Crazy Ex Girlfriend: 4.06 I See You
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A strategic matching of six characters on three individual road-trips makes I See You as close to a formulaic episode as show-runners Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh-McKenna have ever got. The premise of episode six is simple – three mismatched groups are bundled into cars together (destination almost irrelevant) and we watch how it pans out. From car songs to human remains, this episode explores the varying and new sides of characters we’ve come to know and love. Oh and the torturous experience of being trapped in a car with someone you don’t want to be trapped in a car with (ba-da-da).
To prove that Valencia and Heather are not gone forever, I See You begins with the two of them Skyping with Rebecca as she decides what to do that day. They encourage her text the Whitefeather/Mountaintop group chat and hang out with a bunch of her old work buddies – which immediately triggered ‘Group Hang’ to start playing repetitively in my head. Fortunately (or not?) all of Rebecca’s former workplace associates can’t make it and so she is left with Darryl, who is having his first day away from Habecca. Rebecca wants a day away from talking about her emotions (light and breezy!) whereas Darryl is known across West Covina for being the person who always wants to talk about feelings, no matter what the context.
The second pairing comes from Paula’s desire to buy a new desk so that she can revise for her law school finals. Though clearly a procrastination tactic, Paula phones for a hired handyman to collect the desk with her who turns out to be none other than Josh Chan! Given their history, Paula initially backs out – those two have never got on so well – but then reluctantly agrees to go with Josh after being told about the cancellation fee.
Third, but possibly by far the most entertaining due to their complete lack of mutual ground, are Heather and Nathaniel. After Nathaniel’s car breaks down on the side of the road, Heather offers to give him a lift – only after Nathaniel has demanded one, of course. Heather’s nosiness (and appalling personal hygiene) does not go down well with Nathaniel’s rudeness and desire to keep his reasoning for heading to the beach to himself.
Separate though they may be, these three story-lines cross neatly over as the couples sit in abject misery trawling an endless freeway, in the form of a musical number. Mirroring the Beach Boys (and surpassing them too, in my opinion) ‘Trapped in a Car’ has all the trimmings and then some. Featuring Nathaniel, Paula, Rebecca and Heather in some classic 60s get-up and hair-styling, it’s a catchy number with some classic Crazy Ex Girlfriend lyricism to match.
Conflict is as conflict does, and naturally there’s a whole lot of conflict in this episode. Darryl and Rebecca end up fighting in the restaurant because Darryl can’t stop bringing up emotional fodder, Heather ends up with the ashes of Nathaniel’s Austrian au pair all over her because she can’t stop herself from needing to know what he is hiding, and Paula is frustrated at Josh’s ability to pick up furniture really easily because it means she’ll have to knuckle down and start studying.
Weirdly, Paula also needed that push to keep going – and even weirder that it came from Josh Chan. Say what you will about Josh’s maturity or living arrangements (get out of Hector’s Mum’s house already), Josh has always been supportive of those around him. In a strange way, it makes sense that Josh, who is incredibly positive and optimistic, would be able to reach out to Paula about her fears of failure. Equally, Heather (with her trash-bag of a car) may just have been the right person to bring Nathaniel out of his hole of despair.
We do need to address the elephant in the room which arrived in the form of Darryl and Rebecca ALMOST KISSING (!). The scene played out in absolute seriousness, which actually made it work despite how shocking it was. Full credit here goes to both Bloom and Gardner whose handling of their characters in this scene allows the action to play out sensitively instead of as a punchline.
The road-trip may just be a device used to force these characters into pairings we’ve not seen before, but as the driving force behind the episode (pun intended), it really worked. Yes it’s true that the narrative did not advance as it has been in previous episodes, but these pairings yielded interesting results. Maybe Paula will finally get her law degree? Maybe Nathaniel will realise he’s actually so soft inside he’s made out of marshmallow? Maybe Darryl and Rebecca will end up together? Look – I’m not saying that it will happen (and clearly the two of them put a pin in it pretty quickly) but there’s something about the two of them that actually does work. Do I ship Darryl and Rebecca? I’m not convinced just yet, but doesn’t Darecca have a nice ring to it?