UnREAL recap: Casualty
It finally (sadly) happened. Rachel has become the portrait of a Lifetime heroine.
“Casualty” begins with Rachel crying in a ball on the floor where Jeremy left her the previous night. Chet, her savior, helps her change out of the ball gown — but that’s all the support he can give. She wants to go to the police; she doesn’t want to be “another silent woman.” And as we all cheer, Chet crushes her/us. He says Jeremy knows too many of Everlasting’s dark secrets, so she needs to “keep it in the family.” And then he pats her on the shoulder.
Rachel may say okay to Chet in the moment, but she’s serious about not staying silent. She draws circles around her bruises with a Sharpie and takes pictures of Jeremy’s abuse… then she covers it all up with concealer, because she has a show to run.
Let me take a moment here to say I’m struggling with this story line. As much as I hate Jeremy this season, I don’t think the abuse is in line with what we’ve seen of his character. I don’t think Chet being the “helper” is in line with what we’ve seen of him. And I’m perplexed by Rachel’s reaction to it all — I hate that she’s become a battered woman who is too scared to speak up about it.
I’ve been disappointed with this season’s focus on the producers’ drama rather than the contestants’ drama. There’s a definite pacing problem, and I don’t think ratcheting up the drama with an abuse story line is the solution. I’m not sure how the writers will get themselves out of this one, but I will support Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer anywhere they go, so I’m willing to wait and see.
Anyway, let’s get to this week’s Everlasting date: the hometown. Darius gets to choose which lady, but Rachel is going to insist he go with Beth Ann. When he tells her no, she tells him he has to win the audience back, since they see him as a villain after sending Ruby home. He still refuses to go to Alabama (because he doesn’t want to get lynched — his words, not mine). And when Rachel claims his picking Chantal would result in the network moving the show to a smaller network, sponsored by Ambien (because she’s so boring, get it?), he still says no. And then Rach loses it.
She screams, “I am your quarterback, and I want you to run my plays” — which is an A+ football analogy, but unfortunately draws the attention of most of the cast and crew. She yells at him with everyone watching, with tears streaming down her face. Finally, he agrees to go to Alabama just to get her to calm down. Chet tries to ask Rachel how she’s doing (which is nice, but real nice guys let a woman report her abuser), and she brushes him off.
She also tries to brush off Coleman, who wants to go to Alabama with her, but he won’t let her. He says they’re running things together now. So the next morning, the two of them pull up to Beth Ann’s small country home with Darius in tow. There’s a Confederate flag hanging from the porch, but other than that, not a whiff of racism. Beth Ann’s family loves Darius — and it’s pissing Rachel off. “Where’s the drunk uncle? Where’s the KKK?” she yells at Coleman. Even when the dad and brother get out the shotguns, it stays pleasant: Turns out Darius is a pretty good shot. “It’s a hootenanny,” Rachel exclaims. She needs to blow things up…big time.
Speaking of blowing things up, that’s exactly what Jay and Madison try to do back at the mansion in Rach’s absence. They want to get their contestants screen time, even if Darius isn’t there. To that end, they have Wagerstein get the women to talk to the “Mirror of Truth” about why Darius didn’t pick them for the hometown date. Yael starts off the gabfest, saying maybe Darius would think her family was “too fancy.” Cue eye rolls from Chantal and Jamison, who says she thinks Darius didn’t pick her because he doesn’t like cops. Tiffany has a different answer: She says it’s the short hair. And Yael cranks that up by saying the short hair makes her look like she doesn’t have a vagina. Yeah, things spiraled quickly, but there was vodka involved, so you know.
NEXT: Beth Ann is gonna have to lay off the vodka…
Chet is hard to read in this episode. It seems he genuinely feels for what Rachel went through, but not enough to do the right thing. And here, he kinda sorta seems like he wants to do the right thing in regards to Tiffany, whom he screwed over in the premiere with his suggestion she hook up with Romeo. So to fix it, he tells Madison to tell Chantal about it. It takes about two seconds for Chantal to reveal it to the other ladies, so Tiffany has to explain what happened to the women.
The women dousing Tiffany in champagne effectively ends the Mirror of Truth segment. Chet goes to her and says he can help her…for one small thing in return. He wants to be introduced to her father. If she can do that, Chet will get her to the final two. Is there anyone in this world who doesn’t have an angle?
Quinn has been too busy to notice most of this, because 1) she had her father’s wake to attend, and 2) she took Ioan Gruffudd, a.k.a. Booth, to the wake as her date. It turned into the world’s longest date. They’re prepared to go to an eco-resort he owns in the Bahamas when Chet calls about “little weirdo” snapping at the suitor. She tries to blow it off, but Chet says she really needs to get back to set.
When Quinn shows up, Chet tells her about the abuse. She immediately calls Rach and says she’s not going to let Jeremy go for this (“I’m going to rip off his balls, deep-fry them, and force him to eat them”). Quinn tries to tell Rachel she’s been through a trauma and it’s probably not smart for her to be leading the show in Alabama, but Rachel just says she’s fine and hangs up.
Right after this call, Beth Ann comes up to her and shows Rachel a positive pregnancy test. She’s carrying her ex-con, ex-boyfriend’s baby. Rachel gets a twinkle in her eye and knows she has her dramatic moment. She gleefully tells Coleman that “Beth Ann has a future Trump supporter growing in her uterus.” Is her excitement because she’s unhinged right now or because she just loves a good story? It’s hard to tell the difference between PTSD Rachel and normal Rachel.
Rachel comforts Beth Ann and tells her how Darius could raise the baby as his own. She says her father wasn’t her biological father — I’m not sure if that’s true, but it doesn’t really matter because Beth Ann buys it.
After finding Jeremy packing up his stuff, Quinn quite literally squeezes his balls and tells him to GTFO. She then calls Coleman to make sure he keeps Rachel safe in Alabama. He thinks she seems fine, but Quinn says she’s a “time bomb.” Coleman goes to Rachel and then starts to realize she might be unraveling. He’s worried about outing Beth Ann’s pregnancy on national television, but she’s ready to blow this up. (It doesn’t seem safe to have so many people on one set who want to “blow things up.”)
There’s a brief moment of hesitation from Beth Ann, but she decides that she trusts Rachel, so she follows her advice: She tells her family, friends, and Darius about her pregnancy on camera. Rachel has timed it perfectly with the ex, played by Zach McGowan, arriving. He’s not even on the show, but Rachel has “produced” him into proposing — and she’s even provided a ring.
He gets down on one knee to propose while Beth Ann says she’s not sure whose baby it is as she glances at Darius. Backwoods Zach (I didn’t catch this character’s name) tries to attack the suitor as Beth Ann yells that she loves him. Darius starts yelling “pump the brakes” … mostly at Beth Ann for falling in love with him so quickly, but probably also Zach, who’s still trying to get at him. Finally, Beth Ann’s dad pulls out a shotgun to shut down the whole affair. It’s television gold, and Rachel is ecstatic.
NEXT: Quinn really knows how to blow things up
When they all get back to the mansion, Tiffany is waiting for Darius. She’s ready to clear the air, thanks to “advice” from Chet. And it pays off — when Darius awards the remaining women necklaces (what exactly is the significance of/difference between bracelets, necklaces, candles, etc.?), he selects her, Yael, Jamison, and Chantal. That means Beth Ann is going home.
She’s crying and asking him to let her stay. He apologizes and says no, but applauds her for being truthful. He tells her he’s putting aside money for her child’s college fund. Aww, so there are a few good people left on this show! As she walks away, Yael speaks for all of us: “She was obnoxious, but that was really sad.”
Also really sad? The conclusion of the Rachel story line. Coleman gathers Rach, Quinn, and Chet together and says they’re going to report what happened. Quinn says it’s best for everyone if they don’t and stares daggers into Rachel, who reluctantly agrees they should just stay quiet. After they walk out, Chet asks Quinn what’s happening to their “family,” and I question his concept of family. He says something about how he thinks Rachel loves Coleman because he’s never seen her act this way before. A light bulb goes off above Quinn’s head, and she makes a phone call.
Before Quinn’s mysterious evil plan can be enacted, Wagerstein stops by her office and asks about Booth. The good doc says Quinn cares so much about Rachel because she’s actually just lonely. Quinn obviously laughs at this and tells her to get out, but Wagerstein tells her not to sabotage her relationship with Booth… because it could be her last chance at love. Ouch. But it works! Quinn gives him a call and asks him to dinner the next night. She hangs up the phone and starts crying, which is a rare sight.
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Now that Rach has decided she’s not going to the cops, she deletes the photos of the bruises on her phone. Coleman comes in and wants to know why she didn’t tell him about the attack. She tells him Quinn says he’s her Chet, to which Coleman says, “I don’t even know what that means.” And then he says he wants to take her out of Everlasting at the end of the season. It’s music to Rachel’s ears, and they start making out.
Right on cue, a car pulls up outside the mansion. Out steps a long-haired, scruffy-bearded Adam. “Here we go again.” Indeed.
Favorite moment of the episode: After the ceremony when Graham — unaware Beth Ann was pregnant — says into his headset, “Rach, who banged the racist?”
What did you think of “Casualty”? How are you feeling about season 2 overall? I’d love to read your thoughts below or hear from you on Twitter @realdalener.