When we last left the characters of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rebecca had to face a harsh truth about Josh. The man she thought was the love of her life was shutting her out. The show then revealed that Rebecca still holds feelings for Greg, who was having some difficulties with his newfound sobriety.
“All Signs Point to Josh…Or Is It Josh’s Friend?”
Last night’s episode packed almost an entire romcom into 40 minutes of television. It makes you wonder how so many shows get away with spinning their wheels for hours on end. The opening of this episode finds Rebecca fantasizing about a three-person polyamorous relationship with Josh and Greg, which leads us into the only musical sequence of the episode.
“The Math of Love Triangles” is a pitch-perfect riff on “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” from 1953’s Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Rachel Bloom’s impression of Marilyn Monroe is eerily accurate, but also a loving spoof. She cranks up the baby voice and really goes for it. If we had to get an episode with only one musical number, I’m glad it was this one.
Unable to decide which man she should be with, Rachel visits psychiatrist Dr. Akopian (the wonderful Michael Hyatt, returning from season one). The good doctor tells Rebecca that neither Greg nor Josh are actually offering her a relationship. Then she lays it out flat — Dr. Akopian thinks Rebecca isn’t mentally healthy enough for a relationship. Rebecca refuses to confront the truth about her mental health issues and instead decides to trust “the universe” to give her signs about which man she should choose.
At the center of Crazy-Ex Girlfriend is an idea that Rebecca lives her life as a story, seeing signs from the universe when she should see mere coincidence. But as much as we want to see Rebecca acknowledge that she’s narrativizing her life in an unhealthy way, we also need to recognize that this is a television show. Signs will appear, and not just for Rebecca. But when other characters see signs, they don’t use them to deny the truth. Unlike Rebecca, they use them to confront it.
Greg, still sober, receives a sign that it’s time for him to leave town. His dad has sold the house for ten times what he paid for it, and he gives Greg half of the money to support Greg’s dream of going to Emory University in Atlanta. But he’s reluctant to leave West Covina this early in his sobriety.
While Greg mulls that over, Rebecca talks to Paula at the law firm. They both discover that their periods are late. Hit by a sudden wave of nausea, Rebecca vomits. She takes this as a sign — she must be pregnant with Josh’s baby! There’s no way it was the gas station egg salad sandwich she ate.
Later, Josh comes over to Rebecca’s place to find her in full-blown manic mode. Overjoyed, she reveals her pregnancy to a horrified Josh. Rebecca rushes to the bathroom to discover that her period has started. Still surfing on a tsunami of mania, she comes back out to Josh to propose a bout of period sex. She starts to sing a period sex song, but Josh cuts her off. He sees her manic behavior as a clear sign to break up with her. So he does, and Rebecca is heartbroken.
“You’re Poison For Each Other”
The next day, Rebecca leaves work to take a walk in a nearby park. She sees Greg on a nearby bridge over a scenic pond. Their conversation eventually leads to an ill-advised kiss, and they agree to meet up in the same place the next night for a date. Later, as Greg is packing to move out of his dad’s house, he finds a photo of Rebecca. His father confronts him with a possible truth — that Greg is reluctant to leave because of his unhealthy love for Rebecca, who is as toxic for him as booze. The next night, when Greg sees Rebecca waiting for him at the bridge, he sees a literal sign:
Confronted with the metaphor of Rebecca as a drowning woman clinging to romance for dear life, Greg decides to leave town and begin his move to Atlanta. When Rebecca sees this on Snapchat, she races to the airport to catch him at the last minute, leaving the episode on a cliffhanger.
But that’s not the only cliffhanger this episode provided. It turns out the reason Paula’s period was late is that she’s pregnant. Confronted with a new pregnancy just as she is accepted to law school, she and her husband Scott now have a dilemma on their hands. Will Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, as frank as it’s been about women’s reproductive health, go where I think it’s going? I guess we’ll find out next week.
- “This was a great dateless coincidental meeting on a scenic bridge.” If the show is going to indulge in romcom tropery, I’m glad the characters are aware of it.
- This episode viciously skewers the love triangle in romantic narratives, turning it into Rebecca’s delusion.
- This show isn’t a legal drama, but I want to see Rebecca involved in a case again. Both she and Paula have been shirking their legal duties too often, and the show’s writers know it.
- I love the show’s commitment to using “Settle for Me” as a theme for Greg and Rebecca’s romance.
- The scene where Darryl surprises a very distraught Paula with her acceptance to law school is one of the show’s best scenes of cringe humor.