Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 2 episode 8 review: Who Is Josh’s Soup Fairy?

The intelligently written, believably neurotic, frustratingly relatable Rebecca Bunch redeems herself a little this week...

This article comes from Den of Geek UK.

This review contains spoilers.

2.8 Who Is Josh’s Soup Fairy?

Here’s something I’ve only just noticed. Most of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s episode titles in the first season were exclamations, like “That Text Was Not Meant For Josh!” or “I’m Going To The Beach With Josh And His Friends!” But the second season’s episode titles have all been questions. Maybe even more than the new theme song, that probably says something about Rebecca’s state of mind: last season, she knew what she wanted, and felt like fate was going to help her to get it. This season? She’s not so sure. That uncertainty has driven her into some pretty dark places, but now it looks like she’s ready to start sorting things out.

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The A-plot of Who Is Josh’s Soup Fairy? saw Rebecca babysitting Paula’s youngest son, Tommy, while Paula went on a trip to the Supreme Court for school. It turns out Scott ‘accidentally’ had sex with a West Brovinas fan, and when he confessed to Paula she immediately kicked him out, before having a breakdown. Paula actually wasn’t in many scenes this episode, but every one of them felt like it counted. Her ice tray tantrum at the office was yet another example of how brilliant Donna Lynne Champlin is, wrenching genuine emotion out of even the most apparently silly moments, and if her marriage is really over, it’s going to be devastating to watch the fallout. For now, though, what matters is Scott’s betrayal affected her relationship with Rebecca, because it’s what finally, finally forced the latter to step up and be there for her friend.

(Can we just pause for a second to appreciate how great the revelation that Mrs Hernandez speaks was? All this time, the joke has been that she’s always silent, but now it turns out that that was just us seeing the world through the filter of Rebecca’s selfishness. It takes some serious chutzpah to make a joke like that, and the fact that that reveal happened at this point in the story just underlines how important the events of this episode really were.)

So yes, Rebecca agreed to look after a child (a teenager? A pre-teen? I can’t do children’s ages either) for the weekend while Paula went on her school trip, and predictably, hi-jinks ensued. Distracted by wanting to show Josh how attentive and nurturing she is, even while failing at actually being attentive and nurturing by neglecting little Tommy, Rebecca sent her poorly ex a pot of chicken soup. And then, when he assumed it was from his actual, you know, girlfriend, Rebecca dragged her underage charge to Spiders’ nightclub to identify herself as Josh’s soup fairy, only to lose the kid and end up trapped in a toilet cubicle while Josh and Anna did the nasty against the sinks.

Sometimes, it’s fun to imagine the writers’ room on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Do they just sit around imagining ways to make the most skin-crawlingly awkward situations worse… and then worse again, and then maybe just a little bit more painful on top of that? It’s amazing. Especially because these things almost never happen without being immediately followed by huge dramatic climaxes, and that’s exactly what happened here.

Having lost Tommy, Rebecca went back to Paula’s house only to find Paula, home early from her trip, and an innocent-faced Tommy with a ready explanation for everything. But rather than taking the easy way out, she decided to come clean, admitting not only to her failures in this episode but her past ones, too. For the first time in a long time, she actually acknowledged her mistakes, and was rewarded with Paula’s forgiveness.

But we’ve seen similar revelations before, only for Rebecca’s single-minded pursuit of romance to get in the way again. The thing that really made it seem like this time might be different wasn’t just the apology – it was that Rebecca also rejected Josh in order to spend more time with Paula, prioritising her friend’s needs above her own. It hasn’t always been easy to like Rebecca, so this episode was a brilliant reminder of why we’re watching the show in the first place. It’s not for the romance. And it’s only partly for the catchy songs (I’m So Maternal was a wonderful bit of smuggery that I know I’m gonna find myself singing at inopportune moments). It’s because Rebecca Bunch is such an intelligently written, believably neurotic, frustratingly relatable character. And at its best, this show has a way of making you believe that if she can just get her shit together, maybe all of us will be alright in the end.

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Not that there’s an end in sight any time soon, though. This episode’s other major emotional climax came at the club, as Josh realised that he’s still in love with Rebecca, and always has been. Rebecca might have rebuffed him to stay in and be supportively sad with Paula, but he’s not giving up on her that easily. As soon as he’s moved his car, he’s gonna be back, more determined than ever to make their love work. And if that happens without further trauma and heartbreak, I’ll eat my keyboard.