Younger Recap: Everything’s In Transition In “Forever”

Younger Forever Younger, "Forever" (TVLand)

A busy finale ends in a matrimonial cliffhanger – minus the stakes.

Looking back on season six of Younger, it’s been strangely unremarkable plot-wise. Far be it from me to suggest that the show is stuck in a rut or spinning its wheels, but the writers definitely seemed more reticent than usual to allow significant plot developments to stick.

Oh sure, there’s been drama in the Charles (Peter Hermann) / Liza (Sutton Foster) relationship over Josh (Nico Tortorella) in these last few episodes, but it’s been slight and almost insubstantial. The fact that Josh shows up at Diana’s wedding to exactly zero fanfare proves that it was Liza who blew their Infinitely 21 posters out of proportion and not Charles.

And then there’s the rotating leadership stuff at Millennial with Quinn (Laura Benanti), Kelsey (Hilary Duff) and Charles. The intriguing prospect of Charles and Kelsey being in competition with each other has been hinted at several times this season – once for a few episodes and then again briefly here, but the writers are soooo hesitant to commit. Here the suggestion doesn’t even last a full episode before Charles is offering Kelsey shares in his family-run company in order to entice her back. Why bother with the Dear John letter from the last episode at all if you’re simply going to undo it in 23 minutes?!

“Forever” feels like a missed opportunity to tie-off the lingering threads of a mildly messy, repetitive season.

“Forever”, unfortunately, offers very little closure, principally because it is more of a haphazard transition episode. You can almost see the creative team working to set up storylines and character arcs for season seven, but the result for season six is a finale that feels entirely future-focused. All of the emotional “of the moment” elements wind up falling by the wayside.

Take, for example, the mess that should accompany Kelsey’s sudden departure. After a zany – and frankly silly – attempt by Liza to prevent Charles from reading Kelsey’s resignation letter in the pre-credit sequence, “Forever” eschews the chaos of the office in order to jump ahead nearly a week. One would expect to get a sense of what life is like without an integral member of the senior leadership team, but instead there is only a brief mention of empty Kleenex (from the crying), dodged calls (from Liza) and dropped meetings (from Diana’s calendar). That’s it!

The lack of time and attention spent on Kelsey’s absence undercuts Charles’ moving speech to her at the wedding, while also echoing the same familial sentiments he already made when he agreed to return to Millennial as a mere editor in “Merger, She Wrote“. The lack of satisfying set-up and the repetitiveness of his words makes his gesture less impactful (It also begs the question: why wasn’t this an option before she quit and was clearly unhappy stepping down?)

If that were the only example, perhaps it would be forgivable, but “Forever” is completely structured a significant event that essentially receives zero screen time: Diana (Miriam Shor)’s wedding to Enzo (Chris Tardio). The actual event is barely even shown outside of a few pre-ceremony conversations and a glimpse of the reception afterwards. Some may argue that this is because it is the wedding of a secondary character and its true purpose is merely to provide an opportunity to put Liza, Charles, Josh, and Kelsey into close proximity. I won’t refute that fact, but to do so little justice to a milestone event, even one for a secondary character, begs the question: why bother including it at all?! It’s a slap in the face to Miriam Shor’s superb, understated work on the series that Younger can’t even give her character a moment in the spotlight to deliver her vows. Instead, she receives an (admittedly nice) confessional moment in the back of the limo, although even that is all about Liza!

If nothing else, “Forever” feels like a missed opportunity to tie-off the lingering threads of a mildly messy, repetitive season of Younger. Instead, the finale opts to revisit/recycle plot lines and then throw a marriage cliffhanger in the final moments as a hail mary to tie fans over until the show returns next summer for season seven.

Will we be watching? Of course! Was this a well-structured and well-paced send-off? Sadly no.

Random Thoughts:

  • Another complaint: the Josh/tattoo stuff with Annaleigh Ashford‘s Shelly from Infinitely 21 feels incredibly slight. Sure, as I said last week, it’s fun to see the Broadway legend make lewd innuendos, but revisiting the tattoo that Josh gave Liza back in 3.09’s “Summer Friday” is such a threadbare excuse to ensure Josh is at the wedding so that there’s some lingering uncertainty whether Liza will accept Charles’ proposal. It’s all just a little too obvious.
  • Charles “proposes” a vacation to Scotland with the girls next year, including Kaitlin (who is a character that still exists apparently!) but later rescinds it for a more straight forward marriage proposal. A) That’s gauche – don’t hijack someone else’s wedding reception with your own marriage stuff and, B) What a weird, awkward proposal (no ring, no knee? Dude, DO THE PREP WORK)
  • WTF is Lauren (Molly Bernard) wearing at the wedding? It’s like a twelve-year-old bejewelled a peach teddy. Yuck, what an eyesore.
  • Diana’s something new is a frankly GIANT statement necklace, which is possibly the most “on brand” item that Enzo could have ever given his new bride. Also: she threw up in her purse on the ride over ’cause she’s keeping it real.
  • I’ve held off discussing Zane (Charles Michael Davis) for as long as I can: HE IS (STILL) SUCH A DICK. I get that perhaps Zane still feels resentful of Kelsey’s refusal to date him because she’s going through some major life issues, but honestly, his attitude reeks of “entitled asshole” syndrome. When he blames her for bailing on their relationship and infers that she brought her woes upon herself, I literally wrote “F*ck this asshole” in my notes. Like, no hate on Charles Michael Davis, who is just playing the character, but Zane seriously needs to get written off this show because that character is TOXIC. He is certainly no longer a viable romantic partner for Kelsey!
  • One last Diana quip to tide you over for the next ten or so months. Diana (to Liza, complaining about her inadequate maid-of-honor abilities): “You’re a thousand years old, this can’t be your first rodeo.”

Younger, “Forever” Season Six After Show:

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