UnREAL Recap: Daddy Issues


Season 3 Episode 5
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Lifetime

Rachel and her mother Olive have a fraught relationship. We’re already quite confident in connecting the trauma behind Rachel’s dysfunctions — and her tendency to self-destruct — with what happened to her as a kid. Olive’s insistence that they not discuss what happened to Rachel is practically abuse in itself, not to mention the cruel calculus that she likely covered it up for fear of ruining her psychiatry career. But after Rachel learns that her father Asa did know — that he knew enough to go beat up her abuser, but never mention this to his daughter — that news sends her over the deep end.

Rachel calls her mother and demands to speak to her father. But Asa doesn’t answer his cell phone because, according to Rachel, he’s hopped up on the mind-numbing drugs that Olive once prescribed to her. “You know you keeped him drugged up, mom.” Olive, in response, appears to delusionally believe that everything she’s ever done was meant to protect her family.

Chet’s still trying for that Emmy, and he’s also apparently impotent. Moving on.

Meanwhile, Quinn is still trying to protect Rachel by pushing Dr. Simon away. Or is she trying to protect herself? “She’s way worse than when she started talking to you,” she tells him. But that’s often how recovery (and most things, unfortunately) happen. You gotta get worse before you can get better. But a “better” Rachel is no good for Everlasting, Quinn has apparently decided.

Later, the well-meaning doctor will go to Jeremy (ha!) and ask about Rachel. Jeremy tells him that Rachel’s a liar: “It’s the ‘Rachel Vortex’. Many a man has been sucked in by that tiny, dark force.” Sure, the doctor is kind of obsessed with her, but that’s his job. Plus, I can imagine that you’re a mental-health professional, a person like Rachel has to be one of your more fascinating cases.

Now that Serena knows that her former-favorite suitor, August, was banging Quinn behind closed doors, she’s been flat-out ignoring him. But for some reason, he still wants to be with her, or at least be on the show — two things I don’t quite understand, to be honest! — so he threatens to file for sexual harassment. Against Quinn. “If I get outed in any way, then I out you,” he says. Quinn immediately runs to Rachel, her personal emotional hit man: “We have to destroy August … make sure that no one believes a word that comes out of his mouth.” This guy doesn’t know who he was messing with.

Now that we’ve seen what’s happening behind the scenes, it’s time to check in on what’s happening on Everlasting as the men quickly dwindle. A moment I didn’t mention last week, but appears to be building up to something scandalous, is a kiss shared (off camera!) between Serena and that British hunk, Jasper. Yes, he’s the one who apparently made the big money bet that he’d be the first to sleep with her. With no one outing said bet, it seems like he’s closer than ever to winning (her heart, and also money). They do some sort of wilderness challenge, hosted by a suspiciously attractive ranger, which Owen wins. (Let’s be real, Owen is the one she’s gonna end up with, right?) But she picks Jasper, who came in last. (It’s because of that kiss!) Later, the cast and crew will come across August and the ranger in a tussle, with August looking like the aggressor. “I have no idea! She just jumped me,” he’ll cry. “I have no reason to believe a word that comes out of your mouth,” Serena replies. Rachel, what did you do? (She set him up. Duh.)

Quinn and Jay are off to pitch Gary and his fellow TV execs on their new dance show, World of Dance or whatever, but it appears that Gary isn’t quite receptive. In fact, he’s not gonna let them pitch at all today, and Quinn isn’t having that. If Gary can’t hear their pitch, then Everlasting will not continue production: “There is some shit I will not eat. Period.” She calls Rachel and tells them to shut it down. “Cut the cameras, bring the cast home. Do it. Pull the plug.” When Gary finds out, he calls Madison and asks her for a list: Who is loyal to Quinn? He’s coming to fire her entire team. This is war.

With Everlasting shut down, Rachel heads home to talk to her dad to confront him about the abuse. Turns out, though, Asa has been hopped up on lithium for years, a powerful sedative that his wife prescribes to numb him out. They assure each other that they are not at fault for their pasts — he for his inaction to Rachel’s abuse and Rachel for that abuse — and she takes him with her. Back on set, Dr. Simon meets Asa, who appears to be staying in Rachel’s makeshift grip truck apartment with her. Perhaps she didn’t think this escape all the way through? She asks Dr. Simon to keep an eye on her dad, and he learns just how messed up things really are. “Withdrawing from lithium is no joke,” he later tells Rachel. She’s been here, done that with her own drug-dependence issues, but this is someone else’s life she’s dealing with.

Quinn convinces Madison to side with her, not Gary, even getting her to share the big boss’s email password to facilitate some primo blackmail negotiating. When Gary shows up to fire them all, she presents her case: “I know you’ve been hiding Everlasting’s international profits, stealing $18 million from me and Chet to cover your own ass on losses on your other pathetic shows.” It’s all in his emails. In exchange, she’ll get Passport to Dance (oh, right, that’s the name!) fully made and four shows in active development “by the end of the year.” Is that worth $18 million? Maybe. The power trip alone appears to be. (Her power trip certainly turns on Chet, who comes to her with a rare boner and confesses his love. Nope, sorry. “You chose easy,” she says.)

While all this is happening, Serena has Jasper sneak into her room for some sexy alone time. August, in a last-ditch attempt for some points, tells Serena about the bet. Later, on camera at the cutting ceremony, she goes rogue: “From this moment forward, the only rules are the rules I’m making.” She’s freaked out. Who’s lying to her? (Literally everyone.) She decides to cut no one, saving August and giving him the opportunity to out Quinn. Unfortunately, Jasper is outed and he didn’t even win his bet. If you recall, Serena slept with the jockey on night one.

So what’s the big reveal here? This Dr. Simon guy has eyes on the inside. Specifically, the inside of Rachel’s grip-truck apartment and he’s watching her every move. Will he help her out? Or have her committed?

UnREAL Recap: Daddy Issues