“Parallel Trenches” explores the same event from multiple perspectives to powerful effect, ending a run of lacklustre episodes.
This recap of Dare Me Season 1, Episode 5, “Parallel Trenches”, contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
Dare Me Episode 5 finally picks up the pace and finds a helpful blend between its narrative and aesthetics, utilizing the age-old trick of the same event being witnessed multiple times from different perspectives to strong effect, in terms of both style and story.
“Parallel Trenches” begins with the aftermath of the disastrous party which capped off the previous episode. Colette is fuming that Addy took Beth to her house, and Beth is also upset about the same thing; this is the tense relationship between these three reaching a juncture it’ll be difficult to progress beyond.
Beth returns to cheerleading practice, seemingly no worse for wear, much to the quiet annoyance of Tacy. The group remains fractured to disastrous results, at least for RiRi (Taveeta Szymanowicz), who gets her teeth viciously knocked out during an accident at a pep rally. This event, and the ones leading up to it, are seen multiple times throughout Dare Me Episode 5, each from a different viewpoint. And it’s a smart stylistic choice since the crunch of the accident is the most effective individual moment the show has had thus far.
Colette, obviously, feels responsible for it, especially when RiRi’s mother explicitly blames her. But it’s really Beth’s version of events which is most powerful in “Parallel Trenches”, as we get more insight not just into how she feels about Addy’s relationship with Colette, but also the aftermath of what is strongly implied was sexual assault at the party. For the first time, we see a crack in Beth’s façade; confirmation that it is, in fact, a façade at all. For her, RiRi’s accident is the breaking point of a day spent putting on a brave face; from this angle, her posturing at practice and ignoring text messages take on a sadder, more effective note. The person who is least-served by RiRi getting her face smashed in is RiRi herself.
After several back-to-back episodes with little in the way of highlights, Dare Me Season 1, Episode 5 exceeds admittedly low expectations by weaving its characterization into its stylistic flourishes to genuinely compelling effect. “Parallel Trenches” contains both the most insight and the only really effective moment of the show’s promised brutality in the season thus far. If it’s a sign of things to come for the back half, that can only be a good thing.
We are fast becoming the number one independent website for streaming coverage. Please support Ready Steady Cut today. Secure its future — we need you!
Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.