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February 02, 2014 at 12:00 PM EST

Inside Jess was beating herself up for not saying “I love you” to Nick. Cece suggested she was scared. Jess insisted she wasn’t, saying “I love you!” loudly, to no one in particular. It attracted the attention of L.A. Dodgers’ super-pitcher Clayton Kershaw, who introduced himself. Jess thought it was a line and rudely dismissed him. Moments later, Nick appeared. Jess said she wanted to tell him something, that she should have said it earlier, and struggled to get the right words out… before fainting.

Jess regained consciousness outside, surrounded by the whole gang (even Schmidt, who had scratched his way through a well-manicured hedge filled with purple Frisbees: “Prince is terrible at Frisbee, there are like 10 of those in there!”). Nick offered to take back his “I love you” to clear the air, which understandably upset Jess. After asking the others to leave them alone, she wondered if that’s how Nick really felt, and he asked, “Well… how do you feel?” Jess didn’t have time for another panic attack because she and Nick were soon face-to-face with Prince. Greeting this Afro-sporting icon in many textures of black, they both let out high-pitched squeals of excitement — okay, mostly Nick, who shrilled like a howler monkey before he fainted —

After a few awkward moments together on a slightly-too-small bench and a brief explanation of finger guns, Prince asked Nick to give him some time alone with Jess. The Artist Once Again Known As… shared a late pancake supper with Jess before taking her on journey of self-discovery — including a montage makeover (to “When You Were Mine”!), a game ping pong in which he handed her ass to her, and a personal introduction to his pet Monarch butterfly. It was a deliciously understated performance and a nice counterpart to New Girl‘s frequently over-the-top comedy (a style I happen to like but that many have slammed during season 3). The greatest single moment of all this, to me, was when he locked Jess in a closet (or maybe it was a fancy rich person’s in-home elevator? either way, it was sparkly!), only to appear inside moments later — without opening the door — illuminated by a flickering lighter like some sort of ghoulish sage. Jess stopped screaming long enough for him to turn off his lighter, turn it back on, and say, “Boo!” After Prince was sufficiently satisfied that he’d shared the secrets of the universe with he, he leaned in for one last whisper in her ear (that he had to repeat because the man speaks softly) and sent his little purple velvet-clad cub out into the wild.

NEXT PAGE: Supermodels, sour pusses, and a sweet ending for Jess and Nick

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