Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt season 3 production still. Image: Eric Liebowitz / Netflix (via Netflix PR).
Episode 13: The trolley problem returns
With Tina Fey at the helm, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt often smells an awful lot like an improvisational long form, with everything circling back in unexpected ways. Let’s return, then, to the trolley problem, as Crossing Guard Trainee Kimmy must decide which way to direct an oncoming truck with malfunctioning brakes. Note too that not only has the problem come full circle, but Kimmy has too — remember how she thought she wanted to be a crossing guard at the start of the season?
Kimmy’s choice is, true to form, to sacrifice herself so no one else has to get hurt. At surface level, it seems like we’re back to same old, same old Kimmy after her decision not to keep hurting herself for others on the talk show. But I think, paired with the revelation at the end of the episode, this choice is a lovely reminder that Kimmy is still Kimmy, and Kimmy is still shockingly good and pure despite all that has happened to her. Her uplifting, self-sacrificing spirit is her strongest trait, and it will push through even as she gains the agency to make better decisions about what of her she is willing to give up and what she is not. It’s an important lesson for both Kimmy and the rest of us: learning to be selfless, while still taking care of ourselves.