Whoa, whoa, whoa, we only have two episodes of Younger left after this one, and now it’s starting to really heat up? Why you gotta do us this way, show? Just as you’re leaving? Let’s start with Kelsey’s story line first because it makes me feel alternately angry that we were deprived of good Hilary Duff material all season and excited that she finally has something to do.
So, Clare’s Rob. He’s becoming a problem. I mean that both in the sense that Kelsey, despite her best efforts to kick him to the curb, just can’t get enough of the real-estate developer and also in the way that spells trouble for Kelsey with her friends. She really likes the guy but knows it’s complicated as hell, even if she tries to pretend otherwise. And it all comes to a head in “Inku-baited.”
Things are getting serious with Rob. They’re going on secret dates and having sex in front of closets full of Monopoly board games, as young hot people on the precipice of 30 do. Kelsey’s doing her best to bury any guilt she has over going behind Clare’s back, but eventually her secret relationship and work collide, and it makes it impossible for Kelsey to ignore it any longer.
You see, Inkubator is thriving. It just so happens that the night Charles decides to come and see what all the hype is about is the same night a National Book Award winner, Azalea King, comes to read from her long-awaited second novel. It’s a complete coincidence, but it means that all of a sudden, Charles sees the potential in Kelsey and Liza’s creative venture, and now he’d like to meet with them to talk about how to bring Inkubator (and Azalea King) to Empirical. Kelsey is not amused by Charles’s patronizing bullshit and knows he’s only interested because he thinks a new King novel can bring in some cash. Before he has the chance to mansplain to them why Inkubator is such a great idea, she wants to have the next phase of her project done — which means getting the Inkubator app launched.
Since Kelsey has already spent any money she had saved up on an advance for Dylan Park, she doesn’t really have the cash to hire an app developer. So Lauren takes it upon herself to recruit a very friendly coder willing to do the work for free: Clare. She’s more than happy to help a dear friend who was so kind in helping her deal with getting over a bad breakup. Could Kelsey feel any worse about what she’s doing?
Actually, yes. The girls finally launch the app while at Kelsey and Josh’s apartment, but the celebrations are cut short when Clare, getting things set on Kelsey’s computer, starts seeing texts come in from someone named Rob. They get more and more romantic … and once he starts talking about hockey, well, then, Clare knows it is her Rob. She freaks out. She feels so betrayed. She wants to take Gemma home with her because she doesn’t want her daughter to be around someone she doesn’t trust. Tearfully, Kelsey says that she’ll leave and that despite how it looks, she really never meant to hurt Clare. It seems sincere, but even Josh looks disappointed in her. She heads over to Maggie and Liza’s to mope about how her life has taken a turn recently — please note that she does not say she’ll break things off with Rob — so now more than ever, the girl needs a career win.
Maybe this dinner meeting with Charles will prove fruitful? Liza tells a languishing Kelsey that she’ll take one for the team and go to dinner with Charles to see what he has to say about Inkubator. Twist her arm, ya know? Of course, it doesn’t take long for Liza and Charles to fall back into their easy rapport. He’s inspired by what Liza and Kelsey have created and thinks that after pumping out some best sellers, Empirical has earned a return to picking projects they’re actually passionate about. It still sounds like he wants to hijack Inkubator, but what do I know? Liza’s too busy to notice because she’s telling Charles that she just wants him to be happy, and Charles is telling Liza that she’s an incredible editor, and they’re ordering more wine and dessert, and it’s all so easy and fun and it feels right.
Outside of the restaurant, they’re both a little tipsy, and that drunk tree leans over and says, “You’re a remarkable woman, Liza Miller. You have a way of making me see things in a completely different way. Sorry I didn’t see it sooner.” It makes Liza weak in the knees, but also, um, sir, you were in love with her and about to marry her — I sure hope you thought she was remarkable. So the sentiment doesn’t really track. What does it have to do with their love story at this point? Anyway, they obviously lean in for a kiss, and obviously they get interrupted by the waitress before anything can happen. But there was a moment, people. A real, live moment.
• Maggie’s show at the bar opens, and at first it is a complete bomb — until something curious happens: Cass sneaks in to see it and then the next day, a Very Important Art Critic, Clive (the one who happened to review the show back in 1994 that has gotten Maggie “canceled”), comes by to see the work, raves about it on his Instagram, and Maggie’s show is suddenly a hit. Cass returns, and we learn that she and Clive are buddies. So clearly, she called in a favor with Clive to make amends with Maggie, and oh yeah — she’s getting a divorce. Are Maggie and Cass going to end up together?
• Always here for a nice Liza-Maggie friendship moment, and we get one here, with Liza reminiscing about how they first met at one of Maggie’s first art shows.
• Was the Inkubator password “fuzzy pussy” or “fussy pussy”? Either way, I listened to Charles yell it about five times in a row, and I am not ashamed of that.
• Has Charles ever seemed older than trying to take a shot at the Inkubator bar?
• Kelsey watching Liza and Maggie doing their little sister-wife radio play and knowing she had to find her own place to live ASAP was perfect all around.