Sunday, April 23, 2017

REVIEW: 'The Arrangement' - Kyle Gets a Little Self-Destructive While Worrying About Home Security in 'The Betrayal'

E!'s The Arrangement - Episode 1.08 "The Betrayal"

Megan begins a new TV gig with her childhood idol. Kyle and DeAnn clash over Kyle's next project. Terence makes Shaun an intriguing offer.

"The Betrayal" is a step in the right direction for The Arrangement. It focuses on the actual relationships between the character instead of using outside forces and darkness to create conflict. That makes this episode feel less manipulative as a whole. Of course, there's still some frustrating details about this hour. Everything related to the stalker story feels like one big mystery the show wants the audience to become obsessed with. Is it Terence? Or is it some random stalker? Kyle makes it known that he's had stalkers in the past. Both he and Megan have been followed around constantly without their knowledge or consent this season. And yet, how satisfying would it be if it's not revealed to be Terence who broke into Kyle's house? Right now, the show wants to play it both ways. It doesn't want Terence to be seen as the obvious guy behind this. So, a number of character are defending him - even though they aren't fully aware of how far he's willing to go to protect the Institute. And then, there are all the false teases that Kyle isn't alone in the house. Those can have purpose. But for the most part, it's just a couple of cheap thrills with nothing really to confirm the need to be afraid. Yes, someone is outside the house later on. But the identity of the person is still kept in secret. So, the mystery continues even though it's really difficult to engage with it or take it all that seriously.

It's more important to see how Kyle reacts to the break-in at his house. He's torn away from Terence and DeAnn. And now, Megan is the only person he trusts. He really does love her. He wants to be with her. He wants to live with her. The circumstances just make it all feel weird and less genuine. That's the point though. Megan even calls him out on it which is fantastic. Most of the time she just has to accept that there is darkness in Kyle's life that he doesn't want to tell her about. It's been frustrating all season long because it has been so cryptic. Megan is able to have this genuine conversation with Kyle about the state of their relationship because she is fully aware of the motivation behind the action. She's not in the dark like she is so much of the time. She may not know the truth of Kyle's falling out with Terence. She just knows that Kyle may be asking her to move in with him out of fear instead of love. That's a genuine concern to have that is allowed to have consequences in this episode.

Of course, Kyle also comes across as a pompous diva in this hour as well. DeAnn finally breaks the news to him that he can't direct the film he desperately wanted to do. He learns that not only was it the studio's fault but DeAnn's as well. The season hasn't done a whole lot with this character pairing so far. It's been more important that Kyle completely changes whenever Terence says so. This dynamic needs nuance as well. This fight seemingly gives that. It shows how annoying Kyle can be though. He's so frustrated that he can't direct this particular film. Of course, the audience has known for awhile that he won't be making it. So, it's hard to be invested in what he's feeling in this moment. It's the basis for an entire story. One that forces Terence and DeAnn to reflect on whether they've lost Kyle for good. Terence doubts that. And yet, DeAnn seems to have the realistic approach. Terence isn't interfering at all. DeAnn is putting in the work to make sure that Kyle still directs a great movie. It just means she has to use Megan in order to get what she wants. It seemingly works in the end too. Everyone keeps talking about how great this script from Annika is. It's setting up a lot of expectations. So, it better deliver in the end.

On top of all of this, Kyle may potentially be hurting his relationship with Megan as well. He listens to her when she pushes for the new movie script. He only reads it once she recommends it. He guarantees Megan that he is asking her to move in because he's ready for that next step in their relationship. And yet, he asks during a difficult time on the set of her new TV show. He makes the moment about him when she just needs some comfort. That's not okay at all. But Megan still believes him because it's been a frustrating and difficult time for everyone lately. Plus, they love each other. However, Kyle is still lying to Megan about a number of things. He brought a gun into the house because his new security expert told him to. He then almost shot Megan when she came home late at night and couldn't get the security code right. He makes the right decision to get rid of the gun after that. But he still hid it from her. And then, he doubles down on the lies by installing security cameras inside the house. She didn't want them there out of fear that a sex tape would be produced and released somehow. He understood that. But still, he gets them installed without telling her. They may be working on a new movie together soon. But all of this lying is going to come back to hurt Kyle sooner or later.

This episode even reveals another long-held secret to Megan as well. Megan really isn't a passive character but many people are keeping secrets from her which really isn't that okay. Shaun finally tells Megan that it was Hope who released the nude pictures of her earlier this season. It's enough to destroy the fun girls night they were having. The show really hasn't spent time on the three of them alone together in a long time. In fact, Megan's relationship with Shaun has been way more important than her dynamic with Hope. Hope just feels like a one-note character who is desperate for her chance at fame and doesn't see how destructive her actions can be. She feels like she is always right no matter what she does. The world is out to get Hope. And yet, she did a horrible thing to her friend. Megan is absolutely right to want nothing to do with Hope moving forward. This destroys their friendship. Hopefully, that likely means Hope will never be seen again. It would be very annoying if she kept showing up wanting to be a part of Megan's life while not owning up to the horrible thing she did. The show shouldn't force Megan to go back to Hope as a friend either when she ultimately becomes the only person who is not deeply connected to the Institute. That would feel very predictable. The show should avoid doing that moving forward.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Betrayal" was written by Olivia Briggs and directed by Lukas Ettlin.
  • All of the tension on the set of Megan's new TV show is a little too unbelievable. How has she never dealt with last minute script changes before? She's not completely new to this business. The show established that she was working before she started dating Kyle. But this story feels like something that would only happen for someone completely new to the business.
  • Plus, it's lame that the show goes the conventional and bland route of having Megan clash with her childhood acting idol. It was vastly compelling to watch when the two were friends who supported each other on set. Women empowering other women. But instead, the show takes the stereotypical turn of women being catting towards each other. It's just very lackluster and not earned at all.
  • Of all the fake teases of someone else being in the house with Kyle, the reveal with his assistant being there is the weakest. It's just this very drawn out sequence that plays on the darkness of the house. First of all, why is Kyle reading scripts by only firelight? And second, how could Kyle forget that his assistant was there?
  • Kyle has had a number of nightmares this season. That's to show that he is unstable and needs the Institute in order to keep his life balanced and intact. It's just weird because the Institute seems to be the source of his problems as well.
  • Shaun's commitment to the Institute has been a very rushed storyline this season. It has largely happened offscreen. It's the one thing to define her outside of her friendship with Megan. But it's still sudden and surprising whenever she talks with Terence. And now, he's offering her a job. So, she'll only get sucked further into this world.
  • If the stalker doesn't turn out to be Terence showing how much power he has over Kyle, then it will more than likely be Nate. He has quickly become obsessed with Megan and it's not romantic to watch at all.
  • DeAnn's sexual relationship with Annika ends just as quickly as it began. Annika's script will be made into a movie. She just can't be a part of the production because of whatever her role was in getting Kyle and Megan together. That mystery is still a thing that makes no sense whatsoever.