Fierce and funny
80%Overall Score

Kimmy Schmidt, a doomsday cult survivor is rescued from an underground bunker after 15 years in captivity. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, the series, ran for four seasons until 2019 following the titular character as she goes from being a scrappy, wide-eyed New Yorker to the best selling author of a children’s book. In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs the Reverend, she goes head to head with her former captor Richard Wayne Gary Wayne aka the Reverend when she stumbles across the possibility of an undiscovered bunker.

In this interactive addition to the franchise, Kimmy is set to get married to British royalty, Prince Frederick, essayed by Daniel Radcliffe. It begins with her wedding dress trials and follows her on a wild goose chase to rescue the reverend’s captives held in an undiscovered bunker. Kimmy races against time. With only three days left for her wedding, she must find and free the women with her former roommate Titus in tow.

‘Black Mirror: Bandersnatch’ vs  ‘Kimmy vs the Reverend’

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch was Netflix’s first foray into interactive episodes. After the lukewarm response to Bandersnatch, the streaming giant used this feature primarily for their children’s segment in shows such as Puss in Book: Trapped in an Epic Tale. Kimmy vs the Reverend is the second attempt at interactive specials for adults. Despite distinct genres, comparison between the two is inevitable.

Bandersnatch has a promising premise – a video game creator’s choose-your-own-journey. But the convoluted narrative was a drawback for some and ultimately, the show didn’t knock you off your feet as you’d expected. Kimmy vs the Reverend, on the other hand, is funnier and far lighter to digest.

The episode will have you glued to the screen

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ended with every character getting their respective happy endings. The reason to revisit with an interactive episode is compelling. Kimmy’s discovery of a book issued by a school library five years after her abduction. It hints at the possibility of an undiscovered bunker.

Despite the dark premise, the show is full of ludicrous jokes. In the course of the episode, there are ample narrative choices to make and in case you’re indecisive, the algorithm makes it for you. When Kimmy is trying to trace the owner of the book, you get to choose which one of her fellow captives, Gretchen, Donna Maria and Cyndee, she calls. If you make the wrong narrative choice, you’re led to a hilarious end. Some choices are placed in the storyline just for fun; they’re inconsequential. For instance, co-creator Tina Fey’s husband composer Jeff Richmond created the theme song and if you skip it in the interactive episode you have to watch an extended version by YouTubers Gregory Brothers. Given the show was created by 30 Rock and Saturday Night Live alumni Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the series and the episode both feature densely-packed humour and multiple cameos by actors comedians Chris Parnell, Jack McBrayer and comedian Mike Britt.

WATCH OR NOT

The episode is replete with funny anecdotes from the character’s past, running gags, pop culture references and slapstick humour. The show relies on absurdist comedy to rescue itself from a rare dark moment. Plus the interactive element of getting choose narrative directions is a lot of fun.

Creator: Tina Fey, Robert Carlock
Cast: Ellie Kemper, Daniel Radcliffe, Jon Hamm, Jane Krakowski, Titus Burgess, Carol Kane
Streaming on: Netflix
Release: August 5

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