Younger Recap: After the Happily Ever After


The Bubble
Season 5 Episode 8
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: TVLand

Hello Younger friends, it is I, your loyal recapper, writing to you from beyond the grave. I thought I died last week from a swoon-attack as Liza and Charles finally got over their issues and kissed in the snow; but it turns out I actually died this week during that opening Liza and Charles sex montage. My notes from that moment read only “holy hell” and then I blacked out, so, I’ll leave it to you to figure out specific time of death.

We already knew Charles was gifted in the boudoir thanks to the hot tip in Marriage Vacation, but seeing it before our very own eyes is a new and wholly welcome experience. While we’re at it, let’s give some snaps to Liza Miller, who over the course of five seasons has been blessed with some very hot sex. Get yours and then get it again, girl. Though perhaps the hottest part of the opening was Liza and Charles telling each other about the first time they saw each other? Liza remembers Charles handsome and tall in a navy suit, Charles saw Liza reading Look Homeward, Angel on a lunch break and was hooked. Okay, no, you’re right, the hottest part was still the sex. Forgive me.

Let’s center ourselves and talk a little bit about what Younger has just done. After five seasons of build-up, the will-they, won’t-they tension, overcoming obstacles like other romances, and gigantic lies, Younger has officially gone there with Liza and Charles. They’ve hit all the requisite rom-com beats, including a big sweeping kiss in inclement weather. If this were a movie, it would end right there with that snowy reunion. The characters have found their Happily Ever After. But this isn’t a movie and we’ve still got several episodes to go plus a season six, if not more. This means we’re going to see what happens after the Happily Ever After. How exciting and also terrifying! Even if this coupling is endgame (please say yes), there will need to be some roadblocks both big and small. One will most assuredly be named Josh, but not just yet. Instead, “The Bubble” offers up Liza and Charles’ first major obstacle as a (secret) couple in the form of PAULINE.

You had to have known that Pauline wouldn’t find out about her ex-husband and new BFF and then go quietly into the night, right? Our two love birds certainly don’t see her coming. They’re busy finding ways to inconspicuously touch each other in the office, secretly meeting on the steps of the New York Public Library (nerd love!), and going on adorable dates where they hold hands while riding the SeaGlass Carousel, of which I will be printing out a screen grab and making my bathroom wallpaper, as is my prerogative. Liza also seems distracted by Charles’s vacation beard (am I alone in being pro-beard here? discuss!), but vows to deal with it for love. Things are going well in their new relationship bubble, until Reese Witherspoon’s people call and want to meet Liza and Diana for lunch. Damn you, Reese Witherspoon’s people!

Netflix is stalling on development of the Marriage Vacation mini-series because they want to know that if need be, this story could go into a second season — what’s the sequel? Enter surprise lunch guest, Pauline Turner Brooks. She smiles the entire time, but her eyes are throwing daggers at Liza. She knows exactly what the sequel would entail: The main characters would get divorced because Karl (Charles’s fictional stand-in), has fallen for a two-faced assistant at his company. Here’s my gripe: Everyone knows Marriage Vacation was a thinly veiled look at Pauline and Charles’s marriage, and that the real Charles and Pauline are getting divorced — wouldn’t Diana put it all together? Or if she doesn’t suspect Liza, wouldn’t she at least ask Liza who she thinks Pauline is talking about? Diana’s in her own world sometimes but the woman loves hot gossip, especially when it comes to Charles.

Anyway, Pauline mentions Kate (Marriage Vacation’s heroine) getting revenge, and although Liza tries her best to let Pauline know things didn’t happen how she thinks they did, it is futile; Liza knows she’s in trouble. At their next public library steps meeting, Liza immediately tells Charles about his ex, but Charles already knows. Pauline is willing to make a trade: She’ll keep quiet about their inappropriate boss-assistant relationship if Charles gives her back the option for the book sequel; she can get more money elsewhere. It’s a big blow to Millennial and Empirical (Kelsey’s gonna be pissed, you guys), but Charles is willing to take the hit if it means protecting what he has with Liza. He’s also willing to shave his beloved beard for her, too. Oh, the swooning, it hurts!

Another one of our friends gets a blast from the past this week: Lauren brings around the new girl she’s interested in, and it turns out to be Maggie’s ex Malkie, the Jewish woman she dated in season three and then broke up with after feeling suffocated by Malkie’s group of friends. Things are super-tense from the get-go and it doesn’t take long for Malkie to tear into Maggie: “You’re a middle-aged woman who’s scared to let anyone in,” she tells her. Maggie is distraught and begins to tailspin, wondering if maybe Malkie is right. She visits her the next day to apologize for getting so upset and for how the relationship ended — she even asks if Malkie would consider starting things up again (with Lauren’s blessing, of course). Malkie rebuffs her because relationships are work and Maggie isn’t ready to put the work in. So you know what Maggie does? She goes to work. She enlists Josh to help her paint a mural across the street from Malkie’s store, on a hideous wall she had been complaining about. It’s proof enough that Maggie’s willing to work harder this time around, so Malkie’s in. The romance is nice and all, but the best thing about this story line is that we once again get to see Liza being there for her roommate. So much of this show is Liza leaning on Maggie, and so far this season we’ve seen it reciprocated twice in big ways. It’s important to keep that friendship somewhat two-sided, especially as Younger expands the focus of its story lines a little bit.

Someone else in Youngerland is going to be leaning on Liza soon, too — our catty Jake drama just leveled up. Kelsey decides to pump the brakes on her relationship with Jake. She’s done this with other authors and it hasn’t worked out and she wants to break the pattern. Aw, you guys, our little Kelsey is growing and changing! Unfortunately, it may be too late to prevent this relationship from blowing up in her face. When she breaks the news to Jake, who has just procured an apartment in NYC, he is confused but takes it with a smile. He says he understands when she explains she wants to focus on the book, which will be huge for Millennial and for him, and then they can see where they are after. But underneath the smile, Jake is not taking it well. Not at all.

The next day, he has a lunch with Charles in which he spins some bullshit about the book being a better fit as an Empirical title and Kelsey being a little too green to handle the editing. Charles should’ve been like, uh, what the hell is going on here, but he is a businessman and knows that this book could be huge; the author gets what the author wants. It also doesn’t hurt that the book becomes an Empirical title in this scenario. However, when Charles proposes the switch to Zane, who is still very much smarting from feeling broadsided by Kelsey, he puts a stop to it. Surprising, right? As much as he wants to take credit for it, this book is Kelsey’s baby and if Charles wants it done right, it should stay with her. Oh, you guys, someone has it bad for Kelsey Peters.

It’s Trout Season

• Diana’s on a cleanse, everyone beware! She regrets to inform you that she can’t drink coffee, and therefore will no longer be the cheery person you’ve come to know her as. I’ve never loved Diana more than when watching her sniff a pot of freshly brewed coffee.

• Diana knows the ins and outs of the meaning behind men’s facial hair. When Kelsey informs the group that men who grow beards are “hiding something,” Diana responds matter-of-factly: “Yes. Generally crumbs.”

• Diana is very happy with Enzo, but don’t get it twisted: She’d still let Charles get it. When Pauline suggests “Karl” would have an affair, Diana has objections. There’s no way “Karl” would go for an assistant type, he needs a more powerful, more worthy woman. She doesn’t say the Director of Marketing, but we all know she wanted to. Even a fictional hookup would be satisfying for the Trout.

Younger Recap: After the Happily Ever After