Friday, December 7, 2018

REVIEW: 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' - Rebecca Meets a Completely Different Version of Greg in 'I'm Not the Person I Used to Be'

The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Episode 4.08 "I'm Not the Person I Used to Be"

Greg returns to West Covina, which forces Rebecca to question things she thought she knew about people she has loved in her life. Valencia and Josh make some shocking discoveries while at their high school reunion.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

"I'm Not the Person I Used to Be" was written by Rene Gube and directed by Stuart McDonald

Numerous shows have recast characters over the years. They've done so for a number of wildly different reasons as well. It's likely that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend did so with Greg because Santino Fontana was too busy starring on Broadway to return for the final season. And yet, the show smartly uses the pivot to tell such a compelling story about perception and the way that people change as time goes by. Our memories of people may be attached to a specific moment in time and what we were going through. Rebecca saw Greg one way because she was a spiraling love addict who didn't want to take any responsibilities for her life. And now, she is trying to improve herself and apologize for her past actions. It was clear that Greg was going to come back eventually. It's the most pressing question since he left early on in the second season. Some updates have been given about him from time to time throughout the years too. But this is a huge re-introduction for the character. Now, Greg is played by Pitch Perfect alum Skylar Astin. It's a wildly different take on the character too. And yet, that is perfectly okay. The audience shouldn't expect him to be the same guy. When he left West Covina, he was doing so with new clarity on his life and the desire to pursue his goals. He finally made the commitment to business school and took responsibility for being an alcoholic. He was maybe the most mature of any of the characters when he left because he could plainly see the problems in his life. That showed how everyone moves at a different pace in getting their lives together. And now, two years have gone by. More of the characters in West Covina have a better understanding of who they are and how destructive their past behavior has been. In that time, Rebecca hit her rock bottom and became truly aware of just how much damage she has done throughout her life. She is trying to make amends. She has been making progress in that regard this season too. Sure, she's often taken one step forward and a few steps back. But she has the awareness of falling into the same patterns and trying to get out of them and make better choices. That means she is wreaked with guilt about sleeping with Greg's father. She sees that as the reason why they are forever doomed as a romantic pairing. She can never make up for that fact. She can't excuse her behavior either. And yet, she and Greg spend a significant amount of time together here. She delays and deflects for as long as possible. They suggest starting over as friends meeting for the first time. It's actually quite cute and very relevant to the way everyone is now seeing Greg. But Rebecca still admits the truth. She understands that this is emotionally healthy for her. It's all about her atoning for her past. It also proves that Greg has changed too. He respects her honesty and knows just how difficult it was to share that news. It still hurts but he's not angry about it. It means they just have more to talk about moving forward. As such, it suddenly seems like this could be an emotionally healthy relationship for the two of them. That's strange considering when Greg left he referred to their coupling as a "shit show."

Greg coming back into the picture means that Rebecca is completely distracted and taken away from her burgeoning thoughts about Josh and Nathaniel too. She was developing feelings for them again because it also seemed like they were changing and becoming better human beings. Everyone is stepping up and maturing. They are all trying to be the best versions of themselves. And yet, Rebecca also wisely pushes back against the idea of a "meant to be" relationship. Valencia and Heather are pushing for her and Greg to work things out because they both ship it so hard. However, Rebecca doesn't even know if she's in the right place in her life to even have a relationship. She has been addicted and obsessed with love for so long. And now, she has these three options that all represent completely different things for her. So, it all may just be a reflection of what she needs right now. Those needs may not be what she will always demand in the future either. All of this is additionally told through the context of a 10 year high school reunion. That's the reason why Valencia and Greg are back in town. It also means there are stories about Valencia and Josh reflecting back on their high school years and seeing things that could have been but weren't. Josh believes he was popular only to realize that he missed out on a lot because he was so oblivious to the world around him. He wasn't really being built up to handle the real world that was coming after school. As such, he is still struggling to do even the basics of being an adult. And yet, he is still making progress. Furthermore, Valencia shares with Heather that she had a secret love affair during her senior year while also dating Josh. She actually fell in love with this person and was heartbroken when they just completely disappeared. That person turns out to be Father Brah. That's so unexpected. It means that this isn't a relationship that can be picked up again. Both Brah and Valencia are in serious relationships. They have made commitments to their lives that they don't want to break. However, all of these feelings come rushing back. It means that they are in the right place to appreciate what this relationship was while also accepting that they are perfectly happy with where they are now despite the pain that happened earlier. All of this also provides so much terrific and funny material for Heather who immediately becomes obsessed with solving this case from Valencia's past.