Younger – It’s Love, Actually
By: Taylor Gates
Maggie (Debi Mazar) and Liza (Sutton Foster) attend a going-away party Josh (Nico Tortorella) is throwing for Clare (Phoebe Dynevor). Jay (Aasif Mandvi) texts Liza, asking her to be his plus-one for a book launch party. Liza tells Maggie they have dating potential, but Maggie observes that Liza doesn’t seem head-over-heels for him.
Josh, Clare, Lauren (Molly Bernard), and Kelsey (Hilary Duff) make their way to Maggie and Liza’s table, marveling all the cute pictures Josh and Clare have taken at different NYC landmarks. Clare says they photoshopped them all in Josh’s bedroom in between having sex. Everyone goes off to dance, leaving Josh and Liza alone. Josh tells Liza how crushed he is that it seems he can never be with anyone he loves because of timing. Clare tells him he’s not allowed to be sad that night and they all toast to Liza for setting Clare and Josh up.
The next morning, Clare and Josh lay in bed together, sadly wondering what they could have been. She always dreamed of being a New Yorker and feels like she failed. Josh says New York City is all about failing and getting back up. Clare says, although their time together was wonderful, having a transatlantic relationship for two years until she can get another work visa is unrealistic.
Later, Lauren barges into Kelsey’s room, saying Josh needs to borrow her rolling bag in order to go to Ireland with Clare. They say that Clare can’t know he’s going because she would try to convince him not to.
Charles (Peter Hermann) informs the Empirical staff that Diana (Miriam Shor) is being honored at a publicity award ceremony for her work on P is for Pigeon. The good news doesn’t stop there—the transcript for Marriage Vacation is going around and people are really responding to it. Because of its great buzz, they’re going to make a serious awards push. However, they feel as if it would have a better chance if it were released as an Empirical title because of their history for prestigious literature. Kelsey is offended, saying Millennial has a great reputation of its own. Diana worries that critics will hesitate nominating it because of Millennial’s labradoodle book, but Liza argues that Marriage Vacation would be their first step towards making their youthful brand take on a more mature vibe. Charles tables the discussion, telling them he just wanted to give them the courtesy of a heads up.
Kelsey storms into her office, furious that Empirical is trying to steal their success. Liza is more calm, reminding her they’re all on the same team. Kelsey gets another text from Zane (Charles Michael Davis), asking her to discuss some business over dinner. Liza is suspicious that they’re still in touch, warning Kelsey not to trust Zane or do anything impulsive.
Kelsey and Zane get lobster rolls at a food truck. Zane apologizes for going too far with L.L. Moore and messing up things between them. He reveals he’s leaving Rivington and wants to start his own company, inviting her to join him. He has an editor’s clause in L.L. Moore’s contract, so if Zane goes, Moore must go as well, which would give his new company leverage. The possibility of calling her own shots is enticing to Kelsey and she says she’ll think about it.
Liza doesn’t think Kelsey working with Zane is a good idea. Kelsey says that running her own company is her endgame and she can either start now or in ten years. Plus, this would mean Liza would get to run her own imprint. Liza urges Kelsey to talk to Redmond (Michael Urie) to make sure Zane is telling the truth about Moore.
Kelsey meets with both Redmond and Zane. Redmond says that Moore’s contract states he can leave if his editor does but he doesn’t have to, and he isn’t going to let his client do that. Zane backpedals, promising he can sell Moore, but Redmond says anyone could do that. Barely dodging another one of Zane’s shady deals, Kelsey triumphantly pays for lunch and leaves.
Liza accompanies Jay to a cookbook release party. Throughout the night, people keep coming up to her and fangirling about Marriage Vacation. Liza apologizes to Jay for the disruptions but he says he’s proud of her. They kiss and he says that, although he would love to invite her back to his place, his mom is staying with him while recovering from knee surgery. They make plans to hang out after the publishing awards the next day.
Charles stays up late finishing Pauline’s (Jennifer Westfeldt) book wherein she reveals she regrets not trusting Charles enough to show him who she really was and hopes they still have a chance to reconnect. She comes down the stairs from tucking her daughters in, and Charles stops her, complimenting the book. Pauline reveals Liza convinced her the ending was the right choice, and Charles invites her back to read their girls another bedtime story the next night.
Richard (Mather Zickel) blindfolds Diana and leads her into an apartment. He says he heard her concerns about Ethan living with them and proposes that they move into a new two-bedroom apartment to give them all more space.
Diana goes to Richard’s ex-wife Winnie’s (Kate Blumberg) therapy office, telling her she wants to help her and Ethan get back on good terms so Ethan can move back in with her. Winnie reveals that she didn’t kick him out—Richard wanted Ethan to stay with him. Diana brings up Ethan dropping out of school which is news to Winnie. Winnie freaks out and says this is so typical of Richard. Diana asks what exactly that means, and Winnie tells her everything.
Richard comes home, telling Diana he heard from Winnie and begs her to let him explain. Diana cuts him off, saying Ethan manipulated him and then Richard manipulated her because he needed a place to stay. Richard desperately says he loves her, but Diana says he supposedly loved Winnie too and also lied to her. Richard says Diana has opened up and grown so much since she met him, but Diana retorts that Richard has made her realize she deserves someone better who won’t play her. She tells him to get his stuff out before she gets home.
At the awards, Liza tells Diana how sorry she is about Richard, especially right before her red carpet. Diana responds that she won the award, not him. She says she’s okay with stepping out alone, but at the last minute she grabs Liza’s hand to join her.
Jay tells Liza his mom is healed and has left the house so the place is all theirs. Jay and Charles have a somewhat awkward run-in when Jay asks Charles how the book has affected his relationship Pauline and says they were great together. Liza throws Charles a pining look once he walks away.
Zane tells Kelsey he wasn’t playing her, he was just trying to get Kelsey on his side before approaching Moore. He took a big swing and missed but will land on his feet soon enough. It doesn’t take long for Kelsey to find out what he means, as Charles reveals that Moore is coming back to Empirical and Zane is coming on as an Executive Editor. Charles and Pauline hold hands at dinner, making Liza jealous and uncomfortable. She excuses herself from the table.
After the dinner, Pauline thanks Liza for helping her get Charles back on her side again. Pauline and Charles leave and Liza starts tearing up. Jay then realizes that she loves Charles and, for the first time, Liza admits aloud that she does. Liza hugs Jay, telling him he’s so nice and implicitly apologizing that she doesn’t reciprocate the feelings he has for her.