‘The Arrangement’ Season 1 Review: Was Love Enough?

Whirlwind. Shocking. Romantic. Absolutely crazy!! Words I’d definitely use to describe the inaugural season of E!’s The Arrangement. From the start of this season, it’s been a roller coaster ride of emotions. One minute, I’m squealing with delight over the love story that is Kyle West (Josh Henderson) and Megan Morrison (Christina Evangelista) or “Kygan”, and the next I’m completely lost in the mystery of The Institute of Higher Minds (IHM) and what exactly Terrence Anderson (Michael Vartan) is doing. With that in mind, let’s take a look at what worked, what didn’t work, and some of the high points of this entertaining freshmen season.

Overall Impression

Season one of The Arrangement was a success in my eyes.  Each episode drew you in further and further and left the viewer wanting to know more.  Any theories I had were quickly squashed and I love when a show does that.  I don’t like being right because I want to be surprised and not see things coming and season one did just that.  The finale especially.  Part of me faltered on whether Megan had really changed from her time at IHM and it was a constant battle with myself until the very end.  It was a twist that I didn’t see coming and I welcomed it.




What Worked

THE ARRANGEMENT — Episode 101/102 — Pictured: (l-r) Josh Henderson as Kyle West, Christine Evangelista as Megan Morrison — (Photo by: Daniel Power/E! Entertainment)
Kygan

At the end of the day, the show revolved around a love story. I have to say that while yes, I was excited about Kyle and Megan from the start, I did have a small feeling as to whether it was truly real for Kyle or if he was in on the plan that Terrence had put together to boost Kyle’s image after his engagement to Lisbeth crumbled. I’m glad that the show almost immediately proved me wrong. While yes, the actual arrangement was just that, a contract to help bolster Kyle’s image, it was clear that he wasn’t in it for that reason.

There was an instant ease and naturalness to their relationship, which I completely attest to the brilliant work of Josh Henderson and Christine Evangelista. Throughout the season, Kyle seemed very robotic and “scripted” when it came to Terrence or DeAnn (Lexa Doig) but with Megan, I feel like we saw the “real” Kyle. He was vulnerable with her and open. The same can be said for Megan, with the added bonus that as the season went on, we learned that she had some skeletons of her own hidden away in the closet. Even with the secrets, this love story was organic and felt real.

 

“I realize you’re the only person in my life I can trust.” – Kyle West (Josh Henderon)

 

Terrence Anderson

I may be biased as I am a huge fan of Mr. Vartan, but he played Terrence so well! From the moment he was introduced, there was something so shady and “off” about this character. Did he have Kyle’s best interests in mind? Was he truly trying to help people better themselves at IHM? As the season went on, I found that for Terrence, everyone has a price and can be motivated in some way to appease him. While it pissed me off at times, okay a lot of the time, I loved it because he was the perfect villain!

Terrence didn’t care what anyone had to say and he surely didn’t feel bad or have any regrets for what he’d done, making him a great antagonist. No one was safe when it came to Terrence. Not Kyle, not his wife DeAnn, hell, not even his staff. At the end of the day, his number one priority was the wellness of IHM.

What Didn’t Work

THE ARRANGEMENT — Episode 103 — Pictured: (l-r) Katharine Isabelle as Hope, Christine Evangelista as Megan Morrison — (Photo by: E! Entertainment)
Hope

I absolutely adore Katharine Isabelle, truly. Her portrayal as Susanna Waite on Being Human was phenomenal. She was fierce and strong and the ultimate badass. She was everything that Hope was not in this season of The Arrangement. Loyalty to friends is a big deal to me and Hope was severely lacking in that department. She was introduced as this carefree girl who just wanted to have fun with her two best friends. “The Leak” washed that all away!

I was floored, FLOORED when it was revealed that she was the one who leaked the nude pictures of Megan to the media. All because she was jealous of the fame her friend was receiving; someone she claimed was her BEST FRIEND. That’s not something you do to a friend. Hope was extremely whiney and unsure of herself and I felt like Megan needed people in her life who were strong and could be there for her. Hope has a lot of work to do on herself if she has any chance of redeeming herself in season two. I hope she does because I love having Katharine back on my TV.

Annika

It doesn’t help that the first time we meet Annika (Courtney Paige), it’s when she’s hysterical and recently knocked up by Megan’s now ex-boyfriend. Then, I had to do a double take when I saw her reappear on the phone with DeAnn. I didn’t see that twist coming. Was she hired by DeAnn? Was it all a ploy to get Megan single so she could sign the contract with Kyle? Ultimately, I found Annika’s storyline extremely confusing.

She was very manipulative from the start and not just with Megan, but with DeAnn and even Terrence. She was definitely portrayed as a villain early on but tried to play a victim as the season progressed. She tried to appear as this aspiring screenplay writer who just wanted a chance at her big shot, and while the sentiment behind it is innocent, the way she went about it was anything but. If she’s in season two, I hope that she has more character development and makes her stance a little clearer so we can follow along with her story.

What We Want More Of

THE ARRANGEMENT — Episode 110 — Pictured: (l-r) Michael Vartan as Terrence Anderson, Lexa Doig as DeAnn Anderson — (Photo by: E! Entertainment)
DeAnn Anderson

I definitely feel like we didn’t get enough of Terrence’s fiery, take-no-crap-from-anyone wife. Unlike Terrence, DeAnn (Lexa Doig) doesn’t care what people think about her. She reminds me a lot of Constance Zimmer’s character, Quinn King on Unreal. Like Quinn, DeAnn is trying to make a name for herself and prove that she can make it in a man’s world. She isn’t afraid to speak up when she thinks something is wrong or she’s getting screwed over. I truly feel like she had Kyle and Megan’s best interests in mind. I also think that at times, she’s stuck between a rock and a hard place, aka Terrence/IHM and going with her gut feeling when the situation arises. I could tell it broke her heart to have any involvement with Megan’s trip to IHM, and “trip” is putting it mildly. I can’t wait to see what she does next!

“She reminds me a lot of Constance Zimmer’s character, Quinn King on Unreal.”

Institute of the Higher Mind (IHM)

I don’t just want, I NEED to know more about IHM!! Is it legit? Are they truly trying to help people? I’m still not fully convinced one way or the other. I want to know why Terrence fights so hard for IHM when many view it as a cult. After the season finale, I am teetering towards the cult-feel based off Megan’s conversation with one of the patients there. It seemed as if he was there not by choice, but there have been so many people that were introduced this season that were revealed to be “agents” of IHM, so was that patient in fact a real patient or someone who was testing Megan’s resolve with IHM? See? Loads of questions!!

Favorite Episodes

“Pilot” (Episode 1×01) – How can you not love this episode? It’s where it all began! You were immediately swept into the world of fame and fortune. 60 minutes never went by so fast! This episode left me begging for more!
“Trips” (Episode 1×07) – I loved this episode for two reasons; the first, Kyle stood up to Terrence and cut ties (for now) and two, domestic Kygan!! Plus you finally found out what Megan had been hiding in her dark past.
“The New Narrative” (Episode 1×10) – The finale was just as good as the pilot! Left me with even more questions and always had me applauding Megan for being such a badass!

Least Favorite Episodes

“Crashing” (Episode 1×04) – This felt like a filler episode especially coming off the heels of 1×03 and Kyle’s slight betrayal of MEgan with The Kill Plan.

“Temptation” (Episode 1×05) – The undercover journalist who you later find out is with IHM was just too cliché.

 

THE ARRANGEMENT — Episode 103 — Pictured: Megan Morrison — (Photo by: E! Entertainment)

Season Finale Impression

I cycled through so many emotions throughout this finale. I was annoyed at Terrence for Megan being forced and basically kidnapped to attend IHM. And I was so betrayed by Kyle because he knew about the plan to kidnap her and didn’t do anything to stop it! Hell, he even supported it! I was scared for Megan because it felt like something right out of my nightmares and then so proud of her for standing her ground and beating Terrence at his own game. I have to say, the episode had my heart racing from start to finish and I think that’s how a season finale should be. It should keep you on your toes and second guessing everything so I think it was a job well done.

Next Season Speculation

First off, Kygan; I need them truly happy and to have no secrets between them. I think they have a shot at being a strong unbreakable couple if they both can just let go of the past and move on together without anyone’s influence. I also don’t want to see Kyle falling back into old habits with Terrence. I want him to fully cut ties with him and start to make a place for him in this world where he’s confident on his own without needing that approval.

While I love Terrence, I definitely think he’s a hindrance to Kyle and his growth. I’m also excited to see how Megan’s plans on taking down IHM. Season one, she was finding her footing in the spotlight and for season two, I want to see her fighting for her love, life, and freedom. I can’t wait for the epic battle that is coming between her and Terrence. It’s going to be amazing to watch!!

What were your thoughts on season one of The Arrangement?

Lacey Jae

Just a fangirl living the military life and loving my shows & ships❤

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