Season 2 of UnREAL has not been great. This is not to say that there haven’t been moments of greatness. Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer continue to shine in their respective roles, but the show, after a tense but sensible first season, has quickly devolved into a series of shock and awe moments with the slightest connective tissue between them.
For most of the season, it’s been hard to give UnREAL the benefit of the doubt that it would all come to an adequate end, but the hope was still there. The end is finally here and with it goes the hope. UnREAL does not stick the landing in the season 2 finale, and it might just be the worst episode of the series yet.
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The Dark Coleman Rises
Things start off with breakneck speed. Coleman is quickly apprehended by Rachel and Quinn. Rachel and Quinn tell Coleman they have discovered that his award-winning documentary is a fake. Though no one really needed to know for sure, it turns out that Coleman is just as much a fraud as Rachel and Quinn are. Coleman, in other words, has no credibility. If he tries to go to the press with Mary’s death, the girls will sink him with news of his fake documentary.
Coleman, ever the snake, tries to find another way to defeat Rachel and Quinn. Coleman’s solution is to recruit Jeremy in a dive bar from Hell and forge an alliance born from even further down in Hell. Jeremy, because he literally has nothing in his life, is all aboard the plan to get rid of Everlasting. Coleman (and Yael) ruins it all for Jeremy when they start callously talking about Rachel and her childhood rape in front of him.
This right here is the problem with Coleman and his character. It’s not enough for UnREAL that Coleman can just be a “good guy” we are rooting against because Quinn and Rachel are the main characters. UnREAL has to make us hate Coleman by having him be supremely obnoxious, grossly sexist and a massive liar. Coleman should be absolutely justified in wanting to sink Everlasting. They did (indirectly) kill Mary, and they covered it up. They humiliate and manipulate everyone on the show.
Yet by making Coleman and Yael be just as awful (and not nearly as well acted) as Rachel and Quinn, there is no tension to this conflict. There should be some internal turmoil in wanting to see Coleman win because he should be “right,” but it’s not the case. Coleman’s not right or likable or even justified in the end. He’s arguably worse than Quinn and Rachel. Coleman doesn’t want to sink Everlasting because of what they did to Mary; he just wants to be famous.
Jeremy Saves the Day?
Now, Jeremy might be a total mess of a human being, but since he originated in season 1, aka the good season of UnREAL, he’s not a complete caricature of awfulness. Jeremy decides to go to Rachel and tell her about Coleman and Yael’s plot. Rachel quickly tries to shut it down, locking Yael in her room until the end of the season. Coleman refuses to surrender and fights back.
Coleman is extraordinarily smug. He tells Rachel that he will go to the press anyway. Coleman’s plan is to admit that his documentary was a fake and make the public love him with a heartfelt apology. Afterwards, Coleman, with Yael at his side, will reveal all of Everlasting‘s secrets, and there is nothing that Rachel can do to stop him. Coleman doesn’t literally say that cliched phrase, but he gets so very close. My eyes roll so much at that exchange that they get so very close from never being normal again.
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The Darius Problem
While all of this is going on, Everlasting is still filming and Darius is still technically a character on the show. Quinn, straight from from her break-up with John, wants to humiliate Darius and his remaining women on national TV. Quinn’s plan is stage a live wedding and force Darius to choose between Tiffany and Chantal on the spot.
This move enrages Jay, who has actually grown to care about Darius as a person. Jay might be the only person, real or imaginary, who does care about Darius because the writers of UnREAL certainly haven’t cared all season. Rachel finds Jay on the set and gets him to open up about these feelings. Rachel decides that she is going to do something different with Darius. Maybe they will have a happy ending for once on this horrible reality franchise.
As Darius is confronted with Chantal and Tiffany in tacky (and identical) wedding dresses, another lady appears. Ruby is back! Jay and Rachel have called Ruby back on set, and Darius is overjoyed. Darius quickly dumps both remaining ladies and asks Ruby to take him back. Ruby agrees, and the two go hand-in-hand into a limo and into a happy life together.
The Final Solution
They are the only couple leaving Everlasting intact and alive. When Darius picks Ruby, the season is over, so Yael is allowed to leave the set with Coleman. The two rats go away and are determined to give an interview immediately. They just never make it there alive because Jeremy takes matters into his own hands.
Jeremy sabotages Coleman’s car, and it causes a fatal crash. Yael and Coleman are both killed in the wreckage, and the secret of Mary’s death is now safe. So to be clear, UnREAL just killed two more people to cover the death of one person that was really more of an accident than a real murder. There is no ambiguity with Yael and Coleman’s death. Jeremy just murdered them.
At this rate, I’m worried for UnREAL season 3 and its inevitable big finale twist. Will Chet just stage a terrorist bombing or something equally gratuitous and violent to win Quinn’s heart back? Will everyone in the next season of Everlasting just spontaneously combust because of Madison’s actions? Will Quinn’s words actually break someone’s skin and bones? Better yet, will I even still be watching UnREAL at that point?
(Image courtesy of Lifetime)