The Arrangement recap: 'Trips'
This week opens on a surprising lovemaking session between Kyle and Megan — surprising because Kyle is doing more pelvic thrusting than you might expect to see on basic cable, but also because Kygan seems less horny than usual.
They’re distracted, for very different reasons. Megan still feels guilty about her kiss/emotional connection to her director Nate (which manifests in a fantasy where Nate is directing their sex scene on stage). And Kyle is still haunted by his forced tryst with Detective Gaffey (which manifests in some nightmarish flashbacks). Physically, Kygan couldn’t be any closer. But emotionally, they’re drifting.
Even so, wedding bells are in the air. Megan is headed back east to officiate her best friend Tessa’s wedding. She’s going over the logistics of her trip with Kyle’s assistant Zach when Kyle walks in, suddenly speaking in a Southern accent. He’s doing a monologue about weddings from one of his previous roles. Megan and Zach think it’s cute; I have no idea what’s happening. (Did Josh Henderson forget where he is and slip into his character from Dallas?) Kyle can’t make it to the wedding because of an important dinner with a DP for his directing debut, and as he kisses Megan goodbye, they’re both a little tense. (Maybe she didn’t like his monologue after all?)
Things are notably less tense for Deann, who’s getting a post-sex massage from Annika. Turns out Annika is not just a horny screenwriter who’s into choking. She is, apparently, a full-blown dominatrix. And Deann is cool with that – she reads Dan Savage; she’s totally sex-positive – but right now she’s gotta skedaddle to a meeting. No, stay, Annika tells her. You need more time to come down from the intense sex thing we just did. Deann smiles and decides to take Annika’s professional advice. These two!
Kyle confronts Terence in a super-cool angry-movie-star moment. His comes roaring into a parking lot on his motorcycle, leather jacket zipped up tight, facial hair on point. He slams Terence against a brick wall, chokes him (not in a fun dominatrix way), yells at him about the whole pimping-him-out-to-a-cop thing, and is so close to his face that Terry can surely feel his soul patch whiskers. Could this be the end for Kyle and the Institute of the Higher Mind?
After this heated convo, Kyle blows off his DP dinner and decides to join Megan for the wedding. Unfortunately, we don’t get to see the inside of Kyle’s private plane, but we do get to see him work his charms on some regular folk. Tessa’s family is thrilled to meet him; her mom is Facebooking the whole experience, and her dad Ollie takes him under his wing, asking Kyle to… build the wedding gazebo in their backyard?
Kyle agrees, and the whole family sets up chairs in the backyard to watch. If I were Kyle, I’d have a few issues with this: First of all, he just got here; can you give him a minute, Ollie? Second, he’s a movie star, not your damn handyman. Third, the wedding is tomorrow; shouldn’t this gazebo be in place already? And most importantly, we’ve all seen gazebos, and the thing they have him build ain’t even a gazebo! It’s a wooden archway at best. But I’m a recapper, not the gazebo police. So let’s move on.
While Kyle is busy building stuff, Megan is falling apart. Being at Tessa’s house has brought back some painful memories from the past. She’s disturbed by a picture of a childhood friend named Rebecca, and she’s even more disturbed when Tessa tells her Rebecca’s coming to the wedding. There are a few elusive references to a guy named Evan, and each one seems to make Megan cringe. Kyle clocks this, but she insists nothing’s wrong. Then, when she imagines Evan’s reflection in the kitchen window, her hand shakes until she drops to the floor, hyperventilating.
And it only gets worse on the wedding day. Megan knocks her officiant duties out of the park but freaks out when she crosses paths with Rebecca. Then a dance with Kyle turns into another imagined Evan sighting, which leads her to finally break down, telling Kyle – and us – what she’s been hiding. We still don’t know where Megan’s family is or whether they have any idea that she signed a marriage contract with a movie star. But we do find out her secret (or at least, one of her secrets): Her stepbrother Evan molested her when they were kids. And she has been (understandably) haunted by it ever since.
Kyle asks about Evan’s whereabouts, but Megan will only say vaguely that “he died; he fell in with the wrong people.” I have a feeling this Evan issue will rear its ugly head again in the future – but for now, Kyle comforts her, tells her he loves her, and does his best to make her feel safe.
Meanwhile, Terence is so shook by his squabble with Kyle that he decides to blow off some steam like a true cult leader boss: with shroom pills and an isolation tank. (He’s got a guy.) This seems to be his reset button – where he goes when he needs to get his head back in the game.
In the tank, Terry has an elaborate trip involving mannequins and Megan fawning all over him in a Jersey accent. And everywhere he looks, he sees an AWOL movie poster (Kyle’s latest blockbuster) with his own face replacing Kyle’s. Finally, Kyle appears, he and Terry have a brief discussion on acting techniques, and then Terry chokes Kyle until Kyle tells him, “You’re holding on too tight.”
In case there’s any confusion, Deann steps in to drive the point home: “This is what you’ve always wanted.” It’s unclear what exactly Terry always wanted (to be an actor? To be Kyle? To marry Megan? Or just to be really high, man?), but he emerges from the tank with a new sense of purpose. He leads an IHM workshop and guides one participant into a pretty profound breakthrough; the session literally ends in tears and a group hug. Is Terry just flexing his cult leader charm muscles? Or could he be on the verge of his own real transformation, driven by a newfound desire to truly help people (as opposed to his old hunger for power)? Also, where is Leah Remini? (Just as long as we’re asking questions.)
But just when it’s starting to look like Terry has turned over a new leaf, Kyle and Megan come home to find their house turned upside down. The place is completely trashed (security system be damned), but nothing was stolen. The cops show up and determine that someone just wanted to make a point: “that they can come in anytime they want.” So it’s either Terry sending a clear message to Kyle about their power dynamic… or it’s those dang goats we saw roaming Kyle’s property back in the pilot. Either way, Kygan has one hell of a mess on their hands.