Greg is back and everything makes sense again.
More realistically though, Greg's return marks the question of identity and being able to change over time. Skylar Astin reinvents a new version of that role, proving that it is never too late to check in on an old favorite.
During Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 4 Episode 8, Rebecca deals with her various growing feelings for Josh and Nathaniel by meeting Greg again and focusing on that. Greg looks different, which pushes him to try to form a bond with Rebecca again until she reveals that she slept with his father.
Meanwhile, Valencia reveals a huge secret to Heather at her high school reunion about a past ex. Turns out Father Brah had a rather dramatic love life before he chose his relationship to God.
And Josh reflects back on his time in high school, using George as a resource about everything he missed out on by being popular.
"I'm Not The Person I Used To Be." written by Rene Gube marks a brilliant look into the past, more specifically a new version of old events and how they shape the change a person can go through. The episode does remarkably well with its on the nose dialogue, shocking revelations that feel organically shared, and just a consistent reminder about how well the show knows its characters.
This episode was definitely not holding back, repeatedly offering meta inspired lines while also taking on the responsibility of almost reworking the history that we all thought we knew.
Giving new information to shape the way a character has already formed in our mind is the perfect combination of old and new details.
Greg and Rebecca
Nathaniel who? Josh who?
I'm just kidding and yet I am so not after that Greg reintroduction that stole all our hearts away again.
Having Skylar Astin return as this new version Greg was a risky move from the start. Obviously, the Greg we first met has a special place in our minds, much like for Rebecca.
And yet, the show knew exactly how to bring him back without making it feel like Santino Fontana's contribution was for nothing. He crafted a specific version of Greg, and he did that in a really incredible way that lasted long after he left the show.
But Skylar Astin took on the challenge of presenting this new version, almost like a new character with a lot of history in him, and brought him to life extremely well.
In fact, I found myself completely on board with this new Greg right off the bat because Rebecca leads us through that transition.
Usually, a role recasting means only the audience sees it and has to somehow just accept it, which is even harder when the original cast member was there a while.
But Rebecca is just as disoriented as we are, and somehow that adds to us being willing to go along for the ride.
New Greg is definitely a different version of the man we first meet in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 1 Episode 1, it is clear in the way that he reacts to just about everything.
There are still those lingering traits that made Greg the character we couldn't help root for from the start.
Strangely though, it was the way that Greg reacted at the end of the episode that showed exactly how much he changed.
Rebecca telling him about sleeping with his father was that thing that felt like if it was mentioned would ruin everything, so Greg somehow offering Rebecca and us hope was out of left field.
It presented a different way to handle problems that would usually lead Rebecca or Greg or both of them to self-destruct. There is no immediate reaction that leads to a loud fight or a bad decision that hurts the other person.
Instead, Greg acts like someone who has worked on himself enough to approach it like an adult. This is a bombshell but it doesn't have to ruin what Rebecca and Greg started to grow between each other again. There is a way to be mad but not to make this the end for them.
This is definitely a great time to once again commend Skylar Astin for approaching Greg with so much thought, allowing him to show us various layers of the character throughout the episode.
His chemistry with Rachel Bloom also adds to that, if only in the way that has us shipping this version of Rebecca and Greg.
(Can I mention that Nathaniel becoming a good person right around the time that this version of Greg comes back is just horrible? Now I know how conflicted Rebecca must be and it is very hard to handle since they are both so great.)
Essentially Greg is back and with him comes more hope and promise, for Rebecca and for us.
This was the perfect time for him to return, and having this new healthy take on the bond he shared with Rebecca makes it even better.
Knowing that he is sticking around for what sounds like the end of the series makes it even more satisfying because we get to spend time with this new Greg and also just get to see how his story truly unfolds again.
This big return of his showcased how much thought the writers and Skylar Astin put into this beloved character. It was obvious that this change was done as organically as possible, not just throwing it in for the sake of a surprise.
Getting to see that continue to grow is honestly such an amazing way to wrap up Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Valencia and Father Brah (and Heather)
What. A. Twist.
This makes me want to go back to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 1 and check out if Father Brah ever interacted with Valencia. It doesn't matter since the idea couldn't be there since the beginning, that is the point of the plot twist.
And yet, it really makes a difference now to rewatch the show under that romantic lens.
Heather: Also using your sexual fluidity as a red herring? Baller move.
Valencia: My pronouns tracked, that was you. Check your assumptions.
Building up that suspense to reveal that it was Father Brah that Valencia loved all this time was brilliant. Obviously, it could defeat some of the purposes if we consider that Father Brah and Valencia have crossed paths multiple times before this reunion. Their social circles are too close together and they have Josh in common.
Which reminds me, wouldn't Father Brah feel some kind of need to confess to Josh what happened before he became a priest? Maybe they weren't close enough then for it to matter but still, something to consider.
Going back to Valencia being so nervous to meet a person she already saw after the fact, emotions could have been heightened because of the high school factor looming over both of them.
It felt slightly off to see Valencia almost wanting to hear Father Brah say that him finding the note changed something.
She loves Beth, in fact, she is living with her in a new city and running a business together. We didn't see their entire love story unfold, but it felt like we should be rooting for them.
Valencia appearing as if she would end things with Beth if Father Brah reacted to the note and to her love changed my perception of that relationship for sure.
I could understand the love that Valencia and Father Brah reminisced about, but it was in the past. They both grew as people and it was an interesting commentary on the idea of losing your chance.
It served as a nice parallel to Rebecca and Greg, they were revisiting the idea of if their chance together was gone forever. It looked like they, and we had hope for them.
But then on the other side of the spectrum was Valencia and Father Brah who didn't work out, their lives taking them in these directions that made sure they couldn't come back to one another again.
It is a realistic way to portray relationships, and it is even easier to give Valencia a pass with the way that she got caught up in that nostalgia of a first love.
Heather: You’re here! How long will you be here?
Valencia: The rest of the series. Of holidays, I mean.
I wish she didn't almost forget how much she loved Beth for that split second, but this was something she never got an answer to and it makes sense that she was desperately looking to figure out what happened.
Also, Father Brah and Valencia together is so random, but yet the idea of them in the past somehow makes so much sense.
Is this me requesting a flashback episode? I think so.
Josh and his Plot of the Week
This felt like another off week for Josh or maybe another reminder that this isn't his story anymore. Relating to him not being Prom King was the weakest connection made during the episode, although adding George into the mix made it more interesting.
There just wasn't as much investment that we could place into Josh not feeling popular enough, and the same goes for him trying to join a magic club.
Once again it is like his aspirations in life only reach so far, so while everyone else is having these big decisions and discussions about how they are becoming new people, Josh just isn't.
You’re a great replacement for Brendan. A great listener and you didn’t ruin my vagina.Paula
And maybe that is a fair way to have him written, there are those people that live in the past more so than everyone else. There are also people who don't have and don't need to have huge aspirations.
It just becomes difficult to root for Josh when he isn't having his best moments on the show. His connection to therapy was a nice arc that was just for him, and it was clearly doing wonders for Josh.
He might still be going, but it could be worth going there with him.
There is that need to include Josh with the other main characters of the show, but this episode actually proved how unnecessary it was. He felt the most disconnected and they didn't resolve anything towards the end.
Even Josh and Greg. who were way closer than they seemed this time around, they had nothing really bringing them together. It is like it is becoming harder and harder to connect Josh back to the people around him, but maybe that is a good way to have him branch out and grow.
George had a different role to play, usually with Nathaniel. That is why it was strange and refreshing to have him pop up like this presence in Josh's life instead.
It’s because I’m drunk and sad and I want you to stop pointing at women.Valencia
He is a fun addition to the show whenever there is time to bring him back, and him hanging out with Josh more is definitely worth wondering about.
It would be even crazier if George somehow had Josh and Nathaniel interact more with one another. The way that Rebecca has fully found herself refocusing on Greg probably leaves her feelings for both Josh and Nathaniel more up in the air, which somehow could work later if they become friends.
Nathaniel is on his good guy streak and Josh is a friendly enough guy, this might be the perfect time to explore what that dynamic could look like.
Did you love Greg's return? What do you think of the casting? Did Skylar Astin bring something new to the role? Did he make you miss the old Greg? Did it feel like he created a new person altogether?
Are you excited to see more of him and Rebecca? Or is everyone patiently waiting for Nathaniel and/or Josh to be back in the picture with Rebecca again?
What did you think of that Valencia and Father Brah reveal? Do you think it was necessary? Do you think it was a realistic portrayal?
Where do you think things will go from here?
And don't forget that you can watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend online, right here on TV Fanatic.
Yana Grebenyuk is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.