Dare Me Episode 7: Scorched Earth- Review And Recap-Who Killed Sarge Will?
Earth-shaking changes took place this week that left one major character dead and Beth reeling. Who killed Sarge Will?
Dare Me Episode 7 begins and ends with the same set of words. “It’s bad.” There is so much wrong its hard to pinpoint just what exactly is “bad”. Adults act like manipulative children and kids step into grown-up roles they aren’t even close to being ready for. This is what Dare Me has done so well, kept the blame firmly focused on those who deserve it.
Children, even teenagers are vulnerable because they don’t have the life experience to know when they are in danger. Coaches and parents are supposed to protect kids from things and guide them through their formative years. Beth has vipers for parents and Addy is being groomed by a master who might also be a killer. That doesn’t even count the rapist.
The blood in the carpet is finally answered and Coach French, your right, it’s bad. What might be worse, is there is still blood on a military uniform out there somewhere and with three episodes to go a whole lot more mystery to solve. The one thing we know for certain is Sarge Will is dead. The brief scene at the beginning makes it appear someone shot him. Blood splatter and a man that looks like him falling indicate he didn’t do it to himself. Coach has a lot to lose if their affair comes out, but there are others who could be potential killers.
The darkness that lies in all of us, or the “shadow” as Coach refers to it, is the part of ourselves that justifies bad behavior. It’s the part that secretly smokes but denies any fear or tension. It’s also the part that purposely crashes a car to cover up an affair. The part of women that force us to pack entire suitcases full of toiletries. The pressure to look perfect is enormous for young girls. For Coach Colette who has one foot stuck in the past that obsession never went away.
That closeness to age allows Coach to continue to groom Addy. Addy idolizes her coach(maybe more) and Colette uses that to control her. She knows Addy has feelings for her. Addy also wants to get out of her small town and escape to college. Coach French likes having underlings she can use when she needs something. Sometimes that’s simply a tool to control her squad, sometimes cover for a passionate interlude, and evidently, it also can be help with a murder clean up. When Coach French invites Addy to a sauna session the predatory tone of their relationship is highlighted.
Addy worries about how she looks and Coach wants to continue to stroke her protege. A brief comment earlier in the evening about something that happened at cheer camp might be the key to Addy and Beth’s complicated friendship. That complication makes Addy prime material for Coach’s attention. When Beth questions Addy while on the clock at Regionals she asks her, “Why is it never enough?” What she wants to know is why do you like Coach but never me?
Addy who is right to be angry and wants Beth to have better timing is harsh in her answer. You aren’t her she says and Beth is forced to suck it up, plaster a smile on her face, and perform. Luckily for everyone, Beth is used to pushing down her emotions and the routine is flawless. Once the competition is over Addy chooses to sit apart from Beth but changes her phone wallpaper back to a pic of her and Beth. Did she do that because she cares for her friend and knows she will be back or is she becoming more like Coach?
Little does Addy know Beth and Coach are very similar. The parallels between these two are remarkable. They both have had absentee parents who are neglectful at best and narcissistic at worst. It’s hard to watch poor Beth who is shocked when her usually intoxicated mother shows up to Regionals. Warring emotions of disbelief, hope, and fear cross her face. Beth wants badly to have her happy family back but no amount of champagne and fancy dinner can make that happen. This is especially true when the player in the middle Tacy and Beth’s Dad doesn’t care how much damage he has caused or will cause. Tacy has learned to get her father’s attention through a contrived crisis. She ruins the family meal by calling him drunk. The stepsisters snipe at each other the next day shortly before their routine because both of them want what the other has.
The difference between Addy and Beth is hope. Addy has the benefit of a support system. Her mother loves her and is a stable force. Beth has no such support. Every bit of love she gets from her parents comes at a price. The two girls are like watching a real-time experiment on whether support systems matter to kids. It’s hard to watch Beth week in and out. That is largely due to Marlo Kelly’s absolute commitment to her character’s rawness. Kelly seers the screen with equal parts, sexuality and pain. Dare Me should be a star-making role for her. In Dare Me Episode 7 you remember why she is so likable even when she is being bad. She is a sad lonely girl who hides her unhappiness behind booze and bitter snark.
Coach French continues to be the world’s worst person. The writers have done a phenomenal job writing for Willa Fitzgerald(Colette French). She is a cold beauty who is so tightly wound you are afraid she could snap at any moment. Smart phone conversations give peeks inside her internal conflict. She might actually love Matt despite her abhorrent decisions. Coach French may be as broken as Beth. She has talked about a terrible mother and gave Addy details about a life spinning out of control before Matt. Those little touches allow Colette to be a much more complex character who is flawed but relatable. More a self-sabatoger than a user, she could be as damaged as Beth and Sarge. The writers, in a genius stroke, might also just be manipulating the viewers into feeling sympathy for an irredeemable character.
She instructs Addy in a wildly inappropriate sauna session that the key to pressure is locking your emotions down. There are feelings that last and feelings that “rip right through you”. What she is really saying is take both things but hide them. Use what you need when you need it. For Addy who is naive every word is like listening to Taylor Swift give pop star advice. For those of us watching who are more jaded it is a carefully designed speech to keep Addy begging for more. Little does Colette know how soon she will need Addy’s help. Sarge is melting down. Colette will not be able to ignore him. For this unstable guy, Colette is a lifeline he’s not willing to let go of.
Finally, some real cheerleading took place this week. For cheer geeks like myself, this was the side of athleticism I have been yearning for with my murder mystery. Think Netflix’s guilty pleasure Cheer if the cast was trying to kill each other instead of being uber positive and sell cheer gear on YouTube. The routine was a great mix of skills while continuing the tone of tension and anger. The routine set to Princess Nokia’s Tomboy was a modern cheer-focused tango full of the push and pull of competing bodies and minds.
Dare Me Episode 7 may have solved one mystery but opened the door for so many new questions. Namely, who killed Sarge and why? Addy was asleep so she’s out but there are more than a few other options. Coach is the simplest choice as she had the opportunity and motive. That may be too easy an answer and the tiny clues dropped like breadcrumbs throughout shouldn’t be ignored.
Corporal Kurtz has a uniform and also plenty of opportunity and motive. Someone has drops of blood dripping from their lapel. Will knows what he did to Beth. He is a psychopath with a nasty temper and a gun. Lastly, Beth or Matt could be involved in a surprising turn. Beth could be getting revenge for Coach’s relationship with Addy and Matt might finally be aware of his wife’s indiscretions. It is hard to imagine the mild mannered father being involved though.
We are all capable of awful things. Even when you think you know yourself the shadow sneaks up on you. Regardless of what Colette told Addy you should be afraid of your shadow. It isn’t your power it’s the darkness that will suck you down if you let it. In a show with as many twists and turns as Dare Me anything is possible. 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.