Younger Recap: What Happens on Shelter Island …


Sex, Liza and Rock & Roll
Season 5 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Zach Dilgard/Zach Dilgard

What’s the word for holding your face and squealing for a solid five minutes after a conversation between two fictional characters? Because that is what happened while watching “Sex, Liza and Rock & Roll.” Was it my finest moment? I mean, maybe. That’s my truth and I’m standing in it.

Before we get into what goes down on Shelter Island, let us revel in the amount of forward momentum multiple Younger story lines got this week. We are halfway through the season and things are happening, people. Even Maggie is finally getting a decent story line: Her art is selected to show at the Whitney and she has some very interested buyers in handsome couple Penelope and Luca. Remember when Maggie put on a show for an NYC tour bus? Having all her dreams come true feels like her reward for being put through that. How wonderful was that moment at the Whitney cocktail party when, standing with best buds Liza and Josh (we’ll save Josh’s weird reaction to learning that Liza and Charles are spending time together for a later date), she teared up seeing her work displayed at a major museum? Plus she got to meet Diana Trout face-to-face. Okay, so that moment was really our reward and like most good things in this world, it was but too brief.

Kelsey’s season five drama gets a shot of adrenaline in this episode, too. Jake finally gets his first chapter in to his editor-turned-lovah Kelsey and also Zane. The reviews are not great, Bob. Zane is fired up by how much of a, as he calls it, “snoozefest” this thing is — there’s a lot riding on this book. Against Kelsey’s wishes, he gets Jake on the phone while still hot and bothered and slams the chapter. It needs more scandal and humor and anything remotely interesting injected into it. Kelsey attempts to keep the peace and tells her editor friend that she’ll handle Jake. She doesn’t give Zane a winky-face on the word “handle” because that would just make him angry, but man would that’ve been perfect. And yes, she meets Jake at a hotel to fix his chapter and the two end up having sex. Kelsey is very turned on that Jake is turned on by her intellect and ambition. Get yours, girl.

And get hers she does — twice! After hooking up with her author, Kelsey comes back to Empirical with a revised chapter one and Zane is amazed at the improvement. He proceeds to say some very flirty, charming things and, you guessed it, he and Kelsey go at it. But even more than some hot late-night conference room sex, Kelsey informs Lauren that the next morning Zane actually made her coffee! The sexy guy is nice and the nice guy is sexy! How will Kelsey ever choose between them? I mean, obviously we all know she should choose Zane because he’s infinitely more interesting than Jake, but I’m willing to play along for a little longer. For now, Kelsey will be dating both guys until some point in the future when the whole thing goes to shit. Let’s assume it will be terribly dramatic and fun for us, while just plain terrible for Kelsey.

She should talk to her pal Liza who has a pretty terrible night with a guy herself. But in this case, “terrible” is a good thing because, well, you’ll see.

Charles is in a tizzy because Empirical has yet to receive any pages from rock and roll legend Chrissie Hart (played by an all-in Gina Gershon), who is writing a tell-all memoir that apparently sent the publishing world into a bidding war when it was announced. It could be the next Just Kids. If only Chrissie would cooperate even a little bit. During a video call, she lets the team know that the book is totally finished, but she doesn’t trust the internet. Someone needs to come and collect the manuscript in person, from her fortress over on Shelter Island. And that someone has to be Charles. Chrissie is a smart girl.

Diana selflessly offers to shack up in a nearby B&B with Charles in an attempt to help him get his hands on Chrissie’s manuscript, but Charles is a man on a mission; he’ll get this all settled on his own. If only he knew that upon arrival he’d be asked to taste Chrissie’s “booch” (her homemade kombucha tea) and look at a $10,000 dildo. It becomes increasingly clear that Chrissie is not going to hand over the manuscript and so Charles lets Diana know that he’ll be spending the night. Diana wants to go and rescue the guy, but Liza encourages her to not skip her big sleepover at Enzo’s. Liza is happy to go. Her motive is two-fold: Liza is a big Chrissie Hart fan and she’s been looking for an excuse to make that angry, handsome, tree of a man talk to her. To Shelter Island it is!

Neither Charles nor Chrissie is happy to see Liza show up. She swears to Charles that she’s just a big fan, and may demonstrate this by singing one of her songs, but Charles isn’t buying it. “Did your babysitter teach you those lyrics?” he asks. Charles is such a sassy bitch and I do not hate that, not one bit. Chrissie, on the other hand, is miffed because because she thinks Liza is there to cockblock as she makes a move on Charles. Chrissie, you see, plans to “bang his brains out tonight.” So it’s a super-fun atmosphere for Liza to walk into.

Luckily, a few hours and some wine and absinthe later, everyone is in a much better mood. Charles even laughs at a joke Liza makes. Have we ever seen such a thing? Did an angel get its wings? Eventually, Chrissie passes out and leaves a drunk Liza and Charles to find their rooms. Perhaps it’s the liquid courage or Liza’s just fed up, but she confronts her boss. She pleads with him to talk to her — even yelling would be preferable to the silence. “If you’re punishing me, it’s working,” she heartbreakingly tells him. But Charles doesn’t give in, he says good night and watches as she defeatedly walks into her room. But he’s upset, too. He stands there thinking about what Liza’s just said. About everything. And then he’s walking over to her door, ready to knock and forgive and OH MY GOD IS HE REALLY GOING TO KNOCK ON THAT DOOR?

He doesn’t knock on the door, you guys. And as loud as I screamed “no!” at my screen, I don’t count this moment as a complete loss. First of all, who doesn’t love a scene when the two lovers stand on opposite sides of a door pining for each other? There’s so much longing it really makes you rethink the purpose of doors. Second, after several episodes of Charles being angry and attempting to cut Liza out of his life, this shows that the big guy is softening just a little.

Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait a little longer to see what this means for #TeamCharles because when Liza wakes up in the morning, Chrissie informs her that Charles left already. His absence does give Liza time to talk to Chrissie about her hesitation in handing over the memoir. Like so many, it turns out Chrissie is just scared to share her story. She gets a pep talk from Liza about how important her music is to so many people, how it made Liza feel strong and resilient after her divorce gutted her, and that she’s sure Chrissie’s book will do the same. And just like that, Liza dons her best metallic power suit, marches into Charles’s office, and tosses the manuscript on his desk. “How did you get this?” he asks. “I didn’t run away,” Liza replies. She drops a tiny microphone in her heart.

It’s Trout Season

• Just when you think you know Trout, you discover the woman speaks Italian! She reluctantly agrees to a sleepover at Enzo’s and in the morning finds that — surprise! — Enzo lives with his mother. His mother isn’t happy to see her son with someone outside of childbearing years and insults her in Italian. Diana startles the woman (and impresses Enzo) by giving it right back. Trout ain’t no raisin, ya hear?

• Diana is a woman of high standards, so for her overnight she packs the following: toothbrush, change of clothes, room spray, sheets. Don’t judge her, Liza! The woman needs “to prepare for polyester.”

• “I haven’t stayed over at a man’s place since … when did baby Jessica fall down that well?”

Younger Recap: What Happens on Shelter Island …