'How much of this world are we going to be able to burn down and continue to revisit?' she asks

By Shirley Li
August 08, 2016 at 03:53 PM EDT
Bettina Strauss/Lifetime
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Rachel (Shiri Appleby) can make “true love” happen for Everlasting contestants, but producing a happy ending for herself will take more than a couple of crafty camera angles and shots of liquid courage. In fact, it’ll take an assist from Quinn (Constance Zimmer), who desperately needs Rachel to find a wife for Darius (B.J. Britt) after all the behind-the-scenes chaos.

And with a third season of UnREAL already ordered, the second season finale has to also set up the next chapter in Rachel and Quinn’s tug-of-war. Below, Appleby talks what to expect from a sure-to-be dramatic conclusion to season 2 — and what can possibly come next in season 3:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: The last time we spoke, you said Rachel would hit rock bottom. Now that she has, is it possible for her to fall even farther in the finale?

SHIRI APPLEBY: By the finale, she’s making a comeback. She’s regaining her strength and really wanting to focus on work and put all her personal stuff behind her.

“Personal stuff” as in her relationships with Coleman (Michael Rady) and her mother?

Coleman, her mom, all of the things that led to her breaking down. She really wants to put her personal drama aside and focus on work. I think it’s much easier to focus on work than to deal with your own issues, and that’s really how we leave Rachel as we end the season, sort of the stronger version of herself going into the third season.

What about her and Quinn? At the end of the penultimate episode, they were vowing to take down Coleman.

Coleman definitely gets what’s coming to him. [Rachel and Quinn] end up coming together to get control of the situation as a united front. They definitely band together to produce the final episode of this season of Everlasting, and there’s a little bit of water under the bridge between them. 

You mentioned Everlasting. Will there actually be a winner after this wild season?

We do have a winner, but it’s probably not who people are expecting. It definitely surprises Quinn and throws her a curveball. You know, Jay [played by Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman] is now running the show, which is kind of interesting. He has more control and has more say, and things just happen that Quinn wouldn’t have expected or foreseen.

Bettina Strauss/Lifetime

What about Chet (Craig Bierko)? How much of a threat will he be considering what he’s up to with Tiffany (Kim Matula)?

Chet’s very much become, like, a father figure. He sees the producers as his family. I feel like, with everything that’s happened, he just feels very protective of keeping this show and everybody intact.

Every episode this season has been titled with a word that relates to war. The finale is called “Friendly Fire” — what can you tell me about that?

The question is, “Who isn’t firing?” Everyone is going after things, and every character is dealt blows they wouldn’t have predicted or seen coming, so I think that the fire might relate to the fact that the people you thought were your friends probably weren’t. How do you deal with situations that are wildly out of control? Last season’s finale was about Rachel getting destroyed and heartbroken over Adam… [This season] is about getting back at the people who have done her wrong.

A third season is in the works. How will the season 2 ending affect the story going forward?

I feel like [the season 2 finale] puts the show in a place of, where are we going to go from here? There are so many ways of handling things moving into the third season, but I think it’s creating a real opportunity for the writers to move the story in an interesting direction. That’s what I’m excited about, seeing where this is going to continue after this.

Right, is Everlasting even going to work after all the drama? Is it worth continuing that show after a contestant died last year and the suitor nearly did this year?

Yeah, Constance and I have asked [the writers] the exact same thing. Like, how much of this world are we going to be able to burn down and continue to revisit? I think the writers are just at the very beginning of putting their heads together and figuring that out.

UnREAL airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime.

Episode Recaps

The Lifetime drama — created by Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro and featuring Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer — explores the dark behind-the-scenes nature of a reality dating show (which is very clearly based on 'The Bachelor').
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