By Lanford Beard
Updated December 20, 2019 at 03:05 AM EST
Credit: Patrick McElhenney/FOX

If you haven’t seen New Girl‘s season 3 finale yet, SPOILER ALERT! Stop reading now. If you have, click through for the full recap, and don’t forget to check out what Zooey Deschanel, Lamorne Morris, and EP Dave Finkel had to say about “Cruise.”

The set-up: Like so many rosé-fueled nights, Jess and Nick’s rash decision to book non-refundable passage on a couples cruise proved foolish in the aftermath of their break-up. So what did they do? They downgraded their tickets for the Lovers’ Suite so everybody could come along. Naturally, the gang had qualms about boarding this “floating, all-you-can-eat prison” with two exes — especially Coach, who was secretly terrified of boats — but they were all eventually convinced or goaded into going (all Schmidt needed was Cece’s mention of her new bikini). There was only one rule: No nautical puns, a.k.a. “the lowest form of humor.” Spoiler! This rule was broken immediately.

Speaking of Schmidt, he’d commissioned a class ring to congratulate Cece for passing her GED and assumed the crashing tides, a little jewelry, and a declaration of continued love would entice her into a high-seas sex-fest “to the bottom of the ocean — the sand, the mackerel, and the chum…” (to this list, Winston unfortunately added, “The crabs!”). Schmidt’s mission got off to a less-than-promising start, however, when the group discovered their “suite” was no more than a tiny room with six beds crammed together in a health commissioner’s nightmare. What’s more, the ship’s overzealous safety demonstrator (Oscar Nuñez) urged everyone to get Schmidt out of his “Grumpy Gus” state by tickling him willy-nilly. Not long after, Winston’s surprise tickle attack caused Schmidt to drop Cece’s ring into the ocean. Yep, this sucker was going down like the Titanic in every sense. (Hilariously, Schmidt lied that he was screaming by lying to Cece that he’d “just witnessed a dolphin being cut straight in half by our keel. It was a ghastly sight.” Yeah, those are not the kind of words that gets a girl all gooey inside.) Schmidt-mance Fail No.1.

Meanwhile, Jess almost immediately got jealous, insisting that the Wave Dancer‘s lady Captain Jan Nortis (Kerri Kenney-Silver) had flirted with Nick. Still, she and Nick tried to mitigate the weirdness by committing to doing as many activities as possible. Lacking the kind of docket that would suit “two brothers lookin’ for trouble,” the cruise’s “Grand Romance” package offered $600 of lovey-dovey schmaltz seemingly designed to remind “the best ex-couple in the whole word” of their failures. Cue the wacky montage set to Mungo Jerry’s “In the Summertime,” including yoga where they were instructed to breathe “through [their] genitals,” a sexy photo shoot (even the photographer acknowledged they were “really bumming [him] out”), couples massage, and towel sculpting.

NEXT: Nick makes his move…

That night, emboldened by yet more rosé, Nick misread the signals and went in for a kiss. Jess’s response (saying “yo” repeatedly) was not exactly what he’d intended, and they decided to stay apart for the remainder of the cruise. Winston didn’t approve of this plan, which was “like the President and the Vice President not being best friend.” To be continued…

Schmidt-mance Fail No. 2: After ordering a violinist he’d commissioned to start playing upon hearing the words “may our progeny bathe in the infinite glow,” Schmidt approached Cece to woo her with sweets nothings such as “Your eyes… in the moonlight, they sparkle like… fish eyes.” Unfortunately, she was too distracted looking for a phone signal, then finally admitted she was fighting so hard to talk to Buster because she wanted to make a relationship work for once. Schmidt realized he ultimately wants Cece to be happy and decided to give up the chase. As if on cue, Winston — not the violinist — rushed into the conversation… and then blew Schmidt’s cover. Then cue the world’s most incompetent violin serenade artist.

The three of them joined Coach, who’d been singing himself a soothing lullaby about not dying). Winny the Bish hatched a plan to get the exes in the same place to take the pressure off them and patch up their friendship. Re-enter Captain Jan, who came over the ship’s loudpseakers to announce that Nick and Jess should report to their room for “a non-life-threatening but necessary official maritime situation. This is not an emergency. It is definitely not.”

Once the state room door was locked and the “Do Not Disturb” sign was in place, Schmidt apologized for demanding too much of the exes. “Just let us in,” he implored, “open your cellar doors and let us taste your jams.” Neither Nick nor Jess was on board with that particular turn of phrase (Nick: “Hey, that’s my ex-girlfriend’s jam you’re talking about!”), but Cece got the conversation rolling. Jess and Nick finally copped to being worried about the “landmine for trouble” inherent in living with your ex. What would happen, Nick wondered, Jess brought “other hunks” around? Or, asked Jess, what about when Nick brought “some ho-bag around.” Jess then half-jokingly threatened to beat said ho-bag’s ass, to which Nick asked, “What if she’s bigger than you?” Jess: “She probably will be.” Truth, yet… zing!

Just as the others felt Jess and Nick had chartered a course to recovery, Jess let slip that Nick had tried to kiss her because “you try folding towels and see if you don’t get turned on.” (Coach: “Yeah, because they fold the towels like vaginas.” Winston: “They’re swans, dude!”) The exes admitted the day had been so hyped-up on romance that it had reignited their intimate feelings toward each other. Everyone rabble-rabbled, of course, but it was actually a solid, productive, non-weird moment of vulnerability and reconnection that the exes agreed didn’t have to go anywhere or get resolved immediately. They agreed they were each “okay” before sharing a non-genital-touching hug.

Jess suggested gamely, “Let’s go eat our weight in fake crab!” Only… the door was locked, and they couldn’t get it open. Someone suggested calling ship security, but Coach had gotten rid of the room phone because he thought the friend-tervention “was going to be more intense than this.” Fast forward to three days later when the safety instructor forcibly pried the door open. Jess sheepishly told him, “We did bad things to the tub,” as Winston pronounced himself “the sugar man,” and Nick screamed, “Silence! I have the talking soap!” Silver lining: Thanks to local news reports, the loftmates now had a family portrait (in which Cece was adorably looking at Schmidt with moony eyes). The gang also had new sleeping arrangements thanks to Schmidt, who welcomed Nick back into his room and suggested they invest in bunk beds: “It’ll be like college, only with a lot more sex. [Pause] That came out wrong.”

How did you like how season 3 wrapped up, folks? Share you thoughts in the comments!

NEXT: Two things about Coach you can’t unknow

Notable Dotables…

Jess: Guys, we’re going on a cruise! And you’re all coming!

Nick: None of you have a choice!

Schmidt: A cruise? If I wanted to watch a heavyset guy in sandals eating with his hands, I would have just posted up and watched Nick in the kitchen.

Coach’s definition of bravery: “I take dumps standing up, I’m a man!”

Winston’s itinerary:

– “I was hoping that, as a group, we could do a little night-fishing — and I already put down a deposit, so we’re going. And, if we don’t catch anything, they’ll let you shoot a machine gun directly into the water. That is international waters for you, baby.”

– “I’ve been trying to get them to talk to each other all morning, okay? I passed up on breakfast pizza and singles bingo. And those bingo chicks? They put out. Bingo!”

Cece: Look, things are all weird, but we’re all still friends. Let’s talk about it. I’ll go first — I’ve made out with half of the guys in this room.

Winston: That’s a start, that’s a start. And I have had nightmares about making out with the other guys in this room.

Jess: So… yourself?

Nick: And me?

Coach: It really bums me out that I’ll never know the infinite joy of carrying a child inside of me. [Awkward silence…]

And, because it’s the end of the season, here’s one more Winston Vine:

Episode Recaps


New Girl

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

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