The Rehearsal (Season 1 Finale), Episode 6: Recap & Ending Explained
The Rehearsal (Season 1 Finale), Episode 6 Recap & Ending Explained: For the past few weeks, we have been surprised by the fireworks of Nathan Fielder’s subconscious mastermind. The consistency to create something that makes you question his motive with every move is unimaginably brilliant. The season finale of the rehearsal questions more fascinating facts about Nathan’s craft – as a creator and someone inside the show’s design. Nathan had been building us up towards a closure, throwing cannonballs of his conquest, trying to win everything at his convenience. However, in the season finale, we finally see Nathan Fielder become the subject of his world – where he starts questioning the reality and, more importantly, where he stands in the show now that Angela is no longer in the format.
Here is a quick recap of the final episode of the rehearsal, ‘Pretend Daddy.’ Please be aware that the article contains spoilers. Feel free to read at your discretion.
The Rehearsal (Season 1 Finale), Episode 6 ‘Pretend Daddy’ Recap:
In the final episode, Nathan Fielder is popping balloons along with Adam for his birthday party. When he asks the six-year-old to bring a root beer from the kitchen, a much older Adam comes out of the house, leaving Nathan amazed by the sudden change. In one of the scenes where Nathan throws a birthday party to celebrate Adam’s ninth birthday, he says that the moment doesn’t quite work the way he imagined it should have. It indicates that the simulation structure of experiencing fatherhood is affected due to switching in-between reality. Constantly dealing with everything behind the scene, Nathan soon realizes that he was getting pulled away from experiencing fatherhood (which should have been his prime focus.)
We then witness one of the child actors who got attached to his ‘pretend father,’ struggling to leave the show. After interacting with the parent of the child actor who plays the six-year-old Adam in the show, Nathan learns the actor is finding it difficult to adjust to his old life – the real life. He also reveals that during the whole process, he also became fond of this child in particular. Nathan assumed that the child must be throwing tantrums like any kid of his age, but the child’s mother gave insight into the real reason why he won’t leave. Noticing other children with their dads picking or dropping them at school, Remy wonders about his dad. The growing intimacy and the presence of Nathan as his pretend daddy make him feel secure.
Like Remy, Nathan also struggled to show the same feelings to the new Adam. He has been doing everything scripted, from dropping his son to a Jew learning school to creating real scenarios where his son has to stand up for himself in front of the bullies. Yet Nathan finds everything odd in the way things are shaping up. It doesn’t sit right, and he wants to understand the possible reason that is leading to the lag in the synergy of the whole simulation process.
All this time, even though he is with his son (just like he wanted to be), his mind is constantly elsewhere. He has been wondering about the child who didn’t have a father with whom he spent a week pretending to be a father. Nathan decides to check in on the child after his mother asks for a visit. Upon meeting the child actor, Nathan feels strange to be in a real child’s home after being in a fake one for so long. Seeing the child entangled between the blurred lines of reality and the artificial world is heartbreaking as he keeps calling Nathan his daddy.
As delicately as he can, Nathan tries to explain to Remy that they are no longer playing son and dad – to which Remy says he doesn’t want him to play Nathan. It makes Nathan realize that the child doesn’t understand the absurdities of being an actor.
Nathan breaks his character as he struggles to make sense of the two worlds
When Nathan returns to his fake house with his fake son (played by Liam), he finds it quite challenging to connect to him emotionally even though Liam would give him enough space to enact the role of a father. One of the moments shows that Nathan breaks out of his character.
He tries to determine if the child actor understands the difference between real and simulation. Liam is completely aware of his world and tells Nathan that he is a great scene partner. Deeply affected by this brief moment of bitter truth and sadness, it finally dawns on Nathan that he sort of exploited the subjects involved in the show as he continues to experiment with his motives on them.
Maybe it is about time he reevaluates his past mistakes and finds the real reason that is probably the root cause of things, making him understand what he could have done differently.
Nathan Fielder makes the best use of his Nathan Fielder method in the season finale
Plugging deeper into the illusion of his world that is fast crashing upon him, Nathan starts to rehearse this one particular event that connects him with Remy and vice versa. Dressing Liam as the 6-year-old Remy playing Adam, he re-creates the moment between Adam and Nathan telling one another they love each other as father and son.
He keeps repeating that instance’s rehearsal until he figures out the mistake he could have easily avoided in the first place. From experimenting with a colder demeanor to involving an adult actor to play six-year-old Adam to recreating the same image, Nathan tries to change the moment to set things straight. Despite putting in all the efforts, nothing changes that would prevent both the characters from forming a bond.
Since nothing he does change his relationship with the kids, he tries to approach the parents to see if that would make any difference. What could he have said or done differently on the child’s last day on the set? All this also makes Nathan wonder if Angela had not left the show maybe that would have made all the difference. If there were a fake mom in the house the whole time, perhaps Remy would have known it was all pretend.
He rehearses the last confrontation scene that he had before Angela mentioned leaving the show to understand things he could have done to make Angela stay in the house.
During the rehearsal, he kept trying different ways to persuade the fake Angela to stay, but she always found a new way to tell Nathan that they’re just going back in circles, which will never change. So he meets Angela in person and apologizes for suggesting she was not taking the rehearsal seriously. He admits that the problem lies within him, and the simulation glitches have nothing to do with Angela. She instantly forgives him, saying that her faith suggests that one should be forgiving, starting with oneself for all the wrongdoings.
Nathan tries to mend the glitches as he learns to forgive himself.
It feels unusually relatable when Nathan says that forgiving yourself sounds easy and nice, but how do you do that in the real world? We often do or say things in our life without worrying about the repercussions of our words or actions. In this case, Nathan feels that putting the six-year-old Remy in such a vulnerable position was not right.
Hence, he takes Liam to Remy’s house, hoping that the latter would understand all this is just pretense. While interacting with Nathan, Remy’s mother shares that her son is doing okay and will make sure things are okay with him. She doesn’t know how to describe it to Nathan because it is something you won’t know until you have a kid.
Nathan asks her what she sees in his face that makes her feel so confident that he will do okay, to which she replies – me. This split second of time between Nathan and the mother of his pretend child is crucial. He understands that as a mother, she will cater to her child’s needs, including providing comfort and emotional wellbeing.
Nathan further adds that you may never be able to change what happened; perhaps, with a new perspective, you could try and change yourself.
The Rehearsal (Season 1 Finale), Episode 6, ‘Pretend Daddy’ Ending, Explained:
We see Nathan dressed as a mother in the digitally modified screen mirror. While adjusting his jacket, he calls out to Liam (dressed as a six-year-old Remy). Nathan is now recreating the exact moment that might have taken place when Remy’s mother suggested he record for the TV show audition. The next moments reveal Nathan Fielder’s clear agenda as we enter the set design of the moment when Remy’s mother took him for his first day of the shoot.
Transforming himself into Remy’s mother to understand the other side of the Rehearsal, he turns everything upside down with Fake Nathan (from episode 4) filling his shoes in the house.
In an attempt to make the simulation as accurate as he can, in one of the final scenes, Nathan (as Remy’s mother) tries to explain to Liam (who plays Remy) that Nathan (played by the fake Nathan) is not his real father, but only a pretend daddy. This unsettling scene is just the exact replica of an earlier scene in the actual Remy’s house.
The following sequence seems more like a confession about mending things, as Nathan tells Liam that maybe they shouldn’t have done the show in the first place. It is bizarre for a little kid to be part of, but nobody is perfect. Even a mother is allowed to make mistakes. He further says that it’s okay to get a little confused or sad, and no matter what he experiences, mommy is there for him. Nathan is wholly absorbed in the conversation while holding Liam’s hand, and he adds, “And I’m always gonna be here for you because I’m your dad.”
Not realizing the words he just said, Liam quickly breaks the character to remind Nathan of his role, to which he says with an almost villainous-stern voice – No, I am your dad. The final scene of the rehearsal season finale is full of warmth and assurance, even with its unsettling horrifying moment.
It reminds us that even though things may not have panned out the way Nathan thought they would, he is still in control of things in the show. The simplicity of this moment and a dazzling performance by Nathan Fielder shows that maybe single parenthood is just enough (which was the show’s crux from the beginning).
Even though he collapsed under the many layers of delusion and artifice to show the single truth through the eyes of the show’s character, we as an audience were left to ponder the great length Nathan Fielder is capable of as he gears for season 2 of The Rehearsal.