Dare Me Episode 3: Surrender At Discretion- Review and Recap
Dare Me Episode 3 opted for scary adult behavior in lieu of bloodstains in a terrifying episode that put Coach French’s life in the crosshairs.
This series brings a different kind of scary to the masses. This is the chilling knowledge that there are predators and prey and some of the time you can’t tell them apart. Megan Abbott and Gina Fattore’s Dare Me is more cerebral than the average teen soap. Comparisons could be made to Riverdale or Thirteen Reasons Why, but by and large, this is an adult drama told through the lens of high schoolers. As such it’s horrifying to watch the danger these kids are in without even knowing it. Dare Me Episode 3 brings that danger ever closer.
For those who tuned into USA’s cheerleader murder mystery expecting Bring It On with a little teen angst and blood, you were surprised by the stylishly dark and twisty Dare Me. Not that there isn’t plenty of teen angst, it’s just far more real and dangerous than most sudsy teen fare. This slow plod towards the inevitable disaster took a leap forward this week while giving away nothing.
Three episodes in and we are accustomed to hearing Addy’s(Herizen Guardiola) honey tones delivering steely voiced insights. This week that was no different. It is Beth’s words Addy quotes this time. “Love it’s a kind of killing”, she says. Those are warped words from a damaged soul. Brutal scenes of cheer practice are intercut between a steamy scene of Colette and Sarge Will. The message is clear. Love is physical and painful.
It’s no mistake that the two biggest voices in Addy’s head are Beth and Coach French. Addy and Beth are codependent. Entwined in the worst way, these girls need the destructive desire the other brings out in them. The push and pull of a natural relationship have been twisted into something destructive and codependent. Addy’s delusional idea of love comes from this bad friendship. The idea that love is desperate, sad and lonely is all she knows and as such she is vulnerable to both Beth and Coach French.
Addy may be realizing that Beth is damaged goods, but she is drawn to the wrong person. She is fantasizing about the romance of forbidden love between Coach and Sarge. Colette takes advantage of that by feeding her distrust of Beth. Her behavior towards Addy so far could be viewed as the efforts of a devoted coach who is trying to save a kid from mistakes. It could also be viewed as Grade A grooming. This week her treatment of Addy becomes even murkier. Letting your student lie for you and hang out with your affair alone in the woods is beyond questionable. As episode three continues questionable becomes downright wrong.
A longer look inside Matt and Colette’s house reveals Matt is exactly what he seems. A dumb but lovable dope who probably knows what Colette is but denies it because he loves her so much. He asks Colette if hanging out with the girls reminds her of high school again because he realizes she isn’t happy and has never grown up. He’s not wrong that the opportunity that comes with adulthood is often confused with freedom. Colette clearly wants to relive the carefree time of high school but with the power offered her by age. Even innocuous discussions about the team take on menacing tones when she refers to Tacy as pliable instead of coachable. It is clear she views these girls as commodities for her to use.
By the end of the episode, she has created disciples out of these girls. A cult of perky nubile teens who think their tough but fun coach has it all. She doesn’t just let them drink at her house but encourages it. These girls hang on her every word about how hard practice will get. They devour lines like, “There’s no greater pleasure than pain”. This is why pedophiles have power. They know how to control their young victims. The only difference with Coach French is, she controls everyone.
The competition between Tacy and Beth continued. Coach French wants to break Beth and build up Tacy. Tacy is not as experienced or as talented as Beth at the moment. She also doesn’t have the support of the older girls. That doesn’t stop Coach French from putting her on top of the stunts though. When Matt compares to Colette to Beth at one point she bristles. There is too much truth to his words and Colette knows it. They are both wounded, beautiful, and manipulative. She does draw the line at cheating on the bid video which is surprising considering she appears to have no boundaries.
The older girls bully Tacy into taking an ice bath. The stepsisters both step into a freezing bath and see how long they can last. Beth has ice in her veins and won’t quit. Tacy shows a surprising amount of fortitude that almost gets her killed though. When the hazing incident between Tacy and Beth goes too far it is Addy that saves Tacy. As much as she wants to side with Beth, she is a kind person.
Marlo Kelly’s Beth continues to be a hypnotic tragedy waiting to happen. She is a car wreck you can’t look away from. Sarge is right to be worried about her. She is a ticking timebomb. Her portrayal of Beth is stunning. Capturing the intensity of the high school years with absolute realism. Kelly sears the screen with her ping-ponging emotions of abject insecurity and wanton feminine wiles.
She thinks she is controlling Corporal Kurtz(Chris Zylka) but how true is that really? Demanding oral gratification may seem like a power move now. How will she handle things when cashes in his chits? Zylka’s(The Amazing Spiderman) slimy man child is every bad boy you’ve ever known. Just like real-life bad boys, he oozes sensuality and bad luck. He is danger with a dick.
Who she really wants is Addy. When Coach French begins dancing with Matt, Addy leaves the party and goes to Beth. Addy believes she should be rejecting Matt in favor of Sarge. She can’t understand why she would show affection for him when she supposedly loves Sathe. When Addy tells Tacy she should have saved herself, she is really is talking about Coach French. Coach wants her cake and to eat it too and Addy is disgusted. She doesn’t understand that Colette craves attention and power. Little does Colette know she inadvertently sent Addy running back to Beth.
Dare Me episode 3 had no blood this week, just pain and injury. The hurt of bruises and torn ligaments and the pain of dysfunctional relationships. Like the show itself, everyone is beautiful and troubling. Dare Me is a voyeuristic wild ride into the minds of desperate people. As easy as it would be to write this show off as cheerleaders behaving badly, it is really adults behaving badly. It’s no wonder these poor girls make so many bad decisions. Those around them lie, cheat, and prey on underage kids. They are the nightmares. I’ll admit I’m hooked. God help me, as much as I want to know who is dead and who did it. I want to know if this team goes to regionals. Catch up on all our coverage here.
As the Television Editor for Signal Horizon, I love watching and writing about genre tv. I grew up with old school slashers, but my real passion is television and all things weird and ambiguous. When I’m not watching and writing about my favorite movies and series, I’m introducing my family to the wonderful world of sci-fi, fantasy, and horror. My only regret, there is not enough time in the day to watch everything.