This episode will succeed or fail for you based on how funny you find the charater of Trent, the fake ex-boyfriend that turned out to be obsessed with Rebecca Bunch all along. Lucky for me, I find him absolutely delightful.
We begin with Rebecca talking to her female friends about how over love she is, a conversation that quickly segs into a song and dance about her plan to adopt a buttload of cats, the classic identifier of single women everywhere. With excellent choreography and a wall of puppet cats, the number is whimsical in a way that’s reminiscent of the show back in season one.
And the whimsy continues: while Rebecca is browsing for cats online, who pops out from under her bed but Trent, who commanders the show’s opening title sequence with his own, Trent-centric number. “I’m just a boy in love; I can’t be held responsible for my actions!” he sings (“He’s a male ingénue!” the two background dancers chime in). It underscores the scary reality that Rebecca figures out: she is Trent’s Josh Chan. All of the crazy things he’s doing to win her love are creepier, but not objectively crazier than the ploys and madness she used to get to Josh Chan.
Definitely creepier though: after sabotaging Josh and Rebecca’s wedding, Trent was hit by a bus before he could claim his prize (Rebecca) and was stuck in a full-body cast listening to his doctor’s terrible stand-up routine until he finally managed to escape (he lived with coyotes until he was able to return to a Brooks Brothers outlet). And because he’s tapped into the Dark Web, he found the hit Rebecca took out on Nathaniel’s girlfriend Mona while Rebecca was hopped up on egg-donation hormones, which provides him ample blackmail material to force her to be his girlfriend.
Sixteen games of Scrabble (and one terrible turtleneck dress) later, Rebecca manages to convince Trent to let them go to her office, so she can covertly signal to Paula that something is horribly, horribly wrong. But Paula has grown since her covert Josh-stalking days: she’s studying for her final exams, and spending time with her family. She’s not willing to go full Oceans 11 again with Rebecca, at least not until Rebecca lies and tells her that Trent has blackmail material on her too.
So begins the saddest one-sided buddy cop-comedy musical number, in which one party is completely invested, and the other party really just wants to get back to her life. Paula reluctantly traces Trent to the “Knockturn Alley of West Covina” where she and Rebecca sneak into his storage locker to find a serial killer-style trove of Rebecca Bunch artifacts, including pictures of her sleeping, and one of every pair of socks she owns (“I’ve been wearing mismatched socks since I got to West Covina. I look like the host of a Nickelodeon show!”) And Rebecca looks even more like the host of a Nickelodeon show when she opens one of his secret boxes and gets green slimed. It’s been booby trapped, because Trent’s crazy isn’t just creepy, it’s also goofy.
While Paula and Rebecca are together and back in action, another duo reunites: Valencia and Josh Chan, former fiancées, current friends on decent terms. Valencia is happily in a lesbian relationship, trying to get her party planning business off the ground (or rather, out of the baseball-themed bar where they work from), and Josh volunteers to DJ for a Bat Mitzvah they’re putting together.
Desperately trying to seem sophisticated, Valencia plans a Great Gatsby-style party; these are the parties they’re supposed to be planning if they ever want to land accounts like Jessica Alba. But Josh Chan, golden retriever that he is, knows playing only Charlestons at a 12-year-old’s party is lame. And Beth points out the obvious: the fact that Josh isn’t ashamed of who he is and where he comes from is basically the only cool thing about him.
And so Valencia metaphorically lets her hair down and brings Josh out to perform the dance they made up when they were prom king and queen, called “The Royal.” The dance, needless to say, is awesome.
Nathaniel put his relationship on hold with Mona while he was waiting for Rebecca to let him know if she wanted to try something real with him, but after seeing her with Trent (and mistakenly believing that she and Trent were a real couple), he texts Mona and asks her out to dinner. She discerns that he’s been sleeping with Rebecca, and, not nearly as angrily as it feels like she should, she tells Nathaniel that she wants a real relationship with him, one that’s emotionally honest and open. And Nathaniel agrees.
The “relationship” between Rebecca and Trent also comes to a head when Trent sees her covered in slime and realizes she he failed his “love test” of not spying on him. Rebecca lays everything out on the table: she will never love him. His feelings for her, all of the “love kernels” he’s been piling up, they’re not real. And just like that, Trent leaves.
Paula is too busy to celebrate with Rebecca. Nathaniel has moved out of their shared office and, as “You Ruined Everything,” plays in the background, Rebecca recognizes that, yet again, maybe she isn’t a good person. After all, she’s all alone now. She’s lied to and manipulated everyone around her. Everyone else in her life seems to have learned their lessons and grown, except her.