Thursday, May 13, 2021

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza Works Closely With Quinn to Both Impress and Inspire Her Daughter in 'The Baroness'

Paramount+'s Younger - Episode 7.08 "The Baroness"

When Caitlin needs help with a Vassar event, Liza is forced to turn to an inconvenient source: Quinn. Kelsey is unhappy with her time in the spotlight and tries to find a way out of it. Maggie gets cancelled. 

In 2020, the television industry aired 493 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Paramount+'s Younger.

"The Baroness" was written by Don Roos and directed by Jennifer Arnold

Liza truly has no idea how to view Quinn at the moment. Through all of Empirical and Millennial's interactions with her, they understand that she can't be trusted. She was a vicious businesswoman who would do anything to get what she wanted. She would threaten the reputations of others if it got her ahead somehow. She suffered a public defeat in her Senate campaign. Kelsey opted not to go into business with her. And yet, Empirical published her second novel. It's done markedly better than the first. Quinn is a more engaged presence throughout the process. Part of that comes from her dating Charles now. She is constantly around the office. Liza is annoyed. Most of that is portrayed as her being jealous and yearning for Charles. She rationalizes that they broke up because they wanted different things out of life. However, she didn't tell Caitlin about their split. She is surprised to hear the news at the top of this episode. She is even more surprised that Liza knows Quinn and can ask things of her. No one should expect Quinn to engage and do what is asked. And yet, she surprises Liza every step of the way. Throughout the process though, Liza is left questioning how much of it is genuine. Her mind has been trained to treat everything Quinn does with suspicion. She has hurt people one too many times. This season has even suggested that she hasn't fundamentally changed at all. She still fought back fiercely when Liza presented herself as a threat to her relationship with Charles. Liza feels the burden of protecting Charles. She can't allow Quinn to manipulate and use him. That was her perception of this relationship. It was a story fed to her. Quinn wanted to improve her personal life so that she could present as a more viable political candidate in the future. It is cynical. Liza still bought it. She felt betrayed by Quinn when it all exploded in her face. It didn't drastically change her relationship with Charles though. Of course, that produced a whiplash effect for the season. Liza was told to stay out of his personal life. The story then immediately threw her back in. This episode suggests that she is capable of keeping her distance. She won't meddle in Charles' relationship with Quinn if that's truly what he wants. She is capable of being a friend. She doesn't have to like Quinn. She remains baffled by her though. Quinn showcases a generous spirit here. She gives so much attention and appreciation to Caitlin. She engages with this world as if its demands aren't crazy. She does all of it genuinely with the sensation of enjoyment. Liza questions it. That curiosity prevents them from getting any closer. This action simply provides new depth to Quinn. She isn't all that she has previously been portrayed to be. She is more complex than so many often given her credit for. Her motives may still fundamentally be the same though. The show simply wants to twist the knife a little in suggesting that Liza's desire for her loved ones to be happy comes at her own expense. In fact, the show loves employing that plot device. Kelsey was excited to find an apartment to call her home. Lauren convinced her to film it for a reality TV show. The entire process is condescending and reductive of who she is. The show just wants to present her as a flirt. She genuinely wants to take this big step in her life. The world around her doesn't seem to be willing or able to engage with her on that level. Moreover, it suggests that Rob could be her final love interest. She has the wisdom not to accept his invite to a date even though she also appreciates him for getting her out of this TV contract. Meanwhile, Maggie loves her job teaching at a university. Cass attacks her for sleeping with her wife. Josh acknowledges right away that the tweets condemning Maggie aren't written by college students. However, the rest of the world doesn't come to that same realization. She loses this job and may no longer be able to showcase her art. Her life could implode because of this one action and Cass' vendetta against her. It's hard to say how much of the emotions invested in each of these stories is genuine. As such, the viewer may be left with a tentative grasp of what's going on as it remains unclear if these decisions will stick any longer than a minute into the next episode. That has been a problem for the show in the past. It has never derailed the narrative for too long. However, this is the final season. It should come with more clarity at this point. It shouldn't leave the audience guessing or basically deducing the simple plot beats that will be hit next.