Film and TV

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Episode 12: The Unsolvable Drinking Problem

Each week, we're recapping the second season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt episode by episode.

Typically, we talk about these episodes in terms of A, B, and C plots based on their prominence in the episode. But that structure surprisingly doesn't apply to "Kimmy Sees A Sunset!" Each story here has just as much screentime as the next and just as much importance to the progression of the characters and the series as a whole. It only makes us wonder how much stronger the overarching plot of this season would have been if the writers had applied this philosophy to every episode.

As Kimmy continues therapy, Andrea's drinking begins to carry over into the daytime, interrupting their sessions. Andrea resigns herself to rehab, but Kimmy pledges to help Andrea on her own. She tries getting Andrea drunk to open up about her reasons for drinking, but Andrea sees through it and refuses to tell her anything. Kimmy decides that if Andrea can get through one full day without drinking, she can skip rehab, so she handcuffs them together and takes them to the roof of Andrea's office. They sit together all day and watch the sunset, but Andrea reveals she's been drinking all day through a CamelBak filled with vodka running through her sleeve.

It's a semi-funny, semi-interesting narrative up until its conclusion, which makes the whole thing worth it. Kimmy and Andrea have referred to the drunken and sober versions of Andrea as separate unrelated entities thus far, but when Kimmy says "I like day Andrea better," Andrea responds, "Guess what? I'm not two different people. I'm just one big mess." She then explains how Kimmy's mother abandoning her has caused her to latch onto others so aggressively (in this case literally). This ties together not just her behavior this episode, but also the fears of abandonment she expressed earlier in the season. These therapy sessions do help Kimmy better understand herself, but they also help us better understand Kimmy's behavior throughout the entire series.

Meanwhile, Titus takes care of a feverish Mikey, but that gets him sick, too, meaning he botches an audition. There, he runs into Norman Gordon, an elderly actor who's played bit roles his entire life. When Norman passes away soon after, Titus decides to move in with Mikey and prioritize their relationship over his acting career. But when they attend Norman's funeral, they find it full of people who loved working with him over the years – including Ice-T, who leads the ceremony. Remarkably, Titus actually gets the part he'd auditioned for, but finds out it's on a cruise ship and he'd have to leave Mikey to take it – which Mikey insists he does.

As much fun as it is seeing Ice-T tear it up on the saxophone, the funeral doesn't feel like the most effective way of delivering the message that Titus should put his career before his relationship. The moral – be true to yourself and follow your passion – is a legitimate one despite the cliche. But would Titus be living life any less to the fullest if he chose to take care of Mikey rather than following a bunch of lame acting jobs? Still, the real takeaway from this story comes at the beginning: when Titus realizes he put Mikey's needs ahead of his own by taking care of him and getting himself sick, and that points to love.

This ties in perfectly with Jacqueline's story – yes, Jacqueline's actually in this episode! When she hears this from Titus, she realizes the only way she can win over the rich businessman Russ is by convincing him to do the same: put her needs ahead of his. But he insists they take it slow, as he's found in the past women have only been interested in him for his money. When a group of schoolgirls attack him on the street, she takes him into her apartment to tend to his wounds, where he almost sees that Jacqueline has been lying about her wealth. Why did she take that risk, Jacqueline asks herself? Because she's falling for him.

David Cross' portrayal of Russ is gleefully pathetic and awkward, but he endures it with a lot of unique character rather than a collection of nerd tropes. Jacqueline's interest in him romantically is a little hard to believe, but it works if only because she doesn't think it makes any sense either and, in fact, gets pretty infuriated at herself for letting it happen.

Biggest Laugh: Mikey: "How about I move in with you?" Titus: "That's a big step. And you know how I feel about steps." Mikey: "I know. You're against them." (As hard as we've been on Titus this season, he's been responsible for basically every single one of these.)

Biggest Surprise: Honestly, Jacqueline showing up was more surprising than Ice-T showing up. We kind of forgot she was in this show.
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