I think we can all agree that the news this past week has been… bad. The bar is pretty high right now, too, for what can be considered “worse than usual,” and we still managed to leap right over it. Fortunately, we had a brief moment to leave that all behind when the third and fourth episodes of The Other Two aired last Thursday.
Before we jump in, though, I did want to note that the overall tone of this season has been a pretty noticeable change. If the show’s first season were airing right now, it would have been a distraction from the world via its rapidly moving, pop-culture-skewering humor giving us something to laugh at practically every minute of every episode.
This season, however, has become a lot more introspective, really digging into the emotional struggles of its leads, Cary and Brooke — which is still a rewarding escape. Of course, the jokes and jabs are still there, just not as frequent. And honestly, I’m really enjoying this (slightly) more serious exploration of late-twenties insecurities. I’m sure it has nothing to do with the fact that I’m in my own late-twenties and have all the same insecurities.
So with that — and in case we’re still in need of respite from, uh, everything — before Thursday’s episodes, let’s relive the latest developments in the Dubeks’ rise to fame.
Episode 3: “Chase Guest-Edits Vogue”
First of all, we must discuss this episode title. It’s a work of art in itself. Chase not being able to actually sing, yet landing a guest-editing spot at one of the most prestigious fashion mags in the industry? THAT is the power of bleaching your hair.
Now, to the action. There are very few things I love more than typing out each episode’s plot lines for these recaps. They are bananas in the best way.
This episode finds Cary being stiffed by his agent, who keeps falling through on sending him the paychecks he’s owed for his bazillion hosting gigs. Also, instead of actual work, the agent sends a cameo from noted Syfy darling Ian Ziering (who, it’s worth noting, is filming Frogpocalypse Now, a movie I unfortunately *would* watch). Rent is due, and Cary is not living la vie bohème so he does, in fact, have to pay it. While obviously it would be better for his manager to pay him actual money, the cameo at least sparks an idea: Cary joins the app and starts making videos for his fans to scramble together the $200 he’s short.
Things are going a lot better for Brooke, professionally. First, let us rejoice, because Shuli is finally back! She was sorely missed in the first two episodes, so it was truly a delight to see her back at the head of the Principle Records conference room. The topic of the meeting is how to support ChaseDreams’ once again burgeoning career, now that he’s become so famous a singer that he never needs to sing at all. Justin Timberlake is the blueprint — what will be Chase’s “undrinkable tequila,” Shuli wants to know — and the first step towards songless superstardom is the titular guest spot editing Vogue.
The main event for his editorial debut will be a party for the unveiling of the newest Hadid sister, who has been kept a secret from the world until she was genetically ready for modeling domination. Shuli selects Brooke to accompany her brother to the reveal, and we discover that a Harry Potter-esque “neither can survive while the other lives” dynamic has developed between Brooke and Streeter. As you might have guessed, it’s mostly one-sided, and the side is Streeter’s. He is absolutely devastated to be passed over (despite having romantic dinner plans with Pat that night!) and is clearly not coping well with the possibility that Brooke might surpass him in the ChaseDreams management ranks.
It also feels important to note that Streeter has joined Chase in going blonde, and is now wearing an actually iconic pair of little blue glasses. He’s serving a *LOOK* and I am honestly supportive of it.
Back at Cary’s apartment, he has finally sent enough cameos to fans (and fans’ dogs) to make rent, so he decides to join his sister as her plus-one to set eyes on the latest Hadid. Before he’s done, though, Jess arrives home. Cary, in his embarrassment to be caught filming cameos — a far cry from the serious acting he’s been hoping to do — invents a cousin named Mario who is in town to explain the weird video call. Jess is understandably suspicious.
Cary heads off to the party, but sadly Brooke’s night has not been going as glamorously as she had anticipated. The event’s no-cellphone policy means she can’t multitask the call she had scheduled at the same time with the marketing team from Chex, and must take it outside.
This Chex call is a special kind of hell. Literally all they need to do is decide on a tagline for Pat’s Chex-sponsored segment on her talk show. I could do that for them in five minutes. Instead they all talk about their weekends for seemingly half an hour, and there is one Chex executive whose assistant claims is “almost there” for another half an hour. Brooke finds herself outside with all the other overworked managers, missing the party completely.
But lucky for her — and even luckier for us — she is Brooke Dubek and she is a badass. So she does what I truly believe is the ultimate fantasy of anyone who has ever managed another person’s calendar: she marches all the way over to and into the Chex executive’s office (who is brazenly keeping everyone waiting just so she can catch up with a friend) and tells her to GET ON THE DAMN CALL. And calls her “Chex Mix bitch” too! Which is now what I’ll call everyone who ever wrongs me.
While Brooke is finally running to get to the party, Cary is leaving — mostly because everyone’s eyes are quite literally rolling into the backs of their heads when he starts talking about his job. He decides to surprise his cameo recipient, Mario, at his birthday party, which goes about as well as you would expect! They are a group of friends who all know each other and planned to hang out, and he… is a minor celebrity they thought it would be funny to have send their friend a short video. He crashes drinks only to slowly realize that he isn’t really wanted there, and then makes up an excuse to get out.
This scene is extremely cringe-inducing, but Drew Tarver plays it so incredibly perfectly. I have been that extra person at the party (though not by choosing to crash it to heal my own bruised ego) and it can be painful! Tarver has a true gift for facial expressions, and I was doing breathing exercises in shared discomfort watching him.
Back at the party, Brooke is struggling to keep her headphones connected to her phone so she can sneakily stay on her call, which results in her ultimately still missing the new Hadid despite her best efforts. I do hold that yelling at Tamra was worth it just to have yelled at Tamra, though.
We got remarkably little time with Chase for an episode titled around his guest-editing Vogue. I have to believe the magazine was included for the sole purpose of Shuli sharing that Anna Wintour said she had to poop. Which… honestly? I support. That line made me feel exactly like this:
Things aren’t going so hot for Cary either. Jess is reasonably upset and thinks that Cary is lying to him about cousin Mario because he’s actually cheating on him. Cary must then do the unthinkable — crash actual Mario’s birthday party yet again to prove to Jess that he was not cheating. Somehow Jess seems okay with this certifiably unhinged action and forgives Cary (giving us the iconic line: “I’m sorry I lied to you and invented an Italian man”). Gideon Glick then shows off his Broadway chops and fully sobs in Cary’s arms about how much he loves him. Cary seems anxious — which we’ll hear much more about in the next episode.
And where were Streeter and Pat in all this? Well, Streeter spent his romantic dinner with Pat literally putting her to sleep with 1) his preoccupation with what could possibly be happening on the Chex call, and 2) his decision to actually join the call. While on a date. Pat deserves all the love and happiness in the world, and Streeter needs to step it up!
Episode 4: “Pat Hosts Just Another Regular Show”
One fantastic thing the second season is doing frequently is giving us very clear callbacks to the first season. We saw it with Cary and his roommate hooking up, repeating in this season with Jess. And now the fourth episode opens with a shot-for-shot remake of the pilot’s first scene — when Brooke woke up in the apartment she was showing — except this time Brooke is putting a deposit down to rent the place for herself. We love character development! And I think these repeat scenes are a particularly lovely way to show it.
On the surface, both Dubek siblings are finally living the lives they’ve imagined. Brooke has a successful career and can afford what I’m sure is an exorbitant rent. Cary has a loving boyfriend who wants to go on weekend trips with him.
But… Brooke is extremely overworked and Cary is feeling suffocated. The things they thought they so badly wanted are turning out to be not so perfect after all, and both siblings are starting to recognize the gaps between what they now have and what they actually value. The season’s fourth episode traces these realizations for both characters — and since Cary and Brooke are separate for most of the episode, I’ll cover each of their stories in full.
First, though, it’s important to note that Pat and Chase aren’t in this episode much for some truly deranged reasons: Pat is pretending to be a janitor to surprise her fans, and Chase is in a full-body cast in preparation for his own Kim Kardashian-esque perfume bottle.
With that bizarre summary aside, let’s get to the main events — starting with Brooke. Now that she’s in this giant apartment, she realizes she would really like to have someone to share it with. Being at work literally 24/7, though, she doesn’t have much time to date. So she concocts a (frankly genius) plan to invite a bunch of hot guys to be guests on her mom’s show and then date them all. If it’s giving you The Bachelorette vibes, you are correct! Because Derek Peth from The Bachelorette is one such guest!
Before we dig into his star turn, we must reserve a moment for Streeter. He (and his suddenly not-blonde hair) ambushes Brooke on her way into the studio, frantically asking her “Am I bad? Do people think I’m bad?” It was at this very moment that I realized: I am Streeter. Streeter is me. Streeter gives voice to the socially anxious of us everywhere, constantly worrying that people are laughing at him and being thrilled to have Brooke sharing a secret with him. Pairing this quality with Streeter’s myriad questionable, sometimes outright hazardous actions as ChaseDreams’ manager could have resulted in him being completely insufferable. Instead, Ken Marino’s thoughtful performance allows his character to be sympathetic in these moments of social paranoia, and we see Streeter as having been simply swept up in the entertainment industry machine like the rest of the Dubeks.
Now, back to Brooke’s plan. She finds four hotties on her Instagram explore page, books them on Pat’s show, and sets up dates with three of them (one of them lets a snake pee on him, so…). First is a model who inspires every woman at the restaurant where they get lunch to remark on how shocked they are that Brooke could score such a sexy man. She understandably does not like this! And so she dumps him. The third suitor is a doctor who, in the middle of doing what DJ Khaled won’t, decides he must give Brooke an exam at his office since he detects a lump. The lump is nothing (and the nurse practitioner informs Brooke that this doctor is, in fact, not very smart).
Now you may be thinking: Allyson, do you have a counting problem? Well, the answer is no, I simply skipped the second suitor for dramatic effect. Because the second suitor is Derek. As someone who formerly watched all iterations of the Bachelor universe — and whose own Instagram explore page firmly believes I still do — this was a thrilling cameo. For those unaware, this man got sent home by JoJo Fletcher (who now has a show where she gentrifies neighborhoods or something) and cried in the car while an opera singer performed “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.” The scene is pure chaos, and Derek is an icon.
On their date, all Derek can talk about is his time on the reality show. Or, as he puts it, “I pretty much work full-time for the Nation now.” A line that will haunt me until the day I die (but in a good way). It is finally too much for Brooke, and she walks away from a 10% discount at Bonobos using the code DEREK10.
In the end, all this exercise does for Brooke is make her feel more and more how much she misses Lance. Same, girl! So, while she went on the dates for The Right Reasons, she sadly goes home without a rose.
Cary, meanwhile, is being absolutely smothered by roses. Except instead of roses, they are apples, because he and Jess are at an orchard on a fun weekend excursion. Cary is less than enthused. And as someone who went to college in Massachusetts, I can tell you that he’s right: apple picking is honestly not that exciting an activity!
What’s really bugging him, though, is how intensely “couple-y” the day is. He’s still overwhelmed by how strongly Jess feels towards him, and seeing all these other couples who have been doing this boring activity for decades is not helping. Compounding the matter is the arrival of Cameron, one of the instagays from the first season. He is no longer running around the party circuit, but has now gotten married and is one half of the insta-couple @thepropertydaddies.
The house-flipping husbands invite Cary and Jess over to their immaculate home, where they spend part of the night showing their gallery wall of Instagram posts and a solid additional portion brushing each other’s teeth in matching pajamas. Somewhere in the midst of their advice on how he and Jess can become @thecuddleboys, Cary freaks out. He suddenly goes on this bizarre, Lynchian trip where he sees himself and Jess doing various sickeningly cute activities all around the rustic-chic rooms of this house, from showing their feet on Instagram live to playing naked Twister. Finally, Cary’s doppelganger drops his pants to reveal a Ken-doll like bottom, causing the real Cary to book it out of this HGTV house of horrors.
Later, he and Jess finally talk through Cary’s feelings, which are mainly that he doesn’t feel like he’s dated enough to be able to settle down — despite the fact that Jess is obviously ready to do so with Cary. It’s a sad moment, but it feels like a major step for Cary to be able to recognize that the thing he thought he wanted was actually not what he needs right now. This scene also shows us, once again, why Gideon Glick is a Tony nominee — he gives a truly devastating cry, even when he’s telling Cary he’s crazy for preferring sex to HBO (listen, we’ve got to give props to the network that brought this show back!).
We end the episode how all of the best episodes of The Other Two end — with a split screen view of Brooke and Cary. Brooke tells Cary over the phone (and as indirectly as humanly possible) that she needs some emotional support, and we leave the pair as Cary leaves to be there for his sister.
So here’s hoping the rest of the season brings love into the lives of Cary and Drew — and continues bringing us Streeter’s little blue glasses. See you for our recap next week!