Wednesday, February 24, 2016

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza's Lie Hits Its Breaking Point with Her Relationship with Josh in 'Beyond Therapy'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 2.08 "Beyond Therapy"

Josh's inclusion in a New York Times profile puts strain on his relationship with Liza.

As long as Liza keeps up her big lie, she's going to struggle with forming genuine and lasting relationships with other people. She's happy with her life right now. But her life is one big complication. After a rough patch, her relationship with Josh is solid again. Plus, she's more excited about work now than she has ever been before. Life has been going well for her as of late. But all of this happiness is built on this lie. It's the biggest complication in Liza's life right now. It defines so much. As much as it has given her, it has also taken away. "Beyond Therapy" is a phenomenal episode of the show because it forces Liza to confront these deep psychological issues that come from telling this lie about her age.

Every day is a risk for Liza. Anyone can find out the truth about her at any time and rip this wonderful life away from her. And yet, she takes that risk every day because of the happiness she gets from this job. She goes into pitches with pride and confidence because she's excited about the imprint that she and Kelsey are creating together. All it would take would be one of these potential clients doing a background cheek on her and realizing that things aren't completely as they seem. That needs to be a real threat because she is being given so much more importance with this new imprint. She's no longer just an assistant. Her job has real weight to it right now which could create such a huge scandal for Charles and Empirical.

This episode even reminds the audience of how precarious this situation really is by bringing back Martha Plimpton as Cheryl - a former colleague of Liza's who tried blackmailing her last season. She's the only other person in the business world who knows the truth. She tries to use that to her advantage by once again hanging it over Liza's head in order to get what she wants. The two companies are both going up for the same book. A therapist (Camryn Manheim) has penned an exciting chapter about the kind of growth and maturity millennials need to go through in order to be successful in this world. She offers up psycho-analysis for all of the players in this bidding war - Liza, Kelsey and Cheryl. She is a little self-interested in using these stories for the later parts of her book. But she also adds a nice depth to the narrative as well. Liza opts to tell thise therapist the truth about her life just so Cheryl doesn't win. But it also provides her a moment of introspection as well. Liza has gotten so adjusted to this new life. She believes her lie is just a situation and not as devastating as it clearly is. Her new therapist forces her to see it as a lie and nothing more than that. She's impressed that Liza has been able to pull this off and wants to write about it in her book. But it could also be so meaningful to Liza if she started talking openly with someone about what her life has become and what it really says about her.

Because Liza's lie is so complicated and devastating. All it takes is one moment for it to get completely out of control and ruin her life. Her cover is still intact by the end of this episode. But her relationship with Josh is now officially over. The show has definitely been teasing their breakup all season long. Miscommunications have been frequent and several outside spectators have commented on how unlikely it was to last. But it's still so devastating when it finally happens. They have been committed to each other and figuring out what the age difference actually means for them. But at the end of the day, it was more about Liza lying to the rest of the world that ultimately doomed their relationship. He understands the precarious situation she has created for himself. He didn't ask to be a part of that. And now, a complication has arisen that has destroyed their relationship. Liza selfishly doesn't want to be a part of Josh's New York Times profile piece. That's a huge accomplishment and recognition for him. And yet, he can't share it with the woman he loves. Her reasoning is pretty thin as well. But that shows just how complicated this whole situation actually is for her. She is willing to risk it all when it comes to advancing her career. But she's not willing to take that same risk when it comes to this huge moment for Josh.

This breakup could be the thing that gets Liza to take her life much more seriously again. She is a 40-year-old woman pretending to be 26. Following her divorce, she didn't know what to do and embraced this very immature mentality. Now, that reality has become much more real. Kelsey and Lauren believe they are doing the right thing in calling Josh out for not mentioning Liza at all in his article. He's not to blame though. Liza is. It's because of this lie that has brought this horrible situation upon her. She forced Josh into omitting her from his life. That made him realize just how important she actually was to him. It should be interesting to see what the show does with Josh moving forward because he's largely just a character defined by his relationship with Liza. He doesn't really have a genuine dynamic with any other regular characters on the show. But he was absolutely doing the right thing in ending things with Liza. All of the complications that come from this one lie are too much to handle. That put a ton of pressure on this relationship. So even though she means so much to him, it's ultimately for the best for them to spend some time apart. They both need to figure some things out.

Liza is taking that first step with therapy though - as long as she stays committed to it. She largely just did it in order to beat Cheryl in this bidding war. She may not want to keep going. But she should. She can learn a lot about herself and analyze whether or not this lie is still worth all the hassle it was in the beginning. It ruined her relationship with Josh. She's not even able to share all of those painful details with Kelsey and Lauren. Kelsey is dealing with her own problems with commitment in this episode. She doesn't know if Thad is the guy she wants to be with for the rest of her life. But Liza isn't even able to be happy for Kelsey once Thad surprises her with a marriage proposal. She is too devastated by her breakup - which was facilitated by Kelsey and Lauren because they didn't know better. All of these emotions are brought on by the lie that she keeps telling to everyone in her life. It has brought her so much happiness and purpose in her life. But now, it has also made her terribly alone.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Beyond Therapy" was written by Grant Sloss and directed by Todd Biermann.
  • Kelsey has some legitimate concerns about Thad's immaturity. They've been dating for two years now. And yet, they haven't had the talk about marriage or kids yet. They still haven't. He surprises her with a proposal and she gets swept up in the moment. That's enough for her to forgive him. But is it enough to build a lasting life together? Probably not.
  • The threat from Cheryl shouldn't go away so easily. She fails to win this book and is angry about it. It's good for a joke about anger management issues. But it would also be more interesting to see Cheryl and Diana together as peers.
  • The one scene Diana is in is really forced. She pops up to yell at Liza that she still needs to present herself as her assistant. Liza having two jobs right now is just as complicated as her own lie. But Diana's words are completely irrelevant as well.
  • Maggie is the only person Liza can confide in right now about how she is feeling post-breakup with Josh. And yet, she is nowhere near Liza to actually help her.
  • With the quick turnaround with Josh's article, Liza really was worried about nothing. There was no way that editor would have had the time to fact check everything about his life. But it still created so many problems for the couple. Or couldn't he have talked about her in the abstract? He didn't have to mention her by name.