Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Season 2 Episode 5, “Kimmy Gives Up!”
I loved this episode of Season 2, because although it wasn’t the most laugh out loud hilarious of the season so far, it was the most encouraging we’ve seen. It provides a real reminder (in its own quirky way) to not give up hope, even in the weirdest or toughest of times. (But you wouldn’t know it until the end – skip to the hopeful section if you need a reason to smile today.)
Kimmy and Dong:
Kimmy finds herself at Dong and Sonja’s house to deliver a reminder letter about Dong’s GED test. Lillian and Titus tried to convince her not to go, but she swears she’s just there to hand him the letter, and retrieve the blue scrunchie she left at his place. Once there, she discovers that not only does Dong not remember the blue scrunchie, but the immigration rep will be reviewing his and Sonja’s marriage the next day. Dong is convinced he’ll be sent back to Vietnam, but Kimmy promises to help him by making a fake photo album for them as proof of his and Sonja’s relationship.
Later, Lillian confronts Kimmy about her feelings for Dong. Kimmy tries to deny it, but it’s obvious that she still wants to be with him. Kimmy admits that she hasn’t given up hope, because her hope is what got her through 15 years in the bunker: she doesn’t quit. Lillian tries to convince her that sometimes the toughest thing to do, but the best thing to do, is just give up and walk away (like how Lillian gave up on the Second Avenue Subway ever being built). Kimmy retorts, “Sorry, but giving up isn’t my jam. My jams are grape, Jock, and Space.” With only 12 hours until her GED test, she storms out to finish helping Dong and Sonja.
Dong arrives, panicked because Sonja has gone missing, and Kimmy sets out to help him find Sonja. When they turn up without her, Kimmy tries to convince Dong to let her pretend to be his wife. Dong reacts angrily, calling Kimmy crazy for trying to push him when he’s married. They eventually find Sonja at the statue of Neptune (with whom she is breaking up with, having been in a ‘relationship’ with the Roman god), and Kimmy says she’ll just see Dong when he can pay her back for the lost blue scrunchie. He reaches into the fountain, pulling out the 78 cents needed, and hands it to Kimmy. It’s a heartbreaking moment, because you can see on Kimmy’s face that she knows this is his final say in the matter: he’s married to Sonja, and she should give up. Kimmy is so distraught that she sleeps through her whole GED test the next morning.
Kimmy finally admits defeat, and she says goodbye by deleting Dong from her phone contacts.
Buckley and Dyziplen:
Jacqueline is left (for the first time ever) as the person responsible for Buckley. He draws on the walls, he runs around endlessly – he’s just a nightmare child, and Jacqueline is at a loss for what to do. She tries to get Kimmy to help her, but Kimmy is busy constructing Dong’s relationship photo album, and Jacqueline is left to take Buckley to his doctor’s appointment alone. The doctor suggests that Buckley needs discipline. Jacqueline balks, but the doctor informs her it’s not actual parenting, just “Dyziplen,” the newest drug for hyperactive children.
Jacqueline is still not convinced that her child needs medication, but the doctor assures her that Buckley doesn’t have any diagnosed conditions: “He’s a handful, which is a medical term for how many pills he needs.” At the playground, Buckley instantly transforms from a rambunctious kid to, well, a zombie. Looking around, she notices that all the children there are on Dyziplen. She finally has a child she can manage. Later, she calls Kimmy and tells her that she no longer needs her help, because Buckley is the perfect boy now. They even sat and got their caricature done in Central Park.
The only thing Jacqueline asks of Kimmy is to pick up his medication so that Buckley behaves during her wardrobe fitting later that day. Kimmy is appalled that Jacqueline drugged Buckley to make him behave, and while Jacqueline tries to explain it away, Kimmy asks if she has ever tried it herself. Jacqueline pops a pill, and finally sees that when people are on Dyziplen, everything is flat. The fitting goes terribly, because she can no longer see any color, and when she finally wakes up out of her drug-induced haze, she is mortified that she’s done this to Buckley. She dumps the rest of the pills down the garbage disposal.
Even though Buckley isn’t on Dyziplen, and Jacqueline isn’t really sure how to handle him, they go together to find a gown for her (since her fitting didn’t work out). Buckley is running around the store, pretending to be a Transformer and destroying things, when Jacqueline has a realization: she doesn’t need to calm him down with Dyziplen, she needs to extinguish his Allspark so he’ll lay down until “Sky Lynx regenerates him”. It’s an incredible moment where mother and son start destroying the store together (because the saleswoman insults Jacqueline’s size), and you finally see Jacqueline connecting with her son.
Titus and Happiness
Titus spends almost the whole episode singing show tunes – although, these aren’t the typical show tunes you’ll recognize. They’re from lesser known shows like Alabama, the black version of Oklahoma.
Lillian is delighted at this weird display from Titus, because she realizes that he can’t say two words without bursting into song because he’s finally happy. He has a nice boyfriend, his one man show was a hit, and he got a free piano.
Titus is furious. He storms away from Lillian and begins to sing mournful songs instead. Lillian is confused, but Titus explains his change in mood: “When I was singing before, it didn’t even occur to me that I was happy. I thought it was just gas coming out in a weird way. But then you pointed out that this is the best my life has ever gone, and now I’m panicked I’m gonna lose it all. Happiness is fleeting Lillian, and you fleeted it.”
He continues to worry that all this goodness will be taken away from him, until Lillian (who had never heard a single show tune in her life before this) comes to him and starts to share some advice:
“We both know your good times can’t last forever. Maybe you’ll marry Mikey. Maybe you’ll break up. Maybe you’ll live together for decades, but then he’ll die first of an awful brain disease.” Understandably, Titus is appalled at this nonsense advice, but Lillian proceeds to “put it in terms that you could understand”, and she starts quoting “Gangly Orphan Jeff” (the ill-fated musical that opened 6 days after Annie).
They start singing a duet together from the show, called “Just Go On”, which has a message that we never know what’s really going to happen, but it doesn’t mean we should just stop living. We need to just go on: “We’ll never stop, we’ll keep on moving forward even if we don’t know what we’re moving toward”.
And so begins the hopeful part of the episode:
The Hopeful Part:
1) Dong and Sonja seem to pass their immigration review, and Dong looks happy to not be going back to Vietnam.
2) Jacqueline and Buckley connect over his drawings on the wall, and he hugs his mom tightly.
3) Kimmy takes the money Dong gave her and puts it into a jar marked “GED do-over fund.”
4) Titus puts out a framed picture of him with Mikey.
5) Dong still has Kimmy’s scrunchie! And he takes it out and smells it sometimes! Hope is alive, love isn’t dead, and maybe everything in this quirky world will work out!
6) Even Lillian hasn’t given up hope that the Second Avenue Subway will someday be built.
Folks, don’t give up hope. Remember what Gangly Orphan Jeff said: sometimes the only way to go, is to just go on.