Has Younger Finally Realized That Its Female Relationships Are More Compelling Than Its Love Stories?
And more questions sparked by the Season 3 finale!
Where is the Colin/Kelsey story actually going?
First, let me say how well I think the show has handled this plot line thus far, because every beat feels very true. Kelsey -- not just an editor but a powerful publishing executive -- questions whether Colin is pursuing her for opportunistic reasons, and worries about reading his novel manuscript in case it's no good. When it is good, she gets too excited thinking she's locked up the title for Millennial and pushes a magazine excerpt, only to see the book sold out from under her to a higher bidder. She has to be called to a sit-down with Pippa, Colin's editor, and ordered to quit overstepping her bounds as his girlfriend and contradicting Pippa's notes. But I'm not really sure where things are headed based on the events of the finale? He blows off his own party at the Hamptons Book Fair to be at Millennial's, but then nothing comes of it? Then when he's invited to L.A. to talk to Netflix about selling the rights to his book for a TV series, it makes him change his mind about letting Kelsey stay at his place while he looks for his own? If the trajectory of their relationship is that Colin's success outstrips Kelsey's and he tires of her, it will be very boring and predictable; we've already all seen The Last Five Years. But at the same time, I won't really be that mad about it: given that we barely know Colin at all, it's hard to care either way whether he and Kelsey stay together.
Speaking of relationships, where is the Diana/Richard relationship going?
When she first met him and found out his whole deal (living in his office; needing to crash with her), it seemed like we were heading toward some kind of grifter situation. Is he getting her to sext because he's saving this as evidence to use against her if she ever tries to evict him or something? Or do I just have blackmail on the brain due to...well, see below.
Emily is the one to find Liza's real social media accounts?
Granted, she had help from Liza's supposed Dartmouth classmate, who presumably would have access to alumni networks, and who's conveniently left the story. And of course, it wouldn't be a finale if Liza didn't get spooked by someone threatening to expose her secret. But given that Emily's been portrayed as kind of a ditz, it feels slightly too convenient that she's the only one who's tried to dig this deep on Liza when everyone else has taken her story at face value. Lauren didn't get curious some night and discover Liza's lie -- and in 1/100th the time it took Emily, besides? I don't buy it.
And now Emily just...has a book deal at Millennial?
Emily uses her leverage to get Liza to bring her dumb dog self-help book idea to Kelsey; when Kelsey negs it, Liza just waits for Kelsey to leave Millennial's party and then announces Emily's book deal. Liza has that authority? And then Kelsey doesn't give Liza shit for going around her or ask why? In fact, it doesn't come up in the second half of the episode at all? It doesn't make sense. But congratulations to Emily on her successful extortion bid, I guess.
What does Josh actually want?
Since the start of the season, there's been tension between Josh and Liza over his desire to have kids and her feeling that the teenager she already has is enough. And when last week's pregnancy scare amounted to nothing, it seemed like they were finally about to have a serious conversation about what these conflicting visions would mean for their future as a couple. Then Liza goes away to this book fair, Josh has one conversation with Maggie, and...
His big romantic surprise is scuttled when he comes up behind Liza just as she's making out with Charles, so Liza spends a lot of the back half of the finale two-parter trying to make up with him. But marriage was not going to be a solution to this very serious disagreement. You can't have a relationship where one partner wants to be a parent and the other doesn't; the would-be parent will end up resenting what he's given up, while the non-parent will feel guilty for keeping the would-be parent from his dream. This impulsive proof of love was only ever going to postpone their argument before they've really even had it. Charles was accidentally doing Liza a favour by making out with her and not just because he's the better option for her for about a thousand reasons.
Has the show finally realized its female friendships are more compelling than its love stories?
A field trip to an event featuring a motivational speaker Empirical wants to sign to a book deal provides Liza's lie scare in Part 2, as her ex-husband David takes the stage to announce he wants Liza back. He's even going to call her immediately! Liza sneaks away from Kelsey to the bathroom, (badly) disguises her voice, and tells Paul she's moved on, and he should do the same. Supposedly, this (plus the speaker's "Get Real" messaging) leads her to the epiphany that she really does love Josh, but when she goes to tell him that, it seems to be too late: he's tired of her lies.
From there, a dejected Liza goes home, where Kelsey is waiting, having just been turfed out of Colin's. (The whole reason she needs a place to stay, by the way, is that Max has moved in with Lauren at her parents' house and Kelsey's getting crowded out -- though if this is what it takes for Kelsey to Get Real about her living situation, so be it.) Maggie warns Liza not to be too honest just as Kelsey's coming around the corner, but Liza's Getting Real: she sits Kelsey down, shows her a photo of herself and Caitlin, and prepares to tell Kelsey the whole story -- and the fact that this is where we close the season feels, to me, like an acknowledgement that Liza's relationship with Kelsey is more important and almost certainly will be more enduring than whatever she has or had with Josh. Yes, I know, Josh was on the receiving end of this one back at the Season 1 finale, but things are different now: Kelsey and Liza really are equals at work if Liza can just go ahead and make book deals all on her own and not get in trouble for it. Kelsey and Liza have been there for each other through some real personal and professional crises. Kelsey is long overdue the truth about Liza, and while I know that each new person who knows Liza's secret brings us closer to the end of the series as its central premise melts away, a show like this was always going to have an end date. I do still want Liza to hook up with Charles because he's a fine piece of ass and they have so much in common. But their romantic happiness is of far less concern to me than that, after all this time, Liza gets right with Kelsey.