Recap: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ S3E3: “Josh is a Liar”
Logline: The Crazy Ex-GF struggles to contain an outpouring of life- and career-ending truths.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend moves forward with a hard-hitting episode about lies & deception. Though the musical trapped inside a rom-com hasn’t exactly been a ratings smash for The CW, it has managed to accumulate a steady following overseas through Netflix. The show follows New York ex-lawyer Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) and her infatuation with ex-high-school-beau Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III).
“Josh is a Liar” follows on from last week when Rebecca, still raw after being jilted, confronted Josh Chan at his place of exile, a church in Northern Cal. Rebecca unfortunately blabbed all the embarrassing truths and the lengths she went to to grab Josh, including placing remote cameras in the Chan family home. She had just started a legal suit suing Josh for emotional damage, but her embarrassing oversharing gave him the best defense. She’s the crazy one!
We start with the return of the visual manifestation of Rebecca’s anxiety, played by her childhood self (Ava Acres), as she collapses at home, still in her wedding dress and ruminating on the grand mistake of giving Josh Chan all the “crazy” truths he needed to smear her publicly. Rebecca’s first decision is to march to the law office and tell her friend and Bunch-thusiast Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) to drop her legal case attempting to sue Josh for emotional damages. She simply cannot bear the thought of her words being used by Josh against her.
“Josh is a Liar” shows Rebecca struggling to contain her blabbering nature, especially after discovering Josh Chan is about to make his return to West Covina. Believing Josh is going to spread the embarrassing truths, Rebecca prepares for all-out war. In further conversation with her younger self, she decides to discredit Josh by creating a smear campaign about him. In her law office, she ignores her boss and off-again-on-again lover, Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster), instead asking Paula to reinstate the law case against Josh.
Rebecca takes it upon herself to grab a meeting with a feminist blogger in a park and lies through her teeth about Josh, like how he’s a “homophobic holocaust denier” and only listens to white podcasters. While hilarious, we see a manipulative side to Rebecca wonderfully played by Bloom. Paula is along for the ride as always, but the length Rebecca goes makes Paula think there’s something else brewing.
Meanwhile back at the office, we see Nathaniel struggle between his slimy villainy and his apparent feels for Rebecca Bunch. Aided by the complete klutz of an office photocopier George (Danny Jolles), Nathaniel is goaded into coming clean. To deal with his surprising emotional volume, he reveals a dark secret. In the funniest song of the season, we watch Nathaniel channel musician Drake in detailing his nightly activities: when he’s feeling alone and rejected, he just wanders around the zoo – and he sings about it in “I Go To The Zoo”.
Later, when Josh Chan returns to West Covina, we see Rebecca’s smear campaign has already begun to pay off. Josh’s friends begin to buy into it before he can even reveal how “completely crazy” Rebecca truly is. She watches on as Josh’s friends turn their backs on him, her plan complete – but she is suddenly wracked with guilt.
As the episode draws to a close, we find Josh in the back of his car with a sealed dossier on Rebecca’s past gifted to him last season by the Rebecca-obsessed Trent (Paul Welsh). Josh tears it open and finding an even more serious truth from Rebecca’s past: she was committed to a psychiatric hospital after almost burning down her professor boyfriend’s apartment.
Bunch, while watching through a crack in the door of Brah’s office, discovers Paula opening up the dossier and reading the truth herself. Rebecca’s “knight in shining armour” is Nathaniel, practically breaking into her bedroom, who admits his feelings and scoops Rebecca up to take her on a jet anywhere. We think she’s getting a lucky escape, before Paula and Bunch’s other friends burst into her home. All of them have read the truth: Rebecca is even more of a “crazy ex-girlfriend” than they had at first thought.
The lies are out. The cliffhanger “Josh is a Liar” highlights Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s ability to juggle tones between the hilarious and the tragic. The truth has caught up to Rebecca as her smear campaign has backfired. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend can delight with a happy-go-lucky song only to stun you with characters caught up in the trauma of their past mistakes.