Things get even darker as Anna's confronted with reality from home.
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Throughout this first season of UnREAL I was thinking I could do my best Reality Steve and predict who the frontrunners would be in each recap. But after tonight’s episode 2 of both UnREAL and Everlasting, I think I’m ready to declare Anna the winner. Because if she doesn’t come out with a ring (and the $200,000 prize they apparently get) after everything she went through, then this show is much darker than any of us thought possible.

And tonight was already pretty dark. The whole premise of “Relapse” was that Anna’s father is in the ICU, the crew decides not to tell her, her father dies, she leaves the show, and somehow they’re able to bring her back. Maybe I’m too naïve, but I just cannot see Chris Harrison supporting a stunt like this in real life. Even the B and C plots of this episode were just twisted and mean—while somehow still making the show fun to watch.

When the Everlasting crew learns Anna’s father is in the ICU, Quinn says it will make better television to wait and tell her, so she directs them all to: “Leave your consciences at the door on this one.” And it seems most of our characters did just that this episode. With that in mind, this recap will ranking the characters from most conscience-filled to least. Here we go…

15. Shamiqua wins this week when she refuses to be turned into a stereotype. Stay classy girl.

14. Oh, sweet Faith. She simply tried to compliment a woman’s ballroom dancing and somehow became the show racist. She’s still as lovable as ever, but she should probably stop saying things like, “I have a lot of black … African-American … black friends.”

13. It seems like Jeremy is supposed to be a main player in UnREAL (he is naked on the posters after all), but so far he hasn’t done much other than throw shady, disappointed looks at Rachel. Aside from him filming Anna as she runs away conscience-less—which isn’t great, but is pretty tame for this show—he’s still pretty much a good guy.

12. Graham has lost his “Host Graham” name on IMDb, so I guess I’ll have to call him just Graham now. (I’m pretty disappointed he doesn’t have a last name yet.) He didn’t do much this episode either. However, if you look closely, he was ballroom dancing with the ladies. There’s just something I don’t like about that…

11. I want to cut this kid some slack since his father just died, but Terry got his sister, Anna, to return to a fake dating show just for an Xbox. That’s pretty twisted.

10. Our suitor Adam actually seemed like one of the good guys this week. But for being the main focus of Everlasting, he doesn’t play a huge role in the UnREAL story line this week—so I guess he has less chances to be evil like everyone else. He drops on the rankings for just being a “suitor” in general, but he does get extra credit for calling Rachel a “wizard dressed as a homeless person.”

9. Poor Anna. I guess here is where we need to get into the meat of the episode. After the first night, Rachel, Shia, and Jay are doing interviews with the girls; they’re trying to create a new villain since Britney was cut too early. Rachel does what she does best and gets into Anna’s head. The producing pro not-so-subtly drops hints that Grace spent “special” alone time with Adam.

Not long after that, the producers find out that Anna’s father had a heart attack and is in the hospital. But evil Quinn says she can’t lose a contestant, so they all need to keep the news to themselves. Classy.

During the Cinderella ball that evening, Rachel convinces Anna to “play the game” and confront Grace. She storms up to her, but then ends up complimenting her and walking away. She tells Rachel why she couldn’t say anything: “I realized I was about to slut-shame a woman on national television, and I’m not about that.” (Did anyone else stand up here and applaud to their TV? No, just me?)

When Rachel hears this voice of reason, she decides to tell Anna the truth—but she needs Anna to stay through the elimination before she can go be with her dad. Anna doesn’t take the news well… obviously. Rachel has to alert the production team: “Anna’s gone over the wall. We’ve got a runner.” (I think on the real Bachelor they just call this a “Justin the Wrestler.”)

Jeremy and Rachel jump in a golf cart to track her down. They find her at a bar, where she has used the bartender’s cell phone and found out her dad has already died. She locks herself in the bathroom and won’t come out. There’s a sliver of hope that Rachel is holding onto her soul—she slides under the bathroom stall and hugs Anna—but that doesn’t last long.

When they get Anna back to the mansion, all the girls are waiting outside and there’s an ambulance in order to make her look unstable. Anna makes a scene, but Rachel just tells her she could get sued for breach of contract. (“Sue the girl whose dad just died?” Anna screams.) But they do agree to get her on a jet to her father’s funeral. Rachel and Adam go to the funeral—to get her to return to the show, not for condolences.

As sweet as Adam is to Anna, she says she’s not going to come back because she has her 16-year-old brother to think of now. And that’s where Adam actually has a genius home: He and Rachel approach Terry and tell him that Anna will get $200,000, maybe more, if Adam ends up marrying her. (Did we know there was a cash prize!?)

So tricky Terry convinces his sister to go back on the show. And she agrees—which is why she ended up so low on this conscience-less ranking. She started out so good (the slut-shaming comment!), but then ultimately agreed to leave her 16-year-old brother who just lost his only parent, to go on a reality show. I’m not about that.

NEXT: And the worst of the bunch…

8. Pepper is an adorable kindergarten teacher who Rachel just swears has “a ball-gag under her bed.” And it turns out she does have a wicked side. When Shia asks her about her baby talk and abilities in the bedroom, Pepper turns up the heat with Adam: With her hand in a questionable place, she tells him to get rid of Rita and she’ll “make it worth [his] while.” There could be children watching, Pepper!

7. Of all the contestant handlers, Jay is the least corrupted, but that’s not hard to be. Tonight he pulls aside the two remaining black women. “It pains my black soul” he begins … but he needs one of the girls to go: “Omarosa, Nene Leakes, you have to go big, loud, and highly opinionated.” Shamiqua is (rightfully) above that, but Athena just wants to make a name for herself on the show. And now Jay has his villain, stereotypes be damned.

6. The worst part about Athena being turned into a villain is she knows it’s happening and is all for it. At least the other girls are just being manipulated into letting their inner-cattiness come out. But, nope, Athena steps up to the plate and picks gullible Faith as her target to take out.

5. Shia turned Pepper into a villain—the manipulative, non-Jay way—but mostly she’s ranked this low because she’s yet to do one thing on the show, good or bad, to make me like her.

4. We learned last week that Everlasting creator Chet and Everlasting EP Quinn were doing it everywhere on the set they could find. Turns out they’re doing it there not just because they never leave, but also because Chet has a wife at home. And said wife is pregnant. Cheating on your wife is always gross, but doing it while your wife is at home pregnant? Disgusting.

3. Rachel is our main character, so of course we will probably love her and support her no matter what, but damn, she’s doing some questionable things. And I’m not even talking about her thinking it’s okay to sleep in a production truck and strip down and shower with a stranger while cameras are watching (that was just all kinds of weird). I mean the fact that she’s willing to turn a troubled girl into a villain for money.

Granted, she did need the money. At the top of the episode, her roommate Bethany (The 100‘s Eve Harlow) shows up on set with trash bags full of Rachel’s stuff. Apparently Rachel hasn’t paid rent in three months, so Bethany already rented out the room. She’s dumping all of Rachel’s junk on her, except for her Macbook, which Bethany will put on Craigslist if Rachel doesn’t pay her back in 24 hours. Rachel warns her that there are things on there that could hurt people, but Bethany doesn’t care. She checked her conscience just like Quinn advised!

A few hours later Bethany calls and says if she doesn’t get the money Paypal-ed to her by 10 p.m. then Rachel’s softcore love email to Jeremy will go to the entire crew of Everlasting. This is why Rachel feels backed into a corner to create the villain edit of Anna, which wins her the $5,000 cash from Quinn, but it’s too late to even make a difference—everyone sees Rachel’s email. I get that it’s a kill-one-to-save-the-many situation, but it still didn’t sit right with me—or Rachel, who seems to be sinking into the same spot she was in last season before her breakdown. Jeremy seems to be the only person on set who notices that, though.

2. Well, Bethany just seems like a pretty terrible person. I get that she’s angry that Rachel owes her a lot of money, but blackmail? Maybe she has a future as an EP of Everlasting.

1. Why do I have a feeling Quinn will always be our #1? She’s fun to watch, but wow, she’s a terrible person. Not only did she choose to withhold information from Anna about her dad being in the ICU, but she also set up her grief to be played out like a breakdown from the show. True, Rachel was the one who put the actual footage together in the edit bay, but at least she felt slightly bad. Quinn always has only one thing on her mind: ratings.

Reality Bites:

  • I would love to have a job where I could say “Go for Dalene” into a headset. I also wish I could haggle with my boss on how much I get in envelopes of cash for completed work.
  • Losing Britney seemed to answer the age-old question about whether producers pick which contestants get to stay.
  • “I’ve seen enough suitor dong to last me … I would say my entire life.” —Rachel
  • “So I’m supposed to hang around and hope that your wife is a slut or that she miscarries?” —Quinn
  • I want to know more about this clause that the contestants sign.
  • “Great. Adam’s with Mary, dancing to the beat of 5 million remotes clicking to someone hotter, hipper, and wetter.” —Quinn, again
  • “Nice work, Uncle Tom.” —Shamiqua to Jay when he successfully turns Athena into a stereotype

So what did you think of episode 2? Who do you think was the most depraved this week? Are you going to be sticking through the Everlasting finale to see who wins the $200,000? I know I can’t wait.

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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