Nathan Fielder’s “The Rehearsal Finale” is the most heartbreaking episode yet

In the first episode of The sample, Back when this show looked like a silly prank series rather than a journey into Nathan Fielder’s deepest torment, our host felt the need to apologize.

The subject, a man named Kor, wants to confess to a friend that he doesn’t actually have a master’s degree. Fielder creates an environment for Kor to practice this admission over and over again, with all chaotic variables completely under his control, and within this simulation Fielder begins to feel disgusting about himself. Kor intends to uncover the truth about his educational history during a quiz night at a bar. To keep The sample Airtight, Fielder procures the answers to the questions that are asked beforehand and does his best to feed them into Kor’s subconscious.

This is a slight violation of competitive integrity, and Nathan Fielder — a man who, during his time in the limelight, has taken advantage of so many people’s trust in the kindness of strangers — is coming to terms. He (of course) first rehearses a mea culpa with an artificial kor, and then subjects the refined version to the man himself. It was a surprisingly somber ending that underscored a deeply goofy television premiere.

But now, at the end of the first season of The sample— with a cavalcade of shaky characters, psychedelic set designs, and exhaustive internet discourse behind us — it’s clear the show is meant to be Fielder’s personal reckoning.

I’ve been watching the man on TV for almost a decade; With his euphoric unwavering demeanor, he fools baristas, antique shop owners and haunted house promoters. We wondered about the implications because it’s easy to laugh at a few angry, confused Starbucks customers. But the wreck inside The sample is so much deeper, especially here at the end when a child actor named Remy starts to believe that Nathan is his real father.

Remy, of course, is one of the many boys who zipped through the show to play Adam – the fake son Angela left behind so she could practice the principles of motherhood. We learn early in the finale that Nathan and Remy had formed a real bond; that there was a warmth between them that transcended the confines of the studio.

Back home, Remy is being raised by a single mother, which is perhaps why the boy — who may be too young to fully understand the emotional suspension required of actors — has developed a palpable affection for Fielder . Nathan answers her; He reads bedtime stories to Remy and cuddles with him on the living room floor. It’s a relationship apart from all the Potemkinian romances and friendships The sample; the simulation folds in on itself and merges with reality.

Fielder visits Remy’s family home to make things right. Its goal is to reinforce the parameters of The sample– to rob this child of the tenderness he had previously showered on him – to become Nathan instead of Daddy. Remy struggles with the transition. At first he refuses to see Fielder as anything but a father figure; The mock sessions were too cute to turn down.

He has a crayon portrait of them both on the wall. For the first time in the series The sample gets serious. A six-year-old was deceived, for what purpose? To add extra ammo to a bizarre, experimental reality show? So Fielder can find a few more laughs?

The most heartbreaking part is that Nathan isn’t quite ready to let go of his fantasy fatherhood either. In the episode’s funniest sequence, he asks one of the other child actors – one with whom he doesn’t have the same relationship – if he’s a convincing father. Your Answer? “I think you’re a good scene partner.” Ouch.

taken at face value, The sample is based on the premise that the rigors of real life might be tastier if we can prepare for them. If we know the quiz questions ahead of time and have our drink order prepared at the bar, it might be easier to tell a friend we misled them about our master’s degree. But ironically, the finale reveals how the intricacies of the human psyche can never be guaranteed; that even in a fully authored setting, where Fielder can conjure up winter himself with the sheer power of HBO’s budget, relationships can become strained, tainted, and impossible to predict.

Fielder braced himself for anything, and yet this boy still wanted him to be his father—and despite it all, he felt the same way. Move heaven and earth and people will still be able to hurt other people; intentionally, accidentally, somewhere in between.

Remy eventually moves beyond his fielder phase. The last time we see him in the episode, he’s calling Nathan by his name again, and the statutes of reality and fantasy are back in place. And yet Fielder is not entirely satisfied. Something is still eating at its core.

So he develops the boldest simulation we’ve seen so far The sample. Fielder disguises himself as Remy’s mother, in an exact replica of her home, with a replica of her son nearby.

Together they reenact all of their time spent on the show. They send in an audition tape, they meet a Fielder deputy, they watch a strange family bond grow, and they anticipate the consequences that follow. The show ends with Fielder, disguised as a mother, lecturing her artificial child — sobbing from emotional whiplash — that life is better with surprises, that the TV host didn’t want to confuse him, that we’ll all find out things on the way out.

One would imagine Fielder would want to say these things to Remy himself, but in this pocket size, a rehearsal is the best he can hope for. And yet the scene breaks off. Fielder refers to himself as a father, although he plays a mother. The child actor corrects him in a whisper, which could be used to indicate a lineread on stage. “No,” Fielder replies in a tone bordering on sinister. “I am your father.” The two run away to play.

through The sample We watched as Fielder slowly came to terms with the debris in his wake. But in the moment of truth, he has still put his own welfare ahead of all others he has wronged. On this show, Fielder’s hurt feelings are the only ones that count. What a fascinating journey into the abyss. From here it can only get darker. Nathan Fielder’s “The Rehearsal Finale” is the most heartbreaking episode yet


Hung is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Hung joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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