Tonight’s episode is all about friendship — primarily, lady friendships. Which, at least half of you know, can be complicated to say the least. And while we’ve only known Rebecca Bunch for about five minutes, I think we can anticipate that things will indeed get complicated tonight when she tries to befriend Josh’s hot girlfriend, Valencia.
But before we get to that, let’s recall that when last we saw Rebecca, she had just become new BFFs with Paralegal Paula, who, as only a best friend can, forced Rebecca to realize that she did in fact move to California to be close to Josh and that it was in fact a crazy thing to do. This was a great reality check until 30 seconds later, when Josh Chan texted her. (“Dinner? [Smiley face.])
Tonight, we see Rebecca waiting to hear back, once again, from Josh Chan, who days later has yet to make good on his dinner request. Paula, who’s quickly proven herself to be an amazing Internet sleuth, finds out that Josh is going to be at a club called Spider’s/Spiders (the shifting grammar of this club haunts Rebecca all night), and of course, they go. But they can’t get into Spider’s/Spiders because a) the line is too long and b) Rebecca tries to bribe the doorman with $500 cash, which makes him think she’s either a cop or a drug dealer and refuses her entry. (Fair.) The saddest part about this is not that Rebecca won’t get to see Josh but that Paula, who put on an ill-advised fashion hat for her big night out, doesn’t even get to enjoy it. (“Hats are the new tattoos!” she gushes. Are they?)
With her nightlife plans squashed, Rebecca tries to enjoy an evening on the couch, but sleeplessness takes her to the grocery story, where she sees Josh Chan making out with his gorgeous girlfriend, Valencia. Who else is at the grocery store? Precious bartender Greg, who still seems interested in Ms. Bunch despite the fact that this girl burst into tears during a makeout session and is now stumbling around bra-less in sweatpants in a grocery store.
This four-way run-in is not short on awkwardness: Josh immediately wants to keep the fact that he and Rebecca once dated — even as teens — a secret, and Greg realizes that Josh and Rebecca’s history stretches way back to summer camp, not just life in New York. Everyone is either awful or disappointed. Because lies, you know. They’re bad!
Afterward, though, Rebecca’s brain switches into manipulation gear. She Facebook friends Valencia (who quickly accepts), and the next day marvels to Paula about how nice the girl is: “Josh’s girlfriend is so nice. Like so nice. Like stop being so nice, you are so pretty.”
This is upsetting to Paula because, well, she’s lonely. And sad, I suspect. And she’s really eager to become friends with Rebecca in an almost motherly way, which is lovely. (“My kids are not daughters, they’re terrible. I’ll tell you about it later, or now?”) But Rebecca’s obsession with Valencia, it is bumming Paula out, hard.
WANT MORE? Keep up with all the latest from last night’s television by subscribing to our newsletter. Head here for more details.
While Paula — who freaked me out last week, but who I’m obsessed with now — knows Rebecca is trying to neutralize Valencia with friendship, Rebecca is blind to her own scheming. She actually thinks she wants to be friends with this chick, which is why she takes herself to yoga class, where Valenca is obviously the instructor. Hot girl teaching yoga typically deserves a big yawn when it comes to storytelling, but turn the yoga studio into an amazing fantasy Bollywood-inspired sequence in which Valencia lists the ways that Rebecca pretty much sucks, and you have prime-time gold.
But that was all just a dream, and Valencia is not horrible and nasty — she’s actually kind of nice in a way. Initially, sure, she’s what you would expect from a California yoga teacher. Not super quick on the jokes — “Sorry, I don’t like humor” — but quickly proves herself to be smart and ambitious. Rebecca genuinely likes her, and offers to help her secure her own space for a yoga studio.
Josh Chan, of course, hates that this friendship is happening. (Are we suspicious yet as to why he’s so worried, at the age of 28, that his girlfriend will find out about an ex from when he was 16, hmmm?) While he’s sweating the lunch that’s happening between his ex and his current squeeze, Greg urges Josh not to worry about it. Valencia’s cold; she can’t make friends!
NEXT: Valencia warms up, and makes friends!
Cut to Valencia and Rebecca getting cozy on the couch over a glass of red wine, bonding over Valencia’s difficult time in high school: “[My friends all got] jealous because I got these amazing boobs and they were still trolls. They spread all these rumors that I slept with our English teacher, which is a total lie because we only did hand stuff.”
The writers on this show deserve plenty of credit for mocking these women’s “crazy” tendencies but maintaining that they’re smart, strong, functional human beings with layers that stretch far beyond their personal shortcomings/social ticks. Rebecca, for example, is rightfully horrified when Valencia makes the passing comment about her English teacher and inquires about his current whereabouts. (Hopefully jail, she says.) And yes, Rebecca may behave inappropriately in front of her clients, throwing a fist into the air when she gets an invitation to Spider’s/Spiders, but Rebecca also kicks ass at her job — and they haven’t let us forget it.
While at this nightclub that looks like a true nightmare, Rebecca and Valencia are in matching gold dresses, dancing with each other the way girls at a middle school activity night do, and their whirlwind friendship is full speed ahead — until it comes to a screeching halt. (There’s a lot of Cady Heron/Regina George happening in this scene, and it’s amazing.) Cue our second musical moment of the night, which may have topped the yoga-Bollywood brilliance. A poppy tune about the idea of a “girl crush” has Rebecca sing the following about Valencia: “I wanna lock you in a basement with soundproof walls, take over your identity.”
This is amazing and awful because this has happened to everyone: There’s a woman society tells you you should hate because she has something you want. But you get to know her, and, well, she’s kind of great, right? And then you befriend her, and then you realize she’s amazing; but you’re still aware that you’re supposed to hate her, and you still want what she has. And it’s SO CONFUSING.
But with every neon-lit shot at Spider’s, Rebecca is losing her cool, and we all know a drunk girl can’t keep secrets. The truth comes pouring out: Valencia knows that Josh and Rebecca dated (apparently, while he and Valencia were already hanging out!), Greg knows that Josh and Rebecca dated, and everyone is so over it. This leaves Rebecca without her new BFF, without the opportunity to hang with Josh, and oddly, with Greg, who is possibly crazy himself because he just wants to take her to get food.
The next day at the office, Paula is still sad, because Rebecca’s been a garbage friend to her. She hasn’t asked Paula about her crappy relationship with her kids, or why she’s so eager to be away from her husband. She hasn’t even truly thanked her for the Statue of Liberty key chain Paula gave Rebecca! But Rebecca has finally realized how important Paula is, and I hope we see her be nicer to the woman moving forward.
And then, Josh Chan shows up at Rebecca’s work. Why, Josh? Why? Why do you do this to people who are clearly into you? MIXED SIGNALS. The weirdest thing about Rebecca so far is that she still seems genuinely interested in Josh, like that crazy part of her brain has yet to stabilize. Because why would she be into Josh when precious bartender Greg is around? But Josh apologizes for asking Rebecca to lie to Valencia and asks her to dinner. So what’s the catch? It’s a secret dinner 45 minutes away from West Covina because Valencia doesn’t want Josh to ever see Rebecca again. Sounds about as likely as Paula getting into Spider’s.