Sunday, February 16, 2020

REVIEW: 'Dare Me' - Addy and Beth Fight Before Regionals While Colette Hits a Breaking Point in 'Scorched Earth'

USA's Dare Me - Episode 1.07 "Scorched Earth"

Amid the heat of Regionals, Addy, Beth and Colette decide what matters most, leading to a faceoff.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of USA's Dare Me.

"Scorched Earth" was written by Joe Johnson and directed by Bronwen Hughes

The season has long teased that some dark twist was always on the horizon for the main characters. In fact, every relationship seems to be constantly shifting. One moment things could be fostering intimacy. The next moment the people want to kill each other. That's the erratic nature of the human experience. At times, it's a celebration for all that can be accomplished. At other times, it's paranoia that feels as if any moment could potentially turn deadly and one has to react before that can happen. This episode concludes with Colette seeming to have killed her lover, Will. Early on, Addy saw this connection as genuine and loving. She was annoyed when Colette decided to spend time with her actual husband, Matt. She couldn't picture them as a happy couple. That was simply her coach choosing to embrace the safe option while allowing herself to have fun elsewhere. Things have intensified very quickly for Colette. Addy has been along for this journey as well. She and Beth were there to see Colette and Will hooking up in his truck. The threat of that potential video coming out fueled the storytelling in the early going. But now, Addy is completely supportive and complicit in this affair. She ensures that Colette and Will are given the freedom and space to express however they are freeing. They welcome that as well. It quickly turned toxic though. Will was previously thought to be a nice and noble guy who had the requisite perspective in order to help inform the next generation about the decisions they are faced with. Kurtz and Tibbs are more than willing to lie in order to recruit. They don't care about the potential consequences of their actions. They just want to present a rosy look at the marines and the opportunity it could provide for the people stuck in this town. Michael is weighing his options. Meanwhile, everyone continues to believe that the cheer squad doing well at regionals and qualifying for state will solidify their place in the hierarchy of this culture. Their accomplishments should be celebrated much more so than any male sport. In fact, these girls have such contempt for any male cheerleader. They view them as perverts who are desperate to touch women's bodies. Of course, they enjoy being sexualized as well. There is the inherent contradiction to all of this. These girls believe that their opinions matter more than anyone else's. They are the ones with the power and should be respected no matter what. And yet, their actions are just as heinous and destructive as the rest of society. Colettte broke to the point where she thought murder was the only viable solution to her dynamic with Will. She understood that he was a presence who allowed her to embrace the fun and excitement of uncertainty. However, Matt has always been the stabilizing and grounding force necessary in order to build a sustainable life for her. That's why she remains happy with him. She is grateful for the life they have together. She knows she can rely on him for support. She also knows that she can call Addy knowing that she will come running to the crime scene to help. That friendship is also toxic. Colette was once furious that Addy brought Beth to her home after possibly being sexually assaulted. And now, she demands that exact same gesture of support from a girl who looks up to her with love and affection. Everyone sees the intimacy between Addy and Colette. There is comfort there. It is what Addy once had with Beth. And now, that relationship explodes right before the squad performs their routine. That fools the narrative into believing that something drastic is about to happen onstage. It doesn't. That shows how people can often present a good and brave face even though tragedy is happening behind-the-scenes. Addy is caught up in this mess now. She won't know how to help her coach. Colette has put her in this compromising position because she has made Addy beholden to her respect. That has long been a manipulative relationship this season. And now, the consequences are likely to ripple out to ruin whatever they were hoping to achieve in Sutton Grove. Beth is devastated in her own personal way. She wants Tacy to hurt just as much as she does. But she also feels betrayed by her best friend who is choosing to trust someone new and seemingly random. The audience has seen that intimacy grow. Beth has chosen to be absent from it. That distance hasn't always helped her. But again, it proves that so many relationships in this world are toxic and will only lead to despair. Those personal feelings can be repressed and pushed to the side as Colette expresses to Addy here. That may be too unhealthy in the long run while propping up wrong behavior just to avoid dealing with any of the true emotions.