Sunday, December 9, 2018

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 4x07 Review: “I Will Help You” (Hello, Mr. Nice Guys) [Contributor: Jenn]

“I Will Help You”
Original Airdate: November 30, 2018

In the November 16 episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (which was fun, especially because it spent most of its time playing around with different character pairings and dynamics; as a related aside), Rebecca and Darryl have a weird moment where they almost kiss. Why, you ask? Because Darryl spent the whole day being nice and kind to Rebecca. And she realizes that as icky and weird as their moment was, it gives her hope. She now knows she has the ability to be attracted to good guys — not horrible, messed-up ones.

So “I Will Help You” ending with epiphanies for Rebecca was entertaining, to say the least. But let’s back up and focus on what the episode was really about: telling the truth.


We haven’t seen Rebecca’s mama since Rebecca tried to take her life. And when we return to Naomi’s life, we learn that she’s pretty much all caught up on what Rebecca’s been up to. With one notable exception. You see, Naomi doesn’t know Rebecca has quit the law firm. So she spends most of the episode bragging to Audra Levine and her mother about how successful Rebecca is. Slowly, Rebecca slips into more and more guilt over whether or not she should actually tell Naomi she’s running a small pretzel stand in the lobby of her old law firm.

There’s a stark contrast between the way Naomi ultimately wants to be perceived and the way Rebecca wants to be perceived. Though Rebecca comes through for her mother by providing her with a minor celebrity so Naomi isn’t caught in a lie, Naomi ultimately wants people to see her a certain way. She lies and bolsters herself because weakness is not an option. And it’s no wonder Rebecca learned to do the same. But what’s really refreshing at this point in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is that Rebecca has learned that if she can’t be honest with herself, she can’t be healthy. And if she can’t be honest with others, she really can’t be healthy.

Rebecca has made a lot of mistakes in her life. A LOT. But the one thing that’s admirable is that this time around, she’s choosing to be better. She’s actively choosing the harder path rather than hide — from herself and others.

So when Rebecca reveals to her mother that she’s made the decision to open a pretzel stand, not practice law, Naomi doesn’t take it well. Moreover, Naomi confronts Rebecca, telling her that she’s called the law firm and told the new senior partner that Rebecca wants her job back. In the moment, Rebecca does something we all have wanted her to do — she stands up for herself.

She doesn’t blow up at her mom for no reason. She tells Naomi off by setting boundaries. That’s healthy! It’s so healthy, because Rebecca knows that she’ll never earn the approval of her mother but she sure can try to earn her respect. Rebecca tells Naomi that she crossed lines, and that if she wants to be a part of her life, she has to respect who she is. There is no wiggle room for anything else. And if Naomi can’t accept that, then she can’t be a part of Rebecca’s life.

It’s a rare moment in the series where (because of the blocking of the scene, too) Naomi doesn’t have the upper hand or bigger persona. In a tiny New York apartment, Rebecca has emboldened herself and become bigger; and Naomi has shrunk into a place of submission. After all she’s been through — some of it self-inflicted — we root for Rebecca to tell her mom exactly what her place in her life is.

With that bold, courageous step, Rebecca gains a little bit more of control of her life back.


There are two sub-plots this episode, both of which focus on the men in Rebecca’s life becoming better individuals. After Nathaniel’s emotional awakening last week when he confessed his heart to Heather, he’s decided to think more of others. Unlike what we’d expect, it’s not an act — Paula recognizes that Nathaniel really is trying to grow as a person, offering to help one of Rebecca’s prison clients pro bono, and giving her money she needs.

But Nathaniel isn’t the only one whose softness is on display in “I Will Help You” — Josh agrees to house sit while Rebecca is in New York. While he’s house-sitting, he decides he wants to do something nice for Rebecca as a thank you. So he enlists the advice of Darryl (for the most hilarious, short-lived song about how to clean and be an adult), and decides to go out of his way to tidy up the home.

When Rebecca returns, she’s surprised and impressed! But when her date cancels on her and she spends an evening laughing and eating with Josh, she begins to realize something — she’s in trouble. Because in that moment, she remembered all the great times she and Josh had and feels those feelings again. When Paula tells Rebecca that Nathaniel was selfless and she believe he’s actually trying to become better — for his own sake, not to impress Rebecca or win her back — Rebecca begins to do the same and reminisce on all their good times.

The episode ends with her vocalizing that she’s in trouble, but it’s a good kind of trouble! For the first time really in the series, Rebecca is attracted to all of the good qualities a man possesses. She’s not attracted to Josh to fill a void, she’s not attracted to Nathaniel because he’s mean and dismissive. She’s attracted to them because they’re kind, selfless, and learning to become better people. Rebecca Bunch is attempting to cultivate honesty in every area of her life, and the self-awareness of how she’s feeling (as well as her ability to vocalize it to Paula instead of internalize it) is really a sign of growth.

Rebecca can only go up from here, right?


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