Tuesday, August 4, 2015

UnReal 1x10 "Future" (Manipulation As An Art Form) [Contributor: Meredith]

Original Airdate: August 3rd, 2015

Everyone has a dark side, and nothing is what it seems. That was definitely the theme of the final episode of UnReal's first season. Even the opening shot of the episode was purposely confusing. So much happened, and it was all deliciously devious and underhanded. Let's get to it, shall we?

The episode opens on a shot of nighttime, implying that we are right where we left off - with Adam asking Rachel to run off with him. But the next series of shots is confusing -- Rachel in bed with Jeremy, Adam back with Anna -- until we realize that Rachel is actually leaving Jeremy a "Dear John" letter, and Adam was simply packing a bag before taking off. Unfortunately, Quinn catches Adam leaving, and though we don't hear their conversation, just the fact that they had one is probably not good news for Rachel/Adam shippers. This ominous turn is confirmed when Rachel exits a cab onto a tarmac in the pouring rain, met by Adam, who then takes back his offer, telling her they can't be together because it's sure to end badly. Rachel is heartbroken, and doesn't understand what changed. She runs after her cab, in tears, leaving Adam calling after her.

Before we head back to set, we see Jeremy waking up and reading Rachel's note, which simply, vaguely, says "I don't deserve you." He shakes his head disbelievingly. So far, I'm still a Jeremy fan. (Spoiler alert: this changes, dramatically, soon.)

Back on set, Quinn instructs Adam to make amends with Anna, which he does, charmingly. Rachel barges in to Quinn's office, looking appropriately disheveled and raccoon-eyed from her crying fit under the torrential downpour earlier. She tells Quinn off for trying to blackmail her, but then asks her boss/mentor/pseudo-mother to help her pull off the best finale in "Everlasting" history. The women decide to set up the romantic live wedding the network wants... and then blow it all up. In the midst of this discussion, they also commiserate about their messed up love lives (more on Quinn's side of this in a bit.)

Meanwhile, Jeremy tells Rachel he didn't get her letter (again, making him seem like a really, really nice guy for letting her off the hook), and all seems right with the happy couple. Until later, when Jeremy manipulates Adam into revealing what went down between the British bachelor and Jeremy's lady love. Now that Jeremy knows the truth, what's he going to do about it?

On the "Everlasting" side of things, while high the night before, Chet called Britney and invited her back to the show, for reasons unbeknownst to literally anyone else. She shows up and inserts herself right into the fray. Grace convinces Adam to choose her, but when Grace won't play ball with Rachel's plan, Rachel calls Adam's grandmother, who is awesome. On top of being awesome, she quite easily persuades Adam that Anna is in fact the better choice. In a not at all dramatic proposal scene, Adam dismisses Grace and Britney, asking Anna to be his wife.

Jeremy asks to speak to Rachel, and in front of the whole cast and crew, he gets down on one knee. I literally yelled WHAT at this point, as my live- tweet at the time shows:

But then, in a shocking move, he asks her (loudly) how stupid she thinks he is. And then Rachel gets dumped in front of everyone. And I completely and totally change my mind about Jeremy. 

It's also revealed that Adam's reason for backing out on running away with Rachel may have had something to do with (read: was 100% because of) some, ahem, embellishments Quinn told him about Rachel's mental health. Rachel flat-out tells Adam that Quinn lied, and really she can't believe that he bought it. So now Adam kind of feels like an idiot, and Rachel is pretty unhappy with Quinn. Then again, there may be just a hint of respect there. After all, Rachel learned how to masterfully manipulate from the best. At the very least, she understands why Quinn did it. 

So Rachel is now alone: no Adam, no Jeremy, and still heartbroken. 

However, Rachel's plan to blow up the show soon comes into play, as we then see her break down to Adam in the confessional. She cries to him, bringing up their amorous fling, asking him why she is so unlovable. Before your heart can break for her, though, Adam leaves and Rachel goes to the next booth, where Anna has heard the entire thing. 

When it comes time for the wedding, both Rachel and Quinn have their revenge on the men who wronged them. Quinn saves the day in front of the network head, after Chet's ploy to bring Britney back nearly ruins the live show when Britney starts ranting about how the entire thing is fake (on live TV, don't forget.) And Adam is humiliated when Anna doesn't show up to marry him, causing Rachel to tell him on live television that there will be no "Royal Renovations," and he is "free to go." Ouch. 

Other happenings: Chet and Dr. Wagerstein team up to stop Quinn from manipulating Madison into suing Chet. Quinn then learns that Chet shut down her bid for her own franchise with the network. They have a heart to heart where Quinn realizes she's become the wife, with Madison serving as the young, naive side piece. She returns his engagement ring and ends their relationship. 

The episode ends with a couple more confusing exchanges. Rachel and Quinn bemoan their love lives, while trying to decide what their next venture will be. Rachel cryptically brings up murder, and makes Quinn promise that next season nobody dies. Rachel adds that she means on the show; behind the scenes is a different story. She then creepily tells Quinn that she loves her, and Quinn responds that she knows. And calls Rachel a weirdo. 

Elsewhere, Jeremy shows up at Rachel's parents' house, and tells Dr. Goldberg that Rachel is sick and needs their help. Oh boy, talk about a man scorned. 

Man, what a finale. So much happened. Pretty much everyone was revealed to be manipulative, and devious, and mean. But somehow, it worked. Rachel and Quinn were doing what they do best -- making things happen, by whatever means necessary. As usual, I loved that this episode was about the women. These strong, flawed, dynamic women. It was inspiring to see hard, jaded Quinn admit that even she, the malevolent goddess behind fake love, believed deep down in romance, only to have that vision shattered before her eyes. It was darkly funny to watch Rachel try to come up with a new show premise that would be entertaining without being demeaning... and failing entirely. These women are feminists. But that doesn't mean they are immune to wanting love and romance and happily ever after, while still being strong and successful. That's the most real thing about UnReal.

Though the finale blew everything up -- all the relationships, even Quinn and Rachel's, now have cracks -- it also laid the groundwork for a fabulous second season. Most of the questions weren't actually answered. The viewer is left with a lot of "what now's"? Without a "Royal Renovations" sequel in place, what show will we see them working on next year? And how will that involve Adam? (Because I can't imagine we've seen the last of him.) Did Rachel really threaten Quinn? Does she even know herself? And what is Jeremy's endgame, going to Rachel's mom like that? 

I don't know. I really don't. What I do know? 

This season was perfect, every step of the way. And I can't wait for more. 

Other notes:
  • At some point, Chet promotes Madison to producer, which is the final straw for Quinn AND ME. Chet is the worst. But so is Jeremy. And Adam. Just... all the men. 
  • "Those aren't doves. They're just pigeons painted white." -- Quinn, to Madison, in my favorite line ever to exist. 
  • "D.C is Hollywood for ugly people." -- Quinn, to Rachel, because Quinn gets the best lines. 
  • "Since when do we care about facts on this show?" -- Rachel, to Adam, in which she basically sums up the show in one sentence. 
  • Anna's dress at the proposal? To die for. 
  • I'm surprisingly happy that neither Rachel nor Quinn ended the season with a man.
  • If Freddie Stroma isn't back next season, what are we even doing here? 


  1. I read Freddie Stroma would be back, but I have NO idea how. All I know is that I loved this show much more than I ever thought I would, as evidenced by the fact that I pretty much saw all of it in like, 3 days. Well, and I also know that this is about the only show I watch where I want all my women away from the men. Ugh, Chet. Ugh, Jeremy. UGH, Adam. I hate them all.

  2. Great review! Yep, you had all the same impressions I had. We really DO share a brain, Mer. And omg I watched this whole thing in one day, I have a problem.