against women. He pulls Jeremy off Rachel and fires him on the spot. It’s clear just how uncomfortable he is asking her if she’s okay, and Rachel, true to character, can’t bring herself to ask for help. She mumbles that she’s fine and just needs to change, despite having just taken a blow that would send people much more physically imposing than her flying.

I’d like to say that the drama behind the scenes of Everlasting just became far more intense than anything Quinn could ever manufacture, but season 1’s suicide proved that the show knows no real bounds. This season is proving that UnREAL is just as willing to push boundaries, but unlike Quinn, who creates drama for ratings and carnage, UnREAL creates drama to make a point. Here’s hoping that the point the show makes about domestic violence justifies that dark place it went this week.

UnREAL airs Mondays at 10/9c on Lifetime.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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