EPISODE 5: “Kimmy Steps on a Crack!”
Any kid knows if you step on a sidewalk crack, you break your mother’s back. As an adult, Kimmy Schmidt has learned that just because it rhymes, that doesn’t mean it’s true (after all, she’s smelt some things that Titus has definitely dealt). But just when she works up the courage to step on a crack, she breaks FBI Agent Yourmother’s back.
In “Kimmy Steps on a Crack!,” Kimmy learns sometimes when you think things aren’t true, the world may prove you wrong.
The flashback-free episode 5 finds Kimmy kidnapped by a man in a van again, except this time it’s for her help with a cult… Gretchen’s cult, which she credits Kimmy with creating. Back in season 2, Kimmy did tell Gretchen she didn’t need a man to start a cult, so Gretchen did it. She found a compound, made up some scriptures, and kidnapped a bunch of tween husbands (don’t worry — she doesn’t actually do anything with them).
But instead of living like a queen, Gretchen has turned into a den mom. She’s a woman who isn’t getting her due as a cult leader. Tired and ragged from making endless peanut butter sandwiches and cleaning up after a dorm full of teenage boys, she’s ready to get out of the cult business and is going to “finish it like a man”… by blowing up the compound. “Death is the eternal sleep Kimmy,” she says, “And mommy needs a nap.”
Kimmy thinks the problem is that she’s “a Gretchen,” not that she’s a woman. So she goes outside to tell the FBI to take down her friend before she can finish making her bomb. But when the FBI agents see Gretchen crying from the tear gas they threw in the compound, they pull back and send in the “sassy gay best friend” SWAT team member instead.
Realizing Gretchen is right about being treated differently, she goes back and tells her friend that it’s not because she’s a woman that she’s failing at her cult; it’s because of the world. She tells Gretchen to be like the female orca, the elephant matriarch, or the bonobo; she tells her to finish this like a woman — by facing the consequences. Gretchen sees the truth in this and agrees. “My next cult is going to be all women,” she says before surrendering.
And it looks like she got her wish because her next stop is a prison. AND OMG THIS IS AN ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK CROSSOVER. Gretchen is talking to Black Cindy, whom she refers to as Black Cindy. Orange Is the New Black is now officially in the 30 Rock-verse. What does this mean!? And when does this happen in the OITNB timeline? Is Gretchen in Litchfield? Could Lillian show up on Orange? That seems like a natural progression for her character, tbh.
Too many questions and we’re not even through the episode yet. In a B-plot that’s barely befitting of him, Titus has scurvy. He was waiting on medicine from Kimmy when she got abducted, so he has to rely on Lillian for help. Their library internet search helps them diagnose his condition, and their East Dogmouth search leads them out of the area (it’s a food desert) to an all-natural food store owned by Artie Goodman. Lillian flees, and Artie gives Titus some smoothies and coloring books, and this cannot be the way you cure scurvy.
Speaking of vegetables, Jacqueline is cooking. Yes, you read that right. In an effort to win over Russ’ family while keeping up their plan to change the Redskins team name, she plans to go to a family dinner to celebrate an upcoming merger. A Snyder is marrying a Mara sister — which will create a Giants/Redskins football family conglomerate. (It seemed like the Kimmy writers were trying to hit the “we’re so ridiculous it’s not offensive” note they do so well, but these Mara Mara jokes were just… offensive.)
Duke mentions to Jacqueline that Meemaw gave Russ her corn pudding recipe upon her death, and he’d love to have it for the get-together. Jacqueline doesn’t want to give up Russ’ recipe, but she wants to keep the family close. So she cooks.
And she cooks Ghost-pottery-style with Meemaw. It’s… weird. When she brings it to the event and Duke realizes she truly respects Russ, he loses it. Not only does Russ have a secret family recipe, but he also has a wife who loves him. Duke gets upset and then kisses Jacqueline. I really want to root for Russ here, but… he has a dead tooth and a tick in his beard. Shudder.
Problem Kimmy had to solve: Gretchen’s cult compound/FBI standoff.
Problem Jacqueline had to solve: Learning how to cook.
Problem Lillian had to solve: Finding Titus fruit or veggies.
Best Kimmy ’80s throwback: Explaining how the world over-sexualizes women now, Kimmy asks Gretchen, “Have you seen what they did to Strawberry Shortcake?” “More like Slutberry Slut-skank,” Gretchen responds. (Are they wrong?)
Estimated number of pop culture references: 8, including Jacqueline and Meemaw’s disturbing Ghost parody
Cameos: Matt Oberg (Veep, The Real O’Neals) as FBI Agent Yourmother; Phyllis Somerville (Outsiders, The Big C) as Meemaw; and obviously Adrienne C. Moore (Black Cindy on OITNB) AS BLACK CINDY
Best of the rest:
• Gretchen only gets “Who wore it better” fashion news coverage from the media. She might care more about this if she knew who Solange Knowles was.
• Titus definitely ate someone during his time on the cruise, right? (I do not need that flashback.)
• “First thought wordplay” is one of the symptoms of scurvy.
• “Can we stop by whatever a Century 21 is in Pennsylvania?” “That would be a Boscov’s ma’am.” [surveillance photos to prove it]
• Donna Maria is going on Shark Tank Espanol.
• The Modell’s wedding registry was reminiscent of 30 Rock’s blatant product placements.
• Titus has been taking “Vitamin Si,” which are just buttons.
• “A male Kimmy wouldn’t be treated this way.”
Episode grade: B
(Click ahead for episode 6)