The Curse S1E5 Recap: If I Was Upset, You’d Know It

“It’s A Good Day”

Whitney talks to Dennis and Lucinda as Asher stands beside her in the kitchen of a passive home in The Curse S1E5, "It's A Good Day"

The following recap contains spoilers for The Curse S1E5, “It’s A Good Day” (written by Nathan Fielder & Benny Safdie and directed by Nathan Fielder)

It’s time to film Fliplanthropy!

As The Curse S1E5 begins, prospective buyers Lucinda (Nikki Dixon) and Dennis (Eric Peterson) are looking at one of the Siegels’ passive homes, and Dougie (Benny Safdie) offers some direction as he shoots the scene. Whitney (Emma Stone) isn’t pleased about him suggesting a take where they look skeptical, but mostly they cut to prepare to move on to shoot footage inside of the house.

During this break, Whitney asks Asher (Nathan Fielder) whether he’s gotten the couple to sign “the contract” yet, and he hasn’t. Also, it isn’t really a contract; it’s a non-legally binding letter of intent about supporting the Pueblo tribe. Asher insists that they don’t have to sign it in order to buy the house, and while Whitney pretends to agree with him, it’s clear at the end of the day that their refusal is a deal-breaker for her. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Asher grabs Whitney by the arm as they talk outside of a house with reflective walls

Before I talk about what happens with Dennis and Lucinda, I want to note how Whitney and Asher ask Jose (D.J. Arvizo) if he’s recording their conversation between scenes of the official show. He insists that he isn’t and that their mics are off, but I’m not sure I believe him.

As “It’s A Good Day” proceeds, a number of directorial choices create a feeling of surveillance, and while it could be the case that these shots are merely meant to imbue everything with a tone of paranoia, they kept reinforcing my suspicion that Dougie was collecting things to use without the Siegels knowing about it. We know from previous episodes that he’d want to do such a thing, so I don’t think we can put it past him. Maybe he’s even got a recording of Whitney’s meeting with her parents, and maybe these things will surface in his product, with him expressing confidence that he’s made a good show.

That would make Whitney furious, of course. She truly believes they’re doing good work, and she meant what she said last week about being more discerning about prospective buyers. She’s aghast when Dennis says he wants to put A/C in the house, and even more so when Lucinda says they don’t care about the passive home certification. Not supporting the Pueblo is just the straw that broke the camel’s back in terms of her decision to return their deposit.

Dennis and Lucinda stand in the kitchen of the passive home

This leaves the Siegels without a buyer for the home, and, more pressingly, without a “buyer” for the show they’re filming. So Dougie suggests they just get someone to pretend to be buying the house, and Whitney calls up Cara Durand (Nizhonniya Austin).

Cara is downright flippant during her walkthrough, and while Whitney is delusional enough to believe that this woman is her good friend, she’s also smart enough to see that this footage isn’t going to be usable. And she maybe worries about the friend part for a moment.

Cara fascinates me, as it’s hard to pin down her true motivations. She hangs around on set with Dougie for the rest of the episode, and the two hit it off (at one point laughing about a silly idea for a show called Native America, where the President would be Ronald Raven). When pushed about the release she’s supposed to sign to allow her artwork to be used in Fliplanthropy, she says she’ll get to it. But she told Asher and Whitney in a previous episode that she didn’t want her art decorating homes other than theirs, so I’m not sure I believe her.

The one thing that is clear is that Cara does not view Whitney as her good friend. In fact, I think she really dislikes Whitney. Cara sees through Whitney’s whole white savior thing, and my read is that she’s simply willing to take advantage of it to whatever extent she can. She doesn’t respect Whitney at all, so she has no problem dissembling towards her. I don’t think she’s ever going to sign that release.

Cara and Dougie sit outside on set

Whitney heads to Santa Fe with Tonya (Samantha Ashley) to do some street casting. She wants to use Pascal (Alexander Gibson), but to pair him with Winona (Akiko Stacy), because Winona has a baby. She and Pascal don’t know each other at all. Unfortunately (from Whitney’s point of view), Pascal’s girlfriend, Janice (Aliyah Lee), really wants to be in the show, so Whitney lies and blames Tonya for being confused in pushing the whole fake couple thing. Tonya then has to explain to Whitney that they can’t just use Winona’s baby without her.

Regardless, the shoot with Pascal and Janice goes well. If we imagine ourselves watching a reality show on HGTV, I’d have to say this scene works. I don’t know about the bit where Pascal breaks out into a rendition of “Stand By Me,” or if that will make the cut when it comes down to it, but Dougie at least has some footage here he can use to make the episode.

Pascal and Janice, with a cameraman beside them

The Siegels, however, still don’t have a real buyer, so Asher looks into whether Mark Rose (Dean Cain), whom they’d previously turned away, is still interested. He is, but Whitney does not want to have anything to do with him because he has a Blue Lives Matter flag on his truck.

Whitney has a certain distaste for the police, as we see when she’s called to the shopping plaza because Fernando (Christopher D. Calderon) has stopped a shoplifter. Whitney tells Enola (Rosie B. Molina) that if someone steals jeans again, she should not call the cops. Instead, she can charge what they stole to Whitney’s credit card. And she gives Enola her credit card number.

Whitney is right that shoplifting usually stems from economic desperation and that it does not, in itself, involve the inflicting of concrete harm on a person. The problem with her position is that it seems woefully naïve. We have to wonder to what extent she’s motivated by the image she wants to present of Española for broader business reasons, as opposed to genuine concern for those in dire straits.

I think that Whitney truly believes she’s on the side of justice, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t delusional. When Paul (Corbin Bernsen) and Elizabeth (Constance Shulman) try to visit the set of Fliplanthropy, they say it is to show their support, but it comes out that their PR person thinks it would be good to associate themselves with the project to burnish their image. We know from Episode 1 that some people call them slumlords.

What’s more noteworthy is what’s implied as Whitney yells at them in their car. She’s insisting that Española is her project and not theirs, but it definitely sounds like they gave her the money to get this thing going, and that it was maybe even their idea in the first place.

Whitney in a car talking to Paul and Elizabeth

Asher convinces Whitney to meet with Mark again, and he actually seems pretty alright. Yes, he supports the police, but he also gives money to UNICEF and some other charities. And he completely supports the Pueblo. Further, he’s super into the whole idea of the passive house. Things might go sideways later, but it truly seems like Mark is a decent guy, and it’s hard to deny that he’d be good for the show.

This devastates Whitney. The rest of the episode is filled with Asher asking her if she’s OK, and while she insists that she is, everything in her demeanor points to how she isn’t.

She’d been completely convinced that Mark was an enemy, and now she has to question that, which leads her to question everything about herself. But of course she can’t say that. She can’t even quite acknowledge it about herself. She’s just thrown. And I’m curious to see where The Curse takes this moving forward.

Mark talks to Asher and Whitney in the kitchen

We don’t see any fallout in S1E5 from the events of last week involving Vic (Alexander Poncio), so I wonder if there will be any down the road. Asher notes that his app is telling him Whitney should be nice and fertile, which indicates that some weeks have passed since her ectopic pregnancy. It’s not clear how many of those weeks might have been after the incident with Vic’s discarded oven.

There’s been no follow-up on the storyline involving Monica Perez (Tessa Mentus) for a few episodes, since Asher’s ingenious Gatorade heist at the casino. Was she convinced to drop her story about the Siegels by the information he provided? Whether she was or not, I wonder if leaking that information is going to come back and bite Asher at some point.

And then there’s everything with Dougie. I have no idea whether his super awkward date or the stuff with the boys he bought beer will factor in down the line, but I keep feeling weirdly haunted by him. Benny Safdie is knocking it out of the park with this character, and by “knocking it out of the park” I mean making me feel deeply uncomfortable in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.

We’re halfway through this season of The Curse, and I can’t wait to see how things come together in the back half.

See you next week.

Written by Caemeron Crain

Caemeron Crain is Executive Editor of TV Obsessive. He struggles with authority, including his own.

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