Final touches are made for Schmidt and Cece's wedding, and big developments happen across multiple relationships
Credit: Adam Taylor/FOX
S5 E19
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Final touches are being made for Schmidt and Cece’s wedding, with Jess attempting to rework the most hideous bridal gown of all time (that’s saying a lot, from someone who is an avid watcher of Say Yes to the Dress) while Schmidt meets with his father, Gavin (Peter Gallagher), to taste wine for the big day.

Beyond the wedding, there were a number of romantic developments. Namely, Aly and Winston addressed their new relationship at work, Nick put himself out there and invited Reagan to the wedding, and Jess and Sam’s love was put to the test when a female friend of Sam’s, Diane (Caitlin Fitzgerald), paid a visit.

Here are the top 5 “loft”-iest moments from “Dress” and “Return to Sender.”

Jess’ battle to beautify Cece’s wedding dress. Remember when Jess was sequestered for jury duty so Winston accompanied Cece to her wedding dress shopping appointment, which was all fun and games until they realized they purchased the most hideous gown ever, basically because they were really champagne drunk? Yeah, well Jess said she could fix it, but she procrastinated big time — cut to her yelling at the dress that she can’t make it beautiful unless it lets her in. “I’ve never procrastinated like this,” she says, to which Schmidt responds, with an epic, sarcastic bite, “Well, what a fun, low-stakes time to try new things.” The thing is, she feels a ton of pressure for the dress to be perfect, but at this point, it’s looking like it might not even be just okay. “This dress is going to be in every single picture,” Jess says, “and people will say, ‘Cece, why do you look so bad? Also, who’s that murdered woman in the background?’ And the answer to both will be, ‘Jess.’” In the end — after visiting Schmidt’s wedding workshop, taking an idea walk, and so much more — the dress does come together, the solution being to flip it inside out.

Nick’s bountiful burner phones. Nick wants to invite Reagan to the wedding but is feeling a little defeated when he texts her (it’s something generic because he’s leading up to the ask) and doesn’t hear back. He gets Cece involved by using a creepy, convincing whisper to get her to text Reagan to see if she gets a response. When Cece doesn’t hear back either, Nick uses a burner phone he just happens to have on hand, and Reagan responds immediately (seriously?!). Things really escalate, and Nick ends up buying $200 worth of burner phones to keep putting Reagan to the test. Eventually he does text her as himself to ask her straight up if she’d be his date to the impending nuptials. Reagan says she’d love to…but will be at work. Hey, at least Nick tried, and Reagan did say she misses him. Interesting that the show is keeping the Reagan door open, which makes me wonder if she’ll return down the line…

Winston and Aly’s love song. Winston and Aly’s relationship has taken off since they admitted their feelings for each other and kissed in last week’s bachelor and bachelorette party episodes. They even have a song, which goes a little something like, “I’m gonna squeeze you tight, so wrong it’s right.” When a co-worker sees the pair making out in a closet at work and blackmails them into staying quiet — he’s actually a really nice guy but has a serious gambling problem and needs to pay up for a game of “I Spy” gone terribly wrong — Aly comes clean to the office about the new romance. “I get it,” their boss says. “Winston is hot as hell.” Still, they can’t be partners at work anymore, and one of them has to pair up with said blackmailer. Winston says he’ll do it if Aly sings the song with Winston harmonizing and being SO into it. They go, “Gonna squeeze you tight, our love takes flight. Sometimes it scares me, other times it doesn’t. Gonna squeeze you tight, our love takes flight. Our, love, takes…flight.” There’s even more at the end of the episode.

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Gavin stepping up his parenting game. Gavin has not been the best father to Schmidt, as we learned earlier in the season and saw in a series of flashbacks in this episode where Gavin never shows to meet Schmidt for a handful of musicals, and Nick is there to pick up the pieces. Naturally, Nick is hesitant about Gavin coming by for a wine tasting and hanging around again because he doesn’t want Schmidt to get his hopes up. He warns Schmidt and even gives Gavin a stern talking to. Still, Schmidt is upset when Gavin doesn’t make it to a dinner they planned later that night but also feels lucky to have a good friend like Nick. But wait, Gavin does show! He’s late because he was trying to clean the wedding venue and couldn’t call because his phone was stolen. In the end, Gavin offers his vineyard as a wedding venue, to which Schmidt excitedly agrees, and Gavin promises, “I’m all in from here on out.”

Sam showing where his true feelings lie. Jess feels threatened when a close female friend of Sam’s, Diane, comes to town for his birthday, so she attempts to mark her territory by bringing up a recent time they hooked up and pretty much hanging all over him. After that awkwardness, Jess nearly chokes and Diane saves her, so Jess of course feels bad and apologizes for getting so jealous. Turns out she had plenty of reason to because Diane is head-over-heels in love with Sam. She’d written him a letter years back confessing her feelings for him, but he never addressed it, so she assumed he just didn’t want to make things awkward so they could remain friends. BUT it turns out Sam never got the letter — Diane just received it back in the mail and gives it to Jess so she can do with it what she will. Jess struggles with that but eventually decides to give Sam the letter and brings him to talk to Diane because it’s better to know, right? Right, and things do work out for Jess and Sam. He tells her, “What you did for me today was the most selfless thing anyone has ever done for me. If there was ever a time for me and Diane, it’s passed, and when I read the letter, it reminded me how much that’s true.” I’ve never been a huge fan of Sam — #NICKANDJESS4EVER — but that was really sweet.

Honorable mentions:

  • Winston’s sex bark.
  • Jess’ impression of Cece, which also, according to Schmidt, is a “passable Sinatra.”
  • Schmidt’s wedding workshop, which he set up in the men’s bathroom at his office because he’s one of two men that works there, and he’s paying the other guy $8 a day to use another bathroom.
  • Schmidt’s description of Jess as someone who looks like a drawing that an 8-year-old would make of a BFF.
  • Jess filling in as a temp at Schmidt’s office because his boss can’t know that she was there to help with the wedding or else he’d get fired. As a temp, she picks up the boss’ kids from school, and one of them rips a book in half, so she calls him the Hulk.
  • Aly’s previous job photographing “idiot babies.”
  • Schmidt getting cramps from eating too many bananas (seriously, so many), the irony being that bananas are supposed to stop cramps…
  • Nick’s “French whore bath,” where he doesn’t shower but just pats himself down with a towel.
  • Cece becoming a romantic and crying during a bank commercial with an elderly couple.
  • Winston’s insistence that he and Sam are “bird bros” and that Sam must wear a bird shirt. When Winston realizes that bird shirts aren’t really Sam’s thing and then the Diane drama goes down, he announces that there are two types of people — the type that wear bird shirts and the type that don’t — and Jess needs to be with a bird-shirt guy.
  • Jess coping with the possibility that Sam might not come back by watching videos of dogs waiting for their dead owners to come home.
  • Jess’ attempts to make Sam laugh with his mouth open.

What did you think of tonight’s episodes? Let us know in the comments below, and check back next week for highlights from the season 5 finale.

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