What does Rebecca Bunch want? Well, for the first time four years, it seems like maybe she doesn’t know.
After dealing with the challenges of backsliding with regards to her mental illness last week, Rebecca began taking antidepressants, but she still feels stigmatized for it. Fortunately, the answer lies in a La La Land-style song-and-dance routine about just how common medication is. That (excellent) number has a number of killer lines and has the added benefit of showing off Rachel Bloom’s pretty solid dance abilities! She’s more than just a singer who moves!
But even as Rebetzel’s Preztels declares that it’s Rebecca’s dream on its merchandise, Rebecca knows that’s not really true: she never dreamed of starting a pretzel business. It was just a helpful exit route from the world of law.
Paula’s goal is much more tangible. Even after suffering from a heart attack, she’s still ready to take the bar, if only her cardiologist would give her the a-okay. Paula was always willing to live vicariously through Rebecca’s dream of winning Josh, and now it’s Rebecca’s turn to flip their dynamic. This time, it’s Rebecca who’s helping Paula reach her goal by using a series of zany shenanigans, which unfortunately somehow lead to her being trapped in the hospital’s mortuary.
But sometimes a confrontation with one’s own mortality can be just the push in the right direction because, after a solo number, Rebecca comes to the conclusion that she wants to audition for local community theater. Finally! Musical theater has been Rebecca’s consistent love from the start. After all, she fell in love with Josh when they were teenagers back at musical theater camp. Back in the pilot episode, when Rebecca saw Josh in New York City, she conflated him with a sense of youthful happiness and belonging, before life was complicated. But maybe it was musical theater that she actually fell in love with at camp. Maybe musical theater was her love all along.
Unfortunately, even though Rebecca is an excellent Rachel Bloom-level singer in her fantasies, we know in real life she can barely carry a tune. There’s always directing!
Also visiting the hospital are Rebecca’s three suitors — Josh, Nathaniel, and Greg — who get coughed on by a little boy and forced to deal with their feelings together while in quarantine. When Josh finds out Greg had come back to West Covina without telling him, the two have an incredibly awkward non-choreographed real-life fight sequence, (contrasted by a beautifully choreographed fantasy fight sequence).
But the real MVP of the trio in this episode is Scott Michael Foster. His tiny line deliveries (“That little cough boy?” and “Who wants to be d’Artagnan? Me.”), not to mention background facial expression, made me realize how lucky this show was to get an actor who turned a character who could have felt shoe-horned into the show into someone genuinely compelling and adorable. His face at the end of the episode when he finds out Greg and Rebecca broke up is so perfectly subtle.
Oh, did I forget to mention? Greg and Rebecca break up. Recognizing that she let her mental health suffer, and telling Greg about her moments with Josh and Nathaniel when she was drunk, Rebecca makes the responsible decision that the two need to step back from their relationship and take some time.
Now that she’s single, Josh is also going to be vying for her affections. Looks like that massage moment last week got to him, too. But if I was a betting woman, I’d say none of the guys are Rebecca’s endgame: musical theater has been the one right in front of her the entire time.