Tuesday, March 17, 2015

REVIEW: 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' - Kimmy Returns to Durnsville to Face the Reverend in 'Kimmy Goes to Court!'

Netflix's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - Episode 1.12 "Kimmy Goes to Court!"

Kimmy and Titus go back to Durnsville, Indiana so Kimmy can testify against the Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne, but the trip doesn't go very well.

The courtroom scenes in the previous episode were some of the strongest comedic material on the show so far. And yet, I wasn't a big fan of that episode because it felt almost too formulaic. The trial was happening and it's suppose to be a big deal for Kimmy Schmidt. She is the main protagonist and it's a very crucial part of this story. However, she was avoiding everything happening in Indiana. So while there had to be strong comedy in those scenes, they felt designed to only escalate the importance of Kimmy returning to her home state without making any kind of progress on the case itself. And now that she's officially a part of that environment in a major and active way, it's much stronger.

However, Kimmy returning to Durnsville to testify against Reverend Richard Wayne Gary Wayne doesn't automatic reverse the downward trend the trial has been heading down. The Reverend is still as charismatic as he was before and has slyly gotten even more support and admiration from the jury, the judge, the prosecution and the spectators. Kimmy and Cyndee are really the only people not under his spell. The Reverend really is a captivating presence. He is able to play with the judicial system to work into his favor because Marcia and Chris are so incompetent at their judges. They really don't know what their doing. It's up to Kimmy to figure out a plan to send the Reverend to prison for the rest of his life.

Kimmy takes the stand to accuse the Reverend of kidnapping her and keeping her locked up for fifteen years. That is the truth but she has to get everyone to understand that it's what actually happened. It's hysterical that the prosecution's first and only piece of evidence is a regular dictionary. They really should have done more work to prepare for this case. And yet, they are too busy watching legal movies and taking showers together to cool down. Things only get worse after the Reverend convinces the entire room that Kimmy was given the opportunity to leave the bunker and chose not too - and if she had then decided to stay in Durnsville, then the town would be a much better place than it is.

Kimmy was the one who kept the mole women together and strong during their time in the bunker. It feels right that she is the one who has to come back to town in order to set the record straight. And yet, her taking the stand only further alienates her from the mole women. Years ago, she knew that the Reverend was likely not being truthful with her when she discovered the rat that got into the bunker. That was introduced early in the season and I always wanted to know what happened after that that kept her in the bunker until much later. And now, we are given the answer in that she chose to stay and protect Cyndee then risk being proven wrong and being damned to burn in Hell because she didn't listen to the Reverend. Kimmy spent a lot of her time in the bunker with her fellow mole woman but it's important to remember the importance the Reverend had over them. It was easy for them to accept everything he had to say. He's been proven to be able to tell a story and cast a spell over everyone who listens. That's his strongest quality and it's what's leading him to victory in this trial at the moment.

Kimmy and Cyndee have the strongest relationship amongst the mole woman. Gretchen is still a loyal follower of the Reverend's and has found even more people to support his apocalyptic cause. Donna Maria hasn't been fleshed out as a character. She is simply the woman who speaks Spanish and has something sarcastic to say to the other mole woman all the time. It's sad that these woman are still Cyndee's only friends. And yet, they have to rely on and trust each other in order to make sure the Reverend is convicted. Kimmy is not the solution to the trial. It's all of them working together. That's an empowering story beat. They are rising above the man who controlled them for fifteen years. They just need to find the proof because their word against his simply isn't working so far.

So the season is coming to a close with the mole woman returning to the bunker in order to find the evidence to convict the Reverend. They've spent years in this place. But now, they enter it as new people because they've had the chance to experience the real world as adults and evolve. They have a new perspective on this place. Gretchen is eager to start turning the mysterious crank again because it's been months since it was last turned. The rest of them enter a part of the bunker none of them have ever been in - the Reverend's private room. It's in that place were we see how strongly he was manipulating these women. The crank was simply powering the life of luxury that he was living. It's infuriating and also hilarious. Kimmy, Cyndee and Donna Maria are furious and just need to break everything in sight. That's not the purpose for being in this room though. They need to find evidence and breaking things - while feeling wonderful - isn't going to help them with the trial. They find a safe and are able to crack it by using the date the Reverend thought the world was going to end. They gasp at its contents and we'll just have to wait until the season finale to find out how big a game-changer this discovery actually is.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Kimmy Goes to Court!" was written by Jack Burditt & Emily Altman and directed by Ken Whittingham.
  • Titus accompanies Kimmy to Durnsville to be a supportive friend and to see the trial because he loves this story. He loves the publicity he gets as Kimmy's best friend even more. He agrees to be interviewed every chance he gets - which comes back to hurt him in the end with a viral video that makes him look like an idiot but is actually very funny.
  • Randy hopes that Kimmy returning to Durnsville will help him win back his job. He's still incompetent and basically lets the bunker door close behind the mole woman after he decides to chase after a pet he believes is the Mayor's.
  • Kimmy still hasn't decided if she's going to marry Dong - but understandably other things are on her mind. Also, when is her GED test?
  • Marcia to Chris: "IDK? What does that mean? Is it a black thing?"
  • Gretchen singing: "Crank you for being a friend."
  • "Mole Women, Mole Problems." Never change news graphics!