Kimmy, Titus, Jacqueline, and Lillian are back for season 2 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — and joined by a few new faces. The jokes, 30 Rock parallels, sight gags, and callbacks are just as great as we remember them from the freshman year. Now that the entire second season is on Netflix, we’ve put together a guide to all 13 episodes that we’ll be updating in the days after its launch. Read on for all our favorite moments.
EPISODE 1: “Kimmy Goes Roller Skating!”
The second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt opens with a timely event: Christmas. Wait. What? It’s spring! I’m so lost… Oh! Flash-forward. As our hopelessly ’90s-recovering mole woman heroine might say: “Psych!” Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) shows off stockings for our assembled characters (and someone named… Murasaki?), a dude in a Santa suit arrives. But who? Kimmy’s former boss, professional trophy wife Jacqueline Voorhees (Jane Krakowski), bursts through the door in a fit. “The Jews took my painting!” she declares. And Kimmy’s former GED classmate Sonja (Suzan Perry) climbs through the window and threatens her. “Ho, ho, ho, you ho! I’m going to kill you!” What the fudge is going on? It’s a mystery that’ll unfold over the next several episodes…
And so the series proper begins three months earlier. Kimmy is pining for Dong (Ki Hong Lee), now in a Green Card marriage to Sonja. It would be bad to pursue him, right? Wrong, insists Lillian (Carol Kane). She exhorts our goodie-goodie optimist to embrace the hedonism implicit in her ’80s-pop ensemble, a “Frankie Says Relax” tee and Cyndi Lauper/”Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” skirt. During a chance meeting at the Grim Dollar Store (actual name) to buy silver fish poison (there’s a citywide outbreak), Kimmy invites Dong to join her and Lillian on a night of wilding at… the local roller rink. He accepts. So does Lillian’s old summer camp crush, an odd fellow prone to literal crushing named Bobby Durst (Fred Armisen), a.k.a. alleged murderer Robert Durst, the subject of the HBO docu-series The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst. But during their hangout, Kimmy’s conscience gets the best of her: She can’t break up Dong and Sonja. She and Dong roll apart, while Lillian and Bobby skate on.
Kimmy starts to have second thoughts about her second thoughts via some conflict with roomie Titus (Tituss Burgess). He’s getting divorced from Vonda (Pernell Walker), his best friend from his Mississippi childhood. They married when he was a teen who thought he had no future but selling mulch for Vonda’s uncle and staying closeted, but at the wedding reception, he realized he couldn’t live that way. That was the day “Ronald Effing Wilkerson” became Titus Andromedon.
Things take a turn when it’s revealed that Vonda had Ronald declared legally dead so she could collect his social security checks. Not only were they already technically divorced, but Vonda probably owed Titus money. Titus skipped away gleefully – and Kimmy was pissed. Is this how he solved all of his problems? By skating away from moral responsibility and mistakes? Did he have no empathy for Vonda’s heartbreak? Titus didn’t think so. “Because in the movie I saw,” he said, “I was a hero scoring a victory for young runagays everywhere.” Add that to seeing Lillian’s moral relativism in action, Kimmy is appalled, but also decides that if you can’t beat the “moral relatives,” join them. “Am I the only person in this city who doesn’t do ‘whatevs’ ‘whenevs’? Well fudge that sugar! Fudge it to heck!” With that, Kimmy resolves to get it on with Dong.
As Kimmy succumbed to the temptation of acting against her true nature, Jacqueline tries to reconnect with her own. Revisiting season 1’s most controversial story line, the season 2 premiere finds Jacqueline back with the Sioux family she abandoned and shamed with her white woman makeover, trying to win them back. But after trying to replace the tribe’s storied, sacred peace pipe with a vape and accidentally blowing up two grain silos, everyone wants her to leave again, pronto. Distraught, Jacqueline locks herself in the back of her hot, purloined cop car (see last season) and experiences a sweat lodge vision that seems to be prodding her to return to Manhattan and reclaim her old life. Has Jacqueline been born again? Or has that vision sparked at least a small want for redemptive change? Cliffhanger!
Back in New York, Kimmy crashes a brunch Dong and Sonja are throwing to impress the visiting INS agent and convince her that their union is legit. Kimmy pulls Dong into the bathroom and they begin to kiss, but dead silver fish keep getting in the way. So does Dong’s conscience. Would Kimmy consider waiting on him for, like, two years? Her mouth says Yes. Everything else says Sad.
Still, the experience reconnects Kimmy with her moral center. So when Titus storms out with a suitcase in one hand and a boom box in another, she assumes he’s reverting to his old conflict-avoidance, “runagay” ways.
But Kimmy isn’t the only one ending this episode by breaking good instead of breaking bad. In truth, Titus is running after Vonda in hopes of atoning. He finds his former BFF at the train station, apologizes, and asks her to dance the dance they would have danced at their wedding reception. She accepts, and with a proud (if lonely) Kimmy and a crowd of lovers watching them (because “Amtrak is for lovers,” you know), Titus and Vonda bust a move to Paula Abdul’s “Forever Your Girl.”
And their choreography is tight.
Problems Kimmy has to solve: Getting Dong back. Getting Titus to grow a conscience. Getting back in touch with her own.
Kimmy’s Christmas party explained: “Murasaki” is one of Titus’ many past lives/multiple personalities. And in case you forgot who Sonja was, you’ve been reminded.
Jacqueline doesn’t understand how the world works: She certainly doesn’t understand how her Sioux culture works. See: using a dream-catcher as a weapon to “fire nightmares” at her parents.
Lillian doesn’t understand how the world works: Depends if you agree with her embrace of moral relativism. “Where you’re from the Midwest, people say: ‘I’ll never cheat on my wife’ or ‘I’m not gay, I’m a wrestling coach’ and then Poof! The wheels come off, they do it all in one weekend and drop dead. Here, we say, ‘Eh, so I kissed a priest in a leather bar. Who am I hurting?’”
Kimmy loves the ‘90s: “Psych!” “Brunch? That’s Frasier fancy!”
Best flashback: A peek at a typical Titus-Vonda date showed them making out while watching Saturday Night Live and revealed that both of them understood their relationship was a sham. Titus preferred men like Tim Meadows. Vonda preferred “skinny white boys” like David Spade. (Both liked Hootie and the Blowfish.) Runner-up: Watching all five of the aunties who raised Titus keel over from strokes at his wedding reception.
Yes, Titus said… “Get N’Sync, Kimberlake! I gotta go get divorced!”
Estimated number of pop culture references: At least 20. (We’re going to count the manymanymany Kardashian references as one.)
- Lillian, Decoded: a “disco biscuit” = Quaaludes or ecstasy
- Vonda: “I thought you at least ran away with a man, but here you are, taking advantage of some other goofy girl dressed like she’s on Scooby damn Doo!”
Kimmy (genuinely flattered): “THANK YOU!”
- Kimmy’s strategy for motivating Vonda to resolve her conflict with Titus: “I‘ll take her out for ice cream! You can’t be mad with a cone in your paw!
- Jacqueline leaves a conversation with her Sioux parents by bowing and saying “Aloha.” Given the touchy idea represented by Jacqueline being Native American, was this a sly swipe at Emma Stone’s controversial casting as a quarter Hawaiian/quarter Chinese/half white character in Aloha?
- Speaking of disguised pop culture jokes, how about that moment when Kimmy was chasing after Titus and she berates him at the Cinnabon cart by saying: “Your guilt will chase you wherever you go!” Was that a wink at Better Call Saul, whose main character, Saul Goodman, has run away from his terrible past to Minnesota, where he now lives under a new name and manages a shopping mall Cinnabon?
- The fixation with the Kardashians: the idea that Dong has been watching the show to improve his English, or how everyone knows about the Kardashians but can’t quite explain why. “I’ve never seen their show,” said Kimmy. “I just know Kim is a butt star and married a rapper who hates college and Kourtney finally ended her destructive relationship with Scott. Meanwhile, Kim’s firing back at the haters with a naked pregnancy selfie… Wait. How do I know all this? Oh, wait, I saw it on the news, duh!”
- Titus Ridiculata: He once had his legs insured like Mary Hart; his fave pizza is ham and clam; and there are three things he does not do: apologies, drag, and calculus.
- “Kimmy! It’s Sonja from GED class! Also, the cartoon Anastasia is about me!”
- Amtrak conductor to Kimmy: “Do you think we run a train company? We run late on purpose so people can find each other in romantical fashion!”
- Lillian and Bobby Durst crooning “Under The Manhattan Moon” together was high concept hysterical. Chilling, too. A story that began with Kimmy burping badly ends on Bobby singing of his incriminating belching during The Jinx. (“And that burping, what a disaster…”) The storytelling seemed to be linking our troubled heroine, who wrestled with “moral relativism” and guilty conscience in this episode, to Durst, the 2015 poster boy for moral relativism and guilty conscience. Provocative. Maybe they should go see that doctor together.
NEXT: Episode 2