Adam Taylor/Fox
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October 02, 2013 at 04:55 AM EDT

Fare thee well, Elizabeth? She was barely in tonight’s episode, but — if her pie-mangling hatred of Schmidt is anything indication — it seems our beloved Merritt Wever will no longer be appearing on New Girl. That prospect makes me want to cry almost as much as Schmidt and Cece’s heart-wrenching break-up. In the midst of tonight’s episode, it finally hit me: There’s a reason that Schmidt’s love triangle hasn’t been as funny as most Schmidt-uations — it was too real. I think we secretly knew deep-down that it would end in this kind of a gut-punch confrontation. New Girl‘s pendulum has to swing both ways, is what I’m saying. So, yes, tonight’s installment may not have been as laugh-packed as usual, but it’s also the kind of episode that proves these characters are more than just a collection of tics (well… except for Winston, I’m still somewhat sad to report). It was also obviously a huge set-up episode, ushering in the “Schmidt’s Revenge” story arc we’ve been promised. So how did Schmidt go from two-timer to broken heart to man on a mission? Well…

It all started when Jess invited Schmidt and Cece on a double date with her and Nick. Schmidt panicked because he already had plans with Elizabeth that night (Dexter and pie, natch). Seeing this frenetic energy, Cece began to notice something off about Schmidt. She interrupted Jess and Nick’s afterglow to spitball some ideas. Jess poo-poohed the idea that Schmidt might be on drugs: “Remember how hard he took it when Lance [Armstrong] got busted — he just stared at that yellow bracelet and cried.” So, with Whip-Its ruled out, Jess enlisted Nick to talk to Schmidt. In exchange, she’d give him “a treat” in the form of role play — her country lawyer with an itchy bra could be seduced by whatever-Nick-was-playing-at (his only salient character trait: “worker’s hands”). But let’s get to the important bits, like how this scene resulted not only in the revelation that Jess had creaky elbow from “seventh grade, fist pumping too hard at a Weird Al show” but also in Nick exposing all his naked under-regions to Cece while trying to leave the girl talk. Let’s hope that footage makes the Blu-ray!

Proving he’s not completely heartless (or at least wasn’t at the start of the ep), Schmidt finally crumbled under the guilt and revealed to Nick that he hadn’t actually broken up with either Cece or Elizabeth. Oh, and just one thing: Nick couldn’t tell Jess. Once Schmidt had completely entrapped his roomie, Nick immediately developed a case of anxiety gag reflex. Apparently Nick is a terrible liar — so bad that he had to put on a motorcycle helmet and have no-kiss-sex with Jess to avoid the inevitable vomming-out of truth. But, as established, it was inevitable. During a post-coital chuckle about Jess’s use of Spaceballs quotes as an aphrodisiac (“They jammed the radar with literal jam!”), Jess mentioned Cece. Nick went bug-eyed and tried to flap down his visor to throw Jess off the scent. Big surprise, that did not work, and Nick cried like a stool pigeon.

Jess stormed out to confront Schmidt — that “Long Island street trash” and unabashed “crumb bum” (“crumbum”?). Even as Nick enacted a hilariously awkward “distraction” dance (with show choir-style arm pops and pas de bourrees!), Jess made Schmidt promise to confess to Cece. When Cece arrived, Schmidt instead rushed her out the door, ditching his phone, and lied to her en route to the restaurant that it was Nick cheating.

Nick, meanwhile, was in lukewarm pursuit — driving incredibly poorly (he’s legally blind, turns out) and doing idiotic things like sticking his finger in the car’s cigarette lighter in solidarity with Jess. You see, she had risked life and digit because she thought Nick was being a wimp for being scared to hold Schmidt accountable for his infidelity, so she was tying to prove how much she was not a wimp… by intentionally injuring herself. Either way, they’re both burn-victim idiots with questionable taste in friends. To be continued…

NEXT: Winston, party of 5 1

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Zooey Deschanel plays lovable Jess, who is plodding through life with a good group of friends.
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