Rebecca Bunch has experienced a lot of disappointment on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (co-creator: Aline Brosh McKenna), but the Friday Jan. 5 episode marks one of the first times she has accepted personal defeat with real maturity. Will Rebecca break up with Nathaniel on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? It sure seems like that's where this episode's cliffhanger is headed, and oddly enough it's a good thing.
At the end of the episode, Rebecca goes to Nathaniel clearly ready to make a serious move. "I have to do something I've never done before," she says. What could that be? She doesn't go inside, and she doesn't look happy. Breaking up with him, or suggesting some kind of pause seems like the only answer, especially considering the revelations that she has during the episode.
Namely, that even though Rebecca is in a healthier and affectionate relationship with Nathaniel, she is still prone to slipping into old patterns, as her therapist points out. She steals Nathaniel's shirt to wear under her dress — not the worst, but not great either. She follows his father, not only convincing herself that he has a mistress and a secret family but that it's her job to break this (not real) blow to her boyfriend and introduce him to his (not real) sister. Nathaniel forgives her, but for maybe the first time Rebecca checks herself before she falls back again.
Speaking of patterns, Rebecca also gets a visit from Josh in this episode. They actually haven't seen each other since Rebecca's attempted suicide, and Josh has been doing some soul-searching as well. He actually thanks her for pushing him out of his comfort zone, and says that he's now trying to break some patterns of his own. It's that conversation that sparks her going to Nathaniel, ultimately, because while doing the right thing is "the worst" there comes a time when we just gotta do it.
The fact that Rebecca takes this conversation with Josh as an impetus to break it off with Nathaniel (it appears) is actually a larger sign of progress and personal growth than it may initially seem. Anyone else, and especially the Rebecca we've come to know, would take Josh's gratitude as a sign to keep trying to "fix" people and continue those old patterns and habits. Josh means well, and it is nice to see that Rebecca can have a good impact on people she cares about, but it could also be seen as positive reinforcement for bad behavior. She changed Josh for the better! She did it, just like she has wanted to do with other partners in the past and is trying to do with Nathaniel now! But thankfully that's not what — or not all — Rebecca hears.
Earlier in the episode, Rebecca expresses distress that she may never be able to be in a good relationship due to having borderline personality disorder. Her doctor assures her that that is not true — which makes both Rebecca's decision and the show's decision to break up her and Nathaniel a particularly brave one. They're incredibly trusting with us as an audience, promising a character happiness only to have her make the choice to end a happy thing she had going. Her decision isn't rash or impulsive either, and that's a good sign as well.
Tumultuous relationship developments between fictional characters are often explained away by writers and fans alike as "because it's just a TV show" that has to maintain a certain level of drama for fear of jumping the shark. But Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does not "keep" Rebecca Bunch single because "otherwise there'd be no show." This isn't a will-they-or-won't they situation, and it probably never will be. These breakups and and hookups are earned, serving a larger and honest story.
If you or someone you know are experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 911, or call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255.