Season 3, Episode 3
Date of airing: October 27, 2017 (The CW)
Nielsen ratings information: 0.560 million viewers, 0.4/1 in Households, 0.2/1 with Adults 18-49, 0.2/1 with Adults 18-34, 0.2/1 with Adults 25-54
In which Rebecca’s back story is finally revealed, and for once she might be in actual trouble — both with her friends and mentally. Putting that premise three episodes into the season is quite stunning, but then I realized that the new intro song has been teasing Rebecca’s craziness for two episodes now and it might even be the greater story arc of the season. What if CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND finally gets into the “crazy” part of the title and outs its spin on mental illness, which I have been waiting for two seasons now? What if the suicidal tendencies come to light with the next episode, which have already been teased during the previous season finale, when Rebecca almost fainted down the cliff? What if this season is actually going down the dark and emotional route, becoming less comedic and more serious? This episode had signs of being more serious than comedic, beginning with the rather boring songs that didn’t say much about the characters involved in them (“The Moment is Me” was only defined by Heather’s disgust of singing the song, and “I Go to the Zoo” was an attempt at reminding the audience that song parodies are still part of the show and this was another attempt at putting Drake or Justin Bieber music videos through the parody grinder), and ending with the fact that not even the writers could figure out how to put the funny into Rebecca’s extended mental breakdown during this episode.
Both Josh and Paula were quite serious and worried (and freaked out) about what was happening to Rebecca and what is going to happen to her, and you can’t just dress that in the comedy format of the show — this thing needs to be handled with a little more subtlety and grace, and if Rebecca really wants to continue and be part of her friends’ lives, then her friends will have to take action and help Rebecca to get better, instead of trying to find a way to show Rebecca how awful she is as a person and how she needs to be taught a lesson. It’s that, as well as all the good criticism CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND has gotten when it comes to the depiction of mental illness of the show, so it sounds like it’s about to get serious for Rebecca. And besides that, it’s time for Rebecca to go through a major change in her character arc. He stalked Josh, she made him fall in love with her, she was planning to exact revenge — for Rebecca it was almost always about her love life with Josh and maybe Greg, so it’s time that something else is going to keep her character busy for a few episodes, just to keep the series fresh and continuously engaging. And then there is this: When Rebecca realizes that her friends want to help her and not leave her, it could be good for her recovery, and it could prove that she has definitely all the friends. Heather was there, Paula showed up, and Valencia and Darryl were there as well — at least these four friends must care enough about her to force her to get better.
Of course, West Covina isn’t really smart itself, after they let themselves being manipulated into believing everything that was said and written about Josh Chan, the most Trump-like version of himself that could have never been true in a million years. It shows that the town can easily get sucked into a lie, which means they all must be Trump voters. Or maybe the entire thing was just a convenient plot device to have that scene in Home Base, during which Josh gets destroyed by the lie Rebecca created, all while Rebecca seemingly feels less and less happy about what she created or who she has become. That could become the first step towards realization that something is deeply wrong with Rebecca.
Meanwhile, Nathaniel had his own little obsession to deal with and it was a solid story. It’s probably a good thing that George was involved in the plot as well, as this whole “firing and rehiring” gag has turned into a running joke, which means Nathaniel and George have an understanding, an unbreakable bond now. It’s almost like they are friends now, which could bode well for both men and maybe even some more characters from Plimpton, Plimpton and Plimpton, now that George and Maya have turned themselves into recurring characters with meaningful appearances both in story and in musical numbers. It was noticeable though how distant the story was from the other events of this episode and how it could almost be forgettable all on its own, since the show is one step removed from becoming more serious about a premise it has been trying to attempt from tackling since the beginning of the show. That feeling isn’t helped by the fact that Nathaniel doesn’t even know what is going on with Rebecca at the moment, and probably won’t know for weeks to come, since Nathaniel and Rebecca haven’t doe the “friend” thing yet, so he shouldn’t be involved in her story for the next episode.
And finally, consider me disappointed that Josh is leaving priest school already. What a shame, the writers weren’t ready for that, and it was only used as a plot device to get Josh into hiding after dumping Rebecca at the altar. And I really would not have minded seeing how a fictional character in a television show becomes a priest over the course of a few years. I stopped watching 7TH HEAVEN back then, but how did those writers handle Lucy’s wish to step into her father’s footsteps, which I believe she announced doing so in that show’s one-hundredth episode? Maybe I should go back to that show just to find the answer to this very specific question.