15 best moments from Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3

12 of 16

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3 production still. Image: Eric Liebowitz / Netflix (via Netflix PR).

Episode 12: Kimmy on the talk show

Season 3 presents a far stabler Kimmy than before in terms of finances, work, and security. But that means she has the freedom to deal with her own issues, and in an episode that effectively recapped my college Ethics class, Kimmy explores utilitarianism less as a philosophical exercise and more as a way to justify sacrificing herself for other people. Kimmy, who already took on far more than she ever should have in a traumatic situation to spare her friends, is constantly portrayed as someone willing to give more and more of herself to those she cares for…or sometimes even total strangers. But that changes on Xan’s talk show.

Kimmy’s not ready to talk about her bunker experience. Comical as it is in flashbacks, there are constant reminders that it was horrible and traumatic and scarring and, despite how the show portrays it to keep the tone light, Not Actually A Joke. And by the end of episode 12, she decides that it’s completely okay not to give all of herself away to the world if she doesn’t want to. This is the kind of moment you’d expect to be reserved for a season finale, but it ends up working hand in hand with the trolley problem in episode 13 (we’ll get to that momentarily) to define Kimmy as a character regaining her agency. Kimmy exchanges one self-sacrifice for another: she refuses to give away what she doesn’t want to just yet, and instead offers an opportunity to someone she cares about, Titus. She stays herself, even as she changes.

Also, it makes Xanthippe mad, and that’s always a win in my book.