Television UnREAL

UnREAL Review of “Infiltration”

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Source: Vulture

Episode 5 “Infiltration”

Just when I thought it was somewhat safe for the participants and crew of ‘Everlasting,’ life comes at them hard. I had an inkling Quinn would look for ways to get the sweetest revenge possible on Rachel after the latter stabbed her in the back; what I didn’t know were the lengths Quinn would stretch to ruin any and everyone standing in her way.

We’ve seen the manipulation, the production of “genuine moments and connections,” but the audience hasn’t seen a separation of the philosophy between Rachel and Quinn before. With Rachel tattling to the network head, Coleman supplanting Quinn AND Chet and Rachel subsequently hooking up with Coleman, there’s a definite…shift. ‘Everlasting’ is barely about Darius and whom he chooses anymore-it’s about power dynamics, influence and who’s the head boss. The episode begins with Coleman taking Rachel to the Impact Awards, an industry fete with the crème de la crème of television society. While the two lovebirds plan to pitch a VERY RICH MAN (all caps necessary) on several pilots and documentaries, Quinn plans to be there as well. Until Rachel waves the two tickets (not three, two) in her face and states she and Coleman will be attending. Not Quinn.

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This IS a show about a bachelor and his choice of ladies and it’s wonderful to see Darius make an actual connection with Ruby. Yes, that Ruby. They talk, they vibe, they smooch and he makes a one-on-one date happen, even though Ruby wasn’t the fan’s choice. It’s a beautiful moment…and you just KNOW something awful is going to happen.

At the Impact Awards, Rachel, Coleman and Quinn shoot their shots to VERY RICH MAN, John Booth (played by the VERY HANDSOME ACTOR, Ioan Gruffudd). He is most taken with Quinn and confesses to being a huge ‘Everlasting’ fan. Ignoring Rachel and Quinn, Booth’s focus is all Quinn, all night. When Quinn gets a call from Madison saying “the eagle has landed,” she invites him to the closed set and he happily tags along.

What occurs next is shameful, salacious and awful. Ruby and Darius are hot and heavy on their overnight date and the cameras are rolling in Darius’s suite. Cameras that aren’t supposed to be there. Audio that isn’t supposed to be recording. It’s a violation of privacy and all decency…and Quinn pulled it off. When Madison swoops into the control room with Ruby’s father Dr. Carter, the humiliation (and elimination) of Ruby is complete. When Darius cuts Ruby in the next candle ceremony, it feels anticlimactic almost. We knew it was coming and we knew who made it happen.

After being revolutionary in having a Black bachelor, the fact that Quinn gaslit and ruined a dark-skinned, Black woman (who had a chance at an honest relationship with Darius), was severely disappointing, but unsurprising. MSM (including faux romance competitions) will choose to see the nuance and beauty in Black love 99.9% of the time. Quinn had no time for “The Notebook, but for Black people,” as Jay so eloquently put it.

The show could’ve ended there. It was a bang-bang moment that packed emotional heft. It didn’t though. “UnREAL” is a show that is determined to push boundaries and limits and when Jeremy (heretofore known as THAT ARSEHOLE)-who declared his love for Rachel to Chet on their vision quest-punches Rachel, it slaps the audience. Jeremy has been mean and vindictive but was setup as a “good guy” or “nice dude” in season one. It didn’t take long for his true colors of abuser to come out. Hitting any woman is beyond the pale. The fact that he declared his “love” for Rachel within the same television hour was warped, strong storytelling and realistic.

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