After a few meandering episodes, Younger is back in top form. “It’s Love, Actually” doles out some much-needed momentum to almost all of our characters, signaling some major heartbreak and hookups ahead of next week’s season finale. There’s something for everyone: Josh cries while shirtless and then decides to chase after Clare in Ireland even though she probably doesn’t want him to! Liza finally gets real about her feelings for Charles! Kelsey receives some shocking work-related news while wearing fabulous earrings! Diana handles the Richard situation like a queen! Charles. Is. Still. Handsome.
It’s all so good! How will we survive the long, cold months we have ahead that will render us Younger-less? I’m very sad about it. The good news is that we’re not at the finale yet and there’s a lot going on, especially for our two leading ladies. Shall we?
The folks at Empirical Press are getting ready for the Pubbies, a publishing publicity awards gala in which their very own Diana Trout will be honored for her work on P Is for Pigeon. They are not too busy, however, to throw a dagger into the heart of Kelsey Peters. Charles and Diana hold Kelsey and Liza back after a meeting to inform them about discussions of releasing Marriage Vacation under Empirical, rather than Millennial. Why? There are already talks of Marriage Vacation being up for awards, and Empirical is better known for its prestige literature. Some may be less inclined to give accolades to a novel coming out of an imprint that also houses a book “written” by a Labradoodle wearing a mirkin (I know I promised I would never talk about dog mirkins again, but things happen). Kelsey is pissed. Millennial gets zero respect, even though that Labradoodle book basically saved Empirical after losing Edward L.L. Moore. This tiny blonde is fired up. She’s so mad, in fact, that when she gets a text from Zane about meeting to discuss business, she agrees to it. Liza warns her not to do anything drastic.
Is an angry Hilary Duff the best Hilary Duff? Kelsey’s contempt for Zane throughout their entire food truck meeting is a wonder to behold. Zane has left Rivington (here, “left” is a synonym for “got fired”), and wants to start his own publishing house … with Kelsey. Thanks to an editor’s clause in Edward L.L. Moore’s contract, Zane will still have the star author no matter where he goes. They’d be two top-level editors, calling all the shots, with a mega-watt author already onboard.
In light of the recent Marriage Vacation developments, Kelsey would love to strike out on her own, but it turns out Zane’s offer is most definitely one she can refuse. Thanks to Liza’s advice, Kelsey investigates Zane’s plan a little more before jumping off the S.S. Empirical. She sets up a meeting with Moore’s agent and the best recurring character on this show: Redmond, a man who never forgets a butt. Kelsey has Zane show up, too, just for good measure. Redmond explains, in no uncertain terms, that the editor’s clause states Moore could leave a publishing company if his editor does, should he want to. But why would the biggest-selling author in the world leave a publishing house to work with a freelance editor? If Zane goes to an established company, maybe, but for now, Moore isn’t going anywhere. Neither is Kelsey. Take those impeccably tailored suits of yours and hit the road, Zane.
Meanwhile, Liza has resigned herself to the fact that they can’t do much about Empirical taking Marriage Vacation away from Millennial, or the fact that she and Charles may never work. Instead, she decides to go on some lovely dates with Jay. Jay is a good dude. He doesn’t mind that people keep interrupting them to talk to Liza about Marriage Vacation. He’s genuinely so proud to be there with her. And he is taking care of his mother while she recovers from surgery! (Which is very nice, but also the reason why Jay and Liza haven’t taken their relationship to the next level.) Liza may want to speed things up with Jay, though: Over at House Handsome, Charles is finishing up Pauline’s novel (which, in his head, is in Liza’s voice — swoon), and opening up his doors to his estranged wife. He is softening toward her, fast.
With all this drama in the air, you just know something will go down at the Pubbies. Over at the Empirical table, Charles makes a big speech congratulating Diana and then informs everyone to brace themselves for some news. Edward L.L. Moore is returning to Empirical … and with him comes Empirical’s new executive editor, Zane Anders. Zane takes a seat next to Kelsey, who might barf or might slap him. Or maybe both! Regardless, the fiery sexual tension over at Empirical Press just got kicked up a notch. Fingers crossed these two do it on a desk at some point.
Kelsey getting one-upped by Zane isn’t the only drama coming out of the Moore announcement: As Charles relays the news to his team, Pauline is right there by his side, holding her husband’s hand. Liza’s been watching the two act like a married couple all night, and this hand-holding seemingly confirms they are on their way to reconciliation. Liza flees. Yes! It is that dramatic! She flees.
Outside, Liza and Jay run into Charles and Pauline on their way out. Liza can’t even look them in the eyes. Pauline pulls her aside to thank her. This book is giving her everything she ever wanted — she’s even back in Charles’s guest room — and it is all Liza’s doing. Now maybe Liza is going to barf? Pauline and Charles head home together and Liza walks off in the opposite direction, overcome with emotion. Jay stops her to see what’s wrong, but immediately he gets it. “You’re in love with Charles,” he says. He isn’t angry, though. His face is like, “Yeah, that dude is top-notch.” Liza can’t help but confirm his theory. Against her better judgement, she is so, so in love with Charles.
I mean, duh.
It’s Trout Season
• Diana Trout is winning an award in “It’s Love, Actually,” but Miriam Shor should also win one for her stellar performance in this episode. I’ve never wanted to hug Diana more!
• After a little chat with Richard’s wife, Diana learns that Richard lied about why Ethan was staying with them, that Richard has a pattern of manipulating women, and that he’ll never force Ethan to move out. None of that flies with the Trout. In an achingly sad but ultimately triumphant speech, Diana tells Richard that their relationship has helped her understand that she deserves better. SO GET TO STEPPING, BOY.
• Was anyone else concerned that Diana completely lost her mind when she wore her gala gown with a bare neck? Thankfully, as she summons up the courage to hit the event without a plus-one, she ties on a giant flower choker. Whew, that was a close one.
• As she’s about to step onto the red carpet solo, Diana tells Liza that before Richard, she was okay going it alone, and she’s okay with it now. But when the photographers start snapping, Diana holds Liza’s hand and doesn’t let go. Doesn’t that warm your heart? When Diana sees Liza is towering over her, she instructs her assistant to stoop. Aw, that’s our girl.