UnREAL (S03E07) “Projection”

This week we get to what was always my favourite episode of The Bachelorette and it’s counterpart The Bachelor; Home town dates. Well, just one in this case, but it was a riveting event all the same. While Rachel does her best to steer the ship it’s clear that she sees herself in Owen’s daughter Riley. She is sure that if Serena and Owen get together, then perhaps Riley will be spared the awful future that Rachel has envisioned. This leads to her micromanaging everything to the point where Quinn travels to Colorado to “fix” the shoot. The two quarrel, with Quinn making the solid point that Rachel is not Riley and Serena is not Olive. Rachel of course responds with disdain and stands her ground. It’s not unusual for the Boss lady to swoop in and take care of things, but this time Quinn crossed a line. Riley could have been hurt or worse, and yet all Quinn cares about is how good the footage is. Considering how Rachel is projecting, she takes the situation as harshly as one could expect. It definitely seems like the tension is amping up as the season progresses, but it’s impossible to predict how everything will play out come finale night.

The other factor of chaos in the hometown date is Serena herself. From the very beginning, she has given off an air of confidence, often making her opinion heard even when it was at the behest of the producers. Very early on Serena expresses concern over Owen being a parent, but she allows their connection to bloom anyway. As she says herself, the situation didn’t seem real until she was face to face with Riley. It’s clear that Serena has spent most of her life with her nose to the grindstone, so it’s possible that until recently she hadn’t even considered children. Initially she panics and tells Rachel she’s just not feeling it, but as the day progresses that starts to change. Serena begins to open up and soften, showing her continual personal growth since starting this journey. She even dives in front of a truck to save Riley, something that I’m not sure she would have done at the beginning of the season. Not that she is heartless, just that she would have let someone else jump in.

Back at the mansion, everything seems fairly hunky dory… Well as much as it can be when it’s overflowing with testosterone. Good Guy August decides to switch things up and use the show as a platform to bring awareness to the environment. He digs an infiltration basin to help the mansion be more sustainable, and while it certainly draws attention, it’s not quite the type he was hoping for. Jasper ends up hate-digging in competition, and Madison takes full advantage. She dangles a fake one-on-one date with Serena, and sure enough they all bite. August does get irritated and tries to leave, but then we are gifted with hands down the best sequence this season; hot guys mud wrestling. Now that’s what I call some quality female gaze! In the end that’s really all that comes out of it, but it was totally worth it.

Needless to say that as we get closer to the finale, everything is escalating. Asa is back home with Olive, Jeremy’s budding romance is wilting, and Rachel seems to be teetering. Plus, with Chet joining forces with Gary we know that Quinn is in for some serious trouble as well. Can ’Everlasting’ survive another hard hit? Or will all of the heads finally be cut from the Hydra? Tune in next week to find out!