The Arrangement recap: 'Temptation'
Megan explores IHM, where there are no alarms and plenty of surprises.
This week, the secrets come out. We learn what Kyle is hiding (daddy issues); we learn what food makes Megan horny (hot dogs); we even learn the Institute of the Higher Mind’s secret to success (no alarm clocks). But just when it seems like we’re also gonna learn Megan’s deepest, darkest secrets, our girl turns the tables – on us, and on IHM. Sort of.
Kyle speaks to a group of at-risk kids at the opening of a new youth center, where he tells them he was once just like them, until he learned an important lesson that changed his life: “Your life is a story. Nobody gets to write it but you.” (To which the kids reply: “Um… cool. Thanks, multimillionaire.”)
Terence tells Megan she should come check out IHM, even though he knows she’s busy rehearsing for her play. That’s right; she won them over at the audition and got the part, even though they’d dismissed her as “stunt casting.” But life in the theater isn’t all it’s cracked up to be: She’s butting heads with her headstrong British director, Nate, because she thinks the play is too experimental: “The importance of the moment is gonna get lost in the metaphor.” (It’s one of the many things I love about The Arrangement: There’s no danger of getting lost in the metaphor.)
Megan’s not the only one with script issues. Kyle is having trouble on set at The Kill Plan, so Deann tells Terence they need to figure out what’s bothering him ASAP. She has an intriguing theory: Maybe he’s horny?
Kyle needs to butter Megan up to get her to finally cave and join the cult, and he knows just how to do it: hot dogs! They’re swarmed by paparazzi as they walk-and-talk down the block, Kyle wearing blindingly white jeans and Megan happily eating a hot dog from a street vendor. Stars: They’re just like us! And apparently the hot dog does the trick; Megan finally agrees to take the introductory course at IHM.
We also get an intriguing look into Kyle’s past. There’s a secret he’s been keeping from everyone, and it seems he joined IHM to help him bury it: his estranged and dying father. (Did you think I was gonna say he’s gay, and colluding with his cult to protect his status as a hetero movie star? You guys, no! Where would you get such an idea?!) Kyle’s been angrily paying his father’s medical bills, and he meets with his half-sister Drea in a dark alley to discuss, while an IHM spy lurks in the shadows snapping photos.
The photos are for Terence, of course, who tells Deann he’s glad to finally know what’s been bothering Kyle, even though he’s surprised Kyle lied to him. Terence – and the world – thinks Kyle’s father is already dead. And Deann’s got a secret of her own: She meets with Annika on the DL to discuss their recent threesome, and also Annika’s screenplay. Deann has notes on the script – but no notes on the sex!
Megan is juggling two commitments: rehearsals for the play, where Nate has surprisingly done some rewrites, per her suggestion; and also the IHM workshop, led by James (the guy who’s been seducing/recruiting her girl Shaun). At the end of day one, James tells the group to journal about their feelings, and also – this one’s important – not to set an alarm tomorrow morning. Simply decide to get up at 7 a.m., and do it! Megan is skeptical, and so is her new workshop buddy, Nina.
That night, the folks from the play gather for a bonfire in Topanga, where they drink, jump in the Jacuzzi, and trade tips on how to cry on cue: Owen, the leading man, pinches himself really hard. Jen, another castmate, thinks about Patrick, the baby she accidentally killed. On the sidelines, Megan and Nate start to connect – mostly over how bad Owen’s acting is – and, lost in the moment, they kiss. Meanwhile, Kyle is visited by his sexy co-star Amelia, who also wants to do some kissing – but he resists.
Megan does not set an alarm the next morning, so she oversleeps and has to rush to the workshop. That leads James to drop some serious IHM knowledge: “Building your column starts with a clear vision of what you want your life to be. That’s what the wake-up exercise is about. Declare an intention, and make it happen.” The students nod in understanding; this is some mind-blowing stuff. It seems IHM is less concerned with Xenu, aliens, and crossing the bridge to clear, and more focused on not setting alarm clocks.
There’s also very little eating allowed at IHM, so Megan and Nina sneak to the ladies’ room for some granola bars. Nina has been pressing Megan for details on Kyle and what it’s like to see him nekkid, but Megan has deflected those questions. And finally, in the bathroom, she finds out why Nina is so interested: She’s an undercover journalist who’s writing an exposé on IHM. She begs Megan not to out her, because she’s going to blow the whole thing wide open: the abuse, the shady practices, all of it. (Hey, The Arrangement, I love that you’re sort of nodding to Leah Remini here with the whole whistleblower thing, but this does not get you off the hook. I’m still demanding a Leah cameo.)
Over at The Kill Plan, Kyle has taken a stab at doing some rewrites himself, clearly inspired by his recent struggles with his dying dad, but Deann tells him to cut the crap and get his head on straight. He visits his father at the hospital, who apologizes for his mistakes, reaching out his hand in reconciliation, but instead of reaching back, Kyle simply hands him a check: “That’s the last one.” A pretty cold response, especially considering his father dies shortly afterward. When Terence and Deann learn of Kyle’s dad’s death, they react accordingly — “Let’s go to Nobu!” — while Kyle channels his pain on set, emoting his ass off during a pivotal scene.
Megan’s workshop gets interrupted by two IHM spies, here to haul Nina away for her crimes. Megan tattled! She is, apparently, all the way in. But then again, maybe not: When it’s finally her turn to tell the group her deepest, darkest secret, she launches into a very familiar monologue about the baby she accidentally killed… named Patrick. The group is impressed, but we know the truth: She’s just recycling her castmate Jen’s story, pretending to spill her guts while keeping her own trauma a secret.
And the secrets don’t stop there. Megan doesn’t tell Kyle about her kiss with Nate, Kyle doesn’t tell Megan about his dead father who’s actually now dead for real, and then the biggest bombshell of them all: Nina meets with Terence to discuss Megan. Turns out, Nina isn’t an undercover journalist after all. She’s an IHM leader posing as an undercover journalist posing as an IHM student. Dayum!
Several questions remain. Will Megan’s betrayal with Nate turn into a full-blown affair? How will Kyle be affected by his father’s death? And, most importantly, why in hail is Megan, the fiancée of a movie star and recipient of a $10 million marriage contract, still driving what looks to be a sensible Toyota Tercel?! This outrage almost overshadows the absence of Leah Rem-Rem and the Goats. (Almost.) So until next week: Set your intentions, set your DVRs, but whatever you do, don’t set your alarms.