“Oh, God. Please let this be a great season.” – Quinn
These words spoken by Quinn (Constance Zimmer), co-creator of Everlasting, halfway through UnREAL’s third outing is more than just her hopes for Everlasting to be saved from the brink of cancellation. It is a hope that the fans have, and a hope that the executive producers have that UnREAL will be back on top once more after a rocky second season.
Picking up six months after the end of Everlasting’s 14th season, which saw ‘contestant’ Yael (Monica Barbaro) and Everlasting Executive Producer Coleman Wasserman (Michael Rady) run off the road by Jeremy (Josh Kelly), Camera Operator for the show, Quinn is in desperate need for Rachel (Shiri Appleby) to end her self imposed truth retreat. Convincing Rachel to return by saying “I need you. I miss you.”, Quinn was off to the network to have Chet (Craig Bierko), Everlasting’s other co-creator, convince the Network President Gary (Christopher Cousins) to give Everlasting another chance – this time promising an Emmy.
While Season 2 of UnREAL had Rachel tout that she will make history with the first Black male suitor, Season 3 once again flips the concept of a person looking for love on a reality show by introducing a female suitress, Serena Wolcott (Caitlin FitzGerald). She’s smart, she’s attractive, and she isn’t playing by the rules set in motion by Quinn and Rachel.
In an attempt to shake things up, recurring character Dr. Wagerstein (Amy Hill) has been replaced by Dr. Simon (Brandon Jay McLaren) who, like Serena, is not willing to play by the rules of the game. Whereas Dr. Wagerstein released confidential information to the Producers of the show in order to create easy scenarios for manipulation (which resulted in the death of a contestant in Season 1), Dr. Simon refuses to release that information. It is revealed towards the end of the hour that Dr. Simon may not be there for Everlasting at all, but rather to keep an eye on Rachel.
Rachel has a number of issues, many of which stem from working on the show, and was raped by a patient of her mothers when she was young. Dr. Simon seems to be employed by someone to keep an eye on her, to make sure she doesn’t go off the deep end again. Has Rachel’s mother hired Dr. Simon to keep an eye on her daughter or is Quinn putting up another layer of protection to ensure that Rachel doesn’t implode once more?
UnREAL took 18 months off to address the issues that Season 2 had, even Constance Zimmer acknowledges the season had some problems, so why is there a feeling of familiarity to the series? We had a character who was prepared to move on to the next round storm off after being cut on the first night, which also occurred in the very first episode. We have the suitor run off to a remote area just to get away from the overwhelming show. We have Rachel looking like she will have an intimate relationship with August, Australia’s very own Adam Demos, who is a contestant vying for Serena’s heart. Though this time he is a contestant and not the actual suitor.
The season introduces a number of exciting elements that should hopefully make this season a “great season”. Serena is unlike any other suitor before, and it is refreshing to have someone who isn’t there to be easily manipulated by Rachel and Quinn. Serena can offer a good push back to both of those women, as both parties try to control the show. Quinn looks like she has a number of tricks still up her sleeve, judging from the closing scene of the episode where she instructs the editor to put in a clip of Serena saying she is very good at her job and she shouldn’t have to apologise for it. Is this Quinn’s way to establishing control early on, that no matter what Serena does she will be ahead? Is Quinn planning to embarrass Serena and then turn around and say she herself is very good at her job and she shouldn’t have to apologise for it?
There is a lot to unpack in the Season 3 premiere episode, such as the blood pact that the four main characters take part in. Maddison seems to also be vying to take control of the show from Quinn by reporting back to, and sleeping with, Gary (though with a fourth season coming it’s hard to imagine she will be successful). There’s also Norman, the Jockey that Serena made out with, had sex with, and then cut twice over the course of one night. There’s no way she will make it out of the season without someone leaking the footage of her cutting him, just like Rachel said.
The Season 3 train is in motion and it will either end up derailing along the way or deliver one of the most explosive seasons in UnREAL. Either way, I will take a Slow Jo watch because I am all in on seeing where this season will go.