Sunday, April 30, 2017

REVIEW: 'The Arrangement' - Megan Reveals More About Her Past and Deals with the Repercussions in 'Sins'

E!'s The Arrangement - Episode 1.09 "Sins"

Megan and Kyle must deal with the studio's troubling publicity campaign for The Kill Plan. Terence remains focused on his new project for the Institute while DeAnn moves ahead with the new movie she's producing.

The Arrangement operates under the notion that everything that happens in Hollywood is a well-crafted story by the actors, agents and studios at the center of it in an effort to increase self-promotion. At times, it's been a very cynical stance. The narrative has pulled back the curtain of this world to show some harsh and ugly truths. It's all been very overwhelming to Megan who believes that things can happen spontaneously and surprisingly as well. Of course, she fits into this shared narrative as well. She comes from a dark background that she has been running away from. She shares that with Kyle. They are kindred spirits in that regard. That makes them better and stronger as a couple than a simple marriage contract. That perception is important and vital especially as they go on this whirlwind romance. That's really the heart of the show. Megan and Kyle were forced together by circumstance but they really do love each other. Love came fast but they are the relationship that is most crucial to this show. None of the crazy plot developments work if they aren't stable and engaging to watch as a couple. And thus, "Sins" is a successful episode because it continues to twist these themes in a way that's very destructive to these core dynamics.

It also helps immensely that the show didn't wait until this point in the season to reveal all the mysterious secrets from Megan's past. It was vastly more interesting to watch once she told Kyle the truth about her stepbrother a couple of episodes ago. Of course, the reveal was still problematic. But it does have a stable foundation to add a new twist to it now. The reveal that Kyle's stalker is actually after Megan isn't all that surprising. It's just a new wrinkle added to the tale of her stepbrother's death. That was a curious detail the show purposefully left open-ended in the previous episode. It didn't tell Kyle or the audience how he died. It was just important that he was dead and could no longer hurt Megan - even though she's still traumatized by the experience. And now, everyone learns that she was the one who actually killed him. Shaun makes the claim that it was all in self-defense. That's the story that Megan tells Kyle as well. But there's still a ton of guilt flying around in Megan's mind - especially once the man who went to jail for the crime returns and demands money.

All of this happens right when Megan and Kyle were their happiest too. This has been an up and down season for them. At times, Kyle has been a toxic character whose behavior shouldn't be rewarded with a woman who loves and trusts him. And yet, that's exactly what occurred. Now, he come across as Megan's knight in shining armor who will save her from all of this. At first, it's simply a questionable publicity campaign. Megan doesn't like that fake relationship problems are being fed to the tabloids in order to promote the movie that Kyle is still filming. Kyle listens and acts impulsively. That's been a consistent quality of his this season. But here, it plays as a good thing because he proposes to Megan. It is a very sweet and romantic scene. It was predictable. It would have been weird if the two of them just had a conversation during a walk on the beach. This show loves going for the big moments of romance and dark twists. So, it was inevitable. But it was also easy to get swept up into the emotion of it all while also knowing that proposing now would have consequences because of the publicity campaign and the marriage contract.

Of course, the big problems then come from Megan's stalker. DeAnn is able to handle all the fallout that comes from the marriage proposal in regards to Amelia's team and the studio. It's simply action that happens offscreen. Meanwhile, the marriage contract really isn't mentioned at all by anyone who can actually enforce the details and stipulations. It just causes a lot of worry for Megan over what might happen. Instead, the true drama comes from this reveal of Megan's dark past. It forces everyone into action. At first, it seems like Megan is going to deliberately keep Kyle out of all of this. She worries about the effects the potential scandal could have on his career. But she would rather talk to Shaun instead of Kyle. Of course, she still goes to Kyle after awhile. She doesn't keep him in the dark that long. He's incredibly supportive as well even though he is deeply betrayed. He's right to feel that way. Plus, the show has done a fine job in explaining how their love is powerful enough for him to do this massive favor for her. He wants to help Megan pay off this criminal so that their love can be protected. He wants to do that for her. But she continues to spiral. She selfishly decides to run away and even provides Kyle with a story that can help him shape this narrative moving forward.

The final twist may be a little too much. Terence finds out about Megan's problems somehow. It's a little mysterious how he did. It seems unlikely that Shaun told him because she promised Megan that she wouldn't. Of course, she'll probably be blamed for it anyway. It seems more likely that Terence has access to the security cameras installed in Kyle's house. Megan doesn't know about them. Plus, Kyle isn't on speaking terms with Terence. So, this possibility would make it clear that Terence is still exerting control over Kyle's life even though he's pledged to stay out of it as of late. Nevertheless, it's just important that Terence knows what's going on and takes action. It confirms all of the sinister and dark things going on at the Institute. Of course, that's not surprising. It's just startling to see DeAnn as a willing participant while Kyle is completely in the dark. DeAnn hasn't been all that close to the nefarious inner workings of the Institute. This action proves that she's totally complicit and aware of everything that her husband is doing. She may not know the specifics all the time. But she knows that stuff like this is happening. She orchestrates Megan's abduction. She is taken to a remote Institute facility where she will likely be brainwashed into being a more active individual in the program. That's a nefarious place to end things for the hour. It leaves thing very intense heading into the season finale. And thus, it's a little conventional but it's still pretty effective as well.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Sins" was written by Rob Bragin and directed by Jonas Pate.
  • In additional financial issues, DeAnn is able to secure funding for the film Kyle and Megan want to do together while Terence struggles to raise enough money for his provocative new child outreach program. It shows that Terence needs the support of others in order to be all that successful with the Institute.
  • Shaun has also accepted a job as the in-house counsel for the Institute. At first, she questions if Terence has only offered her the job in order to get a connection to Megan outside of Kyle. But he's able to expertly manipulate her into taking the job as a way to improve her own life and reshape her narrative.
  • Megan worries if Amelia, Kyle's co-star in The Kill Plan who replaced Megan, actually wants a relationship with Kyle. It becomes even murkier once she checks into the hospital due to "exhaustion." Kyle then confirm she accidentally took too many pills. But then, all of this is completely dropped to focus on Megan's past.
  • Megan knows that the guy who is blackmailing her is also the guy who's been stalking Kyle's house. And yet, she doesn't tell Kyle that which is a little weird. It would help him understand all that has been going on in his life lately.
  • Megan reaches out to Leslie to see if she can get an advance on the marriage contract in order to pay off her blackmailer. Of course, she doesn't tell Leslie any of the details. That scene largely just happens to confirm that Terence knows what's going on. Why would he call Leslie though? It feels like a plot point more than something the character would actually do.
  • When Megan was taken by DeAnn, she was writing a note for Kyle to find because she was running away from him. Did DeAnn leave that behind for him to see? Or is he just going to be completely in the dark as to what happened to Megan? This plays like the thing that will force him to talk to Terence again.
  • The person who now seemingly runs the new building of the Institute is the woman who pretended to be a journalist to test Megan in a previous episode.