Dare Me Episode 6: Code Red Review and Recap-Beth Has Been A Bad Girl
Addy is finally beginning to see Coach French for what she is as Beth and Sarge reach their breaking point in a searing episode 6 of Dare Me.
The blood we have seen each week is beginning to give way to a picture of manipulation and abuse that can only end one way. Dare Me Episode 6 begins with as many of them have, with Addy’s caramel voice and someone’s blood. Whose blood and if it was fatal are just a couple of the questions we are beginning to get answers to. There are really only a couple of options for the marine uniformed blood bath seen as the episode opens. Sarge Will or one of his two underlings. Corporal Kurtz is the obvious choice given his proclivity to rape girls and start fights. Poor love-stricken Will is another possible choice as his heart is ruling his head and love triangles are never good.
Another Coach French special begins the episode. The haunted words from Addy explain that to make things happen you have to burn the candle at both ends. Addy adds her own wisdom this time. When you burn too brightly for too long you catch fire. She is becoming wiser. The Addy that narrates at the beginning and end of each episode is a glimpse inside the woman she becomes.
More than a simple view of cheerleading drama, Dare Me is actually about the politics of small towns, small minds, violence, and insecurity. Colette is even more troubled than the young charges she coaches. She teaches them that friends don’t matter, only winning. Her mantra is other people’s misfortune is their opportunity. It is an intoxicating concept for girls who are developing their own moral codes.
These girls are hungry for acceptance, for love, and freedom. Coach French seems to offer that if they are willing to pay the price. Addy is as naive as the rest right now and thinks Coach is asking her to step into RiRi role because she likes her and is good enough. More likely it is because Coach can control her. That’s the same reason she asks her to babysit. Colette likes the way Addy looks at her and likes, even more, having a handle on Beth.
Herizen Guardiola(Addy) has really come alive lately. She was tasked with a nearly impossible job. To find a place between two hypnotic actors like Willa Fitzgerald(Colette French) and Marlo Kelly(Beth) is difficult. These two women are fire and ice and as forceful on-screen as twin black holes vying for light. Addy’s more innocent and subtle personality was initially lost.
As we get closer and closer to determining what happened and Colette’s behavior becomes more erratic Addy is getting smarter. She still doesn’t understand the magnitude of what happened to Beth or the danger Coach poses. Her utter obliviousness to everything is realistic for a girl her age and a good foil for the darkness of so many of the other characters.
Guardiola plays Addy with an interesting mix of naivete and determination that is entirely believable for a girl her age. She is a young woman desperately wanting to break free of her small life and her mother’s control. Like many young people she has no idea how good she has it or how dangerous the world can really be. The voiceovers which bookend the episodes are delivered by a world-weary Addy. Guardiola essentially plays two versions of Addy and each has its own entertainment merit.
Dare Me Episode 6 is about damaged souls. Whether that be the damage we inflict on ourselves or others, everyone has their baggage. Sarge is suffering from PTSD from his time at war. Beth is consumed by the trama of Kurtz’s attack last week. She is literally running herself ragged hoping for peace. A haunting sequence showcases Marlo Kelly’s acting chops. Beth is a broken girl. Colette may have been shaped by an absentee mother. You never really know what is a well-designed lie and what is the truth.
She is in intense pain and has no one to confide in. Her scream to the empty street in the wee hours of the mourning is moving and should solidify Kelly’s place in the industry. Cut between Beth’s and Will’s breakdown overlaid with Horizon by Aldous Harding their pain is palpable. When she finally attempts to tell Addy what is bothering her she instead gives an alternative nightmare.
Her words do not match her thoughts and we see what she really is experiencing. It is an impressive bit of horror staging. RiRi’s injury and Beth’s own tongue bite likely influence her vision of Kurtz’s bloody mouth on her leg. That unexpected touch of gore in the otherwise drama heavy series is shocking and wildly successful in conveying the feel of the series. Dare Me is so much more than a cheerleader drama.
The characters are divided into two camps. The predators and the prey. Sarge Will is one of the few who floats between the two groups wishing he could get back everything he lost. He tells Addy’s brother to run from the military. Sarge lashes out at the career he hates and the people he is forced to work with. A dramatic and well-choreographed fight between Kurtz and Will makes the most of the set. It is sloppy, drunken perfection. Will knows what Kurtz did. He sees the monster he is and worries he also is a monster. He is a good recruiter but hates the kids he may have hurt by sending to war.
The massive difference between the two men is clearly defined. Sarge wants a life and Kurtz wants to take life. Kurtz is a user and Sarge is a dreamer who has been beaten down by experiences. That’s why he clings to Colette. It isn’t so much love, as it is the obsession with what could have been. A quick slip reveals Sarge had a wife and child at one time. Where they are now is unknown but he clearly is missing them.
Colette knows this and uses that power to keep Sarge engaged even when she is pushing him away. Since he left the war he is lonely and disillusioned. Colette uses his need to keep him close. Exploiting it for her own desires. An intense sex scene between Colette and Will when she is supposed to be at dinner with Matt is witnessed by Addy who romanticizes their situation.
Colette and Kurtz are not that different from one another. They both are manipulative and use their power to control others. Colette grooms her cheerleaders, Addy in particular, with promises of success and intense negativity. Inappropriate touches and familiarity are tools on Coach French’s arsenal. Coach gives pep talks that sound more like personal regrets stories. Those rants are mingled with sketchy life advice. Teaching young people it’s okay to step over your friends and encouraging them to drink is not quality coaching. She encourages bullying and belittles her husband. She is an equal opportunity user.
In a surprising display of spine, Matt defends Colette at a tense and ugly dinner with RiRi’s mother who could provide funding for the new facility. Despite being very angry with her he chastises JJ. His words although strong betray his weakness. They should all be grateful to have her he says. He constantly forgives her because he is so infatuated by her. Matt would rather make excuses than accept the truth. He has no idea the lengths she will go to to protect her secrets. A car crash and head injury later and she has an alibi for her absence. Matt either doesn’t want to know or is incapable of admitting what his wife really is.
Hopefully, it is not too late for Addy to realize Coach French doesn’t have a perfect candy-coated life. Desperate hookups aren’t sexy they are just sad, especially when one half of the hook up is suffering. Dare Me Episode 6 crystallized each character’s motivations. Will just wants what he lost. Coach French wants her idyllic life but also her dirty little secrets. Addy wants more for her future. Beth wants acceptance and love and Kurtz wants to wreak as much havoc as possible without getting caught.
They are lions and gazelle. As we head into the second half of the season I certainly hope Addy and the other innocents figure out who’s a friend and who’s a foe. Addy has reached back out to Beth as the two girls run together late at night. For Addy it is a release, for Beth, it is a lifeline. They are both driving towards something. Perfection, success, happiness, and maturity are all things these girls want. Their fire keeps them going until it burns them alive. If the blood that begins each episode is any indication that revelation comes too late. Catch up on all our coverage of Dare Me 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.