CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND: 3.13 “Nathaniel is Irrelevant.”
Wow. What a way to end a season. When the episode started, I had no idea where it was going. And even as I was watching, I was mildly skeptical about where it was headed. But for a show that always has a pretty epic cliffhanger for Rebecca, this episode didn’t disappoint.
But before we get to some of the big moments of the finale, let’s talk about some of the clever subleties. A lot has happened in the third season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, so it should be no surprise that we’d draw on that. But the way the show was shot also reminded us of some key moments from past episodes, right from the start.
If Rebecca’s content look in the mirror while she brushed her turning to horror as Trent appeared behind her looked familiar, it’s because we saw an eerily similar scene in the last season finale. At the end of season two, Rebecca tries her veil on in a mirror, right before one of her dissociative episodes, only to realize that Josh is looking at her through the mirror, asking who Robert was. But that wasn’t the only scene that drew on scenes of old. In Rebecca’s attempt to make sure Trent wasn’t actually stalking her, she runs to the window and looks through sheer curtains. Just like Josh did when he looked out his own window when Rebecca was stalking him. She desperately looks under her bed—much the same way Josh did when he looked for that ringing phone. Both were callbacks to the epic episode earlier this season.
But the real subtlety came in two long shots of Rebecca, both from this episode. One, as we headed into commercial while Rebecca looked uncertain and nervous, about to confess all of her bad deeds to Paula, Nathaniel, and Josh. And the other, the final look after her monologue. To see the real differences here, let’s look back at the plot.
After last week’s episode, Rebecca is filled with guilt—not just guilt about what she’s done to her friends recently, but everything she’s done since she moved to West Covina. Turning to her group therapy members, they suggest she confess to get this guilt off her chest. So she does. She invites Paula, Nathaniel, and Josh into a room to hand them a list of every bad thing she’s ever done. It was her way of confessing. To just get it out in the open. Of course, based on the lingering shot of her very nervous, this-will-be-bad expression as we head into commercial, you can tell that Rebecca isn’t looking forward to it. And by their reactions once they read through the lists, you can tell that this didn’t give her the release of her guilt that she was looking for.
And there’s a good reason for that. Even though she technically told them everything she did, she took the easy way out. She typed it all out, point by point, and then expected to feel better. Needless to say, she didn’t. Especially after seeing Paula’s reaction.
In her zeal to fix things with Paula, she runs into Trent and discovers that he’s actually stalking her and planning on killing Nathaniel. Long story short, Trent attempts to kill Nathaniel at his own party, and Rebecca pushes him off the roof (shattering every bone in his body—a callback to Trent’s story last week). Now, she’s facing criminal charges for attempted second-degree murder.
Nathaniel suggests pleading not guilty, claiming insanity. After all, it’s not her fault. It’s how she was raised. It’s her BPD. It’s how the entire world operates. (How the writers interweaves this idea into a romantic duet is fantastic. Video at the top.)
But here we get that other subtle brilliance. In the courtroom, Rebecca sees Paula, who she has lied to failed time and time again. And she realizes the easy way out isn’t for her. She may have BPD, but she chose her actions. It’s all her fault. And it’s time to take responsibility.
Here is where you see the real guilt lift off of Rebecca. In that final monologue—and that long, final shot of her face and deep breath afterward—you saw a calm go over her. A resolve. Contrast that with the look going into commercial, where she was nervous and uncomfortable. Two scenes that looked very similar with very different outcomes. She finally let go of her guilt by pleading guilty.
Bravo to the writers, director, everyone involved with Crazy Ex in this episode. It was a risk taking such a huge turn for Rebecca. After all, all signs point to Rebecca going to jail in the fourth season (and, CW, please give us a fourth season!). It was a lot to do in one episode, let alone a finale, especially when you’re balancing something like a birth and a stalking ex-boyfriend at the same time.
It’s been a fantastic third season. We’ve seen massive growth for all of our characters, especially Rebecca, who has gone from someone who does impulsive things for no clear reason to having the self-awareness that what she was doing was bad to finally recognizing what she’s doing to people. We’ve seen her hit rock bottom (and it was tough), rise above it, and accept responsibility for her actions. So where do we go from here?
I’ve always heard that the creators of this show have a four-year plan for the show. I can only imagine that if this show gets a fourth season (and again, CW, it should), it will only become that much more impressive.
A few other notes:
- Paula’s song was wonderful. In all its horror, it was amazing. And Heather’s reactions were hundo-p awesome. Really, Heather throughout the entire birth was great.
- Really happy to see that Trent wasn’t dead, as I feared last week.
- Nathaniel. First of all, I so appreciate how we’re reminded how bad of a person Nathaniel was in the past, as he admits to doing all those terrible things to Josh’s family (that punch was entirely warranted). We needed that before his brilliant duet with Rebecca because without a little reminder of his psychopathic tendencies, we might not realize how messed up his song really is.
- Loved the callouts to previous songs from George, but I have to admit, it really colored my view of George. Not a fan of his now.
- Maya’s Millennialness has officially lost me. I had to look up what “awkward turtle” was.
- Oh, Darryl and White Josh. My heart. I can take it if they’re just friends, but boy, do I hope they’ll one day get back together. (We need a renewal for that to happen, CW.)
- If you haven’t read it yet, read this super-long but fantastic read about the making of this episode.
- And seriously, CW. I’ve said it three times (now a fourth). Please renew this show!