It’s the season finale of CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND and except for the fact that we don’t get any more of this charming show until next season “Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?” is all the delightful conclusion that you could want. The episode skillfully juggles humor, psychological problems, and series-long story arcs. Last season also ended with a wedding but rather than confirming her illusion of storybook happiness, Rebecca gets hit with a lot of hard truths and shattered dreams.
Both songs in this episode fit perfectly into the structure of the story without calling undue attention to themselves. The heavy metal song about how wonderful it is to be a bride captured the level of Bridezilla-crazy that modern weddings inspire. It tends to be the role of bride that’s more important and manic than the outcome of the wedding and that comes across very well in the song. You’d expect Rebecca to imagine her wedding as a sweet princess love ballad, but instead it’s a manic Satanic anthem. Her sweet song later is a medley of a bunch of numbers from previous episodes and is a great tour of all of Rebecca’s issues. She reworks “I’m the Villain,” “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and “We’ll Never Have Problems Again” to narrate her delusions that getting married will cure all of her problems. I also thought it was subtle, funny, and brilliant that the theme song wasn’t actually in this episode but the lyrics showed up at the end in the memories of her court hearing.
This episode did an excellent job at exploring Rebecca’s psychological problems and her preoccupation with her father without hammering the point home too hard. Part of the nuance is in the humor that this show always employs when dealing with mental health problems, and part of it is that they’re just generally respectful about personality disorders. Rebecca digs for her father’s acceptance the same way she pursues all of her romantic interests and tries so desperately to find some kind of mythical love to complete her. They portrayed that well here by having her do and say literally exactly the same things to her dad that she’s said to Josh, Greg, her married professor ex-boyfriend Robert, and basically any other man in her life. Rebecca’s awful mother was also a great element of atmospheric awfulness without overshadowing the main issue. Rebecca’s mother also contrasted well with Paula playing the part of good mom. I also love Rebecca’s psychologist. She tries so hard to get Rebecca to wake up and her irritation when Rebecca gets so close but never quite makes it to a breakthrough makes me laugh out loud every time.
While Rebecca was dealing with all her parental problems, Josh had his own psychological crisis. I couldn’t think of a more ridiculous and equally fitting way for Josh to get cold feet than for him to become a priest. He loves religion, he loves people, and he’s so easily led by his romantic entanglements. I’m not sure if he’s running to the church to hide or if he’s really going to enjoy being a priest, but either way it’s an interesting and hilarious turn of events. I liked that he had doubts about their wedding and actually took the time to pause and evaluate what he was feeling. Josh is never one for self-reflection so giving him that crisis of doubt was both good for his character and great plot conflict. I expected some kind of dramatic show-stopper from Trent during the wedding, but having him give a weird subversive packet of information to Josh was in line with his function as the male version of Rebecca. It had to be something bizarre and illogical or else this would be a different story.
I had this hope that maybe Rebecca was going to finally come to a realization about herself, but what fun would that be? It’s called “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” for a reason, so of course she wouldn’t actually have some kind of wake up call. Her obsession and complete lack of self-awareness leads inevitably to her aiming to “destroy” Josh for leaving her. (Also, dude, where was that mental institution? I’ve been in a mental institution. They’re more like prisons than idyllic rest palaces.) First of all, I loved that she told her dad to get lost. There’s a stage in therapy where you let go of the fact that you will never get what you want from your actual parents and you find new “parents”—people who you admire, who have influenced you, or who fulfill various functions that your parents should have when you were small. Rebecca got the “go screw yourself” part down, and she has Paula, Valencia, and Heather to fulfill various needs she can’t get from her mother, but instead of trying to heal her daddy issues she’s opted to unleash her wild self-destruction on Josh’s head. I usually like to have my expectations about narrative tropes subverted but Rebecca playing the classic crazy ex-girlfriend to a T is perfect. In this case, you’d think I would have expected her to stay crazy and I sort of did, but I wanted her to have a moment of clarity. The fact that I even had that hope was what made her decision to destroy Josh so hilarious to me. I wanted it and didn’t get it so I laughed at myself long and hard for my desire. Have I given up on Rebecca? No. Come on. But girlfriend is gonna have to get arrested again or something to wake up.
I just realized that, while there are plenty of movies and TV shows about “crazy” ex-girlfriends, most of them don’t even consider why said girlfriend might be acting that way whereas this show does deep-dives into Rebecca’s psyche. You usually only see that type of character in terrible sexist comedies. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is deliberately funny, but it also gives every single character depth and motivation rather than using anyone as a caricature. It’s equal opportunity with both its crazy and its humor. That’s basically the definition of feminism. I also can only think of one or two times when this show has even made me feel slightly off about their messages related to parental neglect and abuse, and I 100% adore the meta references and general cultural intelligence of every episode. So, basically, when do we get more?
Season 2, Episode 13 (S02E13)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Fridays at 9PM on The CW
Dana is a digitization archivist by day and a masked pop culture avenger by night. She spreads the gospel of science fiction and fantasy wherever she goes.
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Dana Leigh Brand | Contributor