UnREAL has been a rollercoaster ride throughout its run, but it ended on a high note with its deliciously dramatic fourth and final season. And there was one big change that made the farewell season so much more fun than past seasons: no more Jeremy. The goateed sad-sack has been holding Rachel Goldberg to the ground for three seasons, and the reason UnREAL's final season was so good was because Rachel finally got to let loose her evil-mastermind producing powers in full, without Jeremy moping on the sidelines.
The first three seasons of UnREAL were a bit of a bumpy ride for many viewers: Season 1 marked a massive debut for the show, receiving nearly unanimous praise from critics and fans. But the show's second season was less well-received, with some viewers cringing at the series' attempt to co-opt a timely Black Lives Matter storyline. Season 3, which featured Everlasting's first female suitor, marked a return to form, but the UnREAL's surprise fourth and final season really gave viewers the twisted drama and crackling fun that makes the show so enjoyable.
And the reason for that is the absence of Jeremy... as well as Rachel's parents, and everything else that connects Rachel to the outside world, really. For three seasons, Jeremy has served as a constant reminder of the implications of Rachel's terrible actions. With him gone, Rachel was free to fully realize her potential as the most artfully and wickedly manipulative producer on Everlasting, even orchestrating scenes that Quinn — Everlasting's barometer for evil — was uncomfortable with. The result is a much more shocking, fast-paced, and witty season of television, which trades Rachel's teary self-shame scenes in for double the self-assured bitchiness. And honestly, that's what we're here for, people, isn't it?
Rachel's ascension to Everlasting's primo evil mastermind also gives viewers the space to see more of Quinn's sympathetic and human side, as we see her focus on the possibility of starting her own family for the first time, rather than simply pushing Rachel to be more like her.
I should not be too hard on Jeremy, because the real root of the change that makes Season 4 work so well is more about what Jeremy represents than the character himself. Along with Jeremy being gone, Rachel's parents are also not seen in Season 4, and we barely ever see Rachel off the set of Everlasting, or even in her on-set truck/home she lived in throughout the rest of the series. Season 4 has completely gotten rid of Rachel's outside life, making her solely focused on Everlasting. The season also shows us more of the actual Everlasting show than ever before, bringing back many contestants we have seen before in an all-stars season. The refocus on the show-within-a-show does wonders for the fun of the season, and also ups the ante on the drama by drawing more damning parallels with The Bachelor franchise.
To fill Jeremy's absence, Season 4 of UnREAL brings in the new producer Tommy, who is basically the bizarro-Jeremy. While Jeremy was constantly disappointed in Rachel for her conniving ways, Tommy relishes in Rachel's manipulations, and even proves that he can go toe to toe with her as a producer.
The new team-up between Rachel and Tommy is all of the free-wheeling excitement that Rachel and Jeremy could never be.
It is a bit bittersweet that UnREAL ended on one of its best seasons, but of course, Rachel Goldberg's fully unhinged manipulative powers could only burn bright for so long before burning out. But at least super-producer Rachel got her chance to shine at last.