As The Arrangement Takes Its Romance To Venice, Let's Rank The Signs That Megan Is In Over Her Head
Megan is sent to Europe with instructions about how to comport herself as Kyle's new love interest. Which warnings about this contract should she be paying closer attention to?
Having signed Kyle's contract at the end of the season premiere, Megan is ready to embark upon her life on his arm, starting with a trip to a film festival in beautiful Venice! (I haven't been there, so I can't tell if it's the real thing or just a convincing simulacrum somewhere in Canada. ...Halifax???) Megan is briefed about how mindful she needs to be when she's in front of the press, but can she be expected to police her own face? If you ask Terence: yes, she absolutely can, and she absolutely must.
While Megan is busy making sure Megan doesn't set a foot wrong, Deann -- part of Team West on the Venice trip both in her capacity as a producer on Kyle's film, and to serve as Megan's handler -- is fielding angry calls from Annika. The aspiring actor -- hired by Deann to break up Megan and her boyfriend Nick by seducing him and faking a pregnancy, thus making Megan available for Kyle -- has seen the paparazzi photos of Kyle and Megan and figured out that she's ended up in a much worse place for her part in Deann's scheme than the girl she thought she was screwing over: Annika's got problems with the crappy agent Deann set her up with and threatens to blackmail Deann with what she knows, or can surmise, about Kyle's romantic life. Deann threatens her back, but apparently isn't sufficiently forceful, because before the episode's over, Annika finds her way to the Institute Of The Higher Mind looking for Terence to help her feel better about herself -- further confirmation that Terence doesn't know anything about the efforts Deann undertook to put Megan, "by chance," in Kyle's path.
Megan is oblivious as to what's going on back in L.A., though even if she weren't, it's unclear that she'd have the mental energy to deal with it: the events of the episode throw plenty of warning signs at her that suggest that this Kyle contract may be a bad deal. Let's count them down from mildly disquieting to seriously alarming.
- Finding Out Kyle's Dream Concert Is The Beach Boys
Leaving aside the fact that the Beach Boys have like two good songs -- don't @ me, I don't care -- if we assume that Kyle is around the same age as Josh Henderson, that puts him in his mid-thirties. If he wanted to see a band "when everyone was still alive," I feel like he'd be more likely to tell Megan his fantasy involves something like Nirvana? The Beach Boys is a dream ticket for a Boomer TV writer, not a thirty-five-year-old movie star.
- Seeing Kyle Do This Move
How do you celebrate slipping your leash and blowing off a schmoozy cocktail party?
Props to Henderson for being inspired by Top Gun, but that's some Iceman stuff.
- Witnessing Kyle's Ease Lying For The Press
After weaseling out of a post-premiere reception, Kyle and Megan put on disguises and go out for a walk, which ends with a well planned surprise.
Dinner and hours of chat precede some maritime boning, and when they depart to return to their suite before Deann catches them, they wander into a couple of paparazzi.
Kyle flashes his grin and offers to step off the boat with Megan again: the paps get some better shots of them and, in exchange, let them go on their way without further interference. Megan doesn't seem alarmed by Kyle's willingness to stage the news; maybe there's no reason she should be!
- Meeting Kyle's Assistant In Kyle's Bedroom
Kyle suggests starting the day with a workout, but it turns out Megan's just had a shower. However, she has a suggestion for another way they might burn some calories.
I love that Megan tries to be cool and act like it's not incredibly awkward to meet her new boyfriend's assistant when she's completely nude, and I love even more that she realizes she can't keep it up and gets out of there in a hurry. But maybe she should be concerned that the people in Kyle's orbit have no boundaries...and also that Kyle himself wouldn't think to warn Megan that they weren't alone.
- Learning That Kyle's Stylist Has Received Strict Instructions Before Meeting Megan
Megan is excited to learn that Kyle and his team is going to make her preparations for the Venice trip easy: Kyle's stylist, Esme, is going to provide all the clothes and accessories she will need. But when Megan suggests shortening one of the gowns, it's a non-starter: "All the clothes have been pre-approved. I can't alter them." Megan asks who pre-approved them; Esme doesn't answer that...
...and when she changes the subject with an $80,000 necklace, Megan doesn't bother returning to it. Either Megan is easy to manipulate, or the members of Team Kyle are very talented in that regard.
- Experiencing Sexual Frustration A Few Days In To The Relationship
After Kyle's tense reunion with Lisbeth, his ex (of which more below), Megan brings Kyle home and tries to help him unwind with a sexy surprise...
...that doesn't quite work out the way she hopes. Is Kyle so fragile that a few hours in the same large ballroom with Lisbeth can drain him this much, or is his interest in Megan even more superficial than the the circumstances surrounding their relationship suggest?
- Getting Left On The Outside Of The Whole Lisbeth Situation
So the reason Kyle needed a new
beardgirlfriend is that his last relationship, with an actress named Lisbeth, fell apart. Everyone on Team Kyle has been on edge about this Venice trip because it was going to be the first time Kyle and Lisbeth saw each other again, and therefore they have to make sure the encounter is covered in exactly the right way. Even Megan, who had followed the Kyle/Lisbeth story as a civilian before she ever knew him, is mindful of the impression she needs to make as Lisbeth's replacement, anxious that she show herself to her best advantage at the dinner Kyle and Lisbeth will both attend. And when we get our first look at Lisbeth, we see she's also been carefully planning her Revenge Look™.
There's a brief moment when the event photographer asks Kyle and Lisbeth to pose together without either of them having braced themselves, but they're both pros and pull it together for the camera.
Megan hasn't had as much practice...
...so she gets caught on camera having a feeling. That's bad. Later, Deann pulls Megan aside for a chat at the bar to give Kyle the chance to have a casual conversation with Lisbeth -- or, rather, to be seen having a casual conversation with Lisbeth that will let the world know the two of them are going to be friends. Clearly, this has all been worked out in advance and carefully stage-managed -- in fact, all the terms of Kyle and Lisbeth's social contact was negotiated before Megan was even in the picture. When Lisbeth walks in on Megan taking a silly bathroom selfie, Megan tries to be normal and friendly the way it seemed Kyle was, Lisbeth shuts her down with a quickness: "You're wasting your time...trying to ingratiate yourself. Because I'm not going to be your friend. Or someone that you can talk to. You'll see. You're on your own." Ominous much?
- Being Accosted By Some Random Guy On The Street
After Kyle passes out post-Lisbeth, Megan decides to go to the hotel gym, instead running into Daisy, a director whose film -- which Daisy's just sold -- Megan saw earlier that day. Daisy invites Megan out for celebratory drinks, at which Megan refers to her boyfriend but gives no indication that he's one of the world's most famous movie stars before leaving Daisy wanting more of this enigmatic stranger. Walking back alone to her hotel, Megan is approached by a stranger who quickly escalates from come-ons to putting his hands on her...
...but that's as far as things get because then Kyle comes out of FUCKING NOWHERE and chases the guy off.
Kyle is in the middle of berating Megan for her recklessness when a pap materializes and starts shooting, and then Kyle has to go ham on him too, attacking him before calling in the cleaner (Deann). She brings a doctor to check the guy out, as well as an envelope of cash to keep him quiet. The sequence ends with Megan comforting Kyle and trying to get him to stop with the self-recriminations over his emotional reaction: he's only human. Sex ensues. But is he human? Also: how did Kyle just happen upon the scene at exactly the right moment? Was Megan's attacker another Annika? Did Deann set this whole thing up so Megan and Kyle could bond closer, and faster, over this shared trauma? What's one busted pap face in the grand scheme of things?
- Spying On Kyle While He Engages In His Spiritual Practice With Terence
After sneaking out to see Daisy's film, Megan comes back to the suite just as Kyle is being led in a guided meditation/therapy session with Terence, on video chat. Terence's advice to Kyle with regard to his negative feelings is to put them in a ball, and then leave that ball on his bed so he won't have to keep carrying it. So the Institute teaches that appearances are far more important than emotions, and that the way to manage pain of any kind is to quash it, not work through it. Will Kyle soon be putting his feelings about his pap attack in a ball and leaving it in Italy? Or will that ball roll on home with him?
- Getting Scolded Like A Child By Terence
From the start, Terence isn't crazy about the idea of Megan and Kyle taking this trip without him, but let Deann convince him that they could all handle it. However, he doesn't let Megan leave without some instructions, first from a security guard: "Keep text messages and emails to a minimum. And leave out any details that might give away your location....It's not about your friends: it's about individuals who decide to hack into your email." Terence adds that, for the contract, Deann has to sign off on all Megan's social media. In the last moments before Megan boards the private plane, Terence has her hang back so he can give her some final orders: "There'll be some bumps in the road. No one can really prepare you for how much attention Kyle gets....Try and remember some of the small things, like how to hold yourself, the expression on your face. All of that ultimately reflects back on him, you know? Can you make a commitment? Be mindful of that?" Could ANYONE?
After the incident with the attacker in the street and the paparazzo who had to be hushed up, Terence overrules Deann and joins the rest of Team Kyle in Venice -- annoyed with Deann for having lost control of the situation, but incensed with Megan.
After Megan texted her that bathroom selfie, Megan's friend Hope blew up her spot and posted it on fake Instagram -- tagging Kyle, which is especially dumb (and presumably how Terence saw it -- though if we learned that he also keeps tabs on all Megan's contacts, it wouldn't be that surprising). "So either you can't keep a commitment, or you're just not that bright," he tells her. "More like you have no clue about me," Megan shoots back. "You signed a contract," Terence reminds her, "that you've given me grounds to terminate right now. Maybe that's what you want." Megan says it isn't, and Terence says it's not what Kyle wants either: "But you better manage your problem with authority, or this whole thing will be over." Terence isn't wrong -- Megan did sign a contract, which effectively makes Terence her boss -- but is getting into a relationship where you have a boss the best idea? Which is the worse play strategically: staying in an arrangement with so many red flags, or risking the blowback that would come from ending it early?