No. No. No. We’re going to give Liza and Charles everything they ever wanted — including holding hands in public — and end this glorious season on their happy, hopeful faces turning into straight-up terrified ones? Is this The Graduate? I know we need story for season six, but hard pass. Let these two live! Give me the SeaGlass Carousel or give me death!
Several things went haywire in order for Liza and Charles to end on that ominous note. Let’s start with Chick(y), which everyone agrees is the actual worst name for an imprint; even Cheryl Sussman, in her heart of hearts, is gagging. Chick(y) is the name of the women’s fiction imprint Cheryl is giving to Liza to run, should she sign a contract with Plaza Publishing. Plaza is a much larger operation than Empirical, and Cheryl is offering the salary to prove it. Still, as sure as Liza seemed about moving on from Empirical in Frankfurt, she’s not ready to sign a contract just yet.
She’ll be glad she waited. Charles has lunch with Quinn Tyler, who informs him that after being privy to the wonderful things going on at his company — she’s very impressed with Kelsey and Liza — she’s gathered a group of investors who want to inject some capital into the struggling company. “I want to put my money where my passion is,” she says, eyeing Charles like he’s what she’s eating for lunch. Regardless of if Quinn’s “passion” is books or Brooks, it’s great news and Charles is obviously very excited about it as he relays the message to Kelsey and Liza — but there’s a catch. There’s always a catch!
Quinn wants to make Millennial the flagship brand of the company. Kelsey and Liza would be leading the way. As Kelsey fends off a wave of nausea, she tells her partner that there’s no way she can leave now. This is the big time, and Kelsey needs her. But Liza disagrees — this investment is exactly why she needs to go. If she stays and Quinn makes an investment predicated on Liza misrepresenting herself, “it won’t end well.” Kelsey can do this on her own, Liza is sure of it. And also, no big deal, but Liza leaving means she and Charles can make out publicly, which everyone is in favor of. So it’s decided — Liza will officially accept the job at Chick(y).
Except, she won’t. Liza tells Quinn that she’s leaving Empirical and Quinn goes all Claws on her. It makes absolutely no sense for Liza to leave an imprint she basically created just as it is about to jump into the big leagues. So Liza tells Quinn the real reason. As in, Liza tells Quinn everything. Man, Liza has been playing fast and loose with this lie that she guarded so closely for several seasons. Just shout it from the streets at this point — or, at the very least, tell Diana.
Quinn is shocked, but also sees this as an opportunity. She’ll make Liza a star — and increase sales of her own book — by exposing the story. There’s no way Liza’s leaving Empirical now. She talks it over with Charles and, like, I know they are saying very cute things about holding hands while talking in third-person pronouns, but my brain doesn’t fully register it because Charles is holding his jacket over his shoulder with one finger as they stroll through Bryant Park like he is some kind of old-timey movie star. Between this and him cooking cacio e pepe, season five of Younger should really be called, wait for it … Mon-Swoon Season. Thank you and goodnight, I shall now retire from this cruel world.
Okay, I’m back. Charles is onboard with Liza staying — she’d be an executive of Millennial and not an assistant, so taking their relationship public would be much less scandalous. It could work out. But it doesn’t.
Liza meets with Cheryl the next day to reject the Chick(y) offer and stumbles into a surprise welcoming party. When Liza drops the bomb, Cheryl is livid. That woman from Plaza dressed in an actual chicken costume must be questioning her life choices. In retaliation, Cheryl leaks the story of Charles dating a 27-year old assistant to both “Page Six” and Quinn Tyler. Quinn’s not pleased and the investors are going to back out. They don’t want to be part of a sex scandal that involves the face of the company. But Charles has an idea: What if he weren’t the face of the company?
Which brings us to Charles and Quinn making some pretty monumental announcements: Millennial is the Brand and Empirical is taking a backseat. Charles is becoming chairman of the board (or, as Diana explains, is being “put out to pasture”), and Kelsey — our little Kelsey, you guys — is being promoted to Charles’s old job. This seems like a terrible and also implausible idea!
Yes, Charles tells Liza that he’s happy because he gets a new life with his daughters and Liza, and he gets to watch his father’s company grow with Liza there. And yes, they share a rom-com-worthy kiss. But again: their final, anxiety-ridden expressions tell a completely different story. But that is a story for season six.
Hey! Kelsey will have a lot to deal with next season too, what with her overwhelming responsibilities as publisher at a major publishing house. Here’s hoping Zane will still be causing her trouble even though he jumps the Empirical ship once he hears that Millennial is becoming the focus of the company. Before he leaves, Kelsey learns from Charles that Zane turned down taking Capitol Letters from Kelsey when Jake requested a change and she learns from Zane that he did it because he was in love with her. Kelsey’s dated a lot of guys on this show, but she’s never had more chemistry than with Zane. Our girl deserves a great love story too — fingers crossed this is it.
Finally, I’ve saved the biggest gasp-inducing cliffhanger for last. Josh is seriously considering being Malkie’s sperm donor. To help her pal make this huge decision, Lauren suggests partaking in a sacred cacao ceremony to reach true enlightenment. It’s a very weird turn of events, but never expect anything less with Lauren.
In his enlightened state, Josh sees himself with both an adorable baby and also Liza. Blessings to all the #TeamJosh people out there who have been starving for something like this. Josh interprets the vision to mean that when he has a child, he wants it to be with someone he loves. So, no sperm donation. But Lauren’s sacred cacao has obviously awoken some type of cosmic force because a surprising visitor comes a-calling for Josh. There’s a knock at the door. It’s Clare. And she’s pregnant. Lay off the cacao, everybody!
It’s Trout Season
• Diana finally gets her rom-com moment — and it all has to do with a fatberg (a solid sewer blockage made from cooking fat and other things you shouldn’t dump down the drain). Doesn’t that feel right for our Queen Trout?
• Enzo is selected to be part of the Fatberg Five, an elite team chosen to go in and remove the blockage. It sounds like a Michael Bay movie. (Is it a Michael Bay movie?) Enzo warns Diana of the dangers, but Diana cannot take a plumbing emergency seriously. They get into a big fight and Diana fears it might be over, until she sees on the news that there’s been a fatberg accident and Enzo has gone missing. She goes to him, he’s rescued, and they reunite in the street. She does not gag. Not even once. I cannot say enough how much I love this for Diana.
• Same goes for how often Younger gives us these precious little Diana-Liza moments. Diana tries to blow off the possible end to her relationship, but Liza doesn’t let her off so easy. She offers words of comfort, even if Diana doesn’t want to show that she might be hurting. These two won’t ever hug, but they should.
• Obviously, Diana always has killer outfits, but her pink bodycon dress with her giant black-and-white floral necklace in this episode is one of the all-time greats.
• So, the Fatberg is real and it is disgusting.
• I don’t totally buy this Kelsey-as-a-publisher thing, but I am extremely ready to watch Kelsey and Diana butt heads next season. Don’t mess with the Trout, Kels.
• Savor these words of wisdom as we head into our Trout Hiatus: “I’m a grown woman, Liza. I don’t need a man to hold my hand during a spa treatment.”