HBO’s ‘The Rehearsal’ Recap, Episode 3: Cracks in the Facade


Nathan Fielder continues his surreal stint as a parent to ‘Adam’ and husband to Angela, who happily lives out her traditional fantasy in a simple way, enjoying the perks of a nanny and seemingly awkwardly avoiding Nathan.

Honestly, parenting rehearsal is already starting to get a little stale, but Nathan has an intriguing side project in “Patrick,” a man who must rehearse a difficult conversation with his brother to claim his rightful share of their grandfather’s inheritance.

Their grandfather’s will apparently states that Patrick cannot receive his inheritance if he dates a “gold digger,” and Patrick’s brother has put the label on all of his girlfriends ever since.

Patrick is introduced as a quintessential Nathan Fielder subject, an oddball who carries his grandfather’s ashes in a necklace with a thick Punisher keychain, while casually dropping anti-Semitic remarks during his rehearsal.

Nathan’s new idea is to add an extra dimension to the illusion, infusing the rehearsal with real emotion by involving Patrick in another inheritance battle, with the actor playing Patrick’s brother who is holding back the new inheritance, using the apology from his girlfriend’s “gold digger.”

It’s another layer of trickery that goes way beyond what we’ve seen on the show so far, as Nathan orchestrates an emotional bonding session between Patrick and the actor’s fake grandfather, who “dies” days after Patrick helped dig up his buried gold. – at one point Patrick even helps the old man with an emergency in the bathroom.

That scatological detail is inspired by a comment Patrick made during rehearsal, when he talks about how much he helped his own grandfather during his last years, even helping him wipe his behind when needed. Despite Patrick’s unflattering introduction, the anecdote really emphasized the tragedy of this absurd legacy situation – one can’t help but sympathize with him.

That’s why it gets pretty awkward when Patrick is told about the older actor’s fake death, and then told that he can’t receive his share of the gold because his girlfriend is a “gold digger.”

Maybe it says a lot about Patrick that he doesn’t see through the trickery (it’s nice on the nose, even for Nathan), but the ridiculous set up elicits a great emotional response. Reality roughly collides with the illusion, as Patrick talks to the actor as if he’s actually face to face with his brother, bursts into tears when he admits he’s incapable of grieving, and expresses a deep desire to just get ready. struggle with the ugly.

The actor happily gives Patrick the OK, and the two share a tight hug; it’s strangely beautiful, although there’s an uneasy feeling that this moment of catharsis may not be possible in the real world. The fact that Nathan’s crazy idea actually worked is a surprise, but it’s unclear whether Nathan helped Patrick or simply made the situation worse.

Anyway, we don’t get to know – Patrick doesn’t show up for the next rehearsal, and Nathan’s monotonous voiceover claims he never heard from him again. It’s certainly a spectacular piece of television, but it’s damn bleak; The rehearsal is certainly challenging for viewers to question their own complicity in the emotional torture of the show’s contestants, along with Nathan’s techniques.

Back at Angela’s residence, Nathan awkwardly persists between “Adam” and Angela, and their only real conversation was Nathan challenging Angela’s hilariously misguided views on Halloween and Satanism, in which Angela casually states that Google is controlled by the devil himself.

The episode ends with “Adam” being swapped out for a much older child, a six-year-old, and Nathan admits that the illusion is starting to falter, even if it feels convincing at times. To help pass the time, the mirrors in the house have been replaced with digital screens that place aging filters over Nathan’s reflection, while the vegetable garden is bursting with store-bought produce.

It’s only episode 3, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of Nathan’s labyrinth of rabbit holes; the scenarios become more awkward yet more intriguing.