That right there is the result of all Rebecca Bunch’s newfound healthy habits (though it must be said that making one’s mugshot the photo on one’s dating profile is, perhaps, taking things a bit far). Rebecca goes to New York because it’s important to her that she be honest with her mother. She chooses to stay with Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz) and Beth (Emma Willmann) instead of Naomi, knowing that’s better for her; she asks for and receives moral support—immediate moral support, on-site moral support—from Valencia, instead of trying to tough it out alone. She arrives and dives right in, and while she stumbles at first, she goes in for a do-over the next day. She does all the things she should do, and that’s what she gets.

What’s most interesting (and exciting) is that while Rebecca ultimately ends this storyline on a note of triumph, it’s hard fought, and it’s not exactly where the episode ends, either. But while the triumph is there, it sure is sweet. Director Kabir Akhtar (the show’s Emmy-winning editor and the director of several previous episodes) and credited writer Aline Brosh McKenna cleverly stage that final confrontation in Valencia and Beth’s comically small apartment (complete with combo refrigerator/murphy bed), so that the residents of that apartment are there to underline the importance of the step Rebecca takes. That it’s also funny is a nice bonus, but the important thing is that they’re there to stand in for the audience: There to feel uncomfortable, to root Rebecca on, to give her support, and to be proud.

Then she heads right on back to the Cov, just in time for a backslide. And with that, enter Josh Chan and Nathaniel Plimpton, Esq.


The Josh (Vincent Rodriguez) and Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster) storylines might seem somewhat disconnected from the main event at first glance, but as with Rebecca, it’s all about putting us in a position to cheer them on as they make things better for themselves. Josh successfully cleaning the apartment and Nathaniel experiencing the sensation of doing something nice for someone else aren’t on the same level as Rebecca clearly and defiantly establishing some boundaries for her mother (and consequences to go along with those boundaries, should they be violated), but they’re steps nonetheless. Each is captured with a similar, affectionate sense of “you’ve got to be kidding me;” when of the show’s grown-ups wanders in, they’re bemused, irritated, and affectionately incredulous.

And when Rebecca comes back, she finds them both improved somewhat. Feeling lighter and stronger, she finds herself in a position where—whoops—glitter’s exploding inside her. And while Rebecca’s right to think that’s trouble, she may not be aware of the other big step that happens. She knows it’s trouble, doesn’t bother to deny it, and once again, tells a friend immediately. Bad news, but in a much better situation.


“I Will Help You” asserts itself of the strongest episodes of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s fourth season early on, right from that first scene with Naomi, and that’s where it stays. Akhtar’s playful direction keeps it there; McKenna’s assured knowledge of the characters she’s lived with for years keeps it there. It’s many steps forward, this episode, and then, as always, a few steps back—but this time, even the steps back are steps forward, in a way. That’s progress, too.

Stray observations