It's been more than ten months since we've last checked in with our Empirical/Millenial Publishing crew, but Younger Season 6 Episode 1 doesn't skip a beat as it picks up right where we left off.
In case you need a refresher, Charles has given up his company to pursue a romantic relationship with Liza.
And despite my initial hesitation, things seem to be going pretty well between them.
Liza and Charles have entered the phase in which they are now referring to each other as "boyfriend and girlfriend."
It's adorable and what we've been waiting for, yet I was still caught by surprise.
I'm going to need a minute to get used to the idea that they are now exclusive.
Seeing them so calm made my qualms following the conclusion of Younger Season 5 Episode 12 almost baseless.
There wasn't any resentment or hostility between Charles and Liza surrounding the sacrifice he made.
He was enjoying his newfound "free time," which included buying his girlfriend a "real bed."
Liza even accidentally said 'I love you,' and though it may have been a slip-up, I think the possibility of them having a real relationship without the sneaking around and secrecy made her fall even harder for him.
The good thing is that Charles said it back by the end of the episode, and it feels like this power couple is stronger than ever.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves.
After all, this was the first day in their "new normal," and Charles' meeting with Zane indicated that he is on the hunt for his next business venture.
That isn't necessarily a bad thing -- we can't expect Charles, a man who has worked his whole life, to just sit back and twiddle his thumbs.
However, it isn't necessarily a good thing simply because of how Charles blatantly lied to Liza about the meeting.
"Just two guys trying to figure out their next move" sounds innocent enough, but it was the way Charles said it that rubbed me the wrong way.
He's not very good at lying to Liza and though she smiled and nodded, you could tell she too had her suspicions.
What could two guys who have only ever known the publishing world possibly be meeting about?
Does Charles plan to open up his own publishing house?
Liza: Is it wrong of me to say that a part of me just really misses you there?
Charles: Yeah, I miss being there too. But it's okay because I did it for the woman I love.
Liza: Did you just tell me you love me?
Charles: I think I pretty much had feelings for you for sixteen years.
Charles: Since you were 26 and now you're 42. It's long enough to know.
Liza flat out said that Charles gave up everything to be with her, but what if he didn't?
Maybe he had something in the works before stepping down from Empirical, and he never told Liza about it?
It would explain why he isn't too concerned about his future.
The pressure is on not only for Charles and Liza but also for Kelsey and Empirical/Millennial.
In both situations, much has been sacrificed and much more is at stake, and failure isn't an option.
It's an immense amount of pressure to put on a relationship that is already on a rocky foundation.
Liza and Charles took their time to get to know each other and nurture a friendship before moving into a romantic relationship, but the bedrock of their relationship has been based on a lie.
And though Liza thought she'd be able to come clean about her age now that Charles had stepped away from Empirical, it turns out there's never a good moment to own up to downplaying your age.
A leaked report was going to reveal that Charles has been having an affair with a 26-year-old.
Quinn wanted to be strategic in their gameplay since the topic of ageism would overshadow the launch of their company run entirely by women, as would news of Liza's identity fraud topped with Charles' affair while still being married.
Kelsey, listen to me. You are a role model for every young girl with an English degree who wants to believe that she didn't throw away four years of her life, okay?Lauren
Did anyone else forget that Charles was still legally married to Pauline? I can see her coming back at the worst time to try to sabotage Charles and Liza by revealing her real age.
But worst of all, if Liza told the truth about her age, people would assume Charles was dating Kelsey.
Neither woman wanted that.
So, Liza's secret lived to see another day ... at least publically.
No matter how much she tries to tell the truth, honesty isn't the answer. It does the opposite of "setting you free," it crumbles all that she's built.
Hopefully, Kelsey's disgusted reaction to the idea of having an affair with Charles was only a result of Charles being Liza's man and not her thoughts about her hunky former boss.
Any woman with eyes knows Charles is good looking.
Even Diana assumed the assistant in question was Kelsey as if the idea that Liza could have a relationship with Charles was wildly absurd.
But regardless of who was sleeping with the boss, Diana was out of line in her reaction to the affair.
She was angry, yes, but telling Kelsey that she "bottomed her way to the top" is the reason why people choose to keep in-office romances a secret in the first place.
Women are accused of sleeping their way into positions of power far too often.
And that goes double for young women.
In a workplace that is now being run by women, it's upsetting that Diana resorted to shaming her co-worker, one she has trusted and admired even if she rarely says it out loud.
And at no point did she shame Charles or criticize him for "falling for a younger woman" or possibly abusing his power.
He didn't, but to assume so proves just how terrible it is to assume a woman did it to work her way up the ladder.
If Diana were to have had an affair with the boss -- which she's always wanted -- she'd be treating the situation differently.
To squash any doubt, Liza hilariously outed herself as Charles' girl in front of the whole company.
"It's me, I'm the 28-year-old associate having an affair with the publisher."
Bold. I bet it felt so good to say that out loud.
Diana's reaction was expected but also heartbreaking.
Instead of reacting the way she did when she assumed the "associate" was Kelsey, her silence and lack of snarky remarks were even more telling -- she was disappointed that someone she trusted and considered a friend lied to her.
Kelsey: Are you okay?
Liza: I am so happy for you, Kelsey. And I will do everything I can to support you. It's just he gave up a lot for me.
Kelsey: Yeah, he did. I know that this is his family legacy, and we're going to make it stronger than it's ever been.
Liza couldn't tell Diana the whole truth, but at least one weight was lifted off of her shoulders.
Something tells me Diana won't be as composed when she learns the truth about Liza's age as it will be the second time Liza's been purposefully keeping her in the dark.
This will only intensify Diana's already established trust issues.
As expected, Diana wanted to leave Empirical/Millennial following Kelsey's come-up, but deciding to stay speaks to the bond that these women have crafted.
Diana may have felt like she would get pushed out because she isn't young, but despite the name, Millennial isn't just about young women. It's about women, period.
Losing Diana, as they already knew, would be a massive loss.
And having on Diana on-board guarantees that there is someone with a substantial amount of experience that can steer the ship when it starts going south.
Kelsey is ambitious as all hell and good at what she does, but there's no denying that she's still green in comparison to other publishers who have been in the game for years.
There's advantages and disadvantages to both.
A managerial position shifts her attention away from books and onto tedious tasks like spreadsheets and budgets, which is something she's never been exposed to before.
I don't think anyone put her in this position to fail, and she has a backing of powerful women who won't allow that, but I do think that she's going to be overwhelmed for a bit.
Kelsey: So, what's going on with you? Let me guess, you took the job at Chick-ee?
Kelsey: What happened? They found out about your dicky?
Though, I'm not sure why she thinks the financial burdens of the company are going to be her fault.
Empirical was in debt way before Charles stepped down. For much of Younger Season 5, we saw him struggling to cut costs and turn a profit.
That isn't anything new, so why is Kelsey all of a sudden surprised by it?
Making cuts to save money is the equivalent of receiving a "congrats on your position" cake.
Josh ... you are the father!
Josh pretended that he didn't want kids simply because he wanted to be with Liza, but seeing him geeked out about becoming a father is adorable.
Thankfully, he has a good bunch of girlfriends by his side who won't let him get walked all over.
Maggie made sure he got a DNA test before he even contemplated becoming this child's father.
And I'm glad that the paternity question got removed from the equation immediately. I wouldn't want to see Josh get attached to a child that ended up not being his.
Plus, having Josh be the father removes all the negative feelings I had towards Clare.
There's no guarantee that she won't have the baby and abandon it with Josh, but for now, I don't have to expect the worst from her.
And even if she did, Josh has a great group of women around him who would help him out.
I wasn't a fan of how Josh told Liza the news. There are a few things that should never get done over text message: a break-up, a proposal, and telling your ex that you're having a baby.
It wasn't a surprise that Liza offered to help Josh or that he confessed he was going to need her help.
He's in her life permanently.
And it's kind of ironic that Liza will be helping him raise this kid after she said she didn't want any more kids.
But the fact that Josh is still bringing up their ill-timed relationship is slightly cringe-worthy.
He's still not over Liza, and he's clinging onto their relationship after the ship has sailed.
This puts everyone in an uncomfortable position.
I don't want him to get the wrong idea when he's vulnerable around her and the baby.
I also wonder how Clare and Charles are going to react to seeing the exes bond over the said child.
Will Charles be accepting of Josh?
Other New York Minute Thoughts
- Lauren finally has a job! It's kind of surprising that Empirical/Millennial never invested in a social media strategist/consultant until now.
- Was anyone else surprised that Charles and Maggie never officially met? I can't recall any scenes of them together, but after all this time, I was sure they would have crossed paths.
- I love that Liza and Kelsey knew exactly where Diana was when Enzo said she's having a "crisis." Younger doesn't need a strictly musical episode to capitalize on Sutton Foster, Hilary Duff, and Miriam Schor's incredible vocal chops. I've been waiting for them to sing together since Younger Season 1.
- Kelsey and Zane decided to be "just friends" for now, and we know they've never been very good at that. Is this the end of their romantic trysts? I really thought after his confession during the Younger Season 5 finale that she would pursue him romantically.
Do Liza and Charles have staying power?
Is he keeping something from her?
Will Kelsey handle the pressures of the new role?
Leave your comments below!
Be sure to watch Younger online to catch up on all episode?