“Mutually Assured Destruction” is a slower episode content to rely on its aesthetic and the already-established dynamics, without doing much to move the plot forward.
This recap of Dare Me Season 1, Episode 2, “Mutually Assured Destruction”, contains spoilers. You can check out thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
There’s an obvious question hanging over Dare Me Episode 2, and it’s whether or not its stylistic quirks and edgy attitude are enough. While the first episode was utilitarian, having to introduce the core trifecta of Addy, Beth, and Colette, “Mutually Assured Destruction” settles into a slower rhythm to reiterate some rather obvious points.
Following on from the cliffhanger ending of the premiere, Colette, after another rigorous training session, tries to bargain with Addy and Beth. The latter is antagonistic, obviously, and the former is a bit of a suck-up – either way, the cracks are starting to show. How long this testy relationship holds is something of a ticking-clock device for the show to lean on for a while. Colette, realizing she’s under scrutiny, breaks off her affair with Sarge Will.
So far, Colette’s been thoroughly no-nonsense, but since she’s now somewhat at Beth’s mercy, in Dare Me Episode 2 we see flickers of her panicky attempts to justify her affair with an unconvincing “it isn’t what it looks like”. She obviously sees a potential ally in Addy and a dangerous adversary in Beth, so she starts working on getting between them by insisting that Beth isn’t a team player. Classic moves.
With the germ of mistrust planted, Addy starts to suspect Beth is lying about the incriminating video, steals her phone and attempts to break into it. Most of their interactions throughout “Mutually Assured Destruction” are tinged with the prospect of both Addy finding the video and Beth realizing what she’s up to; the title is a fitting one, if nothing else.
Beth does have the video, obviously – I’m not sure how much of a dramatic question Dare Me assumed this was since she has been characterized almost exclusively as a vindictive saboteur, which is why it’s nice to get a scene in this episode of her talking her father into giving her money that she immediately hands over to her mother. The more interesting snippets of characterization here belong to Addy and Colette, as the former begins to enable the latter in her ill-advised extramarital shenanigans.
This is really where we find everyone at the end of Dare Me Season 1, Episode 2, which you’ll note isn’t much different from how we left them at the end of the previous episode either. As with Addy’s bloody hands in the last episode and some more bloody snippets at the end of this one, there’s something much more macabre on the horizon for sure – for now, though, the show’s content to take its time, relying on the aesthetic and mood to keep audiences engaged.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.