It takes a certain suspension of disbelief to watch Younger. And, let me be clear, this is no dig at Sutton Foster — she is a beautiful woman and a great actress. But it’s hard to fathom, given both her character’s maturity and appearance, that no one in her sham life hasn’t even questioned her alleged age. That’s also part of the fun of the show, though, and I’m happy to roll with those punches. But tonight’s deus ex machina twist involving Thad? We might have crossed over into the absurd.
But let’s start at the beginning with an homage I simply adore: Crown of Kings, the Younger universe’s version of Game of Thrones. Empirical Publishing is making preparations for the release of the fantasy series’ final volume, and the office is frantic. As is Charles, who seems barely able to speak as bespectacled, bebearded author Edward L.L. Moore rides in on his mobility scooter. The immediate task at hand: Casting the series’ characters for the upcoming Times Square event. But none of the assembled actresses is up to Moore’s snuff when it comes to portraying his beloved heroine Princess Pampam. That is, until Liza swoops into the meeting to deliver snacks and he gets a good look at her. He’s instantly smitten (“My God, she walks like a lyric poem!”) and insists she play the part. Later, at dinner, he tells Liza he’ll reveal the saga’s end to her, but then he’ll have to “eat her.” So unappetizing.
In between Princess Pampam duties, Liza’s also forced to deal with the Thad situation. As you’ll recall, she was forwarded an NSFW video of Kelsey’s fiancé getting busy with his assistant in the bathroom, and she told him he must confess — or she would on his behalf. But how could she have predicted that her good-for-nothing daughter (my words, not hers) would unintentionally blow her cover to Thad? Through a convoluted series of events, Thad ends up on Liza’s Brooklyn doorstep just as Caitlin (I literally just had to look up her name because I couldn’t even remember it) returns home and slips that Liza is her mom. Thad does his due diligence and discovers through the Dartmouth directory that Liza did indeed graduate in 1996 — 14 years earlier than she’s been claiming. He now has all the blackmail material he needs to keep Liza quiet about his indiscretion. Or does he?
Back in Times Square at the Crown of Kings launch, Liza emerges from her changing tent in full regalia, and by “full” I mean “barely there.” Her costume consists of little more than a fur bikini and Ugg boots, which means she probably, most definitely should sue the publishing house for sexual harassment. But she soldiers through until Moore makes one too many inappropriate propositions, and she politely excuses herself to the bathroom. As she sits, dejected, who should walk up but Caitlin, who tracked her location using Liza’s own tablet. Liza shoos Caitlin away before she has a chance to blow her cover once again, but not before Caitlin makes the false assumption that her mother is working as a Times Square furry and promises to enroll in chemistry given how hard Liza is working on her behalf.
Liza also gets consolation from Charles, who finally does his job as her boss and rescues her from Moore’s clutches for a post-fete drink. And they’re totally in the middle of a moment when Thad rudely interrupts by texting his evidence. Chiza, foiled again!
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The next day, Liza meets Thad to hear his demands: He wants her to delete the video, attend the wedding, and keep him happy (whatever that means), in exchange for not getting her fired from her job. To her credit, Liza’s all, FAT CHANCE BURN IT DOWN and walks off… just as a crane drops a very heavy-look beam right on top of Thad.