UnREAL recap: Truth
Up until now, UnREAL has been about stretching the truth of reality to make “good” reality TV. But as Rachel learned this week, sometimes the reality’s just too juicy to air. (And watching her own reality is far better than the alternative when it comes to her private affairs, if you catch my drift.)
Enter Faith, the Everlasting lady of the week. Adam chooses Faith (and Mississippi) for a hometown visit, because handsome British meat puppets are easy to manipulate using “toddler-level reverse psychology,” as Rachel puts it. But heading to Faith’s conservative hometown with the crew won’t be aseasy for Rachel: Dr. Wagerstein warns her she’ll be on an overnight trip with Jeremy, Jeremy warns her not to toy with Adam, and Quinn warns her she needs to get Faith to lose her virginity to Adam on the trip, or else this week’s retreat to “God’s country” will be as unsatisfying as the porn Rachel watches in the beginning of the episode.
Rachel, being Rachel, convinces Faith she should “get physical”/”lose [her] flower” to Adam, but she ends up doing it a little too well. Faith—who’s never been kissed and thinks “getting physical” with Adam means holding his hand—goes from zero to infinity on the lust scale after just one conversation. “I’m in love with Adam, and I want him to take my virginity tonight,” she says when Rachel encourages her to talk about sex “under the watchful eye of God.” (Way to leave out all those other watchful eyes in this scenario, Rachel.) But “sweet little tater” Faith gets salty when Rachel brings up how much her best friend Amy’s opinions matter to her. And when Faith awkwardly confesses her virginity before walking away from her aggressive makeout sesh with Adam, Rachel puts two and two together. She asks Faith if she’s in love with Amy. “We’ve had unholy thoughts,” Faith admits, “but we’ve never acted on them.”
And there’s the twist of the week: It turns out Faith went on the show to try and “fix” her own feelings, and Rachel gently tells her she doesn’t need any fixing and even promises she’ll kill the tape of her coming out. And when nothing happens after Faith closes her eyes, waiting for God’s lightning to strike, she’s elated, completely forgetting about Adam and Everlasting and the conservative community in which she grew up. She’s ready to come out to her entire congregation—you know, the loving, supporting, small-town crowd that could pull 180 on all that loving support if she reveals her secret. So, uh…#lovewins?
Of course, not everyone catches Faith’s high, because it’s far too dangerous for the naïve Faith to declare her secrets to her town. To stop Faith, Rachel hands Adam a ring at the last minute and has him ask Faith to commit to another week on the Everlasting “journey,” stopping her from getting into trouble just in time. But Rachel’s obstacle-ridden trip isn’t over yet: She has to deal with Jeremy, who appears to make nice with Rachel, asking her about her post-meltdown depression. Just as they almost take a literal roll in the hay—I see what you did there, UnREAL—he stops and says, “I know how things start with you and I know how they end, and I can’t do it, Rach.” Risky move, Jeremy. Sure, you stopped things at the last minute, but if Rachel ever decides to tell your fiancée…
Never mind that for now. Rachel also has to deal with Jay, who happily handed Chet the tapes of Faith’s “hillbilly lesbo stuff” (Chet’s words/Chet’s the worst), because he just can’t help being Chet’s loyal, desperate puppy. When Rachel tries to stop him from using the footage, Chet gets angry, forcing Adam(!) to step in. He offers Chet a sex tape, a watercooler moment even better than Faith’s coming out. Rachel’s relieved, but Adam’s expecting a little more in return. And when he comes on to her, she backs away. “I don’t know how in the hell this just happened, but in this exact moment, you’re my only friend,” she tells him. “Let’s not break it.”
NEXT: Mary, Mary, quite contrary…
Back in Everlasting HQ, the rest of the ladies are prepping video invitations for Adam, explaining why he should come meet their families. (Because drama, duh!) Shia’s got her eye on Mary, after Dr. Wagerstein—who clearly has never heard of doctor-patient confidentiality—reveals Mary takes mood stabilizers for her PTSD from her domestic abuse, which of course piques Shia’s interest. She’s been a pretty shoddy producer so far—remember Maya?—so, like a producer who’s so not here to make friends, she descends on the single mother, complimenting her before going in for the kill. “I know there’s another Mary in there. We just have to find her, and let her shine,” she says. “Or, you get dumped on national television for being a dull, dead-eyed loser. Is that something you want your kids to see?”
It’s certainly not what Mary wants to hear, so Shia goes on to make her next move: She tampers with Mary’s pills, replacing them with what I’m assuming are placebos to mess with Mary’s mood. And mess they do: By the end of the hour—and after a pep talk from a drunk Quinn, which I’ll get to—Mary’s drinking and doing a solo striptease in front of her mirror, ready to dive into the game. A game that includes Adam, as her emotional video invitation about her domestic abuse “wins” the round.
And Quinn? Well, just when she’s on the verge of losing her case against Chet—Chet’s bloodsucking lawyer uses her lookbook and evidence of her affair with Chet as grounds for a stalking case and a possible restraining order—Quinn listens to Shia(!), who tells her to use her producing skills to take Chet down. So she does. She shows Chet she still has the cast from an accident they had gotten into way back when, and on which he had scrawled the words, “love you, babe”—the only time he’s ever “said” the L word to her. “You kept that?” he asks, looking almost sad. “Yes, you a–hole,” she replies. And with that, she gets what she asked for: a 40 percent stake in the show and credit for the concept. Emotional manipulation at your own expense: priceless.
And as we end on an appropriately moody cover of Sia’s “Chandelier,” here are this week’s…
- So, if only Faith got a hometown visit this episode and all the other Everlasting women spent the time making video invitations, where are Anna and Grace and, well, the rest of the women? I didn’t spot any of them.
- This episode, we saw both Quinn and Rachel do “good” things, producing the ladies by connecting their pep talks with their own emotional states. But the best producing moment has to go to Quinn, especially when she told Mary to “nail them to the cross.” That’s vicious—and something only Quinn can say with complete malice.
- Did Faith’s story twist seem a little bit out of nowhere, or did it feel like we’ve spent enough time with her in the season so far to understand why she would come on the show, and why the show would help her realize her true feelings now? (See, Everlasting isn’t a worthless show!)
- How are we feeling about this Rachel/Adam romance at this stage?
- Jay tries to defend himself by quoting Dr. Wagerstein, and Rachel delivers my favorite quote from the episode: “How did it feel when that ball of crap fell out of your mouth? Did it feel good?”
- Gotta hand it to Shia: She may not be the best producer, but she has a wry sense of humor. When Quinn tells Shia, “Chet is screwing me,” Shia responds, “Sorry, Quinn, but I think everybody knows that.” Way to tell it like it is to your boss, Shia—and please continue doing so.