Photo: TV Land
Well, that was disappointing. Last week’s episode felt like a breakthrough in the forever-stalled Liza-Charles romance, what with Liza finally admitting that she is very much in love with her hunky boss. In love, she said! However, the season-four finale of Younger seems to forget the gravity of that admission. It seems to forget that it happened at all.
After a story arc that seemed poised to move Liza from one corner of her love triangle to the other — an arc that slowly but steadily showed Liza and Charles’s relationship progressing — we get a finale with no Liza-Charles movement at all. Instead, an overall excellent season ends with Liza in Ireland, almost hooking up with Josh before having to witness him marry Clare, while Charles is getting Liza’s voice-mail. What in the world, Younger? Sure, I’m #TeamCharles always and forever, but this is less about my preference and more about the show undoing (or ignoring) all the work it did throughout the season. Whether this was about Liza not being over Josh or the door on Josh closing once and for all, the mere fact that it could be either of those things demonstrates how clunky this episode is. Ireland is gorgeous and all, but may we never go back there again.
Let’s back up for a moment. While Kelsey is back in New York attempting to keep Zane in his place (he’s being extra slimy and pretty much tricks Charles into appearing on Good Morning America with Pauline to sell their “reconciliation”), Liza gets a 5 a.m. call from Josh in Ireland. He’s marrying Clare so that they can see what they could be and also so that she can get a green card. Mainly the latter. Anyway, Josh wants Liza there. He needs her there, he says. This … makes no sense. Throughout the episode, Josh and Clare tell Liza that since she introduced the two of them and she’s incredibly close with Josh, it’s important to have Liza’s support when it comes time to prove the validity of their marriage. It’s the reason she’s been invited.
Again, this makes very little sense. First of all, Liza is the one who keeps saying she and Josh are friends, but Josh has never seemed onboard. More important, if immigration officials are going to interrogate friends about Josh and Clare’s relationship, wouldn’t they interview Josh’s roommate first? Kelsey lives with Josh and is friends with the guy! Wouldn’t it make more sense for Josh to have Kelsey there? Kelsey was also the first to voice her reservations about Josh chasing Clare across the Atlantic, so wouldn’t she feel compelled to stop him from making a huge mistake? I guess what I’m trying to get at is, WHY IN THE HELL ISN’T KELSEY THE ONE IN IRELAND?
Contrived plot point aside, Liza and Maggie head overseas. Maggie spends her time getting caught in a peat bog, expanding the mother of the bride’s sexual horizons, and reminding Liza that now is the time to make good on her promise to be a friend to Josh. Meanwhile, Liza spends her Irish getaway battling with Josh and Clare’s request to lie for them. Even though chastising them for lying renders her a hypocrite, Liza has trouble making such an official (and illegal) lie for her “friend.” Yet in the end, how could she say no to Josh’s handsome face? When the couple is almost outed to friends and family for their green-card wedding, Liza backs them up: She introduced them six months ago and watched them fall in love. She also throws in a bit about saying yes when someone you love proposes to you … because, I guess, Liza loves twisting that knife as much as possible.
It seems Josh is just as confused as the rest of us, because he gets very drunk the night before the wedding and shows up at Liza’s hotel room. Liza tells him that he doesn’t have to marry Clare if he doesn’t want to, that he should follow his heart. It’s a very poor choice of words to say to your inebriated ex on the eve of his wedding, and naturally Josh kisses Liza. He tells her that “it’s always been [her]” and when she reminds him that she can’t give him the life he wants, he responds with the swooniest line of the season: “The life that I want is any life with you.” Gird your loins, Liza. It sounds like Josh may be playing for keeps.
Before anything can really happen, Josh passes out … and Liza spoons him as she falls asleep. Sorry not sorry for all the ellipses, but every choice Liza makes in this episode is baffling. Sure, she loved Josh and a backslide isn’t totally out of the question, but does her eagerness to smash faces with him negate her feelings for Charles completely? Or are we just back to where we started, with Liza having strong feelings for both guys? There’s no good answer to that question.
Regardless of what Liza’s feelings are — let’s call them complicated — Josh has doubled-down on getting over his ex. The next morning, he’s the consummate groom. (Our boy looks good in a tux.) When Liza confronts him about their mini-snuggle sesh the night prior, Josh tells her that it was a mistake. He needs to move on, and if he has to put a ring between them in order to do that, so be it. He and Clare, in a lovely little wedding dress, tie the knot. Liza braces herself as she watches Josh commit to someone else, or, at the very least, commit to getting away from her. Our heroine seems very sad. Would she feel better if she knew, back at home, Charles is having a rough day and she’s the only person he wants to talk to?
We have a ways to go before we find out if Liza decides to return that call. But let’s get real: It’s time for Liza to go all-in with Charles, or cut the handsomest man to ever sell laundry detergent free. It’s always dangerous to pull the trigger on a will-they-won’t-they relationship, and this one proves especially risky since going there would force Liza to out herself once and for all. Thankfully, Younger is a strong enough show to move past its original premise, and the fallout from Liza’s exposed secret will provide a plethora of dramatics to feast upon. So, can we do that already?
• As if I wasn’t already bummed about how the finale petered out, there isn’t nearly enough Diana Trout to satiate me for the coming Trout-free months. #Justice4Trout
• I forgot how much I loved Single Diana Trout. Her flirt game is strong and hilarious, just as it should be. She lays it on pretty thick when Zane arrives to chat marketing with her — as Liza watches, mouth agape. Even better is when Diana hears the news that Charles and Pauline are possibly working toward a reconciliation, just as she and Richard have split: “We’re like ships passing in the night.”
• Diana may not have a handle on her own romantic life, but she really is a girl’s best “get-a-grip” friend. If only Liza would listen to this wise single lady when she tells her that chasing a boy to Ireland is a terrible idea. “Men are nothing but a distraction.” Bravo, Lady Trout.