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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from “Insurgent,” the second episode of UnREAL season two.]
Let the backstabbing begin.
In UnREAL’s second episode, Rachel (Shiri Appleby) tries to climb the Everlasting ladder by going behind Quinn’s (Constance Zimmer) back and tattling on her and Chet (Craig Bierko) to network head Gary (Christopher Cousins). Ultimately her plan backfires, and new producer Coleman (Michael Rady) joins the crew, effectively demoting both Rachel and Quinn.
Below, Appleby tells The Hollywood Reporter about Quinn and Rachel’s fallout after this betrayal, how Coleman and Rachel’s relationship will evolve from jealousy to romance and how Adam (Freddie Stroma) will come back in the picture in season two.
How does Rachel going behind Quinn’s back to Gary affect their relationship moving forward?
It definitely puts them on the rocks. I completely betrayed her trust. She obviously knows the rules of rank, but Rachel just ignores them. Basically for her own benefit, she is really taking quite a risk going to the network head … Now Rachel is living with a secret, so she feels very uncomfortable around Quinn.
Does that make her even more on edge, knowing that secret could come out at any time?
That’s exactly right. She feels tremendously guilty and incredibly nervous, and is constantly looking over her shoulder.
Now that Coleman has taken Rachel’s ideal job, what is she doing? Has she been demoted, or is she on the same level she was before?
She’s not even on the same level because she is not producing any girls. Her only responsibility is Darius, but at the same time there are other producers that work him from time to time. She’s really there biding her time, so when Coleman comes into the picture she is really sizing him up.
How does Coleman and Rachel’s relationship progress from animosity to romance?
It’s a lot of Rachel’s manipulation tactics, sort of seeing who’s the best person to side with in this situation, so I don’t [know] that her intentions are completely pure. She doesn’t have a tremendous amount of power, so she has to figure out what she’s gonna do to get some power back.
Is this relationship more or less stable than what she had with Jeremy?
It’s healthier in the sense that they are both highly intelligent, highly driven and maybe working toward a similar cause or a similar fate. There is more of an intellectual connection. There’s an attraction. He’s obviously attractive, and power is attractive to her. Someone that she can climb the ladder with in a quick way is what I think Rachel is constantly looking for. Some sort of easy escape route.
Are we going to see more of Jeremy’s meddling with her mom and the aftermath with that?
A big majority of this season — at least the first half of the season — is how much can Rachel take? How much of a survivor is she? It’s almost like everything that happens to her is with the filter of: Is this rock bottom? Do I need my mom? Do I need the drugs? And those really just represent, again, another escape route. Just checking out and going flat.
[Creator] Sarah [Shapiro] said that Adam would be back and very naked this season. What can you tease about that?
Well, we’re basic cable so there is only so much we can see. I think the audience of Everlasting likes to see the suitor Adam disrobed, so that’s something that maybe Quinn uses to her benefit.
Because of their falling out, does Quinn not factor in Rachel’s feelings when bringing Adam back?
Once Quinn demotes Rachel and takes away the showrunner job, there’s a lot of broken trust between them. That’s something that comes into play throughout the season: How do they operate without being on the same team?
How is Rachel handling Darius differently than she handled Adam last season?
She was very much a straight shooter with both of them. With Darius, she knows he’s a football player so he wants to be treated like the hero and feel incredibly proud and strong like a man. She really lets him have that bravado and she takes a step backward with him. Because there isn’t any sort of romantic flirtation with him, she dilutes any kind of sexuality out of herself when she deals with him. When she was manipulating Adam, she could use her body, she could use her looks, but she could also really be sarcastic with him and put him down about things. Rachel would never do that to Darius.
Do you think there is anything that would make Rachel leave Everlasting again at this point? Is she in a place where at this point this is all she can do, this is all she knows?
That’s a really, really good question. I feel like she’s got her sights set a lot higher than this place, but it’s almost like she’s a cat chasing her tail — she doesn’t know how to get out of it. She’s stuck in this tornado, but I think her real goal and her real objective is to get out of here. So that’s why all of these people — Quinn, Adam, Jeremy, potentially Coleman — are people she can jump a ride to to the next spot with, and she’s just figuring out who the best person is to hitch a ride with.
How does Quinn and Rachel’s fractured relationship impact Everlasting, and also Rachel’s well-being? Is she going to spiral out of control?
Rachel and Quinn separating is definitely nerve-racking at first, and then Rachel starts to get a little more sure of herself. The season starts to explore this concept of her asserting her own independence, feeling secure in her own strength, feeling more confident and having more of a sense of conviction. She really pushes that against Quinn to see how much she’s capable with without her. It’s very much like a teenager asserting her independence. On the show, Rachel wants to keep things cool with Darius because she brought him here and having the first black suitor was her idea, so she feels a responsibility in it. But since she has been demoted, she’s twiddling her thumbs without much to do, and it makes her incredibly bitter.
UnREAL airs Mondays at 10 p.m. ET on Lifetime.
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