The winds of change have blown through West Covina!
In its winter premiere, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Episode 8 accelerated the plot to move Rebecca, Paula, and Josh into place for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Episode 9, which introduced us to the new and improved Whitefeather and Associates.
Or should I say Whitefeather, Plimpton, and Associates? Or is it Plimpton, Associates, and Whitefeather? It's really tough to settle on a name.
In these episodes, we saw broken relationships mended, only to be broken again by the handsome new boss who's been chiseled from evil marble.
We said goodbye to one guest star, hello to another, and even Patton Oswalt stopped by to join in on the fun!
There's a lot to talk about here, so let's just grab a giant pretzel and dive right in!
Home? What home? You don't live here anymore.Paula
Scott's affair is shocking, no matter what way I look at it.
After rekindling his romance with Paula, they seemed to be nearly as stable as the show's tent-pole 'ship, Darryl and White Josh.
Scott has been nothing but loving and supportive, cheering on his wife as she does everything in her power to better herself after years of caring for everyone else.
He also stood by his wife following her decision to have an abortion. Heck, if I remember correctly, he suggested it.
Aside from some recent disconnect, due to her love of the law creating some forgetfulness, it seemed as though Scott and Paula were perfectly in step.
This dalliance feels out of character for Scott.
The good news? It leads to Rebecca's realization that she needs to throw away her pride and be there for her best friend.
I'm sorry. Okay? I'll say it first because I should. I was more wrong. I was the more wronger one...look, you said to me at my house that I didn't support you. You were right. Every time we talk I'm really just thinking about myself. I'm thinking about the next piece of advice to ask you for, and I never think about you, so let me think about you now, okay? I love you, and I'm here to help.Rebecca
The rekindling between Rebecca and Paula happens quickly in comparison with how long they were in a state of angst.
There's a part of me that wants to rip this story to shreds, criticizing the writers for having Paula's marriage fall apart, seemingly just for this moment. Well, this moment, and the one leading up to it in which Mrs. Hernandez finally speaks. (She's poetic too!)
Upon seeing the resolution, however, it's not HOW Rebecca and Paula found their way back together – I'm just relieved to see these two women surrender to one another and really be present for each other.
Plus, I've been sorely missing Rebecca and Paula sharing donuts in the breakroom. That's what sisterhood is all about, right?
Rebecca's arc this season has included a lot of loss. Josh dumped her, Greg left, she burned down her house and had a lengthy separation from her best friend.
Now, it seems, she's beginning to lose some of her selfishness, as well, a welcome loss for the crazy ex-girlfriend.
And hey, great news! Rebecca isn't Josh's “ex-girlfriend” anymore!
Yes, it's true. Rebecca and Josh are reunited and stuck in a love bubble that seems destined to pop.
But again – it comes too quickly, almost too easily.
Rebecca LIVES with Valencia. Where has Josh's other ex been during this massive love session? The absence of Valencia is suspicious.
Rebecca doesn't even give thought to how her new bestie will feel about her rekindling love with Josh, something that seems wrong considering the recent build-up of their “friendtopia.”
Just like Paula's reunion with Rebecca, Josh's love story with his ex comes completely out of left field. Josh went from having sex in a bathroom (while Rebecca listened, AGAIN) with Anna to ending his night running to declare his love for Rebecca.
Anna:You know what Josh? Here's the thing – I really was into you.
Josh: I know! I remember the bathroom...uni-sexy.
Anna: But now my feelings changed.
Josh: Since 30 minutes ago?
The end of Josh's relationship with Anna is the final victim of quick plot twists this hour.
Listen, I know that Rebecca and Josh were headed toward a reconciliation. I mean, the show is called “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” It's always going to be about Rebecca and Josh.
But here's the thing – I didn't HATE Anna. She was a refreshing change for Josh. Smart, gorgeous, well-adjusted, not fueled by drama or insanity.
To discover in one short scene just how vain Anna actually was turned out to be disappointing. Though, to be fair, Josh Chan should NOT model. Like, ever.
Anna felt like a piece on the chessboard that needed to be disposed of in order to move the major players into position. It's fine – a guest star romantic interloper was just the right fit for Josh in the interim.
It doesn't make it any easier to say goodbye to Brittany Snow.
But as the saying goes, when one door closes another will open – and my, oh my, did a door open.
Darryl selling a part of the firm makes perfect sense and brings Nathaniel Plimpton to West Covina – a move that may end up being the best of the series.
Rebecca: You know Nathaniel, I used to be like you – ruthless. But then one day I was crying a lot and I decided to flip things around. I decided to put happiness before success. And when I did that the world rewarded me with true happiness. It rewarded me with a man who is strong and sweet and confident and inspires me everyday.
Nathaniel: Oh, you're dating another guy? Not the human flip flop that was in the office before?
Rebecca: No, that's him.
Let's be honest – since Santino Fontana departed the series back in November, something has been missing. (And no, I'm not talking about a suspiciously handsome romantic interest for Rebecca, though more on that in a moment.)
The show has lacked a male lead who is a worthy opponent for Rachel Bloom's Rebecca. Scott Michael Foster's Nathaniel has immediate chemistry and connection with Rebecca, as his sarcasm and wit mesh seamlessly with her own.
It's something I don't even think I realized was missing until I watched Rebecca and Nathaniel chasing each other around the conference room in an act of fury (with just the slightest twinge of flirtation).
While Josh Chan is the object of Rebecca's affection in a more permanent sense, there's something to be said for having another man in her life who challenges her beyond the ways Josh can.
Now, I'm not saying that Nathaniel will be “the one” for Rebecca. If there's anything I took away from Greg's departure, it was that this show is not about romance.
But it IS about Rebecca's self-discovery and her path to better mental health.
Josh would never point out Rebecca's fatal flaws because he's a nice guy, an optimist who doesn't see the bad in things because he doesn't care to take the time to honestly look for the down side.
Nathaniel, however, in his opening episode, comes out of the gates swinging at Rebecca, criticizing her love life, her dedication to her career, her verbiage, even making her question why she finds Josh so dreamy.
Tim: Do we really need a new guy this far into the season? And by far into the season, I mean it's almost fall!
Ensemble: Who's the new guy? I don't trust him.
Maya: He's suspiciously good-looking in ways that normal people are not.
Karen: Is this some sort of desperate move to help our ratings?
Ensemble: You mean our terrible ratings on legalscores.com?
Can we all take a moment to appreciate the cheekiness of the song “Who's the New Guy?”
With self-referential questions like, “Do we really need a new character this far into the season,” and “Is he he going to stick around for two or three episodes,” the show addresses the questions that viewers may have asked themselves upon the introduction of Nathaniel, especially after the exit of Brittany Snow's Anna earlier in the night.
The number also poked at Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's low ratings, a fact that continually leaves me boggled as a faithful viewer and fan of excellent television. Why aren't more folks tuning in to this comedic brilliance weekly?
We also got to see respected comedy actors who normally toss jokes from the sidelines step forward and sing together, with Michael McMillian, Stephanie Weir, Danny Jolles, and Esther Povitsky delivering one of the best (and most simplistic) songs this season.
Rebecca: Look, you're good lookin', I'm good lookin'. There's naturally going to be some tension and banter. But this is very important: I am Liam Neeson's daughter. I'm TAKEN.
Nathaniel: Oh wow. Listen Ms. Bunch, you're not my type.
Alright, here's the part where I start wondering if there is a romantic future for Rebecca and Nathaniel, despite us only knowing him for 42 minutes or so.
First off, the characters repeatedly remind us (as though the entire audience is blind or something,) that Nathaniel is handsome.
Having spent the last 10 years or so following Scott Michael Foster's career, I can say with utmost certainty that his looks are not the trait that makes us fall in love with the men he's portraying.
Foster breathes into each of his characters charm and heart in ways that leave viewers swooning.
I can count on my fingers and toes how many times he's uttered a line to his scene partner that made me audibly let out a sigh.
Whether you know him as Leo on Chasing Life, Cappie on Greek, Kristoff on Once Upon a Time, Wick on Blood and Oil, or you caught his turn as Thayer in Teenage Dirtbag, you know what he brings to each of his characters.
If he brings even an ounce of it to Nathaniel, then we are in for a very special treat in this second half of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2.
I find it interesting that Nathaniel is already having an effect on Rebecca.
He tears Josh down very quickly, comparing him to a water cooler, calling him a human flip-flop, and insulting his intelligence. (Do you think he saw the lame cup pyramid that Josh was making?)
Rebecca does her best to defend her boyfriend, but Nathaniel's words have a lasting effect on Rebecca as she suddenly begins to see these less-attractive traits in Josh that viewers have seen since the beginning.
Is it that Nathaniel is more of an intellectual match for Rebecca? Or that he reminds her of the environment she was raised in?
I assume these things will explored moving forward, but one thing is clear: Rebecca's on a road to change, and Nathaniel's appearance coming right on the cusp of that is hardly a coincidence.
Also, you all caught that she essentially wanted to reenact her table-chase with him as a sex game with Josh, right?
If you follow comedian Patton Oswalt on Twitter, you're familiar with his love of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
He live tweeted as he made his way through the series, declaring it to be one of the funniest shows on air, and calling out numbers like “Settle for Me” and “Women Gotta Stick Together” for their humorous, intelligent, and emotional lyrics.
Seeing the responses from the cast and crew, clearly honored by the respected comic's praise, it seemed like a sure thing that he'd be invited to appear on the show at some point.
Oswalt's turn as a creepy security guard who forces Paula to go on a date to the aquarium touch-tank as blackmail was perfect. Oswalt could return to the West Covina anytime. He fits in perfectly.
I was fortunate to see these episodes long before news of his cameo leaked, and got to experience it as a surprise, as I hope many of you did. It was a special cap on what was already an excellent hiatus return.
The future of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is brighter thanks to Rebecca and Paula's reunion and a fresh story that will challenge Rebecca's new selflessness. I'm hopeful for what lies ahead.
What did you think of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's return? Do you like Nathaniel? Is there something brewing in his future with Rebecca? What do you want Mrs. Hernandez to say next? Will Paula forgive Scott?
Sound off below!
Missed a minute of the action? You can watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend online right here at TV Fanatic!
Tune in next Friday, January 13 at 9/8c for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Episode 10, “Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?” and see what happens when Rebecca brings Josh home to meet her family in Scarsdale, and Broadway legend, Patty LuPone, guest stars.