‘Crazy’ teases tone change in season finale

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 - 3:09pm

NOSELL

The CW

 

There’s a moment in the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” finale where Rebecca (Rachel Bloom, “Fuck Me Ray Bradbury”) looks like she’s on the verge of a breakthrough. She’s sitting with her therapist and talking about how her father’s absence affected her relationships with the men in her life. It seems like she’s about to have a realization, but then she gets distracted and leaves in a rush. It’s one of a few false starts to her dealing with her mental issues. Now, whether Rebecca is ready to sort out her issues or not, the show looks like it’s ready to deal with them head-on. The brilliant season two finale of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” gave us insight into Rebecca’s past, while the story had enough twists and turns to keep me on the edge of my seat, setting up a darker but fascinating third season.

The finale focuses on what happens around Rebecca and Josh Chan’s (Vincent Rodriguez III, “Hostages”) wedding. After a haphazard proposal and a rushed engagement period, Rebecca’s life is thrown further into chaos when her father, who left her when she was a teenager, returns. She spends most of the episode trying to restart the relationship while preparing for her wedding, which brings to light how her current issues connect with her father first leaving.

More than anything else, the show sets up a massive change in tone and theme for its third season. The main story arc for the first two seasons has been that of Rebecca and Josh. She moves across the country for him, she tries to win his love and she gets it. But now, he left her, and she’s pissed. This sets up a third season where the focus will be about her anger and her seeking revenge against Josh. The show hasn’t been afraid of hinting at the darker aspects of mental illness (see the first season song “You Stupid Bitch”). However, it hasn’t fully embraced it up to this point.

And, I hope with the embrace of a darker tone, the show will delve further into Rebecca’s mental illness. There were moments and hints throughout the season, but there was always something that prevented her from making a realization (in those moments, the show used the exacerbation of her therapist to comic effect). Still, the finale flashes back to moments from Rebecca’s past involving her relationship with a married professor at Harvard Law named Robert (Adam Kaufman, “State of Affairs”). As a result of her burning his clothes after he breaks up with her, she is forced by the court to spend time in a mental institution. There’s clearly more story to mine in both her background and her efforts to get treatment, and it looks like the show will bring more of that to light last year.

One of the key strengths of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” remains its music, as the second season featured some of the show’s best musical moments. In the finale itself, “Rebecca’s Reprise” is a medley of four songs that perfectly captures her journey up to that point. It’s the emotional climax for the season, as she seems to have everything she’d ever wanted. And, the music helps to emphasize the emotional moments. Right before everything starts to unravel for her, the song is a moment of bliss. The season was filled with many great musical moments. From Greg (Santino Fontana, “Shades of Blue”) leaving the show with one last reminder of how “It Was a Shit Show” to the hilarious numbers like “We Tapped that Ass” or “The Math of Love Triangles,” the series knows how to make fun and engaging musical moments.

The second season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” wasn’t perfect, as the show seemed to struggle in the immediate aftermath of Fontana leaving. But the finale was about as good an ending as it could’ve had. It attacked its material with depth and intelligence, while setting up a third season that, while being remarkably different than prior years, will take the show in a fascinating direction.