Recap: The Curse (S1, Ep3) — Explosive Fight Reveals More Holes in the Siegel Marriage

The Siegel marriage has seemed off from the beginning. Ignoring the weird sex and the utterly repellant people, when you look at Whitney's (Emma Stone) and Asher's (Nathan Fielder) vacant smiles, you can just feel that something is wrong. Fielder and Stone play the Siegels beautifully in The Curse's first couple of episodes, but in "Questa Lane," they take the characters even higher as just a bit of the tension between them spills over into a volcanic argument.

Whatever's going on with Asher isn't helping this at all, of course. One of the first scenes in the episode sees the Siegels and producer Dougie (Benny Safdie) watch a focus group as they react to their tacky show's pilot, and while Whitney slips through their criticism, Asher is far from immune. "Either be hot or funny, he wasn't either to me," a group member observes. Asher's masculinity has taken a lot of blows already, but this seems to be the one that pushes him to action. It's one thing to talk about penis size with his father-in-law and make of a fool of himself with Gatorade in front of someone who respected him—it's another to threaten his role in the very thing his marriage is built on.

Asher has been increasingly desperate to prove himself as a doer, but he falls on his face even harder in "Questa Lane." The episode's opener shows Asher purchasing a house in an auction, and only later do we learn it's occupied by the family whose daughter "cursed" him in the first episode. The comedic stupidity on display as he drills open the door on two young girls, does not immediately drop the drill, and goes chasing them through a public neighborhood yelling about money he owes them is equally embarrassing and funny.

He and Whitney reach an agreement with the father Abshir (Barkhad Abdi) where the family can stay in the house, because Whitney wants to be the sensitive white woman who rescues the poor family. Watch as she sits around their house well past her welcome, trying to get to know the girls by watching them watch TikTok and wondering if Abshir makes hot dogs in rice instead of, you know, putting them in a bun. It's this TikTok conversation that makes for a serious plot progression, though—Nala (Hikmah Warsame), the girl who cursed Asher, mentions that she wished for the chicken to go missing from his dinner. Completely innocuous, until you remember that Asher complained about that very thing in the pilot.

And while Asher grapples with the consequences of something that could be very real, Whitney deals with something entirely fake. Fernando (Christopher Calderon), a Flipanthropy star for whom she secured a job, has lost it after the shop owner pulls out of the show. Whitney does her best with a replacement (and notice how she answers the phone with "hola" despite him speaking perfect English), but all she can do is have him sit outside the closed store after hours as security. The image of him wandering around the closed storefront as he swings his rifle around makes for an eerie and rather depressing to the ending to this eerie and rather depressing episode, and it's a great indicator of how ultimately useless the Siegels' show has been thus far.

The most eerie and depressing scene in "Questa Lane," though, is the aforementioned argument. Like all the worst ones, it starts over basically nothing. When Whitney can't get her sweater off, she and Asher share a largely weird and awkward moment where he pulls it over her head. She finds this to be hysterical and something Instagram needs to see. It's not nearly as funny the second time around, and all Asher can think about is how the curse may be real. She calls him racist (maybe true), he returns the accusation (probably true), and Whitney only stops the shouting match because she realizes her phone is still recording—this is not what she wants Instagram to see, but it's on film. It's the truth.

Both actors do remarkable jobs here. To see them completely lose their composures and vent some of the ugliness that we can feel below the surface is surreal and terrifying, and its how understated they were before this moment that makes this climax work so well. So yes, there's something wrong with the Siegel marriage, and it's the primary focus of "Questa Lane." The Curse's third episode is very interested in the way we act when we're being monitored—look at how Asher's insecurity leads to the aggressive break-in, which leads to the chicken revelation, which leads to the fight. The detached and almost voyeuristic cinematography of the series makes more sense when read it through this lens, and as we watch two of the worst people imaginable fight, it's hard not to feel as though we're looking at the reality that they continue to ignore.

This episode of The Curse is now available to stream on Paramount+ and Showtime.

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Sam Layton

Sam Layton is a Chicago suburb native that's trying his best to make a career out of his (probably unhealthy) habit of watching too much television. When he's not working as the Third Coast Review's current sole TV reviewer, he's making his way through college or, shockingly, watching too much television.