Sutton Foster on Younger’s Big Season Finale and Why Liza’s Secret Could Become a ‘Media Scandal’

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Spoilers ahead for the season finale of Younger.

The hour-long season finale of Younger was nothing short of a doozy. Traveling to the Hampton’s Book Fair to promote her booming Millennial imprint, not only does Liza (Sutton Foster) get blackmailed by a covetous entertainment writer who discovers her true age, but she also ends up making out with her boss, Charles, before finding out that her boyfriend, Josh, was going to surprise her with a marriage proposal. If that wasn’t enough for poor Liza, upon returning to Brooklyn she gets seemingly dumped — great news for #TeamCharles, not so great for #TeamJosh — and in a fit of despair decides to finally reveal her true age to friend and colleague Kelsey (Hilary Duff). Season four, here we come! On Tuesday, Vulture spoke with Foster to find out what she thinks of the big reveal, Liza’s future, and the possibility of a Younger musical episode.

First off, I nearly had a heart attack while I watched the finale. So many revelations!
It’s pretty crazy, right? [Laughs.] I showed it to my husband who hadn’t seen it, and his eyes nearly bulged out. He was like, Oh my God, what is happening?!

How did you and the cast react when you read the script?
The writers didn’t tell us anything, kind of like last season when Thad was crushed by the beam. We were like, what?! We only found out the day of the table read. They did tell me that Josh was going to propose to Liza, but I didn’t know how that was going to play out. I actually knew at the beginning of the season that Kelsey was going to find out and that the reveal was going to end the season. I was like, oh, thank God, because I always wanted to see how that would play out. Honestly, reading the last two episodes was crazy. And we filmed them the last episode first, and then we filmed episode 11, because we filmed in Montauk to get better weather. As a cast, we care about our characters and genuinely love each other as actors. For Liza, I was like, Shit, she’s really being put through the ringer, huh? I hope people still like Liza after all of this, because it’s rough for her right now. We’ll see what season four has in store.

When I asked Hilary about how she thinks Kelsey would respond to Liza’s age revelation, she said that it’ll be a “big betrayal” and that Kelsey isn’t “going to respond well to it.” Do you agree?
Yeah, I agree with that. I think Kelsey is fiercely loyal and fiercely protective. She’s the type of character who, if you lie to her, she’ll cut you out of her life. I have big fears about how that relationship will change in season four. I can be wrong, and we’ll see, but I definitely think the relationship is going to immediately, obviously change. I think she’ll be very, very betrayed.

It just had to happen when Kelsey was potentially moving in.
Oh, I know. The writers purposely made everything fall apart for Liza at the end of that episode. The two main female characters are just flying down mountains and everything is tumbling, and now they don’t even have each other to cling on to.

Liza and Josh have had their share of fights, but this one seemed a lot more serious. Do you see this as the definitive end of the road for them?
Oh man, I don’t know. It’s hard for me to say. So many things were put on the line for them this season, especially with him wanting a family and having children. It was a big deal breaker. I really don’t know; anything can happen. I honestly think Josh is a love of her life. Filming that scene, Nico [Tortorella] and I didn’t want to do it. We were like, noooo!  I think Nico is coming back next season. I don’t know in what capacity, so it may not be as Liza’s love interest, but I don’t think Nico is going anywhere. It’ll be interesting to see Liza single. From the first moment in the pilot she meets Josh, and as long as we’ve known her, she’s been with Josh, flirting with Charles, or dealing with her ex-husband. So it’ll be interesting to see her single. It’ll be a really nice change.

So you’re not a definitive Team Josh or Team Charles supporter?
Yeah, not really. I feel like the whole Charles thing hasn’t been fully explored yet. It’s just a lot of flirting and a bit of natural chemistry. They haven’t really hung out, they’ve had some nice conversations, but they haven’t had a real relationship. I was really proud of Liza and Josh this season. Their relationship took a huge step forward. Sure, a lot of things were put on the table, but in terms of who I believe is the one for her, I don’t know. It’s hard for me to pick. I think they both bring out parts of her that she needs and that she hasn’t had in a long time. Now I’m all sad!

Have your feelings about Liza changed after the finale? Josh says that her lies “are hurting everyone” around her, whether she realizes it or not. Do you think there’s truth to that?
Yeah, I do. Playing her, it’s obvious that she means well, but there are consequences to her actions that she didn’t realize. That’s one of the reasons why I really like how it played out, because if she was just skipping down the street and everything ended up being well, it wouldn’t have been realistic. The writers are holding her accountable for her actions and her consequences. She’s trying to play it like she’s indestructible, but things are starting to fall through the cracks. I hope people still like her and root for her. I think she has a lot of rebuilding to do and find some more integrity to her character. Like, she goes behind Kelsey’s back and gets that labradoodle book published? That was one of the shittiest things ever! It was awful. She’s doing it because she has to save her skin. But it’s like, so what? Why is she still doing this?

How serious would the ramifications be if Liza’s secret were revealed to the public? The writer blackmailing her said it had the potential to be like Rachel Dolezal, which I thought was quite a big comparison.
Hmm, I’ll have to think about that. When she left Empirical before, she didn’t disclose anything. She just left and worked at a mall in New Jersey. But now, it has the potential to be a media scandal. One of the things the writers have done so great with the show was slowly building how big of the stakes can be for Empirical, too. Their Millennial imprint is taking off, so now you have to look at how it can affect Charles and his company. It’s a domino effect. I think there could be major ramifications if her secret was revealed to everyone. I think it could be really, really bad. [Laughs.]

Do you think she would be fired?
I think she could be fired, yeah. But at this point, I think it would be a bigger deal on how it could affect Millennial and the validity of that imprint. It’s based on the ethos of millennials making books for millennial readers, which can, in turn, affect Empirical. It could be a scandal that’s damaging on a greater scale than her being fired.

If Liza’s secret were revealed to other characters, how would you want them to find out?
Oh, my God! Who’s next? In my mind, I feel if Liza were to tell Diana, she would say, “I know.” She has always known in a weird way. She would be like, What do you think I am, an idiot? It would be nice for Charles to know, so if they were to have a relationship it would be based in authenticity. Obviously the secret is what the show is based on, but I wonder if there could a world where everybody knows and evolves from it. I don’t know how long we could sustain it. But I do like how more and more people are finding out, because I feel the world she’s creating is true and real. It’s just unfortunate that the underbelly it’s based on is a lie. The relationships and the feelings are real, though. It’s a tricky area.

With your background in theater, would you ever want to film a Younger musical episode?
[Laughs.] I think we’ll get this question until the very end of our series. Maybe! I can’t say never, just because, who knows? One of the things when I first started talking to Darren [Star] when discussing the character of Liza in the first season was, I don’t think this character sings, I don’t think this character dances, if anything she’s probably tone deaf and a klutz. Which I think is totally true. I don’t think Liza has any hidden talents in that way. As an actor, it’s been really nice to branch out and do something that isn’t based in singing and dancing. It’s been really fun. Somebody tweeted something at the Younger Twitter account a few days ago: “I didn’t know the girl from Younger could sing!” She had no idea that I had a singing background. It sounds weird to say, but I thought that was cool and neat. It’s nice to be known as someone on the show. Maybe we’ll do a special, not an episode, but maybe something special like a little music video.

That would be so fun!
I’ll talk to Hilary, we’ll see what we can do!

With Younger now three seasons deep, how does it feel to anchor a show that’s ushered TV Land into such a creative renaissance?
We had no idea it would be such a success when we started it. It was very cool for us to see more and more people discovering the show with each passing season. When we had our first season premiere, we premiered very softly and didn’t have great numbers. But we kept growing, and thank God we’re on a network that gave us a chance and allowed us to grow. For myself, I’m really lucky to be working on a renewed show like this. We’re all genuinely so excited. Every time someone comes up to me and says, “Oh my God, I love your show!” I’m like, Really?! [Laughs.] I can’t believe people are watching it; it’s so awesome. It’s a dream come true to be able to live and work in New York City — and to be part of a network that wants to redefine itself with a show that’s all about redesigning oneself is a perfect fit. Who can ask for anything more?

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Sutton Foster on Younger’s Big Season Finale