The Rehearsal (Season 1), Episode 2 Recap & Ending Explained: The second episode of The Rehearsal finds Nathan Fielder allowing his own creation to take his personal space. More subtle, genuine, and sincere than the introductory episode of the series, this one touches upon key issues about the human condition sans loneliness, the inability to find a perfect someone, and parenthood.
Please note the following recap contains spoilers; I request you to read it at your discretion.
THE REHEARSAL (SEASON 1), EPISODE 2 RECAP:
The second episode of The Rehearsal begins with the audience looking at a big screen showing CCTV footage of a mother taking care of an infant. Nathan Fielder is closely monitoring the screen displaying multiple cameras fitted in the house. Along with him, a woman looks at the screen while caressing a baby. He asks for the baby’s name from the woman, to which she replies, Charlie. While observing the woman on screen, he playfully greets Charlie.
We can see that Nathan and his team are minutely noting every movement shown in the footage for the new project they are actively engaged in. What could possibly be the new subject of the latest episode of The Rehearsal? Why is he closely monitoring the screen? What is Nathan’s motive for the woman and her baby in this episode? Titled “Scion” the prologue releases us to a state of panic.
Nathan gets into extreme panic mode when the woman on the CCTV screen puts on a hat on the child. He asks his assistant if they have a matching hat for Charlie. As shown in the footage, he has to look similar to the other child. The assistant quickly brings a hat and puts it on Charlie, while his mother comforts the child as he gets restless due to sudden disturbance.
Nathan instructs his team to wait until the woman on the screen clears the room. Once she leaves, he signals his squad to replace the child on the screen with Charlie. The crew swiftly moves along with the instruction and successfully brings the first baby back to his mother.
Nathan congratulates the crew for the great work they all put together. He walks out of a barn (converted into his office) adjacent to the house he was closely monitoring.
Why was Nathan watching the woman and her baby?
In the new episode of The Rehearsal (Season 1), Nathan, along with his crew, directs his audience’s attention in rehearsing one of the pivotal roles of a person’s life. He narrates that nothing can prepare anyone to become a parent. At the same time, most people don’t have the resources to hire a dozen of child actors to comprehend such a crucial phase of life.
In the second episode of the Rehearsal, Nathan focuses on a 44-year-old single woman named Angela, who wants to prepare and see if she is fit to be a parent. He plans to provide her with a seamless, round-the-clock simulation of parenting a child from zero to eighteen over a period of two months.
Angela is chronically unable to have children as her circumstances have never according to her imagination. Before rehearsing the critical part of her life, Angela told Nathan little details that she is pretty particular. These details allow us to get to know her a little better.
Why did Nathan approach Angela for the project?
Angela believes everything in her life must happen in the proper context. She is a firm believer in Christianity. A baby in her life is only possible when married to the right man. However, she has not met the love of her life. She must find a suitable partner with whom she can raise children in the right atmosphere.
Nathan thinks not having a life companion to raise a family could be challenging. While going through different profiles of suitable partners on a dating app, he asks her if she likes someone. She is specific about the kind of man she wants to meet. Angela is picky but confident about the things she wants to have and not have. This outlook also applies to all aspects of her life. Even a small matter of picking the right kind of air purifier for the protection of her child is a significant decision.
Soon after learning that Angela wants to live an experience of raising a child in the right circumstances, Nathan helps her move from her studio apartment to a rented house in Ronde, Oregan. She had always visualized her life in a big home on a remote land, preferably with farm animals. A place where she can go off the grid anytime they want because infants can absorb wireless radiation, which leads to several chronic health issues. She wants to be capable of making a healthy and safe environment where her child doesn’t have to suffer in any way.
Despite all these worries that most adults (with parental instincts) are unaware of, Nathan feels he should help Angela. Her growing fears make sense to him, and he understands that a single misstep can endanger a toddler’s future. Hence, he wants her to live an experience he feels anyone in her place would like to have.
How does the Rehearsal begin for Angela’s new life?
Angela’s rehearsal began with a simulated adoption, just like she envisioned. Nathan had the baby’s birth mother give their child to Angela, making it look like a real-life situation. The mother would explain why she chose to give the baby for adoption and how Angela would make an exceptional mother. Nathan ensured that every detail of the adoption was authentic for Angela to feel the right emotion and attachment to the baby.
Nathan brings a champagne bottle for a little celebration after a successful adoption, marking a way in with his odd humor. Angela was sure she wanted to name the baby – Adam because of the weight the name carries. She also feels it is a strong name (maybe because of biblical connections and her faith in Christianity.)
Related to The Rehearsal (Season 1), Episode 2 – For All Mankind (Season 3), Episode 7: Recap and Ending Explained
Why were so many children cast as Angela’s son?
According to Oregan state labor law, there is a limit on the number of hours a child actor can work. The law mentions that infants can only work four hours (this indicates during rehearsal, they would require multiple daily switches.)
Each week Adam would grow three years, and for each age, several child actors were cast to play the role of Angela’s son. To make the process seamless, Nathan and his crew tried to switch the babies effortlessly, complying with the labor law and making Angela’s experience wholesome.
What measures were taken for Angela’s experience and the baby’s well-being?
Every day, Nathan would visit Angela in the house and note details about things she wished to try with the baby for his well-being. He would then take the requests to the birth mothers for their consent. He would keep track of everything she wanted to do with the kids, and getting permission from the parents was essential to preserve a balance in the Rehearsal of Angela’s motherhood adventure.
What follows after Angela becomes a mother?
She is excelling in the new role, but the priority of life – finding the right partner is still missing from this chapter of her life. Before the rehearsal, Nathan encouraged Angela to meet up with various suitors that could resolve the ongoing absence she feels at times. However, after trying to connect with a few people, she still felt the right man hasn’t come across yet. Sharing the same principles and philosophy is necessary for a person like Angela.
Even though she is ready to meet people and have meaningful conversations, sharing the same values with the person is a plus for her. She wants to connect with someone with whom she is confident to raise a child and create a beautiful life together. In addition, sharing a similar viewpoint on the religious aspect is essential, and she doesn’t want to settle down with anyone less than what she has imagined.
Learning about her experiences in meeting people, Nathan started to doubt if she would connect with someone. Until one day, she meets a guy named Robin
Although he was more than ten years younger than her, she connected with him instantly once he started to share little details that intrigued her – like having faith in the Lord Almighty for instance. A huge believer himself, Robin mentioned different coincidences in his everyday life that always reminded him of having a blessed life and how the lord is always watching over him.
Three days in, Angela told Nathan that she was still skeptical about Robin (mainly because of the age difference.) Getting a sense of unsurety and theoretical approach, Nathan wondered if she was less interested in the continuity of her ‘now comfortable’ life (which has become like a vacation in her dream home of sorts).
How did Nathan create an authentic maternity experience for Angela?
Since baby actors can’t work after 7.30 pm, Nathan had to replace them with a robot baby that would mimic baby activities. He hired a local guy (who called himself a night owl) to watch the live feed of the actual baby’s activities and patterns and manually make the robot baby cry in sync. Unfortunately, the guy was not a night owl and fell asleep within 15 minutes of his first night on the job. This jeopardized Nathan’s method of working on the project – which also robbed Angela from the experience of fulfilling the duty of a parent towards an infant.
This made Nathan speak with the guy to get things in order so that Angela doesn’t have the impression that being a mother is an easy job. Once things were up and working again, Angela started to crave an extra set of hands in handling her responsibilities as a mother.
Within a day, Angela set up a second date with Robin and told Nathan she was ready to take things forward with him. However, when he mentioned that she would need to arrange child care (a babysitter) before she would go for her date, things got a little tense with Angela. She said she didn’t know and needed extra time to schedule anything. Not wanting to leave anything dangling, Angela decided to reschedule her date and prioritized her duties as a mother instead of going out (this also indicates her developing a matured psychology of becoming a new mother).
Why did Nathan step up to fill in the shoes of becoming a babysitter?
Nathan didn’t want Angela to not have the experience of meeting someone and letting all the efforts go to waste. He felt for this one time, he can try babysitting her child and letting her enjoy her time with Robin. Inexperienced in this field just like Angela, taking care of an infant slowly started growing on him.
While Angela is away on her date, we can see Nathan is having an epic experience with the child. He is concerned, attentive, and sensitive to the child’s needs. So much that Nathan even learns how to drape a diaper from a YouTube video. Does he crave such a life for himself? Is becoming a parent also one of Nathan’s desires, or is he just covering up emotions and letting this particular phase of his life work on its own?
What happens when Angela meets Robin for a second date?
Angela and Robin meet on the second date, and everything feels good for them. They share interesting incidents from their lives that connect them to their religious faith. After knowing a little about Robin, Angela asks him about his dreams and where he sees himself in life. He tells her that he wants to be an NBA player.
Once Angela gets home, Nathan had already put the baby to sleep and watched him from the baby monitor. He asks about her date, and she tells him it was great. And that she has invited Robin over to her house for a third date, where she wants to propose the idea of raising Adam together.
Is Robin the right man for Angela?
On their third date, Robin arrives at Angela’s home; at the same time, Nathan observes both of them from his office (adjacent to her house) along with the mother of the child who is playing Adam on that day. While having coffee on the porch outside, Angela mentions the baby to Robin and asks if he would like to meet him.
Angela gives him a tour of the house and mentions that she would like him to explore the idea with her, i.e if he would be interested in being part of this simulation. She further explains to him that he is not her baby and it is only to explore the idea of having one and what it is like to raise children. She also explains the entire project process to him while Robin carefully listens to her.
On the other side, Nathan also asks the child actor’s mother if she would be comfortable with Robin being around her son. She approves as he is friendly and seems like a nice person. Curious to find out how everything works, Robin questions Angela about any doubt he might have, and she respectfully explains how everything works.
Related to The Rehearsal (Season 1), Episode 2 – Better Call Saul (Season 6), Episode 9: Recap & Ending Explained
Why did Nathan decide to go with Robin to his place?
Nathan decides to meet Robin, who is walking toward his car. He asks if he is interested in joining the rehearsal with Angela for the project. Seeing that he is curious to try this, he asks if Robin could partake in it the same night. Since Robin has issues with his roommate over religious beliefs, it is a perfect opportunity for him to leave the place and join Angela.
On his way to pick up his belongings, Robin shares several bibliographical insights with Nathan showing how various numbers in his car (engine screen) and street/house numbers indicate different signs in his life. Sharing a very uncomfortable car ride, Nathan is unconvinced of Angela’s choice of man in life.
While packing his bags for the stay-over, Robin gets tensed about how things may change for him. Nathan soon realizes that Robin’s real-life personality and lifestyle differ from Angela’s. He is pleasant and sociable but lives his life on the edges. He is aggressive about trivial things and looks for validation about things he strictly believes in.
Robin also decides to smoke pot before coming to Angela’s place. He insists on driving in that condition and without a licensed number plate on the car, which is not an excellent example of a responsible person. Nathan drives Robin in his car to take control of the situation.
Was Angela disappointed by Robin?
Upon arriving and settling for the night, Angela explained how the baby monitor works so that Robin can start taking care of his duties for the baby as an equal partner in the relationship. She showed him the room he was going to sleep in next to the baby’s room.
On the office setup, Nathan accompanied (every night) the local guy hired to monitor and capture the actual baby’s night time activities. Nathan points out that the real baby was active when both of them were talking. He instructs him to sync the baby immediately.
Robin diligently wakes up to the baby’s cries and goes to the nursery to comfort him. In the background, we hear Nathan narrating the bitter truth of life that we often do not want to admit to ourselves.
He says, “It can be scary to let a new person enter your life. You must open up your heart to them. But can you be sure what their motives are? And even if you wish they do their best, they often go ahead in disappointing you.”
After many attempts to calm the crying child every few hours, Robin gave up on his duty. Was he incapable of the new responsibilities, or was he just not ready to give up on his comforts and lifestyle?
He packs his bags and tells Angela that he was leaving. For him, sleeping was priority over the baby and his partner. Whereas, for Angela it was different. She was left alone in disappointment with the baby in a night that felt longer than usual. It seems like not everyone is cut out for a circumstance/phase like this.
The Rehearsal (Season 1), Episode 2 Ending Explained:
Equally disappointed with how things unfolded for Angela, Nathan get sad. He says that sometimes even he doesn’t understand why he makes some life choices he is unsure about. He then visits the fake bar he had created (the one from the first episode). He says that he paid so much attention to the details that he didn’t want to throw away the effort into building it from scratch.
While working on the project, he was put up in a unique suite in a hotel which was a modeling unit in the same building (where the bar was.) He lived with his cats in the suite. He feels it is always nice to have something familiar around, especially when he is going to be out here for a while.
It seems like Nathan is living life, but things sometimes get very lonely. He acknowledges that in a world full of fleeting moments and relationships, one starts to long for something permanent. He also understands the anxieties and sorrows of aging, not meeting the right person in life, and wanting to settle in life with nothing less than what one imagines (or deserves.) He craves belonging, a sense of familiarity, and, most importantly, companionship.
Upon reflecting on his life’s whereabouts, Nathan decides to pour himself an energy drink (probably he was feeling down because of the last night’s meltdown.) Angela meets him at the bar, and he apologizes to her about Robin and everything she had to go through.
Angela held her chin up and let go of things, saying it was okay. She believes that sometimes, things have to unfold and we have to take things as they are. Agreeing with her, he shares that he has been thinking about life in general. He says that he is 38 and has no kids, and while babysitting Adam the other night, he realized he has great parental instinct – and how one day, if things are right, he has the potential to become a great dad.
He then proposes to Angela that the point where both of them are (at the moment) could benefit both of them somehow. Should she be comfortable, he can try to enact the role of a life partner she is looking for while he can live the kind of life he yearns to live one day.
Angela had been waiting for this conversation to come up ahead of time. She wants everyone to be on the same page. It feels like they both can work on this idea, keeping in mind that there is an equal amount of communication about it so they can design a life they both want.
They discuss the scope and possibilities by sharing their beliefs and ideas about how each of them would like to co-parent the child. They both agree to the concept, and Nathan soon starts to discuss the possible changes with all the parents of the child actors (and get consent to the idea) he had earlier cast to play Adam.
The ending of the episode shows us Nathan packing his belongings from the suite he was living in, along with his two cats. Is he joining The Rehearsal as a cast member? Would we see him playing a crucial role in the season? Will the show become darker than we anticipated it to be in the first episode? We will find it out in the next episode.