Most fans seem to be in agreement that this season of Younger is not the triumphant, bubbly swan song the show deserves. But there is some good news! Two of its major problems, a lack of compelling Kelsey story lines and a lack of compelling workplace story lines, get some love in “The Fallout.” (In fact, most of the publishing-industry-related story lines have been, at best, complete throwaways — where are you, Little Women in Space? Did that surfing-sex book sell? — and, at worst, complete misfires, like the Greta Thunberg “parody” that still makes me cringe.)
Apparently, Dylan Park’s chapters — why haven’t we physically seen this character again since the first time we met her? It’s weird! — are thriving on Vulture (hi, again!), and Kelsey and Liza continue to dole them out one at a time, only increasing buzz for the novel and its author. Even Charles has caught wind of its success. (Does Charles read Vulture now?? Be still my heart!) Unfortunately, Charles is still a colossal dick and is stuck on this idea of only publishing established authors who will sell. Meaning: He commends Kelsey and Liza on the Dylan Park stuff, but he still refuses to sign her to Empirical. On top of that, he tells the ladies to focus on authors people will actually pay to read. Like I said, still a dick.
The Dylan Park stuff goes from a frustrating issue to a potentially huge problem once Redmond gives Kelsey a call. He meets with Kelsey and Liza because he’s interested in becoming Dylan’s agent. The ladies are super-cagey about allowing Redmond to meet her, and eventually Redmond realizes that it’s because they haven’t actually signed her and if she gets an agent, she could go to whichever publishing house had the highest bid; they could lose the buzzy author they discovered.
So Kelsey says screw Charles. Well, actually, she says she’s done trying to convince him that she understands what’s valuable — she already proved her worth and her taste level when she built Millennial into the thing that saved Empirical not too long ago. So she comes up with her own plan: They’re going to turn Inkubator into an app where people will pay for content, including the end of Dylan’s book. I mean, people will riot in the streets after having gotten almost all of the book for free and then suddenly having to pay for the end, but you know what? Kelsey deserves a big win, and I hope Inkubator is finally it.
Oh, hey! And Kelsey also secretly starts dating Rob, Clare’s ex-boyfriend. It will most definitely blow up in her face, but since we are finally getting Kelsey story lines in multiple aspects of her life after nine episodes, we’ll worry about those consequences later.
Meanwhile, there is some movement on the Liza-Charles front. And by movement, I mostly mean they’re rehashing their issues. Honestly, I don’t hate it — for two people who were so in love and ended so abruptly, there hasn’t been nearly enough emotional fallout. I’ll keep harping on it, but the fact that Charles got rejected and then completely moved on without expressing any type of real hurt or anger or loss is astounding and aggravating as an invested viewer. Here, the two are forced to team up and try to win over married couple Susan (played by Jessica Hecht, coincidentally also Susan on Friends!), a food writer, and Jonah, a literary novelist who are writing a spy novel together. It’s poised to be a huge hit based on their reputations alone, so Charles is super into it.
When Liza and Charles stay late to work on notes to present Susan and Jonah in hopes of being selected as their publishing house, there are some flirty moments, but mostly it’s a reminder of how right they are for each other. They are on the same page, all the way. I mean, I wouldn’t have hated a lingering hand graze or something, but it’s clear these two characters should’ve never broken up.
Liza and Charles are a good team, we know this, so it’s no surprise that Susan and Jonah love their work, select them to be their editors, and invite them to a dinner at their house to celebrate the new partnership. Things start out great, but then the soon-to-be-spy-novelists inform their new editors that they’ve decided they want to write under a pen name. This deeply offends Charles. Part of it, perhaps, is because he’s suddenly all about making those dough stacks this season and he thinks not utilizing their built-in base could hinder sales, but also it becomes clear that a lot of his objections — it’s manipulative to lie about your identity! — are residual feelings from the Liza of it all. He doesn’t hesitate to tell Susan and Jonah thanks but no thanks, if they are going to use a pen name, Empirical isn’t interested.
Outside, Liza is livid. She thinks it is yet one more example of Charles being outrageously stubborn — everything has to be on his terms or not at all. And that’s how they get back into the argument surrounding their breakup. Not much new is gleaned from this, but when Liza brings up that Charles “wanted to get married all of a sudden,” Charles says that he wanted to get married because he wanted to know Liza loved him fully; that he had all of her. Apparently, he’s convinced marriage is the only way for Liza to prove that. Liza is, well, she’s feeling a whole host of emotions because she does love him fully and to have him question that not only hurts, but is a little offensive. When she incredulously says that Charles doesn’t believe her, his response is “Can you blame me?,” again alluding to the fact that he still isn’t over Liza’s initial lie. “I wish I didn’t love you,” she says before refusing to ride back to the city with him. He just accepts this and leaves, which is, again, a major part of the problem with this dynamic this season: FIGHT FOR HER, DUDE.
What this argument really does, however, is give anyone still holding out for a Liza and Charles reunion some hope: Now that we know for sure Charles’s ultimatum was less about actually getting married and more about fully trusting Liza and that Liza has outright said she still loves him, there is a path for these attractive tall people to find their way back to one another. Time will tell if that’s the route the show is planning to take as we hit the final batch of episodes.
• Lauren lets it slip that Charles proposed to Liza, which is apparently news to Quinn. Quinn takes Liza out for a little doughnut chat to find out why Liza said no — what’s wrong with Charles? Of course nothing really is, except his strict adherence to cultural traditions. She explains that she simply didn’t want to get married and that wasn’t good enough for ol’ Chuck. Here’s the thing: Quinn seems to have no interest in getting hitched either — prenups for billionaires are exhausting — but then at the end of the episode she tells Charles that she would’ve said yes to him. What is this chick’s endgame??
• Maggie’s been in hiding since being canceled, but it seems she’s been inspired to create a new show. The only issue is that no gallery wants her, so she’ll be displaying it in the spare room at the local dive bar. She is wallowing.
• Also inspired? Lauren’s bit where she is simultaneously figuring out and covering up Kelsey’s relationship with Rob in front of Clare and transitions into singing Rent.
• Lauren has several fun moments in this episode, including comparing Kelsey dating Rob to her favorite show, Chernobyl.
• Oh, wow, Younger hasn’t been doing a great job of covering up Hilary Duff’s pregnancy but that giant foam finger from the hockey game made me laugh out loud.