Tuesday, June 19, 2018

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Pauline's Book Tour Proves to Be Very Difficult and Awkward for Liza in 'The End of the Tour'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 5.03 "The End of the Tour"

Liza faces complications on the Marriage Vacation book tour. Kelsey and Zane head to D.C. to court a speechwriter's prospective memoir.

"The End of the Tour" brings a significant story for the series to a close. This season has already proven that it wants to blow up the premise of the show and basically end every episode on a huge, surprising moment. At the end of the premiere, Charles learned the truth about Liza's age and that she has been lying to him for as long as he's known her. Then, he decided to split with Pauline right before her book tour was set to begin. And now, everyone is dealing with the fallout of that decision. Charles comes into work and shares the news immediately with Diana and Liza. It's seen as an action that is about to make their lives much more difficult. They will be dealing with a more volatile author who has to do all of this press while also weaving through a minefield of emotions. Pauline is still processing this surprising and emotional news herself. She shouldn't have to be talking about it on a national stage. And yet, the world made the association between the story in the book and the story of Pauline and Charles' marriage. As such, the readers are eager to know what the current state of that relationship is. Pauline believes that her book won't sell if she tells the truth. Well, that's what Liza and Diana are telling her. They are trying to get her comfortable with lying so that she can make it onto the New York Times' bestseller list. They are essentially doing this in order to earn more money for the company. Empirical needs a hit right now in order to weather the storm that came from the Edward L.L. Moore revelations. They need to supplement that income somehow. As such, "Marriage Vacation" got a significant promotional push from the company. That means there are a lot of events for Pauline to handle and many outlets who want to hear the exclusive on the behind-the-scenes story. But it also seems like the show wraps up all of this melodrama that has defined the story for at least half a season now in order to move on to whatever is next is the life of the show.

All of this basically leaves the audience with the impression that Pauline's book is going to underperform. There is no need to be worried about the future of the company though. Kelsey and Zane are already approaching other authors in the hopes of being the home for their next books. The pre-sale numbers for "Marriage Vacation" have already been strong. Every press event is still packed with people. They are eager to talk about the book and Pauline's real marriage. But everything is still told through the perspective of Pauline worrying that being honest about her marriage heading towards divorce will lead to the death of her novel. She is still being appreciated for her prose and the story within the book. Liza was first attracted to the novel before she knew that Pauline was Charles' wife. She wanted to encourage the partnership and prove that this was a story that could become very lucrative for the company. As such, everything seems like it's going to work out. It just leads to a lot of situational humor where Pauline bursts into tears every time she is asked about her relationship with Charles. Of course, the show finds new ways to get that question into these various press events. In fact, it's notable that Diana tells Pauline to lie simply by changing the verbs she uses when talking about her relationship. When she brings up a happy memory from the past, she just has to talk about it as if it is happening in the present. Sure, that too leads to a debate about what's appropriate to share and what isn't. Pauline needs a lot of support and coaching at the moment. She isn't able to really get it though. She still has to go out and discuss her book and marriage. She can make it through reading the passages just fine. She put so much of her heart and passion into writing this story. Liza helped make it a success. And now, it seems like it is all tumbling down for them.

Charles' sheer presence at one of the events on the book tour is all that it takes for Pauline to be honest about her real-life marriage. She wants to point out that there is a distinction between the fantasy on the page and the reality of her own relationship. This marriage may not have worked out like how she imagined it would in the novel. But she is still incredibly hopeful about finding her own happy ending one day. She believes she deserves it. She absolutely does too. In fact, she has probably earned a journey far away from this familiar environment even though she should still be present in her daughters' lives. That part of the family connection shouldn't be lost even though Pauline feels betrayed by both Charles and Liza. Charles doesn't have to come out and say that Liza is the other woman. But right now, his mind is completely consumed with thoughts about her and the various ways she has lied to him. That's way he wanted something simple at home for him to return to. He ultimately did break up his marriage because of Liza. That was something that Liza didn't want to do. She wanted to give Charles and Pauline the chance to fix things in order to be a family again for their girls. And now, it is all ruined and it is so easy to blame Liza. Of course, Pauline also gets that passionate moment where she talks about feeling abandoned by Charles. She still loves him and wanted this relationship to work. But she is also being honest about the problems that they had. As such, it's a very freeing experience to tell the truth. It's as if a weight has been lifted from her shoulders. She hasn't even been lying for very long either. Yes, she ran away from their life without much reason. She came back not realizing just how hard it would be. But it's still easy for her to get out of this lie. She can still have the confidence to do so knowing that it's the right thing to do.

All of that stands in sharp contrast to what is currently happening with Liza. She can tell that Charles is acting differently around her. And yet, she isn't able to piece together the puzzle that points out that he knows her secret. She has always been so careful to keep it contained. Over the course of the series, she has chosen to let more and more people in on the truth. She has wanted to tell Charles for so long. She didn't out of fear that they could never have a relationship following that betrayal. And now, he's hurt regardless of her choices. He found out anyway. The only reason he is still choosing to work with her is because the company can't handle another scandal right now. Liza does offer to just quit. She understands that Charles is angry and doesn't want to believe that anything they had together was real. And yet, he is also able to counter that with she only lied in the first place to get a job. As such, that would defeat the purpose of this entire story. So, she is going to continue working at Empirical. It's just going to be more difficult moving forward because of this massive betrayal. It's also clear that Liza has a type. She is simply attracted to men who struggle with lying in any form. The need to keep this secret destroyed Liza's relationship with Josh. Now, he is just trying to become less romantic and more like your average guy who is just obsessed with sex. But that's not working for him. Meanwhile, Liza's lie tears Charles' life apart. He was so completely caught off guard by all of this too. And now, he is going to have to find a way to keep working with her at his company.

All of this further highlights how Charles was passive aggressive in his comments towards Liza after learning the truth as well. So much of the time, Liza has been able to see the threats coming to her secret identity. She could always see that something was going to be a problem and she had to act accordingly. She didn't think Charles would be discovering her true age now in the way that he did. She doesn't even know how he found out the truth. But she definitely gets some sneaking suspicions throughout this episode. Charles is just making a bunch of pointed comments. He is putting more distance between them. Liza could just see that as him wanting to avoid the woman he fell in love with in a time when he should be working on his relationship with Pauline. But even then, it doesn't explain the animosity once news of the divorce comes out at work. Moreover, Charles even believes that Pauline lying about this story in order to help sell the book was Liza's idea. He now just associates everything about Liza with this lie. There is a brief moment where she checks on him at work to see how he's doing and he wants to have an honest and appropriate conversation with her. He wants to sit down after the book tour is complete in order to discuss things. But that's not how this story develops. Instead, it all comes blowing up following this press event. Charles just can't help but make pointed statements towards Liza to let her know that he is aware of her deceit. He can't keep it bottled up any longer. Yes, it also turns Pauline against her editor. But it's more important for Liza to go running after Charles on the street to try to explain why she did what she did. The longer she kept this secret the harder it would be once the truth came out. There were more than enough opportunities for her to come clean and deal with fewer personal complications. But now, it has built up into this whole thing that is bound to create even more problems for her this season.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The End of the Tour" was written by Alison Brown and directed by Peter Lauer.
  • Both Kelsey and Zane fly to Washington, D.C. in order to court a former speechwriter for President Obama. He has many stories he would like to tell about his time working for the White House and is interested in publishing a memoir. Both editors believe it will be a bestseller too. It just further contributes to their healthy competition to be the one who emerges victorious in this war for content. That's what makes it so amusing when the speechwriter wants to work with both of them.
  • Of course, how long is the show going to continue playing the Kelsey and Zane dynamic as it currently is? There is so much intensity and animosity there because of the tactics they've used to one up the other in the past. There is still a chemistry too that can easily lead to the two of them falling in bed together - which they do here as well. And yes, healthy competition is good. But there's only so much of it that the show can reasonably handle as well.
  • It's possible that I have been watching too much of Syfy's The Magicians but I was definitely expecting Jason Ralph's speechwriter to be pursuing a romantic relationship with both Kelsey and Zane. Instead, the focus is mostly on Kelsey as she swaps through both of their profiles while exploring this new elite dating service that she has just been accepted onto.
  • Josh and Lauren are definitely having more of an onscreen friendship this season. That's nice and refreshing too. It helps that they are now living together. Lauren has accepted this help and a place to live from her friends. And now, she wants ground rules for the women that Josh brings over for sex. Plus, she actually turns out to be a supportive friend when it comes to helping him through his existential crisis about being a romantic who keeps getting his heart broken.
  • After his sham wedding, Josh is right back to thoughts about Liza being his soulmate. Lauren is able to comfort him in saying that if the universe wants the two of them to be together then it will happen somehow. And yes, Liza is still a significant part of Josh's life. It should just be very curious to see if the show will explore this romance once more especially since things are so fraught between Liza and Charles at the moment.