Now this is more like it. After two middling episodes, “FKA Millennial” gives us that fun and flirty rom-com we’ve been waiting for. Now that Millennial is no more and Empirical is Empirical again, the company needs a rebrand. Here, of course, “rebrand” mostly means a new logo and a swanky party thrown together in like, 24 hours. Fine by me! This party is primed to have some drama because there is a whole lot of tension building up among our friends at Empirical ahead of the event.
Most of that has to do with Quinn Tyler. She’s back. And she’s having drinks with Charles to pitch him her new book, a book he inspired after their little run-in in Chicago. She’s a changed woman after her failed political career, she says, and she wants to write about the opportunity and growth that comes with failing. The F Word will celebrate failure and the surprises that come with it. The Quinn character pretty much changes every season, so at least we’re contributing this to something. The last time Quinn and Charles met up, he was all like, “You almost bankrupted my company; please stay away from me,” but he is much more chummy now. Quinn and Charles are really going to be a thing, huh? What will Liza think?
Well, we actually get a preview of what Liza will think when Quinn comes to bitch, excuse me (and Lauren), pitch her book at the office. She’s not happy about it to begin with, and then when Quinn lays it on thick about this whole book being Charles’s idea, well, that doesn’t go over well, either. Charles says Liza and Kelsey can let him know if they think they should buy it by the end of the day. It’s clear he’ll be getting two “nos” from them, no matter how provocative a title like The F Word is.
Quinn isn’t the only author pitching Empirical in this episode: Redmond (so glad he’s around for the final season!) brings in Kai Manning, a legendary surf god with a lot of stories to tell. Charles wants to know what the book would actually be, but the rest of them see a picture of Kai’s abs and they’re in. I’m not going to say this is why this company is always on the brink of financial ruin, but I’m not not going to say that, okay? Anyway, at one point Charles peeps Kai and Liza making eye contact, and it ruffles him a bit. The pitch is going well and then Kelsey has to inform Redmond that Millennial doesn’t exist anymore and they’re all working under the Empirical brand. Redmond tells Kelsey that he hopes she got a freaking ton of money for what they’ve done to her. And he’s right! I hope this season sees Kelsey getting some huge career wins. She deserves good things. The best things.
Confusing branding aside, Redmond ends up calling Kelsey and Liza to inform them that Kai loved them but he’d like to get to know whoever might be his editor a little better before handing over his life story. Since Kelsey is the bestest friend a girl could have and is hell-bent on helping Liza get over Charles by getting under Kai, she suggests Liza take the surfer up on the offer.
And so everyone ends up at the Empirical relaunch party, which happens to take place at the swanky rooftop apartment of Clare’s new boyfriend Rob. Lauren says that the M&M’s branded as E&E’s for Empirical might have some actual E mixed in the bowl, plus there’s a soundproof wine vault, so that’s fun. You know what’s not fun? Kelsey being reminded that she is no longer a publisher over and over and then Redmond breaking the news: She’s apparently the last to hear that Zane is the new publisher at a rival publishing house. Fucking Zane, you guys. Kelsey looks like she is about to scream or vomit or both, but Liza ushers her into that soundproof vault so she can really let it all out (the screaming, not the vomit). It is cathartic and also who doesn’t love a great Liza-Kelsey friendship moment?
Once the gals get their screaming out, they head back into the party. Liza might need that soundproof screaming room again: She spots Quinn Tyler chatting with Charles and Lauren informs her and Kelsey that Charles decided to buy Quinn’s book even though they both voted against it. Liza starts doing the math in her head about who will be tasked with editing this thing and she thinks, Oh no, not today, Satan.
Liza marches up to Charles and asks to speak with him. She makes it clear that she pretty much wrote his ex-wife’s book and she will not be working on his new girlfriend’s. It’s all too much! She also wants to know when the hell he and Quinn became a thing. He says they aren’t and she doesn’t believe it — she can see something is going on. When she finds out they met up in Chicago, while he and Liza were still together, that’s the end of it for her. Now the breakup makes more sense to her, she thinks it was because he already had a backup plan. Charles obviously tries to tell her that isn’t the case. Friends, oh, do these two get so mad at each other. Have we ever seen them this mad without them then making out? I don’t think so!
Liza storms out and runs into Kai on the way. He’s looking to get out of that party, too, so they end up going for drinks at a nearby beer garden. They really hit it off. He opens up about a near-death experience he once had and how since then he doesn’t waste time doing anything he doesn’t actually want to be doing, so he’s a big fan of Liza’s decision to stand firm on the whole not-getting-married thing. She tells Kai about her disaster of her first marriage and how she’s not interested in that whole domestic life again. To her, turning her relationship with Charles into a marriage is as if you were to “take something wild and alive and ruin it.” Kai compares it to a tiger in a zoo. They get each other. They are vibing. Kai wants Liza to edit his book. “I think we’re gonna be great together,” he tells her. Insert peeping-eye emoji here.
• Josh gets a visit from a pop star’s manager: The singer is about to arrive and ask for a bunch of face tattoos, which is really a bad idea considering she’s just about to lock down a life-changing Chanel endorsement. Josh needs to stall her. He does this by talking to her about taking your time with tattoos because they are supposed to tell a story. It works. And by the time she’s supposed to come back for her first tattoo, she’s apparently already moved on to tennis bracelets. But you know who was really into all that “tattoos are for storytelling” stuff? The manager. Is she going to be Josh’s happily ever after, or do we think he’s going to fight to get Clare back?
• Oh, my buddies, I can’t tell you how much I loved that scene between Charles and Maggie at the party. She walks over to him to see how he’s doing post breakup and to tell him how surprised she is about it all. She didn’t think it would end because of a “technicality.” Charles doesn’t see it that way. “In the end, I think I never really had her whole heart,” he tells her. But Maggie lets him know that he is so very, very wrong about that.
• Aw, Maggie’s designing tattoos for Josh. This friendship sparks joy.
• “We didn’t have a budget for a Space Force, but we’re doing that.”