Well, Kelsey’s foray into reality television is short-lived and a bit of a disaster. On the bright side: Hey, she’s getting an actual story line this season! And it’s a romance! So, hooray for her and hooray for us. It’s about time.
Kelsey and the gang settle in to watch Empirical’s editor-in-chief make her splashy debut on the Manhattan real-estate reality show, only to learn that through some tricky editing the show is making it look as if she’s obsessed with Buying the Big Apple’s realtor. It’s not a good look for her or her brand, which is the whole reason she was finally convinced to even do the show. Lauren tries to get the episode off the air but is promptly reminded that she actually had Kelsey sign a four-episode contract. There’s no way to get out of it. The only semblance of a plan the girls come up with is for Kelsey to act so boring that the show will cut her loose.
Our girl Kels gives it a try at the next shoot, which just happens to be at the same luxury building where Empirical held its rooftop rebranding party (the one that belongs to Clare’s ex Rob). The act doesn’t last long. Brett the realtor is super douchey, plus she learns that the bookcases in the apartment are staged with novels cut in half. It is deeply offensive. So she lets Brett have it — by which I mean she tells the camera that he can’t stop gushing about his cats and also stuffs his pants with a pair of socks — and storms out. On her way out of the building, hey, what a coinky-dink, she runs into Rob. When she learns that he welcomed in the reality show and is the one who “decapitated” those books, Kelsey also lets Rob have it. But Rob is not scared. Rob is intrigued.
Rob is so intrigued, in fact, that he calls Kelsey up and persuades her to come book shopping with him so he can properly stock the shelves in his staged apartments. He worked it out so Buying the Big Apple won’t air Kelsey’s episodes and she’s released from her contract, plus he promises to buy all Millennial books. She can’t resist that. She can, however, resist Rob’s advances when he asks her out. She’s hot and single, he’s hot and single, but he’s Clare’s ex and they’ve only been broken up for a month. She can’t do that to her, even if she has no idea what her last name is. Something tells me that she won’t be able to resist Rob forever. The drama!
Of course, the main story line of “The Baroness” brings us back to ye olde Liza-Quinn conflict, which, if I may speak for the group, I don’t think anyone wants anymore. Its development in this episode is especially confusing because in a very meta move, Liza is trying to figure out who Quinn really is — that woman who set up a trap to humiliate Liza with Charles or the nice one who agrees to help Liza’s daughter with a last-minute crisis — but the more Liza tries to figure out Quinn, the less sense Quinn makes. Sort of how it feels as the audience watching this show.
It tracks that Caitlin — the girl who upon learning about her mother’s big lie responded with “have they seen your face” — would be a Quinn Tyler superfan. They are both Vassar girls. Caitlin is a member of the same a cappella group that Quinn was (so, not really a superfan if she didn’t know that tidbit of information, huh?). Caitlin’s in town as part of the committee giving out the Spirit of Vassar award and it was supposed to go to Jane Fonda, but when she gets arrested again and Caitlin learns that Liza knows knows Quinn, she forces her mom to ask Quinn to accept the award. Liza would do anything for her daughter — it’s the premise of this whole series — so of course she puts her pride aside and makes the ask. Quinn is a little saucy about it, but eventually is in. Is she actually a good person? Do we want her to be?
What Caitlin didn’t know when she asked her mom for this huge favor was that Quinn Tyler is now dating Liza’s ex. Caitlin sort of apologizes when Quinn and Charles show up at the Vassar event, but not really. Is everyone in Liza’s family terrible? We get a reminder of just how awful her ex David is because he’s at the event, too, plopped right down next to Quinn at the table trying to sell her his new teeth-whitening product that is currently making his gums bleed. As Liza takes in the fact that not only will she be trapped with the love of her life and his new awful girlfriend, but also her buffoon ex-husband, all she can muster is a sarcastic “what a super fun evening this is turning out to be.” There are not enough bevvies in the world, people!
At the end of the night, after Quinn gives a nice speech and Caitlin gets the huge win at school, Liza graciously goes to thank Quinn for doing her a solid, but the conversation veers into “Who are you really, Quinn?” pretty quickly. Quinn lays down a speech about how she isn’t a terrible person but she will do what she has to in order to protect her relationship with Charles. She then whips out a Sound of Music comparison (someone at Younger really loves that musical) and compares Liza to Maria — “sweetness and light and pillow fights and guitars” — and herself to the baroness, reminding Liza that it seems to get lost that the baroness really did love the captain. I guess that comparison would be moving if not for the fact that Maria is the one who ends up with Captain von Trapp. Has Quinn not seen the end of this movie? Someone should really let her know.
• Looks like Maggie Amato is officially canceled. Thanks to Josh, who points out that no students would be using Twitter for desktop or the word “razzmatazz,” Maggie figures out that Cass is the one fueling all the Twitter hate. Still, Maggie ends up getting booted from the art gallery where she was about to have a huge, possibly career-changing show. And when Maggie confronts Cass about all the anonymous tweeting she’s been doing, she ends up getting fired. Canceled and fired all at once. It’s a dark time.
• In career news, in a scene that probably, most definitely should’ve been shown, Liza meets with Inkubator author Dylan Park and they happen to run into an editor named Lottie from, oh hey, Vulture; Liza pitches the Inkubator story and Lottie wants to run Dylan’s first chapter. All of this happens before Liza can even tell Kelsey (which is when we learn about it, too), but thankfully it works out and the chapter does really well. This Inkubator thing could work!
• After the Vassar awards dinner, Liza learns that Quinn helped Caitlin get an internship. Quinn’s response: “When you’re a soprano, you have to take care of your altos — they’re the frame.” There’s really not enough Laura Benanti singing on this show. Her impromptu a cappella moment with Caitlin (with Sutton Foster just looking on!) was not enough.
• Really not here for Quinn’s street-meat blasphemy!!!
• Lauren’s advice to Kelsey on how to be more boring on-camera: “Be that girl you are in the mornings when you start telling me about your dreams.”