Kimmy vs. The Reverend misses the point of Netflix's interactive tech
How to get Kimmy's happily ever after
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt's interactive finale, Kimmy vs. the Reverend, takes Netflix's interactive storytelling tech and applies it to comedy for the first time. The result is not a sprawling story like Black Mirror Bandersnatch, but one that resets almost as soon as it deviates.
That said, there are a few different paths you can take, and some jokes that only happen if you pick the right options. Here's how to get the best ending on your first try and other tricks to have the best viewing experience.
One of the most important choices happens very early on. In the beginning scenes, Kimmy finds a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book, but when encountered by her fiancé Frederick (Daniel Radcliff), she has three options: read the book, make out with Frederick, or help plan the wedding.
If you choose to make out with Frederick, there's a sudden flash forward and you're prompted to pick a new option. If you plan the wedding, the plot will still go forward as planned until just before the climax, when knowledge of the book is needed. Instead of bringing you to where you picked the "wrong" choice, the show just has Titus read the book in the scene prior.
There are lots of missteps, but they only put you one step away from the right path. The two actual endings that get the credits rolling are similar, and both provide satisfying conclusions for Kimmy. However, in one there's a Breakfast Club-style "YOU WIN!!" fist pump screenshot, and in the other, Jacqueline gets cussed out by the woman behind her and declares the ending bad because she didn't get to justify her actions.
Why? Well, while Kimmy is confronting her kidnapper, Titus is supposed to be filming his new movie. Meanwhile, his agent Jacqueline is stalling for time, and eventually admits he's not on set. Meanwhile, Titus has accidentally done mushrooms and keeps imagining "woodland banquets". If you choose to have Titus resist the feast and follow Kimmy, he stumbles onto the film set and everything goes according to plan. Kimmy gets married, happy ending, yay, you win.
If you choose for Titus to stop and eat the food, Jacqueline is forced to admit she lied to the crew, which leads the men on set to believe Time's Up is over and they don't have to believe women anymore. What follows is a crude shot of all the women on set getting harassed and assaulted (but, comedically) which leads to the not-so-great ending. Which ending you get entirely depends on the choice of Titus and the woodland banquet.
If there are only two good endings, and one "best" ending, and it all comes down to one choice, why was this an interactive special at all? Choosing the wrong answer doesn't derail the story as much as it just shows you a deleted scene and puts you back on track. A handful of choices don't even matter at all, and are just there for choice's sake. The best choice in the show? Skipping the intro, which earns you an extended cut of the theme song for your hubris.
Kimmy vs. The Reverend treats wrong choices the way 30 Rock treated cutaway gags: a way to put a non-sequitur joke into the main story without completely derailing it. This could have easily been just a long Kimmy Schmidt special with a backtracking storyline, or one with multiple endings à la Clue. The interactive element may have lent itself to the comedy, but it detracted from the storytelling.
The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Kimmy vs. the Reverend is streaming now on Netflix.