This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This review contains spoilers.
2.10 Will Scarsdale Like Josh’s Shayna Punim?
Before we get into talking about this week’s episode, let’s just take a moment to flail our arms around and squeal because Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been renewed for a third season. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!
The news actually broke last Sunday, after I’d filed my review of When Do I Get To Spend Time With Josh? That episode was filled with references to the show’s ratings struggles, and it all felt a bit like we might be spending our last hours with these characters, so the renewal announcement was kind of brilliantly timed, because it meant we actually didn’t have to spend very long worrying about it. (I still think we should all be bullying our friends into getting on board with the show, though.)
This week’s episode, though I know it can’t possibly have worked like this, seemed like a new beginning. It was a clear reassertion of the show’s themes and intentions, which Rachel Bloom and co will now have not just three more episodes but a whole season and a bit’s worth of time to work through. Things are back on track now. Season two of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has had to cope with budgetary constraints, a difficult timeslot, and the departure of a major and much-loved main cast member, but somehow, it’s still here, and it’s still doing its thing. Would this episode have felt so optimistic if the renewal hadn’t just happened? Ah, maybe. Because while Rebecca’s still doing her two-steps-forward-one-step-back dance, at least she is still trying to push forwards.
So, Rebecca and Josh are still trying to protect their love bubble. After a fairly disastrous dinner with Josh’s parents in the previous episode, this episode saw Josh going to Scarsdale with Rebecca to attend a cousin’s bar mitzvah. Rebecca’s mother may have driven her crazy in the past, but with Josh by her side, nothing could go wrong! Right? Yeah, obviously not. Rather than sitting in a corner being miserable with her, Josh charmed Rebecca’s relatives and generally had a great time, because, well, he’s Josh Chan. That’s what he does, and in theory it’s part of why Rebecca loves him, but this time, it pushed her towards a striking realisation: “if you hate yourself, no matter how great your boyfriend is, you’ll always be unhappy.”
That’s, like, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 101 right there. It’s the show’s entire thesis in a nutshell, and we’ve known it from the beginning. But it’s still kind of shocking to see Rebecca admit it.
Of course, by the end of the episode all that good work had been undone by another of Josh’s grand gestures, but it was a lot of fun to see first Rebecca’s rabbi (played by musical legend Patti LuPone, no less!) and then her therapist Dr Akopian (Michael Hyatt, brilliant as always) nudge her towards an almost-breakthrough. Rebecca’s been having a lot of those lately, and none of them has quite stuck, but each time she seems to get a little bit closer to figuring herself out.
And then something crazy happened. The fact that Josh finally rescued the Garfinkel ring from the pawn shop Rebecca had left it in felt like a relief, like letting go of a breath you’d forgotten you were holding, because the possibility that an important family heirloom like that might be lost forever threatened to be pretty devastating for Rebecca and her relationship with her mother. But surely every viewer everywhere was screaming right along with Dr Akopian when Josh got down on one knee. We’ve pretty much established by now that it’s not only Rebecca who’s asking for more from their relationship than it can possibly deliver – serial monogamist Josh doesn’t really know who he is without a woman by his side – so if they actually get married, it’ll be one of the worst decisions either of them have ever made.
Which is almost certainly why the season finale will see Rebecca in a wedding dress. Calling it now. Things move so fast on this show that that much-touted mega-cliffhanger at the end of season two surely has to be wedding related, and it’ll probably be even more devastating than the cliffhanger at the end of season one.
Anyway, Rebecca and Josh aside, this episode also included a lot of great moments from minor players. Over at Whitefeather and Associates – now apparently known as Plimpton, Plimpton, and Plimpton: Whitefeather and Associates, a renaming that’s only marginally less unwieldy than when Sterling Cooper became Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce – things are settling into a new normal. Nasty Nathaniel, predictably, turned out to be a deeply sad product of a terrifying upbringing, and his inevitable breakdown demonstrated exactly why walking desks are a terrible idea. It was fun to see George back, and Paula, Maya, and Tim all got some great little moments, too, but Darryl really stole the show. His chugging from a glass full of jelly beans might’ve been the episode’s standout moment if not for the scene where he came over all fatherly with Nathaniel at the hospital. Awww.
And let’s not forget we also got another amazing turn from Tovah Feldshuh as Rebecca’s overbearing mother, some excellent deadpanning from Heather, and an appearance from Father Brah – plus the return of Audra Levine! And two great musical numbers! Sometimes there just aren’t enough words for how great this show is. Shall we have another moment of flailing over season three? YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!