Like a well-accessorized phoenix rising from the ashes, Diana Trout has moved on from her failed relationship with Richard the Great Manipulator and is looking for love once again. Queen Trout is on the prowl (or swim, maybe?) and it is about damn time. If you read these recaps regularly, you know it’s always Trout Season here, but it is a welcome change to see that amid all the Liza and Charles drama (which is also wonderfully handled in this episode), Younger is taking some time to give Diana the big, romantic story line she and her statement pieces deserve. The Trout is finally living.
Diana jumps back into the dating pool in such a Diana Trout way: She throws a very classy game night at her apartment, in which she’s invited her colleagues as well as a gaggle of eligible men. Unfortunately, she spends most of the evening attempting to quash the angry tension between Liza and Charles as a game of Mafia hits a little too close to home (“Liza’s lying, I can tell”), and dealing with a clogged toilet. There’s nothing sexy about either of those things!
And that’s where things start getting really good. Post-party, who should arrive to fix the toilet but a very handsome blast from Diana’s past: Enzo! The hot plumber! Who, um, cleared her pipes back in season three! Back when that construction hookup happened, it seemed as though once the apartment renovation in the building was finished Enzo sailed off into the wind as if he were Enzo Poppins, only here to magically release tension for high-strung women and then leave once more. A spoonful of Enzo helps the medicine go down, you know? But, that’s not the entire story. Apparently he tried reaching out to Diana, but she never responded. She assumed hooking up with hotties on job sites was just something Enzo did and not long after, she met Richard. Enzo tells her that wasn’t the case at all — he wanted to take Diana out on an actual date. Once Diana informs Enzo that she’s single again, he asks her out to dinner.
Diana begins to have reservations about dating her plumber and when he doesn’t show up exactly at 6 p.m. the evening of their date, she wants to bolt. It’s Liza who forces her boss to see this thing through — once again reminding us that Liza and Diana’s friendship is one of the most precious gifts Younger has given us.
Although the ever-evolving friendship between Josh and Maggie might be offering up some competition. It’s always been nice that these two could be friends outside of Liza, but they hit the idea hard in “The Talented Mr. Ridley.” Josh tells Maggie that he’s taking a 90-day detox from sex and booze in an attempt to fix his broken heart. Maggie, as you’d suspect, is incredulous. Why? Also, why? “I haven’t done that since grade school,” she tells her sad pal. Thanks to a stray dog named Hawkeye who comes under Josh’s care being reunited with his gorgeous owner, though, that detox ends as quickly as it began. Maggie celebrates the failure. “You make everything better,” Josh tells her. Younger has been playing around with character pairings and this one really pays off.
Oh, I’m sorry, did you think we were done with Diana’s love life? WE ARE NOT. Enzo pulls up in front of Empirical in his van, emblazoned with his face and “Son of a Plumb” across the side. You’d think Diana would appreciate the wordplay, but she seems horrified that she’ll be riding in a plumber’s van out to Staten Island. Will she ever recover? Well, yes, she will, because Enzo brings her to a high-class Italian restaurant, and makes her swoon by ordering an expensive, delicious bottle of wine, revealing his connections with high-powered people (who are not in the Mafia), and saying generally cute things like how she shouldn’t get used to $500 dollar bottles of wine — he’s simply trying to impress her on their first date. Oh boy, Diana is sweating this guy, real hard. Is Enzo the Plumber Diana’s soul mate? WILL WE HAVE A DIANA TROUT WEDDING BY THE END OF THIS SHOW? Not that anyone needs to get married, but just imagine Diana planning a wedding! Bossing around Liza! The dress! THE REGISTRY. It would be a Thing to Behold. First, we’ll have to wait and see if Enzo sticks around.
Let’s move on to something much less fun, but just as important: Liza and Charles figuring out how to work together post-truth. It is not going well. We knew Charles was handsome. We knew Charles was tall. But who knew Charles Brooks was so salty. Like a giant pretzel stick, that man. After the aforementioned torturous game of Mafia, Charles sulks in the corner long enough to watch one of Diana’s guests, Don Ridley (played by Christian Borle, Sutton Foster’s ex-husband, in case you wanted to know), a one-time writer for Vanity Fair who has gone freelance, make a play for Liza. Charles also watches Don as he slips an entire pork chop into his pocket when he thinks no one is watching. The most curious thing about this is why in the hell Diana is serving pork chops at a game night get-together. Queen Trout would know better than that.
When a messenger arrives at Empirical with a ticket for Liza to join Don at the People’s Ones to Watch party that evening, Charles is none too pleased. When he overhears Diana complain about how 40-something men like Don are only interested in 20-something women like Liza, well then he can’t help but insert himself. He tells Liza to bring Tupperware with her on the date, since the guy loves a good to-go box. Sodium levels are rising.
Liza goes to the party, and she and Don hit it off. She loves his previous work and loves it even more when he starts giving her the hot goss of all the Manhattan elite at the party. It could make for a great book — why doesn’t Don come in tomorrow and pitch some ideas?
Don’s meeting with Liza and Kelsey is barely underway when Charles makes his grand entrance. Liza and Kelsey are very confused by his appearance, but he’s the boss. Things go downhill fast. Charles shuts down every one of Don’s ideas in a callous manner we haven’t seen from the typically buttoned-up publisher. It’s so bad that once he leaves, Kelsey asks Liza what the hell is going on. Liza has to inform her Millennial partner that Charles knows everything and he seems to be taking it out on her. Kelsey is beside herself. If Charles shoots down every author Liza brings in, Millennial will crash and burn.
You guys, there hasn’t been a scene in Charles’s office so fraught with tension since the infamous cupcake make-out session from the days of yore. Liza wants to quit. Obviously, Charles is punishing Liza and it isn’t fair to Kelsey, Millennial, or Empirical. It’s getting too personal and it isn’t good for anyone. Charles explains that it was all business in that meeting, he simply disliked all of Don’s ideas. He won’t let her resign, but he also won’t admit he’s being a petty bitch. He has every right to be mad at Liza, but the way it’s manifesting is so unlike Charles. It’s nice to see the charming guy has some faults.
Although he isn’t being completely mature at the moment, he is, inherently a pretty mature dude, so eventually he apologizes to Liza for taking his anger out on Don. That was v. uncool. Now you may think Charles is turning a corner, but don’t worry, he is still the saltiest man on earth: When Liza explains that she was trying to spare others at work from keeping her secret for her, he responds with a delightfully bitchy, “How thoughtful of you to spare us all the indignity.” It stings! Liza attempts to explain herself, and admits that she cares deeply for Charles, but he tells her to forget anything that happened between the two of them. Can this relationship ever be repaired? My heart hurts.
If Liza’s hurting too, she is attempting to get over it with Don. On their second date, he confesses that he’s not making much money these days — hence the pork chop and his inability to pay for dinner without a coupon. It doesn’t deter Liza. When Don asks if Liza would be in for a movie premiere that evening, complete with free food and drinks, Liza says she’s in. Oh, she’s very in.
It’s Trout Season
• Add watching Diana Trout attempt to take back the reins of her Mafia game when Charles and Liza get a little too real to reasons why Miriam Shor should win all the awards. You could also add …
• Diana attempting to find a way to ask Enzo if he’s involved in the mob to that list. Squirmy Diana is so fun to watch.
• “This party, like my marriage, is too gay for its own good. I am officially euthanizing it.” Let’s just let that perfection sit right there.