Episode 6 “Ambush”

“UnREAL”-and to an even greater extent, it’s show within, “Everlasting”-has pushed boundaries and smashed convention in its short season and a half on Lifetime Network. It provides a cathartic release for the doldrums of daily life and offers respite and a sense of escapism through a gossipy, reality lense. Its never taken itself to seriously or gone off-brand…until last week’s episode.

And when it runs off the rails, it goes full tilt, screaming into a gaping abyss.

Premise: Darius upset with Rachel. Rachel off of her meds. Quinn gets cozy with John Booth. Darius brings Romeo back. Quinn brings season 1 suitor ADAM back. And this is where things get ridiculous.

In their efforts to make television that “matters,” Rachel and Coleman do the stupidest thing a person could ever do: call in a stolen car report on Darius, Romeo, Tiffany and Yael (who skipped the compound in the set’s Bentley). And why, pray tell is that the stupidest thing they could’ve done, you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you. Calling the police on 2 Black men, traveling with 2 white women in a luxury automobile is not just problematic, it is a maim or death wish for 2 of the people in that situation. What Rachel and Coleman call “compelling, important work,” I call bullcrap.

Of COURSE things go south. Of COURSE Romeo is shot. Of COURSE. Of COURSE. Of COURSE.

Here’s what’s worse: none of this (NONE) is seen through the eyes of those affected by it. Romeo is shot and we don’t know if he’s dead, in a coma or doing okay, considering. Darius’s reaction to his BFF/cousin being a victim of police brutality isn’t registered at all. What we do see is Rachel. Rachel’s reaction. Rachel’s meltdown. Rachel’s eventual surrender to her mother’s psychiatric care. Rachel. Rachel. Rachel.

And therein lies the main problem-and my complaint-about this episode. An important issue like trigger happy policing against Black people is completely co-opped by white feminism emotion. The end scene of Rachel almost catatonic in the mental health ward barely registered because of the abhorrence of the subject matter handling. I can only hope “UnREAL” and its writers’ room learns from this egregious mistake and stays in their lane for the rest of the season and beyond.

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