The Rehearsal – Season 1 Episode 2 “Scion” Recap and Review
Episode 2 of Repetition Season 1 begins with an outrageous scenario. Nathan Fielder watches a woman and her baby through a monitor. When she puts the baby in a crib and walks out of the room, it’s apparently “time to go.”
Nathan’s crew are quick on their feet, rushing to a house and secretly swapping a baby with the one in the crib – without the woman ever seeing it. Nathan congratulates his team on a job well done and heads home himself.
The repetition hasn’t even been explained yet, but we can already tell that it’s going to be complex. Of course, Nathan does not disappoint.
The woman on the monitor is Angela, the subject of this episode. For Angela, Nathan has concocted an unprecedented experience that requires the hiring of dozens of child actors: a simulation of the parenting of a child from 0 to 18 years old.
He moves Angela to a rural area (she doesn’t want to raise a child in the city); simulates the process of adopting baby Adam; constantly changing babies to circumvent child labor laws; and even provides a baby robot to imitate crying and keep Angela up at night.
Yet, something is missing. Angela knows that in the future she wants to raise Adam with a partner. Fortunately, she meets a guy through dating apps, and they hit it off. Robin is a Christian, like Angela. They connect with how God has changed their lives.
Angela likes Robin, but she’s skeptical about inviting him to join the rehearsal. She decides to go on another date with him, but she fails to schedule childcare.
For the first time, we see frustration in Nathan, and I don’t know if it was real or fabricated. He wonders if Angela takes this experience seriously or if she just wanted a vacation. At the end, he offers to break his own rules and keep “Adam”, which leads to some cute game scenes as well as Nathan’s first time changing a diaper.
Angela’s date goes well. When she invites Robin to be part of the rehearsal, he has a strangely enthusiastic response. This is after Robin accepts that a few red flags pop up around him.
He calls his roommate a “demon” for not sharing his own belief in God, drives after smoking weed, and disregards Angela’s desire for celibacy in their relationship. He also has an obsessive fascination with numbers, citing the numbers he’s seen in his life lately as a sign that he and Angela are meant to be.
I started wondering if he was even real, or just one of Nathan’s actors. It wouldn’t be the first time Nathan had attempted to deceive the subject of Repetition. That’s why I can’t help but wonder if this next scenario was planned by Nathan from the beginning.
Robin spends the night with Angela, who asks him to take care of the baby robot whenever he cries that night. Nathan watches Robin on the monitor from backstage while monitoring when the baby cries.
At one point, Nathan tells the man controlling the robot to “make him cry” and “don’t let go”. As if expecting it, Nathan watches Robin pack her bag. “I just…need a good night’s sleep,” he told Angela before leaving.
We then cut to Nathan meeting Angela at the fake bar in Episode 1. He tells her he thinks he might be a good dad, but he’s not sure. This experience might help her, if it allowed him to co-parent with her in the simulation. She agrees, though Nathan’s humble presentation is subtly manipulated.
Nathan gets the approval of the child actors’ real parents, and it looks like the experiment is ready to really begin. The episode ends with him entering the house, taking his cats with him.
The episode review
Watching Repetition, any skepticism felt goes beyond the normal levels of apprehension when diving into reality shows, which are usually manipulated to some degree. In RepetitionNathan Fielder even manipulates this expectation by introducing actors into the configuration of “reality”.
I can’t help wondering what the real social experiment is behind Repetition is. Whether it’s, at bottom, it’s about us as viewers – how willing we are to suspend our disbelief and trust Nathan; what we consider plausible reality against cultivated fiction.
Has Robin always been a plant? Did Nathan still plan to be part of this rehearsal? Maybe I’m reading too much into everything, but I can’t help but hope for a big reveal in the next episode – if it was to actually set up a two-parter.
“Scion,” while not as comprehensive or immersive as the first episode, is full of laughs and trippy reveals, and should leave you wondering with excitement how Nathan will live up to our expectations next.
The next episode
|Expect a full season write-up at the end of this season!|