Warning: The post contains spoilers from Friday’s episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Rebecca Bunch’s journey hit rock bottom this week on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, with tragic consequences. After retreating home to avoid the mess she made in West Covina, Rebecca actually had a nice time bonding with her domineering mother Naomi… until she discovered Naomi had been spiking her strawberry milkshakes with anti-anxiety pills. With nowhere left to turn, Rebecca ended up on a plane back to California — and downed an entire bottle of pills before weakly telling the flight attendant, “I need help.”
Crazy Ex‘s humor has always had a dark edge to it, but Rebecca’s suicide attempt has to be the darkest turn yet. “It’s something we knew we were going to do, that she was going to bottom out,” showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna reveals. “It’s something we set up early in the pilot, that she has a history of suicidality.” Rebecca latches on to her mom, she explains, “because she doesn’t really have anywhere else to go,” and when Rebecca feels betrayed by her, “she really doesn’t know what to do. I think she feels she’s really out of options in that moment.”
McKenna admits that finding a way to balance Rebecca’s heavy storyline with the show’s lighter rom-com aspects “was a challenge in the writing.” But the episode did also contain wicked bursts of comedy, like when Rebecca sang a poppy girl-group tune about finally getting along with Naomi: “Maybe She’s Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All.” McKenna calls it “one of the best songs that the team has ever written, because it does blend those tones. It’s very funny, but it’s also very dark, and it shows you how low her expectations are for her mom.”
Naomi, played by guest-star MVP Tovah Feldshuh, seemed to reveal a softer side when she spotted Rebecca researching the least painful ways to commit suicide and went into protective mama-bear mode. But McKenna warns that there’s always an ulterior motive with Naomi: “Everything Rebecca does is about herself, right? It’s about her being embarrassed, it’s about her being afraid for her, but it’s about her trying to get that problem put away, stashed away.”
Back in West Covina, Rebecca’s coworkers struggled to cope with her absence, as a hyper-competent lawyer named Cornelia (The Comeback‘s Bayne Gibby) stepped in to take her place — and tried her best to remain professional as her new colleagues dumped all their personal issues on her. “Our workplace is filled with people who attach to Rebecca in kind of strange ways,” McKenna notes, “and so having someone really neutral come in, it really sets in contrast all these weird behaviors.” Plus, McKenna loves what Gibby brought to the role: “I think that she nails that kind of friendly blandness that is the contrast to Rebecca’s ability to get into it with people right off the bat.”
Nathaniel claimed to be impressed by Cornelia’s diligence, but even he ended up crying on her shoulder about his issues with Rebecca. “Cornelia is doing all the things Nathaniel said he wanted Rebecca to do,” McKenna points out. “But at the end of the day, it just makes him miss her even more. Because this is the thing that he would have ordered for a new lawyer for the firm, but it’s actually not what he wants. So they’re all attached to her in ways that aren’t slightly healthy.”
Got thoughts on Crazy Ex‘s dark turn this week? Share them in the comments.