Tuesday, July 31, 2018

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza and Charles Take Their Relationship to the Next Level in 'The Bubble'

TV Land's Younger - Episode 5.08 "The Bubble"

After the holidays, Liza adjusts to a new normal. Maggie confronts buried issues. Kelsey course-corrects her love life.

After five seasons of buildup, it has finally happened. Liza and Charles have sex in "The Bubble." In fact, it's the very first thing that occurs in this episode. It's a moment that some fans have been wanting to happen for a long time. It comes at a time where the two of them can be completely honest with each other. It also marks the passing of a point of no return. Now, they are two co-workers in different positions of the company who are dating. It's something that they wish to keep a secret for as long as possible. Of course, the opening moments aren't really concerned with that at all. It's all about the chemistry and excitement between Liza and Charles. They can talk about the first time they ever saw each other and how it was completely magical. Liza was a woman Charles just didn't see out in the real world while Charles was very polished and distinguished. And now, the two of them are sharing a bed together. It's such a hot and sensual sequence as well. It may actually be the most intimate and graphic sex scene the show has ever produced. It's very much the show giving the audience everything we have been wanting for five seasons now. It's a very powerful release. After five years of buildup, the moment was bound to be explosive and climatic. The show needed to make this moment special. It succeeds in that endeavor. Sure, it's still just a brief sequence at the top of this episode. But it's also powerful because it showcases the seduction for the two characters as well as the intimacy that grows as the two slowly take their clothes off. The show has rushed into sex on a number of occasions. But the act of waiting and making sure that everything is perfect was a crucial detail of this particular coupling. And now, everything seems to be lining up for the two of them to actually pursue a romance. As such, it's very freeing and enthralling to watch. But of course, it doesn't take too long before drama comes to define their lives once more.

Sure, Liza and Charles also get the advice from a potential author that it's better to keep a sense of mystery in a romance. This prospective author is able to describe true intimacy as a place that couples go to from time to time instead of a sustained sense of being. That's what makes it real and true. It's passionate in the moment because the two people are choosing to be there with each other during their most vulnerable states. It's an enticing offer to both Liza and Charles. They just want to live in this perfect bubble with each other for as long as possible. They can enjoy flirtatious texting and clandestine meetings in front of the public library to go on their dates. It's special and means something to them because they are choosing to keep things a secret. Of course, secrets have always found a way of coming out in the most inopportune times over the course of the series. Secrets have destroyed aspects of Liza's life in so many ways. And yet, she is still choosing to keep them for Charles. She doesn't even seem to tell Maggie that this thing she has always wanted has finally happened. Ten days pass over the course of this episode because Charles has to go away to spend the holidays with his family. In that time, it doesn't seem like Liza tells anyone about this development with Charles. She wants to tell Maggie about the magical date she had with Charles at the carousel. But she is also aware enough to know that Maggie is hurting in that moment and needs to take the priority in their friendship. Liza having that clarity is also very endearing because it proves that she is a good friend who cares about what happens to the people in her life.

But things are still very intense between Liza and Charles because they already face the first threat to their relationship. It once again presents itself through Pauline. It's surprising that she appears again. She is going to have a continued presence in Charles' life because she is the mother of their daughters even though they are getting a divorce. And right now, she is hurting because she feels so betrayed by Liza. This woman came into her life as such a supportive presence and helped shaped her novel. She got so much attention and acclaim thanks to Marriage Vacation. Now, there is even talks about it becoming a limited series on Netflix. The partnership between Millennial and Reese Witherspoon's production company is already proving to be very fruitful. And yet, it also comes with the expectation that there will be a follow-up to the story that Pauline previously shared. The first book captured so much attention because it was essentially her sharing the story of her life and marriage with Charles. The stories had different outcomes. In the novel, the couple got back together. In reality, they are splitting up because Charles is in love with Liza. Pauline is aware of that now and is even using that knowledge in order to tease a second novel/season that would see the story take on a more revenge bent. It's still completely incredulous that Diana isn't able to connect the dots in this story. She doesn't understand that Liza is the charming young assistant who has captured the attention of the high-powered boss of the company. She is still trying to delude herself into believing that things could work out between her and Charles should the timing ever work out. She believes that despite being happy in her relationship with Enzo. But all of this does present as a serious problem for Charles and Liza. It means that Empirical has to take a financial hit by allowing Pauline to shop her follow-up book to other publications. And yet, that's something that Charles is willing to sacrifice because Liza means so much to him. He wants this relationship to work and is willing to do anything to prove his love to her.

All of this stands in sharp contrast to what is currently going on with Kelsey. She too finds herself in a relationship that is made further complicated by her working with Jake. Zane believes that Kelsey is willing to use whatever she has in order to win in their competition. That's so completely cynical. He believes that she is using sex as a weapon in order to toy with men's emotions and get them to do whatever she wants. That's such a destructive mentality to have. Kelsey is just genuinely exploring these connections she has with guys she is attracted to. They just happen to be complicated because she works with both Zane and Jake. She tries to smooth things out with Zane to no avail. Meanwhile, she wants to press pause on her romance with Jake until his novel comes out. Charles is already very impressed with the chapters that have been delivered to him. He is even talking about pushing up the publication. He sees the value in a book about political optimism even if it also features a bunch of ridiculous stories from the Obama years. And yet, that's still too delayed for Jake. He wants to be with Kelsey right now. And so, he proves himself to be solely interested in her. He will do whatever it takes in order to keep dating her. That just happens to mean him going behind her back in order to get Zane back as his sole editor. He is very shifty in that way. Meanwhile, Zane really steps up and supports Kelsey in saying that this book is hers. She was the one who heavily edited it and got it to its current position. She deserves to bring it through to its conclusion and publish it as a Millennial title. Charles is always eager to release a buzzy title for Empirical. He believes they have a broader reach than Millennial. But he also respects the opinions of his employees and this being the best move for the financial sake of both companies. It will just create more obstacles for Jake in his pursuit of Kelsey.

And finally, it's fascinating how the show is somewhat telling the same story with Diana and Maggie this season. Until a few episodes ago, the two of them had never met. Then they did and it was so completely lackluster. And now, they are both finding themselves surprised by renewed romantic connections with people from their pasts. Diana had unfinished business with Enzo. He has now really stepped up and become a good influence on her even though she's also worried about the amount of food she ate and the time she slept in during the holiday break. And now, Malkie has returned into Maggie's life in an unexpected way. She shows up again as a girl whom Lauren is really interested in. She wants to be the new girlfriend. But after learning about the history Maggie has with her, she steps back and encourages her friend to pursue this connection once more. It then leads into a whole conversation about whether or not Maggie is willing to put in the work to make a relationship work. She has had a tendency of running away as soon as things get too difficult because she is simply more comfortable as a free spirit. She has found a life that works for her with her getting several opportunities to show off her artwork while also living with Liza. She is content with her life. She doesn't inherently want to be challenged. But she is looking for love. She wants that in her life even though she doesn't want to admit that she has problems. Her getting clarity in that regard is actually really healthy for her. It establishes Malkie as the one that got away. And now, there's a new chance of things working out between them. Maggie just has to remain present and willing to work on the relationship in order for things to be much more sustainable this time around. But it seems like something she is very eager to prove at the moment. That's very exciting.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Bubble" was written by Dottie Dartland Zicklin & Eric Zicklin and directed by Peter Lauer.
  • Charles randomly grows a beard during his holiday break as well. He returns to the office as a changed man physically. The women of the office notice it right away and believe that he is keeping a secret. That's potentially too easy of an assumption to make. It's right in this regard. He is keeping his relationship with Liza a secret. But it's also just a lame way in order to show that the couple do go on a journey throughout this episode. He does shave it off to prove his value to Liza.
  • Of course, Liza and Charles are being very public with their relationship as well. They are almost testing the boundaries of just how far they can go. The texting is perfectly fine and there is no real danger there. But they are touching each other around the office. Meanwhile, they kiss in public and ride the carousel together. So, it seems inevitable that someone will learn the truth sooner rather than later.
  • Maggie and Josh have become such great friends over the last few seasons. But now, they are collaborating for the very first time. Maggie designs a mural that will go up on the recently torn down building across the street from Malkie's business. It will only exist for a short time. But it proves her willingness to fight for their relationship. Lauren and Josh helping her along the way also shows how much they care about her as a friend.
  • Jake is already willing to make big changes to his life in order to keep seeing Kelsey for as long as possible. He is willing to make the move from D.C. to New York just to be closer to her. He claims that it's a significant move for his career because there may be more opportunities for him in New York. But it mostly comes across as him trying to maintain this relationship when she just wants to hit pause on it.
  • Liza is absolutely right to question why a streaming service would bill a project as a limited series if they are also expecting to hear pitches about what a potential second season would look like. The show has featured more insight into show business this season. It's included some really bitting commentary as well. This is absolutely a pattern that has been present in the entertainment industry lately - with its own connection to Reese Witherspoon because of Big Little Lies on HBO.