This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This review contains spoilers.
2.3 All Signs Point To Josh…Or Is It Josh’s Friend?
Are you Team Josh or Team Greg? If you’re invested in Rebecca choosing either of them, you were in for a nasty surprise in this episode. Though it might’ve been just about possible to watch most of season one like a standard romcom, season two isn’t pulling any of its punches. Over the course of this week’s episode, it’s been made pretty clear that the only romance narrative here is entirely inside Rebecca’s head, and none of it can stand up to reality.
The first of many bubbles to get burst was Rebecca’s polyamory fantasy. The episode opened with Rebecca cuddling in bed with Josh, only for Greg to turn up with a pizza and join them in threeway spooning, and yeah, it was pretty obviously a fantasy. In one of the episode’s best jokes, it turned out to be a fantasy she was describing to an actual polyamorous ‘throuple’, and they were decidedly unimpressed. It turns out there’s more to relationships than sex and being adored – who knew?
Unfortunately, though the poly triad might’ve talked Rebecca out of trying to manoeuvre both of her potential love interests into one impossible relationship, they didn’t quite manage to get her to address reality. Instead, they sent her spinning off into the episode’s only song: The Math Of Love Triangles.
You don’t need me to tell you this was a parody of Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. But I think we do all need to take a moment to appreciate Rachel Bloom’s terrifying Marilyn Monroe impression. That baby voice! Amazing. And the song itself was pretty great too, as a squad of dancing maths professors tried, with increasing frustration, to get Rebecca to pay attention to geometry rather than her own sex appeal. It’s kind of interesting that this is the second time, already, that Rebecca’s imaginary characters have talked back to her; what does it mean when you can’t even control people in your own fantasy musical interludes? Nothing good, surely.
What should be a good thing is that Rebecca’s back in therapy. She visits the long-suffering Dr Akopian twice this episode, and listens to nothing she advises either time. Still, at least she’s going? Maybe one day she’ll actually take it seriously.
Not quite yet, though. Once the polyamory stuff was out of the way, Rebecca moved on to looking for signs from the universe. Despite Akopian’s efforts to explain to Rebecca that she’s not actually being offered a relationship by with Josh or Greg, and that she really ought to stay single and sort her head out before jumping into anything anyway, Rebecca decided she could just wait for destiny to tell her what to do, through the medium of vague and random ‘signs’.
And that led to one of the most watch-through-your-fingers-ideally-from-behind-the-sofa painful moments of the show so far, or possibly any show, ever, as Rebecca decided her late period meant she was pregnant and that that meant she was destined to settle down with Josh. She didn’t even take a pregnancy test before telling him. Josh’s unblinking horror was, admittedly, pretty hilarious, but it was also difficult to watch. He lived through the three most upsetting minutes of his life… until Rebecca discovered she wasn’t pregnant after all. That seems to have been all the sign he needed to tell Rebecca that whatever they had is over, and he doesn’t want to see her any more. Game over. Sorry, Team Josh!
Team Greg scored a minor victory, when Rebecca ran into Greg on a scenic bridge and the two of them shared a genuinely sweet moment – and then a dramatic kiss. Has there ever been a TV programme that made you want to climb through the screen and give its characters a shake more than this one? For a second, we got a glimpse of Rebecca and Greg’s chemistry, and she even seemed fairly grounded, acknowledging it was probably a complete coincidence that they’d bumped into one another. But then they kissed and that sent her off into another fantasy about how the two of them are meant to be together, and, argh, so close! We were so close to seeing some genuine progress. But then the version of Rebecca that just wants everything to be unicorns and happy endings won out, and she decided to arrange another romcom moment where the two of them would meet on the bridge and walk off into the sunset together.
But that obvious disaster was averted, partly by Greg’s dad, who’s well aware of how poisonous Rebecca is for Greg, and partly by another sign. This time, it was a literal danger sign that Rebecca had unwittingly positioned herself in front of while waiting for her prince to come. So instead of rekindling his romance with Rebecca, Greg decided to follow his dreams, and enrolled at Emory, the school he’s always wanted to go to.
The episode ended on a cliffhanger. Actually, two. One of them saw Greg confronted by Rebecca at the airport in a scene that’s pure romcom cliché: he’s leaving, she’s raced across town to beg him not to. It should be a triumphant moment: in an actual romance narrative, she’d confess her love, he’d scoop her up in his arms, and he wouldn’t get on the plane. But here, it’s far more uncomfortable than that. Rebecca’s not acting rationally, and if she does tell Greg she loves him, it’s going to ring hollow considering we know how recently she was trying to have Josh’s baby. And for Greg, staying in West Covina with Rebecca isn’t a happy ending.
It’s a weird dilemma for us, as viewers, because the show’s asking us to let go of one of its main characters, for his own good. What does Crazy Ex-Girlfriend look like without Greg? It’s a different show entirely, and that’s a weird prospect. But it’s an exciting one, because it’s so daring. This episode contained at least three romcoms’ worth of drama, and the series shows no sign of slowing down yet. So get on the plane, Greg. You can always come back for Christmas!
Let’s talk about the episode’s other cliffhanger. After years of thwarted dreams, Paula finally seemed to be on the verge of achieving her life’s ambition. She’d won acceptance to law school – thanks to Darryl, she was even due to start this semester – but then she discovered she was pregnant. Despite taking precautions and despite already having had all the children she wants. Instead of ending on a joke, this episode ended on a moment of quiet distress, as Paula and Scott sat quietly at their kitchen table, staring at a pregnancy test. Last week, I praised Donna Lynne Champlin’s voice; this week, it’s her dramatic work that deserves acclaim. She’s just brilliant, and that scene at the office with the balloons was stunning.
It’s a good thing we’ve got a week to catch our breath before the next episode. This episode left pretty much every character in a state of flux – even more so than usual – and I can’t even imagine how it’ll all play out. Maybe next week will just be a whole episode of Darryl and WhiJo hanging out, to give us a break from all the heartbreak. A reviewer can dream.