Thursday, June 3, 2021

REVIEW: 'Younger' - Liza Is Incapable of Letting Go of Her Feelings for Charles Despite Pressure to Do So in 'Make No Mustique'

Paramount+'s Younger - Episode 7.11 "Make No Mustique"

Things seem to be warming up between Liza and Charles, but a piece of intel and an exotic trip make Liza feel iced out. Kelsey moves to a new apartment, and Lauren throws her a housewarming party with a surprise ending.

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.

"Make No Mustique" was written by Dottie Dartland Zicklin & Eric Zicklin and directed by Peter Lauer

The grand romantic reunion between Liza and Charles occurs in the penultimate episode of the series. The show was clearly gearing up for this moment to happen. That was obvious. As such, it was more pained and forced when the narrative wanted obvious tension about whether or not they still felt strongly for each other. It's honestly been a bit of a hassle throughout this season. It was the story following the same patterns as the past. That hasn't exactly allowed the show to feel invigorated before signing off for good. In fact, it may have compromised the passion viewers feel for Liza and Charles ending the series as a couple. This final season has truly questioned whether or not they are on the same page. Do they want the same things out of life? Can they still work together as exes? Do they still get involved in each other's personal lives? It's messy and dramatic. The show clearly felt comfortable operating in that space. Again, it took up the bulk of screentime. As such, the season is only now getting around to introducing a meaningful story for Lauren about a possible ending for her romantic life. Was Max the best love interest she has had across the series? It's debatable. Lauren certainly has a more fulfilling and complex dynamic with Maggie. And yet, the show hasn't really implied romantic potential between them in awhile. Of course, Max's reintroduction is sudden too. But it offers a nice thought for Lauren as she comes into her prime a bit more. She is comfortable operating as the head of publicity for Empirical. As such, she too is deserving of a grand romantic story in her personal life. Kelsey's burgeoning relationship with Rob has similarly caused a lot of drama as of late. And now, it too may produce the tension that occurs in the series finale. That could honestly either make or break them as a couple. If he serves as a way to open Kelsey's eyes about the realities of business and fighting for what she's worth, then the show could convincingly make the case for them as a couple. If this plot beat is just intended to show how quickly things spiral out of control when she trusts him to protect her interests, then it could implode spectacularly. Both options seem reasonable at this point. The show may just produce a happier ending because it's the end of the series. That would be a move out of convenience instead of something that naturally extended from the storytelling. In fact, Kelsey's big resolution may be centered around her career despite how frequently the show told romantic stories with her as well. Expectations for the final episode may be a bit all over the place. Of course, that's speculation for the future. It's valid here because this episode is purposely setting up that final story. Pauline returns to be an agent of chaos once more. And now, it seems like Quinn will fulfill that role in the series finale too. That's how those two specific characters have functioned in the past. With Pauline, it's much more blunt because this is her first appearance of the season. She is trying to make amends with Liza. That just inspires her to take drastic actions in pursuit of this grand love story that Liza is continually trying to tell herself to drop entirely. Liza fails in that endeavor. That doesn't mean Pauline's behavior should be condoned though. Similarly, it's unclear how Quinn will disrupt the plans that Liza and Kelsey have for Inkubator. But this episode also highlights the toxicity of Quinn and Charles' relationship simply so it can end easily when he runs off to be with Liza. That too is a significant pivot from the story that has been told with Quinn specifically. This season wanted to do more with her. She needed to become more complex and nuanced. It has been easy to feel for her and understand her motives. But now, she's back to being the disruptor to everything going on at the heart of the show. That role has purpose. It doesn't quite line up with the ambitions of the final season story. And finally, it's just annoying that the show teases Liza to get over her love for Charles even though a romantic reunion is inevitable. That dichotomy just takes the audience out of the appeal of this story. It's frustrating. Hopefully, that drama can subside so the finale can bask in the joy and humor of these characters. Some developments will probably come across as earned and meaningful too. The show can still close with style and grace. It can't forgive all the creative decisions taken this season. But it's also easier to remain hopeful about this charming show. It may be ending but the audience still should have some trust left for the conclusions of these characters.