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UnREAL - Fugitive & Espionage - Review: "I Love You, You're Fired"

Coleman you dirty rat fink! Okay, though many things happened in “Fugitive”, Coleman being a dirty rat fink is what’s left at the bottom of the pot when everything else boils away. That and Rachel’s mom being an ABSOLUTE VILLAIN. But onto that later.

“Fugitive” pretty actively redefines everyone’s jobs: Quinn is firmly back in charge after Romeo and Darius’ disastrous run-in with the cops, Jay is her Number Two when he manages to bring Darius back into fold, Coleman is all but fired, left to run out his contract with no actual job to do, and Rachel is out of commission, locked away in a psych ward somewhere under her mother’s total control. With nothing better to do (and because he “loves” her?), Coleman finds Rachel and rescues her from her mother’s creepy psych prison- was that her home? A chilling thought. Of course, he only does so after forming a vague alliance with Yael, who reveals herself to being an investigative journalist covering Mary’s murder and its cover-up last season (well, manslaughter, I think).

I’m actually pretty impressed with Yael after this. She is super “snobby”, to quote Madison, and not particularly likeable, but the girl came in with a mission and she’s committed. Of course, I’ll never get past her hooking up with the likes of Jeremy, for ethical reasons, sure, but mostly because he is an awful source regardless. He’d be spewing hateful crap no matter what, which is questionable material to form a piece of journalism around. That being said, I’m happy to fully understand Yael’s motives now and wish it had come earlier in the season.

She gets Coleman on board pretty easily, and I see how their views align, but the way he goes about using Rachel is despicable. Trying to coax a confession out of someone who is coming off a trauma and heavily medicated is beyond shady, but when it’s your girlfriend? I love that Rachel caught right on to the fact that she was being filmed, and I think she had been feeling guilty for so long that it was easy for her to just let it out.

Afterwards, when her mother shows up on set once again, I found it incredibly maddening the way the two talked in circles around their “big secret”. Rachel’s mental health has been a fairly constant part of show and that has built suspense around her past far better than her mother showing up and basically twirling her bad-guy mustache at everyone until Rachel finally confesses what we already knew: her mom is evil. Rachel’s mother covering up her own daughter’s rape is vile, and controlling her treatment after is truly villainous, but the build-up to its disclosure could have used some subtlety.

On the set, Darius is MIA and everyone is constructing a filler episode with the remaining contestants while Jay tracks him down. Darius is absolutely justified in leaving the show at this point, and I’m sure he feels guilty for not having left earlier, but he is also running out of career prospects fast. His conversation with Ruby was beautiful. He tracks her down, confessing he regrets letting her go for the sake of his image and that he wants to be with her now, but Ruby has an excellent bullshit-o-meter and calls him out with zero mercy. “You told the world I’m not a love story,” she says, for nearly every black woman on television ever, and she walks away proud. Again, I wish that story had been told all season and not in one five-minute scene, but it was still great to watch.

Off that punch to the gut, Jay levels with Darius, laying out his options going forward. Football is out, so his tentative celebrity is all that remains. Jay sets Tiffany up as Darius’ best future- if the “Everlasting” itself isn’t enough to save him, marrying the daughter of a pro-football magnate might do it. Darius follows Jay back to set, but he is very much over EVERYTHING about the show and he lets everyone know it. The last scene where he saves Tiffany, ruins snooty Chantal’s idiotic dream date, and unceremonious dumps Jameson was maybe a little harsh, but it did not lack for energy. There were too many twists and emotional dumps in “Fugitive” to call it a good episode, but it did finally find some momentum at the end. Hopefully UnREAL can find a way to better focus its energy for the remainder of the season.

In “Espionage”, Coleman and Yael are officially in cahoots. He tries to bring Rachel on board, not trusting her with the truth about Yael, of course, but hoping he can turn her against Quinn and “Everlasting”. Rachel is toeing the line at this point; the show is obviously toxic, and her relationship with Quinn is fractured, but it has also become something of a home to her. Plus, we’ve all seen how proud Rachel is of doing her job well, and that’s only magnified when earning hard-won approval from Quinn. Amid this professional conflict is Yael’s shameless seduction of Coleman, which Madison picks up on right away. She rubs it in Rachel’s face and it plants a seed: Can Rachel trust Coleman?

In a word, no, but the audience knows more of this than Rachel does. Before that seed can sprout, however, Rachel first focuses on making Yael’s life miserable. She’s an easy target, the last contestant left who isn’t a wifey, and she’s also tremendously unlikeable on the show. The way Rachel sets her up, though, is… just so extra. Poisoning a contestant is horrendous, though it’s a mild poisoning and producers have certainly done worse, they’ve done worse this season, but the embarrassment that comes with getting diarrhea in a white dress on camera is a special kind of awful. It’s an almost poetic punishment for Yael though, the worst imaginable experience for a woman who takes herself so seriously, reveling in the “Hot Rachel” persona just to make Regular Rachel suffer, and in that Rachel really succeeds. It’s a perfect checkmate.

Of course, it’s sort of overkill, since all she really knows is that Yael flirted with Coleman, but the prospect of getting in good with Quinn again is another bonus, and it pays off. There’s also a lot of debate about Chantal: should she bow out and save face, as Tiffany is all but chosen, or should she go all in and try to snake the whole competition? Her date with Darius finally illustrates chemistry between them, albeit at the latest possible moment, but just in time.

Rachel and Quinn drinking margaritas was a “FINALLY” moment for me, even though I assumed Rachel was setting her up the entire time. Revealing later that Coleman tapped Rachel’s cell and got the entire conversation without her permission was just another reason to dislike and distrust him, which sets up Quinn and Rachel’s reunion even better. The bigger set up, though, was Quinn’s meltdown after finding out she can’t have kids. I was actually getting really uncomfortable seeing Quinn so happy all the time, it’s actually pretty satisfying to see her miserable again. Her abrupt dumping of Booth, assuming she could now never make him happy, was sharp and brutal, but the subsequent tantrum was a bit over the top.

It made a certain sense. I can see how, as a self-professed workaholic, Quinn would just assume she always had the option to live another life, a better life, whenever one came along, but in that moment Quinn realizes she no longer has a choice. She assumed her life would get better when the right person came along. Well that person did, and it won’t. That is powerful as an idea, but the entire Booth relationship was so rushed, especially the part about wanting kids, that the meltdown didn’t feel entirely earned and I had to reach a bit to understand why Quinn was so upset. It’s all there, it’s just not laid out well.

The final scene between Rachel and Coleman serves to firmly establish Coleman as an enemy to Rachel, not to mention his hook-up with Yael, which I very much hope will be found out soon. She confesses everything to Quinn, and they are brought together by the best possible circumstances for an impending television finale: a common enemy.

Post script:

I don’t really care about the Quinn/Booth baby stuff. It feels so out of left field.

Was Coleman the first person Rachel told about her rape? I thought so, but it seemed like Quinn knew why Rachel hates her mom?

What’s worse than Ruby and Yael only getting a decent narrative in the eight episode of the season is how Romeo’s been handled: he gets passed around early on without much purpose and kicked off just to isolate Darius, then brought back only to be SHOT by the COPS and then never seen again?? What the hell?

Darius' "Bitch, please" to Rachel was such a knife twist... He's not wrong, though.

Thoughts on Tiffany and Chet? Namely, what, like... is that?

That last scene where Quinn tells Rachel she loves her and tries to fire her is everything. So many crying emojis.

About the Author - Lindsey
Midwest native, Los Angeles transplant. Reader, writer, bartender, and film/TV nerd. Salad bar enthusiast. Watch this space!
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