ByElise Jost, writer at
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Elise Jost

With most of us assuming that the ability to talk about something equals the ability to deal with said thing, it's rarely discouraged to open up about our worries/past/secret fears. Learning to share or simply being fine with the idea of sharing is a big part of moving on from a difficult experience, so we all try at some point to muster up the courage to face whatever's been hiding at the very back of our brains.

When you're a woman who's lost 15 years of her life to a pervert who locked you in an underground bunker, the path to recovery obviously involves being able to handle remembering and discussing the experience. No, I'm not writing an oddly specific advice column, I'm talking about the hero of 's Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. The third season was freshly released May 19, and if you haven't seen the two previous ones, I'd strongly advise you to get on that right now.

Season 2 Of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Is All About Facing The Past — But Do You Have To Look At It All The Time?

Toward the end of Season 2, Kimmy discovered the benefits of therapy — despite her therapist's uncanny skill to sneak alcohol into any location, at any time — and went to find her mother, a quest she wouldn't even have imagined going on a few weeks prior. She even, if only telepathically, confronts her about her giving up on determining her missing daughter's whereabouts and moving away, leaving Kimmy without a family when she finally makes it out of the bunker.

Yet we see Kimmy still confused about the motivations of fellow mole women such as Cyndee, whose idea of therapy involves cameras, a television set and constant product placement interruptions. Why would you want to tell the whole world about being trapped away from it for so long? Things get worse when she learns that the internet isn't just for renting out your apartment to hipsters or getting into online debates about black gay men portraying geishas. It's also for googling, and most people around her have looked her up and learned about a past that she isn't always willing to share.

Kimmy quickly draws the line between opening up to her therapist about her experience in the bunker in order to put an end to her rotten egg-smelling burps, and involving the rest of the world in her healing process. Her defining characteristic is her unwavering optimism, so it's natural to see her try to help people at first — whether by sharing to a broad audience or by trying to explain who the Reverend really is to his heart-eyed fiancée, played by Laura Dern.

It's OK To Not Want To Talk About It

But her desire to improve other people's lives soon collides with how uncomfortable she feels carrying her past like a giant flag. When she's invited on Xan's college talk show Profiles, where Xan hopes she'll discuss her life as a mole woman, Kimmy's first reaction is to participate "for the greater good" before finally dropping out of the interview, admitting to herself that she simply doesn't want to do it.

It's a big moment in Kimmy's character evolution when she learns how to stand up for herself and not always put other people first, or act according to other people's ideas of what her best interests might be. Though this ongoing realization has been highlighted repeatedly since her first encounter with her psychiatrist Andrea, her refusal to take the stage as a mole woman, both on Xan's show and at her professor's dinner, is a major part of the process.

While this more reserved side of Kimmy shows an important alternative to the loud and proud attitude that we often see advocated when it comes to handling the past, it also allows the season to balance Kimmy's unwavering optimism. Without those moments of restraint, her seemingly unstoppable faith in the world would have started to feel too forced or naive. Instead, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt manages to give Kimmy just the right dose of weakness, making her shine even more when she's at her best.

What was your favorite episode of Season 3 of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?


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