“Younger” recap (1.12): The Old Ma’am and The C

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Fresh out of Lauren’s Hot Mitzvah, Maggie is still rolling on a high from her drug-fueled make-out session with Lauren, and Liza is desperate to get to Josh to clear things up. She finds him at a bar, where she decides now’s definitely the time to spill the whole story to Josh—the real one. Each word hits Josh a little harder than the last: Divorce. Daughter. “You’re kind of a lunatic, aren’t you?” Josh says. This isn’t looking so good. Liza remains collected and says she totally understands if he never wants to see her again, and he guzzles his shot down and basically echoes her sentiment—this is goodbye forever.

1Younger12.1There isn’t enough whiskey in this bar for Joshy boy.

The next day at work, Charles announces the big news: There’s a bidding war going on over Ellen DeGeneres’s next book. It’s super important that Empirical Press gets the book. He doesn’t want to lose this book (and neither do we!). Diana Trout wants Liza to be on top of the marketing scheme, as per usual, but she’s left her wallet at the office and she needs Liza to run it to her ASAP—she’s at lunch with Cheryl Sussman (played by Martha Plimpton who you may remember from The Goonies, 200 Cigarettes, and of course Raising Hope), another go-getter from a competing publishing house that’s clearly vying for Ellen’s book, and wants to get as much info from Diana as she can. When Liza shows up at the restaurant, Cheryl immediately notices Liza and she’s sure she remembers her from somewhere! Uh oh. Not this again.

Liza tries to dip out as fast as she can, but before she can spin around and book it, the waiter’s tray has sloshed right onto Cheryl’s lap. She has cream all over her chest. The expression on her face as she notices recognizes the crudeness of it all. Back at the office, Liza is dodging Kelsey, who can’t believe Liza and Josh broke up and doesn’t want to butt out until Liza gives her the details. That’s when Liza’s phone rings: It’s Cheryl. She knew it was Liza, the woman she worked alongside at Random House 14 years ago. They meet up, and Liza tells her everything—feeling she can trust in this blast from the past who will surely understand the mistreatment of women. Cheryl goes along, but she wants a favor—she would just love it if Liza could give her the Empirical numbers for the Ellen book. Cheryl is adamant that if Liza doesn’t do this, she’ll take Liza’s age-lie to Diana Trout, to Gawker—and the media will have a field day. Liza is backed into a corner and it’s been less than 48 hours since she was drugged at a Hot Mitzvah and broken up with.

As Cheryl gets up from her blackmailing perch, she is careful to remind Liza that she has two kids, and has never stopped working—whispering to Liza, “That’s what nannies are for.” Liza should feel slighted, or guilty, or whatever other feelings Cheryl spitefully hopes she feels as she irons out this masterful plan over the Ellen book. But instead, she’s just scared.

1Younger12.2She’s used to this—she DID raise Hope. 

That’s where Maggie comes in. Liza asks her what she should do, telling her about Cheryl’s blackmail, and Maggie’s eyes turn into steely green Craft eyes like she wants to spell bind Cheryl right fucking now, but she’s like, “Play by shadow rules. Don’t let this woman blow it for you!” Shadow rules: The rules you follow when you meet people in the shadows, outside of the lines, to save your ass. 

While the girls chat this one out, Kelsey and Lauren are up to no good! They’re prying at Josh for answers about his breakup with Liza at his bar show. They are so concerned for Liza, they’re willing to watch Josh washboard. Josh is on lock and key about their ending and only tells them that he didn’t know Liza like he thought he did. The girls boo and leave, feeling unsatisfied by their mission. Josh reminds Lauren that drugging her friends is not a cool thing to do, at all—but she just gives him a “Shalom” and privately reminisces the events of her kiss with Maggie. (Or so I hope.)

Because of this run-in, it’s important for a friend like Kelsey to come clean to Liza. She tells Liza about their adventure to see Josh’s band play, and Liza looks horrified—because girl can’t catch a break. It’s clearly the kind of season finale where we’re convinced this is the moment her cover will really, totally be blown. It was one thing for Josh to find out, but he can slip right back into the shadows. What about Diana, and Kelsey, and everyone in the publishing world?

1Younger12.3Maggie will cut Cheryl with those eyes. 

Cheryl Sussman is not letting up. She is emailing Liza to have the details of the Ellen numbers by 6PM tonight. Liza writes her back and asks her for exactly what she wants. When she goes to meet up with Cheryl, a chirpy woman awaits her at the bar stool where she’s popped off the champagne. Liza is dumbfounded. As if this woman thinks that by trading info, her company will be able to snag Ellen. Pffft. Liza sits down, expressing her distaste for the whole situation, but Cheryl reminds her that it’s not just her job on the line—if Diana knew that Liza was a 26-year-old fake, there’d be a lawsuit on her hands. And she’d definitely be blackballed from publishing. Cheryl’s a lot of game. But is she actually capable? Well, Liza hands over the file—and Cheryl’s grin fades fast from her power high to sheer horror. “What is this?” She asks. Liza’s like, “This is our entire email exchange.” She threatens Cheryl back and says that if she tries to pull this stunt, this email will get out to Gawker first, and Cheryl will lose everything she’s worked her ass off for. Liza struts out. Cheryl sits alone at a bar with an ice bucket of champagne, and no Ellen.

1Younger12.4What the fuck—this isn’t the treasure map from Goonies, is it?

Now it’s time to settle what matters. Liza hand delivers a USB drive to Josh’s roommate, who calls her “ma’am” as he’s shutting the door. Cool move, bro. Anyway, whatever happens from here on out, Liza will know that Josh has the whole truth and nothing but it. He sits at his computer and watches before him an iMovie presentation of Liza Miller’s life. It’s photos of her as a baby, as a kid, in a polka dot dress at prom, as a camp counselor, a wife, and then a mom. He is twisted—smiling, furrowing his brows, smiling again. We all know Josh can’t just let Liza go this easily.

Liza’s preparing for her daughter to come home from India finally, and the next day she and Maggie are walking down their street on the phone with her. Josh shows up just then, looking like he’s still pissed, but wants to talk, but isn’t totally sure why he’s here, but doesn’t care because it’s Liza. She reintroduces herself to him, as real Liza, and he takes her hand and asks her to coffee.

1Younger12.5Can I text you? I have an IRL moment that just showed up. L8R. 

Younger has been renewed for Season 2, so be sure to check in for updates with me @the_hoff on Twitter in the meantime! How do you think Liza will bring her daughter into the fold? Will Kelsey and Thad stay together, if only to marathon the entire Felicity box set? Will Lauren call Maggie and ask her to come over for an L Word anniversary viewing party? Will Diana Trout ever get a date? Will Charles continue to harbor a deep, distant, half-realized crush on Liza and vice versa? And as always, #MaggieKnowsBest.

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