Television

Dare Me Episode 5

Dare Me Episode 5: Parallel Trenches-Review

A smart episode about perception and pain shed new light on Beth, Addy, and Coach French. Things are not as simple as they once seemed.

Instead of a quote from Coach spoken in hushed reverent tones from Addy we got a philosophical life truth about fact, memories, and the lies we tell our selves. Dare Me Episode 5 was split into three distinct POV’s each detailing the same timeframe. For each of the three women, it was a difficult time. Addy, Beth, and Coach French deal with the events differently because of their proximity to the drama. For one woman, Beth, things will never be the same.

There is something so unsettling about human teeth. Whether they are viewed up close in their proper place the mouth or in a pool of dripping blood they are disturbing. Being spit out of a young girl’s bleeding mouth, they are next level disturbing. Cheerleading can be very dangerous. Just as the talented athletes of Netflix’s guilty pleasure Cheer.

The three-part episode begins with Addy’s recollection. She is the most innocent of the group. Addy is naive and fairly sheltered with a Mom who cares and a future possible. As such, her view of things is skewed by what she has. At Coach’s house the next day Addy views Coach and Beth having tense words on her deck. From her view, these two hate each other. Coach is cold and unforgiving towards Beth. Beth gives it back as good as she gets.

A normal mother/daughter conversation between Addy and her mother showcase the mindset Addy is coming from. She is fairly low drama. her home life is stable and for the most part, so is she. Coach represents freedom and excitement. It is why she is so vulnerable to Coach French’s manipulations.

Beth, on the other hand, is all drama all the time. In large part because of her upbringing, drama means attention. Addy confides to her mother she doesn’t know if she can ever trust Beth. She is the boy who cried wolf one to many times. That is an unfortunately astute comment as the episode continues. As much as she questions that something happened to Beth she isn’t willing to push Beth because it is easier to accept what she’s told.

Shortly before the squad’s Homecoming performance, it is announced the girls made Regionals. For Addy, it is a happy time. For this girl with very little to worry about it is an exciting thing. When the routine ends with a disaster it is Addy once again who saves steps in to help. She is the people pleaser, the helper, the base from which everything is supported. She just has no idea what things look like up above her.

Collette has adult problems of pressure and responsibility. It is hard to be a mother and wife. Even when your husband is as kind as Matt seems the grind is tough. She is desperate to get her life and family back on track without revealing any secrets. The girl’s party with the Marines may have consequences for Colette if Beth’s phone still has the incriminating video. Despite all this, she is concerned for Beth and attempts to talk with her. What Addy views as the two women sniping at each other is Beth refusing Coach’s help.

Later when Sarge Will confides to Colette that he is worried something happened with his marines and Beth it is Collette that stands up for Beth. She doesn’t want Sarge to victim blame Beth for doing something unsafe. Coach suspects something happened but she has to deal with pressure from Beth and Tacy’s father and the injury at the pep rally. RiRi’s mother confronts her with an accusation. She tells Coach this was her fault. She wanted to do what she wanted without regard for the girls. There may be truth to that. Coach needed to break Beth and build up Tacy, but she may have created a monster instead.

Life can be war. For a young girl without any guidance or support, it is a minefield of possible dangers. Beth prides herself on claiming control over everything. It is the one thing she can count on. She is the ultimate “it” girl. She is feared and envied by her classmates. It is something Beth craves after the dysfunction of her family. We are just now learning what happened to her Friday night at Playland with Corporal Kurtz. In one night all her carefully cultivated authority came crashing down along with Tacy’s stunt.

The morning after the party at Playland Beth is sore, confused, and scared. She refuses Coach’s help because she is trying desperately to hold on to a shred of her control and she is too hurt to ask for help. To make matters worse Kurtz is hell-bent on gaslighting Beth into acceptance of his rape. She pulls the bow and arrow at practice because it is the only way she can grasp for power. It, unfortunately, caused Tacy to crash at the pep rally when she tried herself. It was one insecurity compounded by another.

The only item Beth cares anything about is a necklace from her father during a family vacation. She is desperate to find it after the party. Her neck is scratched and she is bruised everywhere. To add insult to injury she has to ask her rapist for help finding her necklace. That gives him one more chance to intimidate her right before the pep rally though. Beth suffers from a panic attack at the pep rally but has no one to turn to when RiRi is hurt.

Once again Beth has to deal with things herself. She refuses dinner with Addy and her mother because it hurts too much to be with the normal loving family she wishes she had. Addy’s mother found her necklace but the clasp is broken. It is a devastating last straw for her. Before she can break down Coach comes into the bathroom and lays it out neatly for her. Coach French knows Beth needs help even if she isn’t ready to accept it.

Beth has access to a firearm and very little self-control. All of the subterfuge with Matt and Colette and Sarge Will was just misdirection. Corporal Kurtz is dangerous and has gotten away with things before. He has seen very little consequence to his criminal behavior so far. Kurtz is the quintessential toxic male. Beth may very well be the last thing he abuses.

Marlo Kelly(Beth) continues to show her star is rising. Her Beth is not just a mean queen bee but a damaged girl with complex emotions. The camera loves her desperate teary eyes and thrust out chin. She makes the show feel tense even with the slow burn aspect of the series. Kelly practically vibrates with anxiety and fear. It is her steely-eyed stare we are drawn every minute. As good as Herizen Guardiola(Addy) and Willa Fitzgerald(Coach French) have been, Beth is the sun to their planets.

Memory is a funny thing. It fails us more than we think. What we thought was real is just a false perception. Dare Me Episode 5 closes with melancholy words. Addy says Beth claims she chooses what to remember. What to look at. There is truth to that for everyone. Addy thinks Beth is her memory and vice versa. Before things became complicated and painful they had each other. Now things are different. Catch up on all our coverage here.

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