Right from the start, the pacing of this episode seems a little bit off with an excessively long “previously on.” I mean, we’ve been watching this show. It seems more or less like overkill to go over every tiny plot point that’s about to be covered.
After making the snap decision to donate an egg to help create Darryl’s baby, Rebecca is now dealing with mandatory hormone injections, which she gleefully takes, right on schedule in full view of everyone in the “open-air doughnuteria” where she meets Heather, Valencia, and Paula. Rebecca feels ready to take on this massive responsibility, even if she hasn’t told Dr. Shin about the egg donation (and the hormones, which no doubt would affect someone in therapy for a serious mood disorder). Through a Robert Downey Jr. reference that only Paula understands, Rebecca announces she’s going back to work. The problem there is her boss is Nathaniel, the man she just dumped. And she had resigned from her job (or rather, her mom had resigned for her) during her breakdown.
But still, Rebecca strolls into the Plimpton offices full of confidence and hormone side effects, only to be quickly shot down by Nathaniel. It seems to me as though he could be sued (or at least challenged through HR) for using their relationship against her, but Rebecca is too angry to be in lawyer-mode. Instead, she just lifts up her sweaty shirt and presses her boobs up against the glass wall of his office in a shot that’s no doubt already screenshot somewhere on the internet.
And this isn’t the only “sweaty shirt lift” that happens this episode: Heather is still working at Home Base, confused about her identity and unwilling to take her relationship with Hector (couple name: Heactor) to the next level before she has her life figured out when her boss, Kevin, nervously tries to invite her to apply for a diversity training program at corporate headquarters. (The shirt removal was because he got so hot trying to awkwardly figure out what race she is). Heather, the coolest girl on this show, decides to apply, and the next time we see her, she’s given up her boho California-girl look for a suit that would fly in a stock-photo boardroom.
Back at Plimpton, Rebecca is furious and feels powerless against Nathaniel, and so, in a sizzling reprise of “Who’s the New Guy,” she enlists the rest of the office in plot against him. The gang of employees, Rebecca argues, is the little guy, and Nathaniel is the enemy. Last season, he scooped up the majority of the law firm’s shares from Darryl’s ex-wife after their divorce, and Rebecca has figured out a legal loophole that will null his purchase. They can sue Nathaniel, and buy the majority share of the law firm from Darryl’s ex-wife (who only needs a little bit of convincing with wine and a hot-tub conversation to get on board, at least once Rebecca offers to represent her pro-bono in a noise complaint against the baby who lives next door to her).
Obviously, Rebecca’s anger against Nathaniel isn’t business-related. It’s personal, especially once she finds out he has a new girlfriend (Mona, from Stanford) who he took to—gasp—Raging Waters, Rebecca’s favorite place (“It’s her Paris,” says Paula).
And so by the time Rebecca and Nathaniel finally face off against each other in court, it’s so laden with frustration and sexual tension that it becomes a “Horny, Angry Tango.” After a fourth-wall breaking moment (“Take it again from the top?” the judge says. “Just joking.”) the judge rules in Rebecca’s favor, and the shares are then staff’s to buy—if they can afford them.
Because she’s good at anything, Heather is killing it in the corporate world, coming up with the idea of dessert tapas (“They are going to run it up the ladder, circle back and send it down the chain!” her boss exclaims) and a ride-sharing program to prevent drunk driving. But still, she doesn’t feel like she entirely belongs. This is a world of panty hose and no senses of humor. She misses the smell of fryer grease and actually being on-site at Home Base. And so Heather does the thing she hadn’t quite been able to do before: she takes charge of her life and asks to join a management program that allows her to physically manage locations. And they say yes. She has a new identity now, a job she can actually throw herself into and enjoy.
Rebecca’s answer for getting the money to buy the law firm shares falls through, when she learns her family ring is actually a fake (the shop she sold it to last season had to close down, because they kept buying fake jewelry). None of her rich friends are willing to help—not Audra McDonald’s hedge fund-managing husband with a small hmmm, nor Dr. Phil, nor artisanal ecstasy maker and hyphenate B.J. Novak (of course they would have been at Harvard at the same time. This cameo is perfect).
And so, hormonal and stressed, Rebecca falls into a hazey-state set to a techno-druggie remix of “Research Me Obsessively,” and accidentally orders a hit on Nathaniel’s new girlfriend Mona via the dark web.
She calls it off in the morning (she thinks), but Rebecca realizes she’s gone too far. She spills the situation to her Borderline group therapy group before Dr. Shin gets there and begs them not to tell him, which they don’t, because one group member spent the entire session talking about chemtrails. And turns out, he’s valuable in another way: he’s a bitcoin thousandaire. I have no idea how much money that is, but it’s enough to give Rebecca the money she needs.
Heather, riding the high of her new life full of good choices and a healthy relationship and career, provides the second deux-ex-machina moment of the episode: she agrees to carry Darryl’s child when the surrogate falls through. As always, Heather is super chill about it. “It’s still nine months, they haven’t changed that?” This is shaping up to be a very weird, but very sweet family.
And now as a co-owning partner, Rebecca returns to work, apologizing to Nathaniel for her hormone-induced overreactions. He apologizes too, and what was supposed to be a friendly handshake becomes frantic making out. Surprise! Everyone’s favorite know-it-all lawyer couple is back causing trouble. Maybe Rebecca can blame the kissing on the hormones too?