This week, Rebecca continues her revenge campaign, doubling down on the darkness and recruiting Nathaniel to add in the Machiavellian twist that she can never quite muster. Tim from the office also gets some devastating news about his wife’s electric toothbrush, and Josh tries communicating directly with God because reading textbooks for 4-6 years wasn’t part of his plan to become a priest.
And we have our new theme song, You Do/You Don’t Want to Be Crazy sung by a girl band made up of four Rebeccas! We have Carrie Underwood Rebecca, Taylor Swift Rebecca, Eminem Rebecca, and KD Lang Rebecca. The theme song and the episode are full of references to Taylor Swift’s song and video Look What You Made Me Do.
There’s also emphasis on the theme that Rebecca tries to be whoever she needs to be to get what she wants, or whatever she thinks other people want, instead of who she actually is. She probably has no idea who she actually is, beyond the parts of herself that she hates.
Rebecca is confused by her new theme song, which is progress, since in season 1 she insisted she wasn’t crazy, or at least the situation was more nuanced than that, and in season 2 she insisted that there was nothing wrong with being crazy in love. Now some self-doubt is creeping in that she can’t dismiss as easily.
Paula is excited about the lawsuit, which will give Josh his comeuppance in the form of a $600-800 fine in 12-15 months. Yeah, that’s how Rebecca reacts, too. Not really the visceral, total annihilation she was hoping for. But Paula is determined to keep Rebecca on the path of legality and sanity from now on, whether she likes it or not.
We catch up with Josh, who went straight from the wedding venue to the seminary without changing out of his wedding suit. His was going to get engaged to Jesus, after all. Wait, is that gay marriage? Does that mean the Catholic church is okay with gay marriage?
He’s so relieved to be free of all of his worldly obligations that he sings a Singin’ in the Rain spoof called Head in the Clouds, right there in the church sanctuary. De Nile. It’s just a river in Egypt. The Holy Ghost joins in for funsies.
When Father Rodriguez, the priest who does intake, comes to talk to him, Josh says that he can’t wait to walk the halls of divinity under God’s Holy Light and has been considering this major life step for the entire drive up from Malibu. Father Rodriguez says, “Oh boy, we’ve got a Maria here,” referring to The Sound of Music and the overenthusiastic Maria von Trapp.
Father Rodriguez explains that becoming a priest requires 4-6 years of graduate school, including a master’s degree. The Father gives Josh an out, but right now Josh’s real life is scarier than anything Father Rodriguez could say.
Nathaniel is embarrassed by his continuing crush on Rebecca, so he decides to ruin one of the local restaurants to prove his manliness. He hires George back to plant evidence. Rebecca is impressed by Nate’s ruthlessness, and goes to his house later that day with a proposition. She’ll let Nathan do whatever he wants to her sexually if he’ll teach her to be ruthless, and help her ruin Josh Chan. Ew.
She does sing a good spoof of Chicago’s He had It Coming to convince Nathan.
Hector and WhiJo visit Josh to check on him. They can see that he doesn’t really want to be a priest. They beg him to come back to his old life, apologize to Rebecca like she deserves, and get on with his life. Josh is still dancing in the clouds with the Holy Ghost and feeling like Moses in De Nile. He refuses to consider any of it. He continues playing video games and begging God to insert the book learning that he needs directly into his head, Matrix-style.
Rebecca is waiting to hear back from Nathaniel on her proposal. He sends her a fancy invitation and sexy outfit to tell her that he’s accepted her terms. She shows up for their appointment on the rooftop wearing her own sexy outfit because the one he chose was too small and shear to wear in public. She does wear his shoes. LOL No matter how messed up Rebecca gets, there are some things she won’t compromise on. She’s willing to suffer to look good on a date, but only on her own terms.
Nathaniel takes her to a fancy Masquerade Ball, with echoes of 50 Shades of Grey and Pretty Woman. Rebecca’s job is to mingle and distract the wives with suitably Republican conversation while Nathaniel sets up revenge deals with their husbands. Once the deals are made, the co-conspirators give in to their attraction and slow dance, then go back to Nathaniel’s place.
Before they have sex, Nathaniel tells Rebecca she doesn’t have to make good on her side of the deal, he’ll do what he promised either way. She tells him that she’s always wanted to sleep with him anyway. Wow, no coercion, no symbolic or real prostitution, despite the build up within the episode. See how easy it was to do that? And the show has earned her response, it wasn’t a lie. Playfulness, sexiness, and excitement, but not at the expense of Rebecca’s agency.
The next morning, both Rebecca and Nathaniel are very cuddly and satisfied. Nathan is surprised that Rebecca would find her satisfaction unusual. Wonder if he always actually satisfies the woman, or just thinks he does. He is a perfectionist, so I’m going to give him the vote of confidence.
Rebecca asks Nathan to tell her what their revenge actually consists of. He’s not sure she should have her innocence corrupted that badly, but she insists. Since Josh values family most, that’s what Nathan went after. His sister is about to be accused of plagiarism and kicked out of Cal State Northridge. Josh’s dad is about to be audited at his Radiology Lab, brought up on criminal charges and declared a felon, and then have his permanent residency status revoked. Josh’s grandfather is about to have his oxygen tank tampered with at his hospice, causing him to draw his last breath.
Rebecca is appalled. She didn’t want her evil revenge to be that evil. She orders Nathan to undo it all. But now she’s back where she started, with a big hole inside, and no idea how to move on. She wants Josh to face the music in a big, public way, but can’t seem to make that happen.
Rebecca realizes that she wants to confront Josh in front of everyone, and embarrass and humiliate him the same way she was when he left her standing at the altar. She puts her wedding dress back on and goes to the church where Josh is helping with mass, conveniently wearing his wedding suit.
Rebecca throws the church door open like an avenging angel. Josh is shocked to see her, and tries to get her outside. Rebecca tells him off for ignoring her for the last two weeks, and for leading her on for the entirety of their relationship. Josh thinks that he didn’t ever hurt Rebecca, other than to walk out on their wedding. She brings up the love kernels and the twinkly smiles, favorite tools of men who lead on women everywhere.
Rebecca may have done some stalking and some pushing for the relationship to go faster than Josh was comfortable with, but Josh is the one who kept stringing her along because he enjoyed the attention, who used her for her house when he had no where else to live, and who proposed to her. He’s not a child or an innocent victim, and he left her at the altar. That is an irredeemable fact. He couldn’t even man up enough to admit his feelings in person.
Rebecca sings After Everything You Made Me Do (That You Didn’t Ask For), a variation on Paula’s song After Everything I’ve Done for You (That You Didn’t Ask For), which was, in turn, based on Rose’s Turn from Gypsy.
Rebecca takes a wrong turn with the lyrics, and lists the actions that make her sound more like a crazy stalker. Instead she should have listed the things that Josh did that were legitimately hurtful, like kissing her when he was still with Valencia, proposing because her mother told him to, and staying in her house and having sex with her, but insisting on sleeping on the couch.
Let’s look at her list:
Followed him to West Covina- And?? This isn’t criminal, and is only slightly creepy. For the most part, she didn’t illegally stalk him, or break up his relationship. She got more aggressive later, but the initial, following him part and the immediate aftermath weren’t that bad. She was unhappy with her life and wanted to move. She picked a place that sounded nice, where she knew someone. Not a terrible thing to do.
“Whored” herself out at Beans’ house to find out where he’d gone- She went to that party with Greg, made out with him, and offered him a blow job, which he refused. Hardly “whoring” herself out. Greg considered it a date. It’s also the party where Paula found her and forced her to confess her true purpose in West Covina, solidifying their friendship. The dramatic language is more about how she feels about herself for her intentions toward Greg that night, who she later grew to care about deeply, than any actual whoring.
Clogged her garbage disposal- We met WhiJo and got his relationship with Darryl because of that clog, you won’t get me to regret it. It’s a bit manipulative, but who hasn’t engineered a meeting with a crush?
Watched him have sex with Anna from a bathroom stall- If you have public sex in a bathroom, you can’t really get on your high horse about people getting trapped in the stall and seeing it. Either go in a stall, or at least check the stalls if you want privacy, dude. Or go wild and go home.
Watched him have sex with Valencia during a poop attack on Thanksgiving- Once again, she was trapped having the runs in the bathroom. He and Valencia didn’t check to see if anyone was in there, behind the closed door, and she was too embarrassed to say anything by the time she knew what was happening. They were in a house full of people, in his parents’ bedroom, if I remember right. It amounts to another round of public sex.
She was wearing a body cam on Thanksgiving, with Paula on the other end- Creepy, but not horrible. It’s also a comedy staple to have someone listening in and helping with awkward romantic situations, going back at least as far as Cyrano.
Ran over Anna’s cat- It was an accident. The squad was checking out Anna, sure, as one does, let’s be real. The cat ran out of the shop, in front of the car. She did lie about who hit the cat, but then she took Anna and the cat to the vet. The cat recovered fully. Rebecca is too hard on herself.
Paid some chick $10k to take her wedding slot- Pushy, maybe bordering on coercive toward Josh, but no more so than his proposal. He’s a big boy who could have refused. Really not the major crime they might make it out to be. What bride couldn’t use an extra $10k?
“Made out” with her boss 2 weeks after Josh proposed- It was a kiss, not a make out session. Her guilt is showing again in the dramatic language. She refused Nathaniel’s advances despite being stuck in the elevator for hours. Josh has been attracted to other people as well. It happens. This time, it happened to mean she shouldn’t marry Josh, and she ignored the warning. That’s the real crime, not that she’s some Jezebel who deserves everything she got.
So- where are the truly horrible crimes? Where’s the rape, the kidnapping, the constant, scary, threatening, verbally abusive phone calls? Where are the threats to his or his family’s safety? People forget what dangerous stalking actually looks like. She might have been on the edge of it once or twice, but she doesn’t have the extended pattern of threatening and violent behavior.
Nevertheless, when she’s done singing, Rebecca leaves the church, and Josh decides that he has no reason to feel guilty, because Rebecca’s so crazy and awful.
Rebecca gets back to her car and realizes what she’s said. The panic sets in.
Tim brings homegrown avocados to work, and notices Maya reading a women’s magazine. Maya quotes the sex and orgasm statistics from the up to the minute study she’s reading about in the magazine. Tim smugly brags about his prowess in bed, but Paula realizes that what he thinks is his wife’s universal satisfaction, is her faking it every time. Tim’s world is rocked, and not in the good way.
Mrs. H and Maya try to counsel Tim about how to give women orgasms, but he insists that his wife is satisfied with his technique. So satisfied that she hops right up afterwards and brushes her teeth every time. He can hear the buzz of her electric toothbrush. She loves her electric toothbrush so much that she moans through the process, especially at the end. Mrs H points out the obvious, that Mrs Tim is using a vibrator.
Tim is devastated to discover that his wife has been lying to him for their entire 11 year marriage, and that he’s been failing her. He sings an EPIC variation on Empty Chairs at Empty Tables from Les Mis.
He talks to his wife and they work it out. The next time they have sex, she has a very satisfying climax. When he thanks Paula for telling him the truth, she tells him that it’s his wife’s fault for never talking to him about the issue, and that it probably means they have very deep problems in their relationship. Tim walks away wondering what else his wife has been lying to him about.
Or maybe, Paula, his wife just couldn’t figure out how to talk about it, because she’d been raised to prop up the guy’s feelings during sex, and the rest of their marriage is fine. Could go either way.
Tim’s story is there as a counterpoint to Rebecca’s, showing us good methods of communication and bad, and also to promote honest communication between the genders. Plus it slips in some important sex ed.
It’s becoming clear that the hole that Rebecca can’t fill with revenge schemes is her own self-loathing. Because she hates herself most of all, she really blames herself for the broken engagement, and wants to destroy herself, again. Over the seasons, this show has been building a pattern of the ways Rebecca is self- destructive, from overspending to setting fires.
This season, she’s primed to hit bottom. She’s been there before, as they showed us at the end of last season with the flashbacks to her affair with her professor. But someone has always rescued her from the worst of the consequences from her skewed instincts and behavior, whether it was her mother, Paula, or Greg, who could be counted on to talk her down from the ledge when she needed it.
My guess is that this time, she’s going to fall very far, very fast. Her mother and Greg, who are the two people who actually recognize the signs of Rebecca’s spiraling, and can give her the tough love she needs, are both a continent away. Paula means well, but she often either encourages Rebecca’s obsessions or ignores them and refuses to engage. Either way, while she’s a good, well-meaning friend, so far, Paula hasn’t been able to get through to Rebecca during the worst of her mental health issues.
Rebecca will have a breakdown that involves actions that are serious enough to get her either hospitalized or arrested, or both. Will it be another suicide attempt, or fire, or something new? We’ll have to wait a few episodes to see. Next week’s preview has her previous actions in West Covina coming to light. That will bring her closer to the edge. The rest of her past coming out might be the catalyst for her breakdown, or finding out that Josh isn’t the person she’s been pretending he is. Right now, she’s still idolizing Josh and blaming herself, despite outward appearances.
I’m still not completely sold on Nathaniel as Rebecca’s OTP, because I think they’re too much alike and I think couples are better off when the personalities balance each other out. But, I do think that he’s grown enough, and Scott Foster has grown into the role enough, to make them an interesting midgame ship who are never serious, so the break up isn’t terrible.
Nathaniel as the male counterpart to Rebecca, who’s extremely damaged by the pressure to perform according to toxic masculine stereotypes, has always been interesting. Now he’s partially using her as his fixation and permission while he moves past the way he was raised and into independence, the way she’s using her fixation on Josh. I don’t want him to end up crazily obsessed with her, and I think he’s too proud to do that. They could each be each other’s friend with benefits/comfort buddy while they work on their mental health. Then, when Rebecca is better, Greg can come home, and Nathan can realize that Heather is perfect for him. 😉