The last time UnREAL fans saw Quinn and Rachel wreaking havoc on the set of Everlasting was all the way back in 2016.
The Lifetime drama finally returns on Tuesday, and it sounds like the show is exploring new territory. Season 3 goes deeper into the lives of both Rachel and Quinn, and there is a major change coming to Everlasting: a female suitress.
Her name is Serena, and she's played by Caitlin Fitzgerald (Masters of Sex, Rectify, Gossip Girl). The first two seasons featured male suitors, so this just might be the change UnREAL needs to get back to its roots and what fans loved so much in Season 1.
SheKnows talked via email with this season's showrunner, Stacy Rukeyser, and four new stars (Brandon Jay McLaren, Adam Demos, Bart Edwards and Kassandra Clementi). From our conversation, it sure sounds like the third season has a lot in store for viewers.
With that, let's dive into all the spoilers they gave about Season 3, which will probably get you even more excited for the new season.
Dr. Simon (McLaren) is a former corporate crisis counselor and is known for being something of a fixer. Quinn brings him to the set of Everlasting as a psychologist and, McLaren said, he'll go on "an intimate, emotional journey" alongside her.
"When first introduced to the Everlasting set, there is a steep learning curve for him, as he must acclimatize to their unusual and cutthroat work practices. But once he learns the ropes, his laser focus on improving Rachel's mental health may result in him compromising his own," McLaren told us.
"Dr. Simon starts off as a highly professional, hyper-ethical man of integrity. Then Everlasting happens. He quickly finds himself behaving in the same manner that he initially loathed." That sounds about right for anyone who enters this reality TV world. And the most shocking thing fans will see from his character? It "involves a camera and a grip truck," McLaren said.
At the end of Season 2, Coleman and Yael got into a really bad car accident that appeared to be caused by Jeremy. It seemed to be his way of saving the show — and Rachel. Well, that will be touched upon this season.
"Quinn has brought in what we call a 'real-ass shrink' to Everlasting for the first time," showrunner Rukeyser said. "Dr. Simon was supposed to just be a 'safety net' for Rachel. But he turns out to be much more in that he forces Rachel to confront her own responsibility in terms of what Jeremy did to Coleman and Yael. Dr. Simon then takes it a step further when he encourages Rachel to confront where the darkness inside her comes from."
In Season 2, it was also revealed that Rachel was raped by one of her mom's patients when she just a child, which has understandably affected her entire life. That's something she's going to face and work through in the third season.
"This season really is Rachel Goldberg’s #MeToo moment — even though it was written and produced and edited before that movement even had a hashtag! — in the sense that Rachel confronts not only the rape she suffered when she was 12 years old, but also as she confronts the way her parents dealt with that trauma. Or refused to deal with it," Rukeyser said. "Of course, because she’s Rachel Goldberg, she’s not going to handle this process by the book, but she is earnest in her attempt."
You better familiarize yourself with August (Demos), a pro surfer and humanitarian who appears to be getting close to Rachel, as you can see above. Demos' role is said to be a pivotal one, which may or may not have to do with August becoming "involved in a major love triangle that becomes so important to the show it carries into Season 4 as well," according to his character description.
Demos described August as "a good bloke who’s on the show to promote certain causes and who’s also a bit of a ladies' man, which definitely gets him into trouble." But, he said, August does grow throughout the season: "I think by the end he’s no longer quick to judge that people can form a legitimate connection on a dating show."
If you really want to see what August is up to this season, scroll down to No. 8 and check out the Season 3 trailer.
Jasper Hunt (Edwards) is a handsome, successful Wall Street investment banker, but he's "full of himself," Edwards said. "He enters the mansion with all the confidence in the world. On paper, he's a perfect match for Serena. Be ready to see some bubbles burst."
Edwards also called this season a "roller coaster for everyone" and said, "You'll certainly be seeing Jasper and all the other contestants battling tooth and nail for Serena's heart. Be assured punches will not be pulled. It's going to be exciting to see how much ego really can fit in the mansion."
That's right — Chet has a new lady in his life: Crystal (Clementi), a "bubbly, naive and enthusiastic girl who is dubbed as Chet's 'midlife crisis' choice in girlfriend." Clementi added that Crystal "comes in and shakes things up between [Chet and Quinn] and inevitably herself too."
Last season, Quinn learned she couldn't have children, so what's ahead for her? Especially with Chet walking around with a 24-year-old swimsuit model girlfriend? Rukeyser told us, "It’s one thing for Quinn to know that she can’t have children and to preemptively break up with her boyfriend, as she did at the end of Season 2, if she knows that her career is soaring. That is so much how Quinn self-identifies."
Rukeyser continued, "But as we start Season 3, her career has taken a real hit. Everlasting has been put on hiatus and Quinn’s reputation has suffered. So getting the show back up and running and establishing her empire is even more important for Quinn. And yet, her journey is made that much more difficult by the fact that Chet has this new, younger, 'easier' girlfriend. The pressures in both Quinn’s personal and professional life cause her to act out in ways we haven’t seen before."
There's also a theme of gender politics that hits close to home for Quinn. Chet feels like he can be more "vulnerable and honest" with Crystal than he could with Quinn, Rukeyser said. "He tells Quinn, 'It’s just easier. She's easier.' And that is maddening and insulting — the implication that who Quinn is as a person was somehow responsible for what went wrong in their relationship. But by the end of the season, even Chet must decide if easier is what he wants or if there is something incredibly alluring and satisfying about a strong woman who can be an equal partner."
Serena sounds like she is someone female viewers will absolutely relate to. Rukeyser described her as a "feminist suitress" who is "smart and successful, but for some reason still single. And no one is more mystified about why that is than she."
What should hit home for a lot of women watching this season is how Serena feels that it's even more of a struggle to find love as she becomes more powerful at her job. "She is in that all-too-common predicament where she finds that the higher she climbs the ladder at work, the harder it is for her to find a man," Rukeyser said. "There is an undercurrent of insecurity, in that she can’t help but wonder if perhaps she is the reason she’s still single. And that insecurity makes her susceptible to the producers on Everlasting. She is honest in her desire to find a husband, but that desire doesn't always coincide with what the producers have in mind."
Season 2 wasn't well received by either fans or critics, and Rukeyser addressed that. "We took a lot of big story swings in Season 2 and that I do admire. But there were some plot points that we had not had the chance to explore fully on a more emotional, psychological level," she said.
But fans should look forward to Season 3 because it relates to so much that's going on today. Rukeyser said, "What's exciting about Season 3 is that we get that opportunity, and while there are still a lot of big OMG moments, there are also a lot of deeper personal storylines for both Rachel and Quinn. We’re really excited about this season because it addresses so many themes that are very much in the national conversation these days about women, gender politics, sexual assault and power dynamics in Hollywood."
The Bachelor in Paradise situation involving Corinne Olympios and DeMario Jackson will not be featured or alluded to in any way in Season 3. Rukeyser told us, "Season 3 was in the can, completely edited and done before the Bachelor in Paradise scandal. But I did find the story riveting, the idea that after all these years, this was the first time a producer was making a complaint to the studio. This is a really big deal and it did become, in part, an inspiration for Season 4."
Jeremy drunkenly assaulted Rachel in Season 2, so fans are probably wondering if that will be addressed and if Jeremy will face any kind of consequences. First, Rukeyser wanted to make it clear that Season 3 was "written, shot and edited" before #MeToo.
Secondly, she said, "We do certainly address many of the same issues, simply because we are women (and men) who have experienced certain things in Hollywood and in the world about which we want to speak out. And it’s certainly wonderful that these issues are now being talked about on a broader scale."
As for Jeremy, Rukeyser explained, "Jeremy comes into Season 3 determined to make amends to Rachel. He is sober, has gone through anger management and is repentant. He believes that what he did to Coleman and Yael is what Rachel wanted — that even that was an act of amends. Which, of course, is crazy. So he has to come to terms over the course of the season with what he’s done, and how much being in this place has affected him."
Who else is ready for the new season? UnREAL Season 3 premieres Tuesday at 10/9c on Lifetime.
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