The parenting simulation continues with Nathan Fielder struggling to juggle work and family. Episode three delivers on the rawest emotions yet, with the immersive experience completely engulfing the test subjects.
This recap of the HBO series The Rehearsal season 1, episode 3, “Gold Digger,” contains spoilers. You can check out all of our coverage of this show by clicking these words.
Fans of Nathan Fielder’s new TV series will be happy to hear that episode three continues the parenting simulation from the previous instalment. This time around though, Fielder himself joins the family in the father role, but this isn’t the main focus of “Gold Digger”, which returns to one of Fielder’s many other projects, with a new rehearsal to ogle at. Expect more comedy gold and some truly authentic moments of human interaction as we return to The Rehearsal.
The Rehearsal season 1, episode 3 recap
The episode opens with Nathan Fielder and his fake son Adam hiding behind a curtain, dressed as Batman and Robin. They surprise pretend mother Angela, who happens to believe Halloween is a satanic festival, which she does not support. It’s a heart-warming moment that quickly descends into another character study, as Angela explains her views on Halloween and Satanism. She then tells Nathan to open his eyes to reality. This has to be the most ironic of sound bites, considering she is in the middle of a simulation herself, but it also highlights Angela’s warped perspective.
Nathan Fielder has only been a father for two days now, but he’s already finding himself being used and abused by Angela and her grand vision. She has him farming, whilst she plays inside with their three-year-old. Angela wants to be self-sufficient and plans these elaborate crops for Fielder to maintain, yet he’s new to this and has his own work to be getting on with. Fielder has another rehearsal to workshop and finds it tough to juggle this commitment and his family life.
The third simulation revolves around Patrick and his unresolved issues with his brother, who is the executor of his late grandfather’s will. Patrick has been forbidden from accessing his inheritance due to a clause that states he is not allowed to date a gold digger. The grandfather worried a partner may trick Patrick and end up stealing all his life savings, so the brother was entrusted with making the final decision. The brother believes Patrick’s latest girlfriend is a gold digger and he must convince him otherwise.
Again, Fielder and his team have constructed an entire venue in their warehouse, this time a fast food restaurant, where Patrick hopes to address the problem in person. Once more, an actor is playing his brother and they are constantly running their simulation over and over again, just like before. The only difference is this time, the test subject ignores all Nathan Fielder’s suggestions and struggles to follow a single strategy. Fielder decides to use this to his advantage though and goes rogue, test running a new addition to the experience.
Our psychotic team plan an intricate setup, which involves Patrick befriending the actor Isaac’s pretend grandfather and inheriting his life savings in the process. The aim is to create a similar situation, with identical stakes, so that when Patrick is rehearsing the conversation, he can replicate the same emotions. It’s method acting to the extremes. Patrick engages with the staged setup and as the lines between fact and fiction get rather murky, Nathan Fielder’s scheme snowballs.
The plan is a huge success and Patrick’s next rehearsal elicits unquestionable raw emotions, with the individual actually crying and explaining to Isaac how he hasn’t been allowed to grieve, because of all the issues with the will. It’s a magnificent moment that captures honest, authentic emotions. It must have been enough for Patrick as he doesn’t return to the warehouse again.
Back on the farm and Fielder’s crew are in overdrive. They install custom digital mirrors to replicate the sped-up aging process. Whilst rooting up seeds and planting fully formed vegetables to keep up with the rapid timeline. Fielder struggles to connect emotionally with his new family and debates the origins of Halloween with Angela.
As always, the show ends with a perfect reflection from Nathan Fielder himself. In the final moments, he says how you can only deceive yourself for so long and that you can only prepare so much for any given situation. Angela seems happy to go with the flow and has fully committed to the experience. She seems oblivious to the changes around her, while Fielder spots a barcode on the freshly unearthed vegetables. He walks over and flips the vegetable, hiding the barcode from view. The simulation is starting to fall apart and Nathan Fielder second guesses his motives in another stellar instalment.
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