UnREAL Recap: Symptoms of Withdrawal


Season 3 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Lifetime

“Rachel, is he staying with you? In your truck?”

“It’s complicated.”

Jeremy and Rachel’s interaction sets the tone for this week’s episode of UnREAL. She has liberated her father Asa from not only her mother’s evil grasp, but from the mind-numbing grasp of lithium — both are giving him major withdrawal. Now, there’s nowhere else for Asa to go but into Rachel’s makeshift gear-truck-meets-apartment, so that’s where he’ll live. And now we can add Jeremy to the growing list of people (Dr. Simon included) who know he’s there. If she can just keep him away from Quinn … (Spoiler alert: She can’t.)

This Rachel reckoning has been a long time coming, so maybe she’ll finally accomplish some self-reflection beyond her brief entanglement with radical honesty. (Is she still being radically honest? I honestly cannot tell.) She still thinks she can handle this all by herself. Which is surprising, considering the people around her — everyone who she has screwed over again and again and again — still stand by her side. Just look at poor Jeremy: If you didn’t know anything of their supremely messed-up past, you’d think they were about to get together (again). These people will seemingly do anything for each other. That’s why it’s somewhat surprising Rachel wants so badly to do this on her own.

But we all battle our own demons, and Rachel’s are darker than anyone ever realized. When her dad’s minor freak-out reveals the childhood abuse to the entire staff — including Quinn and Serena, who both had no idea — Quinn says maybe the most telling thing to Rachel: “I know you think if you fix him, you’ll fix yourself, but that’s not how it works.” Dr. Simon is trying his best (or so it seems), but Rachel needs rehab just as much as her dad. But before she realizes that he needs more help than she could ever provide, she’ll go back and forth on this dream cabin she wants to buy. Another dream just out of reach; another peaceful life that Rachel thinks will solve everything.

I’m doing things a bit out of order because what’s actually happening on Everlasting isn’t as compelling as what’s happening backstage. Quinn knows this, so after Serena asks that this week’s “challenge” allow her to just sit down and talk to the guys, she balks at the suggestion. “Charlie Rose clipping his toenails from jail would get better ratings than this,” she says with a timely dig. But Rachel says it’s the only way to keep Serena thinking that she’s “in charge” (which, girl, of course you’re not!), so they do it. She asks Alexi about his drug problem, Owen about his first marriage, August about how many women he’s slept with. She refuses to speak to Jasper, whom she’s still pissed at thanks to the bet. But we know (and so does Quinn) that he’s just too big of a “wifey” to get rid of.

God, it’s all just so dull, so when Serena picks Guy (the suave food dude) to take on a date, Quinn and Chet have already figured out a plan to spice things up and screw him over. A joking slap-on-the-ass during skins versus skins volleyball earlier has them convinced that he’s gay, and in love with his old-timey cowboy roomie, Warren. Whether it’s true or not doesn’t matter. A sizzle reel full of insinuating clips and out-of-context quotes would do enough damage. They get Warren wasted and throw him into the Guy-Serena date, where he makes a scene — just what Quinn and Chet wanted. They’ll eventually convince Guy to come out as gay (he negotiates it “down” to bisexual) and leave the show. If he does, he’ll get not only promotion for his new restaurant on the Vegas strip, but the newlywealthy Quinn will give him the money to open it. Honestly, it’s not such a bad deal. Meanwhile, Warren the cowboy goes down the ship, with no hush money of his own, barging into Quinn’s office to announce that he knows about her and August and who knows if that’ll come back to haunt her (again).

But the real gay drama is happening behind everyone’s back, as Jay’s boyfriend Xavier show up out of nowhere to learn that he isn’t the star of the upcoming World of Dance — it’s actually Alexi, who’s still blackmailing Jay into getting him drugs in exchange for even participating. (Wouldn’t doing a show like that get you the money to get drugs yourself? It almost feels like manipulation for manipulation’s sake.) Xavier and Jay break up (yikes) and Jay ends up in Alexi’s room cheering himself up with cocaine. This isn’t going to end well.

So, who’s even left for poor Serena? August is still there, somehow, and I still suspect that the oft-ignored (but seemingly sweet!) Owen will end up being The Guy. UnREAL (and Everlasting, I guess) want you to put all your chips on Jasper, though. When Serena arrives back at the house after her disastrous date with Guy, she’s greeted to a Kanye-esque wall of flowers in the shape of a heart. It’s gaudy as all hell, but Jasper tells her it cost $100,000 — the other $300,00 he gave to charity — and it all adds up to, you guessed it, the price of the bet. Which, if you recall, he didn’t even technically win. He says he never would have accepted the money, anyhow. Sure, dude! It’s a big gesture, and Serena is slightly moved. She says she’ll think about it.

Speaking of gestures, if you’re still shipping Quinn and Chet after all this time, it seems like there may be hope for you yet. He thanks her for taking this “Emmy thing” seriously, as he wants to leave a “legacy” for his son, whom he claims he’ll never see. Quinn says he needs to fight for what he wants — for the Emmy, for his son, for … her? At least, I’m pretty sure that’s how he takes it.

Quinn doesn’t want Jeremy “fighting” for Rachel, though. After she finds him coming to check on her, she gives it to him straight: “Don’t. We cannot do this again.” It feels like it’s coming from a good place. What good can Jeremy do at this point? The only person who seems to be actually helping Rachel is the medical professional assigned with helping her from the start: Dr. Simon. He finally convinces her to bring her dad to a rehab center, but with that goes the $50,000 she needed for the cabin, thus trapping her in the Everlasting loop for another cycle.

UnREAL Recap: Symptoms of Withdrawal