People say truth is stranger than fiction and don’t really think about what it means, but any amount of time spent with any other person on Earth will eventually net you stories that are so crazy that without irrefutable proof, we’d just dismiss them.
“The Arrangement’s” ridiculousness starts as a joyride: A real life modern day fairytale, as Megan (Christine Evangelista) acclimates to the life of the rich and famous alongside her superstar boyfriend Kyle West (Josh Henderson). But before the ink’s even dry on her $10MM contract to be his picture-perfect girlfriend, it’s obvious Kyle’s to good to be true — and that Megan’s guarding some dark secrets of her own.
So while things look like a dream from the outside, nothing’s all that different for them: Everyone is putting on some kind of act, whether they know it or not. But here, it’s harder to diagnose, because now that act isn’t just for the cameras. These Hollywood A-listers are so used to living a lie, they can’t notice when they’re also lying to themselves. We weren’t designed to live that way, and there are always very real consequences for staying outside our truth for too long. At some point, all this pent up frustration, and exhaustion from holding up this fake facade, will cause either Megan or Kyle to break.
Kyle’s mentor and the leader of the Institute of the Higher Mind, Terence (Michael Vartan), is doing everything he can to make sure when they do, it’s out of the public eye. While he claims Kyle’s well-being is his core focus, we know from Sunday’s (April 9) “Control” that couldn’t be further from the truth. And the more we get to know Terence, the more psychopathic he becomes. Terence is a walking contradiction, going against everything he preaches.
Constantly telling others to live their truth when his entire marriage is a sham, for example: Wife Deann’s (Lexa Doig) cheating on him with other women while he cheats with members of his own church. He’s a deceitful scumbag, and such a masterful liar we wouldn’t be surprised to learn he was behind Kyle’s mother’s tragic hit and run, or Kyle’s father’s death just after discovering his most important client was making secret visits to him in the hospital. What’s the easiest way to ensure Kyle’s enduring faith and devotion? Remove every important person in his life, a known strategy of cults like the IHM — and bad, bad news for Megan!
The series has really gotten so dark, we can’t help but wonder if some these stories are based on real life, like those urban legends you come across everywhere in a city like LA. Terence’s second-hand man commits suicide after confessing that he murdered the missing girl cops have been looking for — but Terence is so concerned with how the Higher Mind credo failed Connor, and talking around trying to save him, Connor puts a gun to his forehead and blows his brains out all over the passenger window.
To keep Terence and the church’s name out of the police report, the one moral person of the series turns out to be the most twisted: The female investigator that’s been suspicious of Terence this entire time wasn’t looking for justice, nor does she want money to keep quiet — she just wants two hours of uninterrupted private time with Kyle. Terence forces Kyle to acquiesce to her wishes — and it’s even more disturbing when he actually does.
While this scenario seems ridiculous, we can’t help but think of all the obsessed, not entirely sane fans celebrities have, and what kind of fantasies they’d cash in on if such an opportunity arose. And on the opposite side of that, what lengths famous people will go to keep their high profile reputations untarnished. There’s just so much to lose. And it’s not just them, it’s their family, and his or her entire camp of employees that would also suffer from the fallout. Some startling transactions must go down, when you consider how many weird scrapes a normal person gets into that would blow up in the press — the stakes are high and the margins are huge.
As of now, there’s no end in sight for the extreme deception and violence on “The Arrangement.” And while we can see how this kind of drama could turn people away, it’s honestly doing the opposite: These sometimes cringeworthy storylines might be an honest representation of the Hollywood underbelly. Who really knows? Everybody’s got stories, and if you started collecting them all up in one place it would be at least this insane pretty quickly.
The lines between what’s real and what’s not, who’s genuine and who’s a fake are so blurred, the show finally makes us ask, “Can you trust anyone in this town?” — which is a legit question real-life Los Angelenos ask themselves everyday. Reality/fiction: Maybe we’ll never know — that’s kind of the point of the show, that it all easily could be real. Or maybe we’re just not ready to know. But either way, it’s pretty satisfying to watch.
“The Arrangement” airs on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on E! Network.