Credit: Ray Mickshaw/Fox

Now this was an episode. I know the reaction to Abby has been mixed, but I liked how she spiced up the dynamic in “Sister II.” No doubt she’s annoying and self-obsessed — like, well, everyone else on this show at times — and despite the fact she is actually dangerous to be around (Sky Knife!), the gang needed a jolt. You can’t say that she hasn’t provided one. That it will likely be temporary is good, but that it happened at all is an improvement in my book.

Also, WINSTON!!! The writers managed to do what has heretofore eluded them by giving him a primary story line that showed substance beyond a new set of tics. Yet the episode also allowed Lamorne Morris to run wild with his brilliant improv skills — the very ones that have made him my favorite character in season 3 in spite of Winston’s flimsy character development. Tuesday’s episode inched him a step closer to being fully fleshed-out.

So let’s not delay anymore, Newbies!

The ep returned in real time, one week after Abby set down her bags at the loft, and Jess was growing increasingly anxious about the chaos. Perhaps it was the barrage of knives falling randomly from the ceiling? Or maybe it was the fact that the rest of the loftmates were constantly conspiring with Abby to prey on Jess’s worrywart personality. Either way, Jess decided to convince Abby that she wanted to move out. And, before that, she’d find an apartment for her big sis to ensure she could.

Despite Nick’s clear inability to lie, scheme, or even follow a basic conversation, Jess enlisted him to babysit Abby for an afternoon while she and Cece went apartment hunting. (Strangely, we got no indication Abby was keeping tabs on Jess all that time when she was hurling knives at the ceiling, so the fact that Jess didn’t consider claiming she was running errands shows how paranoid and harebrained this plot was.) Nick took Abby to a vintage automobile museum, and she immediately noticed something was up. To force the truth out of him, she climbed up on the hood of one of the cars. This sparked the wrath of a museum attendant and did the trick, breaking Nick in about 30 seconds. (Come on, Miller!) And yet Abby still wouldn’t get off the hood.

Nick called Schmidt in as a reinforcement since he was no-nonsense and had plenty of experience with crazy girls. Schmidt took a few thoughtful minutes and executed his plan: “Hey Abby, let’s go get tacos.” Really complex stuff, y’all. Some time later, Nick barged into Schmidt’s apartment and was disturbed to find Abby melting chocolate (in Schmidt’s mini-kimono!) as Schmidt lay on the island, reverse-hogtied and gagged with an apple. Nonsense! It was clear the deed had been thoroughly done — and would be done many times more that day (see Dotables).

NEXT: “Nonsense has the hands of an angel.”

Things reached a climax in more ways than one that evening. Nick thought he could take control of the situation by suggesting to Jess that Abby just needed a distraction in the form of Li’l Schmidt, but Jess wasn’t buying it. She’d found a North Hollywood apartment surrounded by churches and gay veterans that was also conveniently across the street from an emergency room. She was full-steam-ahead with her own plan: She’d get Abby buzzed and give her the hard sell for independent living. She even went so far as to script lines for Nick.

At dinner, let’s just say Nick’s real-estate-pamphlet spiel proved he shouldn’t quit his day job (or even his moonlighting gig as a zombie novelist) to pursue acting. Add to that Schmidt’s interloping (beckoning jollily, “Who wants to rediscover couscous?”). Suffice it to say, neither Abby nor Schmidt were concentrating on the business at hand — that is, unless you mean Schmidt’s business and Abby’s hand (euphemism!). The whole thing was gloriously uncomfortable for everyone except Schmidt, who has a lack of self-control and a bit of an exhibitionist streak, it turns out. He finally came clean to Jess about his and Abby’s afternoon of “banging and poking and scratching and hanging and teasing — such teasing, I mean really excruciating, life-giving teasing.”

On the bright side, Jess actually got what she wanted, sort of. After Nick took the sisters to task for manipulating and lying to each other, they hashed out their differences, and Nick forced them to have each other’s back when he took Jess’s honesty pile-on a little too far, muttering to Abby, “You’re a garbage person, and you should live in a dumpster with rotten snails!” Regardless, it was easily smoothed over. Then Abby announced she would move out — and in with Schmidt! I’ve been wondering when they would use the long-simmering plot device of Schmidt’s loft, and we can officially file this development under “Things That Are Totally Unexpected and Absolutely Awesome.” It will likely be short-lived (Linda Cardellini isn’t booked for any episodes past next week), but I’m going to enjoy the ride while it lasts. And so will Schmidt. As he left, he asked, “Hey Jess, can I borrow your glasses? We’re going to role play as you guys.” She and Nick were both understandably horrified, so he clarified (even more ickily… and hilariously), “You don’t understand — she’s not going to be you, I’m going to be you!” And with that, a knife dropped onto the dinner table.

Later that night, Jess apologized to Nick for having such a crazy family. He was incredulous. As he’d noted earlier, he came from a long line of liars and con-men. Still, he affirmed once more, “You’re family’s not crazy. My family’s crazy. My father used to trade horse semen. I’ve got an uncle who’s God-given name is Shifty.” They laughed as Jess noted, “Well thank goodness we’re the sane ones.” And then she threw a knife at the ceiling above her bed.

NEXT: Winston gets testy

Elsewhere, the day had arrived when Winston would learn if he’d passed the LAPD entrance exam, making him eligible for police academy (unfortunately not Police Academy — that’s Winslow). Only, 30 seconds before he looked up his results, Abby psyched him out by not-so-innocently getting Winston to reveal he always chokes when something’s important to him. Terrified of discovering he’d failed, Winston made it his mission to procrastinate for… the rest of his life, I guess? Since most everyone had plans, Winston booked Coach’s entire afternoon training schedule, which had the unfortunate effect of blocking Coach from a little post-workout hanky panky with a client.

Not too long into Winston’s session (see Dotables for a Vine-apalooza because Lamorne Morris was genius), Coach got fed up and checked Winston’s phone. Winny the Bish had indeed failed. They headed to a coffee shop to talk, and Coach encouraged Winston to jump-start a new career trajectory with a job there. The manager gave Winston an immediate interview, and things began unraveling when Winston was asked to name his greatest weakness. An eavesdropping Coach stage whispered everybody’s favorite, perfectionism, so Winny went with that. And then came this panic-induced verbal vomit…

“I’m overheating, so here’s what we’re going to do now — I’m just gonna shoot from the hip, a little rapid fire, give you some fun facts you might not know about me: I hate standing up, I’m bad with numbers, and I just honestly from the bottom of my heart don’t think that women should be allowed to handle money. And that’s for real.”

Despite this damning list of (untrue) weaknesses, things only really fell apart after the manager pointed out that Winston hadn’t filled out the back side of his application. That snafu made Winston think maybe he’d failed his police exam because he’d missed the back there, too. He was relieved, saying to Coach, “I didn’t choke! I’m just careless!” He turned back to the manager to add, “And that is my biggest weakness… ya bitch!” Annnnnd interview over.

Winston and Coach marched over to the police station, where an officer reminded Winston that the test had been administrated on a computer — there was no backside to miss. Oof! Coach proceeded to give his buddy “the Winston of pep talks,” a brutal rag on his failure. But there was more, and Coach spun the heckling forward: Winston had hit rock bottom, so now the pressure was off. This angle gave Winston the courage to return to the officer’s desk and declare that no one would stand in the way of his dream to become a policeman — “definitely not myself.” With that, Winston’s second chance was granted… at 7:30 a.m. the next day. Winston knee-jerked, “Man, what about my last score makes you think I’m ready to take this test again in 12 hours?” Coach assured the unamused officer, “He’ll be there.”

And so the path is clear for Winston to fulfill his destiny (a.k.a. my heart’s desire) of falling in love with Det. Amy Santiago in a Brooklyn Nine-Nine crossover episode. That is, unless he bails after Abby’s dropped some more mind games on him, telling him that he might get paired with a dirty cop, murdered for reporting it to Internal Affairs, and planted next to a male prostitute. Winston’s response: “They got dude prostitutes? Nuh uh!” Yep. Jess is right: Abby is to going to wreck Schmidt — but she may have just started using Winston for target practice.

NEXT: Who doesn’t like a good Coach training Vine?

Notable Dotables

So apparently…

When Nick’s home alone, he puts pantyhose over his head and pretends he’s mugging the President for… hot dogs? No actual quote except maybe, “Give me the hot dogs, you son of a b—-!”

How Winston client-blocked Coach:

Why Schmidt and Abby might just work (or explode):

“Crazy girls are kind of my Hurt Locker. Some men, they can just walk away — not me. I just keep comin’ back.”

Nick: Whatever happened to no-nonsense?

Schmidt: I’ve really changed my tune on nonsense, Nick. For the life of me, I could not understand the grasp that Jess had on you. But if she came from the same gene pool as this one? [Chuckles] Kudos, my friend. Even if it’s a tenth of what I just experienced — even if it’s a DeVito-Schwarzenegger split from Twins–

Nick [angrily]: You calling Jess the DeVito?!

Schmidt got a happy ending, so why shouldn’t you?

Episode Recaps

New Girl

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

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