Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, season 4, part 2 review


Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the show about the girl who lived for 15 years in a bunker and still managed to be optimistic and enthusiastic, has come to an end with the second half of its fourth season.

While this batch of episodes wasn’t the strongest of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, it’s still sad to see Kimmy and her zany pals go. Throughout its run, the show was consistently funny in a sly, silly way that arose from the very specific perspectives of its four main characters. Even when the plotlines weren’t as strong, this was something the series never lost.

In many ways these last six episodes delve into the way trauma continues to reverberate and impact our lives. Episode 7 has Kimmy re-connecting with her bunker-mate Donna Maria — and their knee-jerk reaction when a man dressed as Elmo startles them.

Then in episode 8, the series returns to the Mr. Frumpus storyline from season 3 to reveal what really happened when Titus auditioned for Sesame Street.

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In the longest and least essential episode in this half-season, episode 9 delves into what could have been had Kimmy not been abducted and everyone else’s lives had been different. From that episode, we learn that Kimmy would have been a much worse person if she hadn’t been trapped underground for a decade and a half.

Then in episode 10, Kimmy has a Pavlovian response when she sees a plastic pumpkin at a year-round Halloween store because that was what served as her toilet in the bunker.

In each case though, these plot points don’t make as much of an impact as they should. The Mr. Frumpus storyline in particular is a disappointment. Despite the clever inclusion of Ronan Farrow, the reporter famous for breaking other #MeToo investigations, Titus’ story is far less compelling.

Ultimately the only reason he tells it is in the hopes of attending the Tonys. And despite the circumstances, the incident seems to have no lasting impact on him. The story is meant to be a parody of many Hollywood #MeToo stories but the jokes fail as commentary. Instead, the storyline diminishes and dismisses the real-life trauma of people who genuinely did suffer at the hands of powerful men, as well as the conflict they faced in coming forward. It’s a shame the show didn’t do this story justice.

At the same time, while the show makes a point of the fact that Kimmy’s trauma is ongoing and slow to heal, it often references it more as a point of curiosity than really exploring her ongoing issues. The show was far more successful in earlier seasons at tackling Kimmy’s problems. In this last batch of episodes, these nods feel crammed in and not especially well thought out.

In fact, in many ways that sums up the general feeling of these last six episodes. Much like the first half of the season, the plotting is scattershot and in the early episodes doesn’t seem to be building towards anything in particular. That is, until the last two episodes of the series, where things come together and become more coherent, but in a rushed way.

Ultimately, the most inspiring (if possibly unrealistic) story line of these final episodes is the slow but steady spread of Kimmy’s children’s book. Kimmy finds a way to make the world a better place on her own terms and it’s a heartwarming, optimistic, and kind of naive plot — just like the show itself.

Although the second half of season 4 doesn’t always stick the landing, it’s hard not to appreciate the happy ending the show gives each of its main characters. Kimmy, Titus, Lillian, and Jacqueline were fun and unique characters to spend time with and I’ll miss watching them tackle new challenges and comment on the many ridiculous parts of life.

The message of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt could be summed up like this: no matter who you are or what you’ve been through, just keep going — you’re stronger than you think you are. This series was a bright spot in the world and I, for one, am sorry to see it go.

It was initially reported that an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt movie would be produced after the series ended to tie up any loose plot lines. However, the series finale did such a thorough job bringing each character’s journey to an end, a movie doesn’t seem necessary. We’ll see what happens, but right now, the story of Kimmy and her friends as we know it is finished.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt series finale recap: Kimmy Says Bye!. dark. Next

Fortunately, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt continues to be available to stream on Netflix, where you can binge the show to your heart’s content. You can also revisit the series through our season 4 recaps starting with the first half of season 4 and picking up again in the second half with our episode 7 recap.

What did you think of the final season of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt? Share your thoughts in the comments.