Ayanna, nooooo! Why’d you have to do Liza like that? I thought we were all in this fight against Quinn Tyler together. Alas, no. Quinn and her not-really-ex-campaign-manager play Liza so easily it truly remains a wonder that the woman managed to pull off identity fraud for so long. She is the most trusting! Or, perhaps the more likely explanation is Liza is just so blinded by rage as Quinn marks her territory that she’s happy to latch on to any disparaging news about Charles’s new girlfriend. Regardless, Liza ends up really making a fool of herself in front of Charles in a defunct airport terminal, as one does.
Throughout the entire episode, Liza is going back and forth over whether she should tell Charles what she learned after speaking to Quinn’s “former” campaign manager, Ayanna, while fact-checking Quinn’s book. On one hand, she thinks Charles has a right to know that Quinn is using him and his daughters to create an image of a perfect, happy family to increase her viability for a possible gubernatorial run. On the other hand, Charles has been a real dick lately. I mean, could the man not seem at least the tiniest bit undone after breaking things off with a woman he loved so much he wanted to marry her? Can we not find that tree of a man wiping away tears while longingly staring out a window from his lonely skyscraper office, like, once? ONCE! Do hunky tree men have no feelings?!
It’s not until Liza is at the launch party for Quinn’s book at the TWA terminal (“failure doesn’t mean you can’t fly again,” says Quinn, making an entire audience collectively roll their eyes) and she gets a text from Ayanna informing her that tonight’s the night Quinn will be announcing her political aspirations and Liza learns that Quinn persuaded Charles to bring his daughters, that she finally decides he needs to know. She decides to tell him this just as Quinn and the Brooks girls are going up on tage. Charles doesn’t react much, except to say that Liza “has it all wrong” and then Quinn gives us all a dramatic pause before announcing she’s starting a scholarship fund.
Oh, she’s good.
Liza tries to apologize to Charles but for the first time actually shows a little emotion. Of course, it’s anger, but it’s nice to know that he cares about Liza enough to be that angry, right? Maybe? He tells her to stay out of his business, once and for all. Liza leaves the party hurt and embarrassed, only to be stopped by Quinn on her way out. Oh yeah, Ayanna still works for her and the next time Liza wants to dig up dirt, she’ll have to try a little harder. Quinn set her up! But also she is, in fact, planning on running for governor! And she tells Liza to back off of her man! And now Quinn Tyler is just a complete villain with zero nuance and you know what, Younger, I just can’t keep up with who this character is from week to week. Can’t wait till Charles kicks her to the curb!
Liza has other, much more positive things to focus on, anyway. After Redmond informs Liza and Kelsey that because of the success of Arabian Sea, Empirical, and they by association, have become the publishing house to beat for what he calls “mid-lit,” middle-aged literature, the ladies are frustrated. And maybe a little nauseous? Empirical is turning into an airport-paperback factory — Charles tells them their investors are only interested in guaranteed bestsellers in the John Grisham vein — but that’s the opposite of what they want to be doing. With Millennial Print they were seeking new, young voices and trying to push literary fiction forward (or, you know, make dough stacks on labradoodle advice books).
The ladies lament what their work has turned into over drinks with Lauren and Josh at Inkburg. But then Liza has an idea: an underground writers’ salon where people can come and read their work, free of judgement and pressure, and hey, maybe Liza and Kelsey will discover some untapped talent in the process. When Josh agrees to host this salon at Inkburg, Kelsey christens it Inkubator and they get to work.
And the first Inkubator is a hit! I mean, there’s people up at the mic reading some truly weird shit, but there are no expectations at Inkubator. Liza even comes across a shy writer named Dylan Park who doesn’t want to get up onstage but does agree to give her pages to Liza to take a look at; Liza loves them. Dylan is exactly the type of writer Millennial would publish.
This, of course, means Charles rejects her immediately without even reading one page of the novel Liza and Kelsey bring to him. Kelsey looks to Liza, assuming they’re going to fight him on this until he is persuaded to at least take a look, but instead, Liza graciously withdraws the proposal and leaves the room. Alone with Kelsey, she gets a determined look on her face: Dylan is their author and she deserves to have them fight for her. Plus, starting Inkubator and building something special with Kelsey reminded her of how she felt when they started Millennial. Kelsey agrees. So they’re going to figure out how to make this work and what to do next together. “You’re kind of my hero,” Kelsey tells Liza. Maybe Younger’s happily ever after will simply be Liza and Kelsey striking out on their own and being wildly successful at it, side-by-side.
• Welp, I guess we have to talk about the Josh story line in which KT, who still doesn’t know about Gemma, finds baby stuff on Josh’s bed, assumes he wants to try something kinky and proceeds to put on a diaper and onesie. I… cannot with this whole situation. Once KT does meet Gemma, she tells Josh she really isn’t ready for an instant family and they break up. Honestly, after the diaper thing it’s the best outcome for all of us.
• Maggie’s first day as a professor — excuse me, artist-in-residence — goes well. And then Cass, the dean, pretty much forces her to have dinner at her place with her wife Camilla, who, you may remember, Maggie slept with not too long ago. Maggie brings Lauren to pretend to be her girlfriend, but it backfires and only makes Camilla jealous — and Camilla ends up airdropping a bunch of nudes to Maggie’s phone during dinner. So that’s going to get complicated!
• Maggie knows Liza is lost in thought over Charles because “that little cartoon bubble above [her] head has a three-piece suit in it and it’s bespoke.”
• No matter how many times it happens, the speed at which books get published on Younger never fails to make me laugh.
• I’m still over here laughing at Lauren’s yelp when Liza suggested a Facebook group for a way to get word out on Inkubator.