The love triangle is firmly back on the table as Younger preps for its finale.
Q: How can you tell that Younger is heading into its final episode of the season?
A: Characters begin making big, impulsive, life-changing decisions at the drop of a hat.
After ten episodes of mostly well-paced action, it’s hard not to feel a touch of whiplash during “Holding Out For A SHero”. The series seemingly hits the accelerator in order to ramp up the drama heading into next week’s finale, particularly in regard to its two leading ladies. Both Liza (Sutton Foster) and Kelsey (Hilary Duff) go into the episode experiencing a certain level of uncertainty about their personal and professional lives (respectively) and come out the other side – a mere twenty-two minutes later – having seemingly decided to completely uproot their entire narrative arc.
I’m not suggesting that Younger rushed into these developments – the careful undoing of Liza and Charles (Peter Hermann) has been in the works for the entire back half of the season and Kelsey’s struggles at Millennial have completely dominated her storyline all season. And yet, in the space of a single episode, Liza goes from feeling normal about Josh (Nico Tortorella) to unable to interact with him and Kelsey can’t imagine a life at Millennial because there’s nowhere left for her to climb. Neither decision is surprising, but the speed they come to their decisions is hasty.
It should be noted that this is par for the course for the show. Younger has a history of delivering bombastic cliffhangers so there’s every expectation that the second last episode will directly feed into that. And while “Holding Out For A SHero” doesn’t pack the same kind of punch as say, “Secrets & Liza” from S2 – when Kelsey’s fiance Thad was killed by NY scaffolding – the episode still does an admirable job of setting up some potentially massive changes for the show’s forthcoming seventh season.
For Kelsey, there’s every possibility that Younger will seek to reboot the conflict from earlier this season when she and Charles were in competition with one another at different companies. Or at least that’s the assumption that fans could have made, had recent real life events not cast a shadow of a doubt over the proceedings.
This is where entertainment news intersects with the way that audiences consume their media: earlier this week, at D23 (Disney’s up front presentation), news emerged that Duff is reprising her iconic role as Lizzie McGuire in a brand new Disney+ series. Now there’s plenty of precedent to suggest that actors can juggle two different roles at once, BUT it is just as easy to read this latest development as Duff pulling the rip chord on the series. If she wanted to, Kelsey’s current arc definitely opens the door for Duff to quietly exit Younger so that she can pursue a Mouse House payday.
Kelsey’s current arc definitely opens the door for Duff to quietly exit Younger so that she can pursue a Mouse House payday
Speculation aside, the writing is on the wall for the end of Liza and Charles. There is a fairly obvious tease in this episode when Charles asks Liza about how she is handling the power shift and she admits to feeling uncertain. This, plus her outburst at co-workers when Kelsey’s Insta story becomes a catchy banger, confirms that Liza is still firmly on Kelsey’s side and simultaneously lays the groundwork for both women to leave Millennial. Younger hasn’t addressed the obvious elephant in the room, but Kelsey does have a prophetic line about romantically entangled couples shouldn’t work together, which can just as easily apply to Liza as it does Kelsey. Remember that with the recent regime change Liza is now, once again, sleeping with her boss!
If Younger decides to pull the trigger and break up Liza and Charles (as “Holding Out For A SHero” hints), there’s every chance that S7 finds Liza and Kelsey leaving to set up their own shop.
- Color me disappointed that more of “Holding Out For A SHero” doesn’t focus on Diana (Miriam Shor)’s bachelorette party. Sure there is the instantly iconic image of Shor wearing a penis balloon hat, as well as her hilarious dressing down of the girls for focusing on “millennial break room” talk when there are “bulges” staring them in the face, but these scenes are far too brief for my liking!
- Not unlike a classroom scene in any teen film, the presentation by the author of a courtesy book for millennials exists exclusively for Liza to work through her issues with Josh. It’s hilariously ham-fisted, but still mostly works because Younger is so blatantly transparent about why it’s there.
- Sidebar: Liza may frequently belabor the point that she was only pretending to be a millennial, but, not for nothing, the way that she initially decides to handle her feelings for Josh (by ghosting him without giving him the courtesy of telling him) is exactly how the author describes millennial attitudes.
- Speaking of Josh: as unhappy as I am about the return of this dreaded love triangle storyline, at least the writers give him a great monologue at episode’s end about how he sees Liza and how she’s lying to herself. It’s a nice reminder that Tortorella can do more than lug a baby around and look cute.
- I think that my favorite new character this season is Annaleigh Ashford‘s Shelly from Infinitely 21 . She’s fun and flirty and just the right amount of caricature. When someone can deliver a double entendre like “unload on me” without making you wince, you know you’ve found a winner.
- Stop trying to make SHero happen, Younger. It’s NOT going to happen.
- Today in Zane (Charles Michael Davis) is the worst: he’s only kind to Kelsey when he wants to touch her in the park, but when she rejects him (CAUSE SHE’S GOING THROUGH SOME STUFF), he immediately reverts to a-hole status in the conference room by smugly pronouncing all of the decisions he and Charles are reversing from Kelsey’s time in charge. Dick move, Zane.
- Line of the episode goes to Diana Trout, Queen of All Things Good And Right, watching a stripper dance: “Oh, he’s athletic.”