I do, I don’t want it to be over. I don’t, I do want it to be over. To clarify: CW’s comedy-singathon Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has come to an end, and I’m conflicted. (Spoilers ahoy, by the way, if the title alone didn’t give that away).
On one hand, it’s better for a show to bow out before it grows stale and unwanted, before the plot gets too contrived and the writing takes a steep downward turn and you just chug through the episodes like some sort of masochistic chore just to get the end of the damned thing. On the other, I’m just gonna miss it oh so much! How else am I going to feel better about my slightly bad life choices without watching Rebecca Bunch make even worse ones? (JK: Rebecca is more badass than I will ever be and her getting better in the show was a highlight for me).
But I digress. The show’s over and the show runners Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, got to tell their story – in full – as they desired. And, in my opinion, it ended perfectly. We’ve followed the eccentric Rebecca Bunch for four seasons now, from the pig-tailed donning geeky girl at summer camp, to the badass revenge-seeking woman scorned, all the way up to her eventual recovery.
Diving into the last episode, we were led to believe that it would be a big reveal as to which of the three men she’s dating on and off throughout the show – Josh, Greg or Nathaniel – Rebecca would choose. It had the shippers up in arms – much like the supporting characters in the show – yelling that “Team Josh is simply meant to be!” while ignoring the key theme of the entire show. This is Rebecca’s journey, and her happy ending is… well, her. (Just to clarify though, that if the show did end up concreting one of the guys as her soul mate, I’m team Nathaniel all the way).
As it turned out, Rebecca choose… well, nobody. Instead, she chose herself. She chose to find what brings her joy, what brings her true, unfiltered happiness. And it was partly thanks to her best pal Paula (honestly, Rebecca and Paula are such friendship goals it’s ridiculous).
You see, all it took was for Paula to take a trip inside Rebecca’s abstract theatrical space littered with the costumes she’s donned over the past few years (yeah, this show’s weird – weirdly perfect), for her to give her one little thing to start Rebecca off on her best discovery yet. The discovery of herself. Giving her a little push to turn those delusions of musical numbers into something that could actually bring her joy. I mean, duh! Of course her happiness is in theatre! Rebecca’s only ever truly been happy all of these years when she’s been living in delusions of her musical numbers, and it’s this that is our big pay off as the audience – she’s finally going to turn her daydreams into a creative outlet – something that was hinted at way back in season one – using these delusions to become a songwriter!
Rebecca didn’t end up picking Josh or Greg or Nathantiel (or Father Bruh, though that would’ve been great) as her happy ending. No. The entire point of the show was Rebecca finding her happiness within herself, and her happiness not being dependant on a man. I mean, if the show’s credits rolled with her running off into the sunset with Greg, what kind of message would that have been? That her life’s figured out because she’s finally worked out her issues with an old flame? No, thanks. As Rebecca says herself in the episode, finding love isn’t an ending, it’s a beginning.
The closing shot, of Rebecca sat a the piano, uttering the six words the writers had planned from the very beginning: “This is a song I wrote”, before it fades to black mid-scene, was the best possible way to end the show.
Originally, I was somewhat disappointed that we didn’t get to hear one last final song from Rebecca, and that it was left ambigious. But, the more I think about it, the more perfect it is. If she’d have burst out into ‘West Covina’, for example, it would’ve been wonderfully full-circle, but it would almost take us out of the show. Rebecca Bunch isn’t Rachel Bloom, she’s not a parody songwriter, she’s a songwriter in her own right, and forcing us, the viewers, to make up our own minds as to what song she performs is the perfect way to close a door on her story (rat ta taaah!)
Besides, the happiness Rebecca exudes is more than enough to satisfy this fan. A smile we haven’t seen on her face since the opening shot of season one, where Rebecca is performing at the summer camp play, where she seemed to hold all of her adult-life happiness to comparison. She chose to perform in that play, just like all of these years later she’s finally choosing to pursue her dream, her happiness. And, as it turns out, the thing that brings Rebecca joy is the same thing that’s been bringing the viewers joy for all of these marvellous episodes. The songs. Beautiful, isn’t it?
It feels as if her entire character arc had been leading to that very moment – her using her coping mechanism in a healthy way, trying to turn the thing she used to cover her pain with in an open, transparent way, by putting those melodies down on a page. Rebecca Bunch came a long way from the crazed stalker we knew in season one, and I almost feel proud watching her make this last jump, this last choice of putting herself first (and not in a sexy way). In a way, the episode almost feels like a prequel to the start of the rest of Rebecca’s life. Though hopefully this life includes less jail time, less period sex and far less pushing men off of buildings.
For now, though, I’m gonna be sucked into an endless rewatch of one of my fave shows of all time, trying to fill the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend shaped hole that’s nestled in my heart. (I’m not crying, you’re crying. Please just tell me I’m okay, Patrick!)
What did you think of the ending? Was it too ambigious for you, or did you think they finished Rebecca Bunch’s story in the best way possible? Leave a reply in the comments! Or, for more on hit shows on Netflix, check out my spoiler-free review of ‘Dead To Me’.