Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Season 1 Episode 12 Review: “Kimmy Goes To Court!”

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

“Kimmy Goes To Court!” begins with the former Mole Woman and her BFF, Titus, on a bus heading to the infamous town of Durnsville, where Kimmy’s worst memories reside and the trial against the Reverend is currently taking place. As had been efficiently stated throughout the run of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt thus far, Kimmy is reluctant to revisit a place where a big part of her life had been obliterated; however, she also knows that it is necessary for her to face the past in order to prevent Wayne Gary Wayne from becoming a free man.

Once the now New Yorkers arrive in town, the audience gets a glimpse of what the community is about, which serves the plot, and the comedic elements flow, since both the structure of the place and the mentality its residents have explain how events ended up taking the turn they did, both regarding the kidnapping and the current state of the legal proceedings. In parallel, the Reverend seems to be enjoying himself during trial. The courtroom is his stage, the jury is a perfect audience, and he embodies a stand up comedy performer of the highest qualities, which speaks volumes about Jon Hamm’s  skills and the detailed job the writers have done with the scripts.

In addition, Marcia Clark and Chris Darden of the prosecuting team continue to prove how much of a nightmare they are and, therefore, reinforce the concept of how vital Kimmy is to the case. In fact, the titular character seems to be the smartest person in the whole town. Cult or not, it is revealed that she had been trying to run away before she was abducted, and considering what we know about were she used to live both in the present and years ago, it is easy to see that she was a big fish in a small town, a fact that contrasts greatly with her new fish out of water status in New York City. 

The trail and subsequent need for Kimmy’s testimony at the stand give us a face-off between Kimmy and her abductor, which, again puts her at a disadvantage since he is the person questioning her about the events that had unfolded 15 years in the past. Kimmy proves that the Reverend cannot break her, yet he does a good job muddying the waters and complicating her relationship with Cyndee. Additionally, Kimmy’s presence at the court house opens the door to more flashbacks that continue to fill in the gaps and provide information and humor.

Speaking of the flashbacks, it is finally shown that Kimmy was a bit of a leader when it came to the women in the bunker, while her sisterly relationship with Cyndee is fully supported. The images show how Kimmy had questioned the Reverend, who, in turn, manipulated her by threatening the well-being of Cyndee. This not only demonstrates the psychological abuse the women were subjected to, but also how Kimmy operated. She put others first, and that is how they all survived: there was strength in their relationship.

Since the prosecution has no evidence submitted and the Mole Women’s testimonies are not strong enough to eclipse the Reverend’s charm, the former abductees return to the bunker with the aim of finding incriminating elements that would hold Wayne incarcerated, which, of course, is Kimmy’s idea. It is very satisfying to watch the group go back, in spite of their natural initial resistance. We had seen Kimmy break out and face the world, even NYC, and her fears to revisit Durnsville and expose old wounds were notorious and understandable. Entering the underground prison was the ultimate sacrifice.

As a note to the previous paragraph, I’d like to point out how the Netflix’s series challenges what the audience has learned through years of being exposed to procedural shows. It is hard to believe that the star witnesses have zero protection, that the bunker is not closed and marked as a crime scene, and that even if the women found anything that would help, it wouldn’t stand in court since chain of custody wouldn’t have been complied with. However, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a comedy and uses humor as an effective weapon that reaches the goal of entertaining while moving the plot forward.

While the women are on their quest/memory lane trip, Titus had been enjoying being part of the media circus, which rings very true to his character, who is committed to get his break, however he can. It is also hilarious to see him at it. That said, Titus’ role in the episode is more prevalent as he continues to give support to Kimmy by reminding her that she is strong and capable of instilling change. Homegirl can make things happen, this we know for sure. Just like her personal relationships in the bunker helped her stay strong, her friendship with her roommate has kept her from falling apart outside the underground jail.

The penultimate episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt‘s first season proves how unity makes strength, while at the same time, reveals more information that helps the audience connect the dots. Additionally, by starting off pretty much where the previous installment had left, continuity elevates the storyline.

Highlights:

– Tone-wise, “Kimmy goes to court!” hits all the right notes. Even though the comedic elements are in motion, the dramatic aspects are carefully unfolded and interwoven with the jokes.

– Titus being exposed through the media coverage offers a great device to, once more, showcase his talent. At the same time, the reminder that fame can be a curse and ephemeral was on point. 

[Photo via Netflix]

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