UnREAL continues to be a show you really should be watching, even though you aren't.
This won't be a full-out review of the latest episode, "Wife," but just of the part of the episode that matters most for keeping this show at the cusp of TV excellence: the developing romance -- a romance that shouldn't be. And, of course, that's exactly the dangerous territory where the show could let us down, but it sure doesn't.
Spoilers after the fold.
In "Wife," we see something that this show really shouldn't be doing if it is to be a great show: Rachel is falling for the royal pain in the ass, Adam, who is the bachelor that 25 women were originally fighting for on their reality show, Enchanted.
There's a lot of reasons Rachel shouldn't fall for Adam. Adam's an ass. He has been manipulating Rachel and the Enchanted show to suit his own selfish purposes. Not really interested in finding a wife through a reality show, Adam puts the show down on a regular basis. He is manipulating these women and the entire show to get good publicity for himself and his vineyard. So, Adam's an ass.
Of course, that's not a good enough reason to think Rachel shouldn't fall for Adam. After all, Rachel's an ass too. Adam's manipulating these women, having no real interest in them, all for his own purposes. But, of course, it is Rachel's job to manipulate these women: it is her role as a producer to find these women's insecurities and abuse them to improve ratings. Rachel has no love for the show, or the real women on it. For example, when one woman's father died, Rachel mixed up the footage of her dealing with his death and fuming at the show for keeping her from visiting him in the hospital before he died, and Rachel made her look like a mad villain who was losing control over issues within the show, Enchanted. That's f-ed up, Rachel. You, too, are an ass.
The real problem with Rachel falling for Adam is that UnReal is better than that. Oh, forbidden love, oh she shouldn't be with him: he's the star of the show! Oh, he's an ass and she can't help loving him! Maybe she'll change him! It is all bull. It is not the level this show had previously established. It is Lifetime level TV, and I don't mean that in a good way. (For more on what Lifetime TV stands for, see A Deadly Adoption.)
So, when I was watching "Wife" and wondering where this was going, I had to give the show some benefit of the doubt. UnREAL has been good, and though I could see where this was heading, I needed to see where it headed.
Thankfully, UnREAL didn't let me down. What was fantastic about the way "Wife" ended was how Rachel reacted to finding out that Rachel was falling for Adam. At the end of the episode, Jeremy, Rachel's ex and Enchanted's new director of photography, shows Rachel the footage he took of Rachel and Adam sharing an unplanned, intimate moment. The footage, obviously, is of no use to Enchanted, and it could embarrass Rachel, so Jeremy tells her that he's giving her the only copy.
What's great about this scene is that Rachel is discovering that she has feelings for Adam, and the shock and disappointment on her face is clearly evident -- as evident, in fact, as are her feelings for Adam in the footage that Jeremy gave her.
So, yes, it is a bit cliche that Rachel is falling for Adam, and if that were the end of that, I'd have to question my very high assessment of UnREAL. But, the way in which we watch this budding romance -- not as a fallen love story that will ultimately surprise us by working out and causing each person to change for the other, but as a part of Rachel's downfall as she breaks bad in romantic reality TV -- shows why this show is incredibly good.
Which is why you should be watching.