A drug-infused weekend retreat brings resolution for Charles and uncertainty for Liza.
And just like that, the conflict is over.
When, at the start of Younger‘s latest episode, “Merger, She Wrote”, Maggie (Debi Mazar) proposes the idea of a merger between Millennial and Mercury, I audibly scoffed. There was no way in hell that Charles (Peter Hermann) or Kelsey (Hilary Duff) would go for such a preposterous idea.
Fast fast to episode’s end as Charles delivers an impassioned mini-monologue about how the rivalry between the two imprints has been hurting his “family” (ie: the ladies of Millennial) and agrees to be bought out for the tidy sum of $1. There was no audible gasp this time; just a lingering question mark: now that season six’s main conflict has been resolved, where does Younger go from here?
Let’s back up, because how Charles and Liza (Sutton Foster) come to this agreement is half of the fun. It involves micro-dosing on “not LSD” at an exclusive weekend retreat thrown by promising new author Travis, who – in the grand scheme of Younger – will never be mentioned again now that he has served his narrative function. That job? Trapping Liza, Charles and (unexpectedly, but logically) Josh (Nico Tortorella) at a secluded location so that they can
hash work out their issues.
There’s comedy to be mined from Liza’s conflation of the two men…but there’s also some serious emotional baggage here, too.
Initially, Josh’s arrival plays like a bad idea. Liza and Charles have been on the rocks for the last few episodes as a result of their combative pursuit of several high profile authors, so when the third party in the series’ love triangle shows up unexpectedly, it seems like the writers are pre-emptively showing their cards.
To be honest, this isn’t entirely untrue. Liza clearly still has feelings for Josh and their easy intimacy immediately feels simpler and laden with more chemistry than anything that we’ve seen with Charles this season. Sure, there’s comedy to be mined from Liza’s conflation of the two men – first when she believes Josh is kissing her in her room, and then the next morning when she assigns one man’s voice to the other’s body – but there’s also some serious emotional baggage here, too. Younger just pulled the pin on the Charles/Liza relationship last season, so the idea of revisiting a possible a romantic triangle isn’t exactly new creative territory for the series.
Unfortunately Josh’s unexpected appearance and Liza’s resulting interest hints that the writers may disagree.
For now, however, that isn’t the immediate intent. Instead “Merger, She Wrote” acknowledges for the second time this season that Younger has too talented a leading lady to refrain from singing and dancing. The context here is that Liza is a drug “supertaster” (a callback alllll the way back to episode 2.05 when she accidentally ate a “Lolli-pot”). Travis and his retreat staff make a point to repeatedly mention that the doses are specifically catered and that doctors and nurses are available to assist anyone, so it makes sense that Liza not only winds up tripping balls but winds up mistaking a potted plant for “Nurse Maureen”.
The result is a lovely drug-induced old Hollywood dance sequence in which Liza partners with both men. It’s not quite up to the standards of, say, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but it remains a nifty showcase for Broadway star Sutton Foster (and let’s be honest: it’s also likely the closest most of us will ever get to see her do some fancy footwork).
Ultimately Josh’s tete-a-tete with Charles occurs off-camera, but they clarify that they bond while Liza dances it out. Whatever Josh said, combined with Liza’s confession that their rivalry is hurting everything, prompts the former publisher to prioritize relationships over business. And so, the battle between Millennial and Mercury is dunzo.
And now all that remains is the question “where does Younger go from here?”
- Not a fan of the episode title, which should obviously include a murder if you’re going to draw inspiration from the Jessica Fletcher series. It’s funny, but it makes no sense.
- OF COURSE Josh would be friends with a micro-dosing entrepreneur. That’s just so Josh!
- While Josh is ridiculously attractive, I’ve been #TeamCharles for nearly the show’s entire run…until this episode, which offers up the single most despicable character beat for Charles. When he uses his decision to walk away from Millennial to be with her as a rationale for why Liza should do the same for him? ARGH! It’s such a blatantly irrational argument that puts the blame and responsibility for him losing the company on her. I was glad he gets a “nice guy” moment at episode’s end because it almost redeems him, but the previous interaction made it VERY difficult to be a Charles fan in this episode.
- Diana (Miriam Shor) gets another get delightful B-plot when it is discovered that she is the perfect person to voice the “seasoned slut” for the audiobook of Millennial’s Matron Lit series. Shor’s delivery of “I thought maybe I could hit ‘nipple’ a little bit harder” in the studio is truly inspired.
- Zane (Charles Michael Davis) also returns for a brief subplot that reestablishes him and Kelsey as a (possible) romantic couple. Their connection amusingly occurs when they accidentally torpedo Audrey Colbert (Willa Fitzgerald)’s audiobook by making the classic “wacky” sitcom mistake of talking shit about her while the mic is still on. I do hope that this isn’t the last that we see of Audrey; I still maintain that this is the best performance of Fitzgerald’s career!
- Speaking of Zane, does the sale of Mercury to Millennial include him? Also: what will all of the authors think of this exciting new development?
- Finally, Maggie’s fear of losing her sex appeal and its restoration courtesy of a male neighbour who furiously masturbates to her splayed image hanging from the ceiling is exactly the kind of storyline that I detest on Younger. Not only is this a misuse of Mazar’s talents, but I highly doubt that a devout lesbian like Maggie would be even remotely interested in what a straight man thinks of her sexiness. At least make the neighbour a woman, dum dums! (You just know it never even occurred to Younger that women might also be horny perverts)