UnREAL “War” Review (Season 2 Episode 1)

Well… safe to say that UnREAL is unapologetically back, delivering a season premiere that quickly reestablishes the cold, cruel world that exists behind-the-scenes and on-the-set of Everlasting. “War” shows that Quinn and Rachel are ready to fully exploit the power of their new roles on set, bringing in the show first black bachelor – a feat the real Bachelor has still never managed – and doing everything they can to keep Chet from taking control of the show back.

More importantly, this episode reminds anyone who could’ve possibly forgotten that everyone on this show is exemplary of humanity’s worse. Of course, watching these people be horrible to one another is part of the perverse joy that fuels this show, and it’s reflective of the same enjoyment people get out of actual dating shows. The difference is that this show is at least fully fictional, and at least serves as an indictment of how the reality shows are made.

Still, it can be a hard show to get through this show once the more doe-eyed or optimistic bachelorettes show up, so it was actually a bit of a relief that so much time in this episode was spent in the pre-season. Make no mistake, though, watching Rachel heartlessly goad Madison or actively manipulate potential contestant Ruby, all in the service of better ratings, is sickening stuff, and it’s only going to get worse in the coming weeks. Honestly, a lot of the worst behavior this week comes back to Rachel; though last season started her off as a somewhat sympathetic figure force back into servitude, this season shows her operating at new levels of manipulative cruelty.

The trick, of course, is that in so many of these cases, the second you start to feel bad for someone, you’re reminded that they’re still pretty awful all on their own. Watching Madison weepily struggle through her interview with a contestant who lost her husband was gut-wrenching, and made it seem like the woman had no idea how hard being a producer on the show would actually be. But seconds later, she’s talking about how exhilarating the experience was with a smile.

Outrage doesn’t last long on this show, and whatever line these people think or say they won’t cross, well… no one ever leaves the show. Even seeming “good guy” Jeremy stuck with the show, and now he’s sticking around just to try and tear Rachel’s life apart. The competition for worse person ever is always alive and kicking on this show, and it’ll be interesting to see how things develop as the show moves forward.

What did you think of this week’s episode? Let me know in the comments!