UnREAL s1 ep 7

“This is on us. This is our fault.”

After last week’s tragedy, there’s more than enough guilt and self-loathing to go around the Everlasting set – albeit Rachel shoulders most of it – but there’s a conspicuous amount of self-justification to accompany it.

The despicable Shia confesses to switching Mary’s meds, but then spends the rest of the episode insisting everyone but her is to blame for the consequences. Quinn’s happy to cover up a dreadful crime in the name of saving the show and the jobs of the people who work on it. And Jeremy uses Rachel’s grief as an excuse to scratch his Rachel itch, offering sex as comfort and getting pissy when she treats it as such.

Another bleak, brutal episode of this unflinching look at tv’s underbelly, then, with its flawed, complicated, mostly female characters (eat your hearts out Draper, White et al) doing very bad things while trying to convince themselves they’re for very good reasons.

And yet, for all the lines they cross, I can’t help but like Rachel and Quinn. Adam spitting out “Just face it, you’re a monster!” is entirely understandable but so is his heartfelt “I’m sorry” when he comforts Rachel at the end of the ep (actually comforts her, Jeremy, see what that looks like? Also, SQUEE! ) – he can see the aching vulnerability and sadness in her, just as the audience can.

Conversely, while Quinn isn’t so much vulnerable as almost invincible, it’s impossible not to warm to her indefatigable strength and sass. She is fantastic. As is UnREAL itself. I’m running out of ways to say it, but it’s one of the most surprising, challenging, best shows on TV and I love it.

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