Wednesday’s season finale of Younger gave fans a moment they’ve been waiting for — or dreading, depending on their team of choice — for years.
Let’s get right to it: Inspired by the romantic vibes of Diana and Enzo’s wedding, Charles asked Liza to marry him, a question she didn’t exactly have time to answer before being (mercifully!) interrupted by a swarm of dancers. Perhaps she was still flustered from her previous conversation with Josh, during which she forbade him from mass-producing the hourglass tattoo he designed for her.
Elsewhere in the episode, Lauren’s lady parts had a nasty run-in with a questionable ice sculpture, and Kelsey agreed to return to Millennial after very briefly joining forces with Quinn. She even let herself feel something for Zane, which is a pretty major step up.
Below, writer Don Roos answers some of our burning questions about the finale, including how Liza manages to keep getting away with all this emotional manipulation:
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TVLINE | Let’s start with the most important thing: Who came up with the idea for that ice sculpture?
I don’t remember who decided it would be an ice sculpture, but Joe Murphy definitely thought it should be a fish coming out of a toilet to capture both halves of the marriage. I have to give him crazy credit for that. Joe’s also the writer who decided to have Debi Mazar actually sink into a peat bog when they all went to Ireland.
TVLINE | I mean, I’ve seen A Christmas Story, so I knew things weren’t going to end well for Lauren.
We needed that comedy story in Episode 12. When you get to the end of a Younger season, there are a lot of dramatic stories to wrap up, so we always find that we need something to balance out the emotion of everything going on. The finales are usually relationship-heavy, so you need a palate cleanser.
TVLINE | And who better to cleanse our palate than Lauren?
She’s so great, and she can say anything. That character can say the most outrageous things and you forgive her, because she exists in an alternate reality. She reminds me of Phoebe on Friends; she’s not inhabiting the same world as everybody else.
TVLINE | OK, onto the proposal. This is a huge moment for the show. Were you feeling the pressure as you wrote the episode?
I was feeling the pressure. I forget what the original version of the story was, but [creator Darren Star] came to me when we were shooting Episode 8 and said, “I have a new idea for the ending. Here’s what it is.” And he told me how it would be, almost line for line. It just came out of him. So I went home and wrote it down, and that’s exactly what we filmed. So I can’t take credit for the big moment — I was just trying to live up to what Darren had envisioned.
TVLINE | It certainly felt like a massive undertaking.
We had a lot of fun that day. It was hot, and we were at some huge mansion about 30 miles out of Manhattan. There was so much to get done that day: There was the scene between Josh and Liza in the bar, we had to make sure Diana and Enzo were serviced correctly, we had to do the payoff with the ice sculpture, and we had to hint that Maggie and Lauren’s relationship may be starting up again. And after all that, while we’re on the dance floor with all of these extras and playback and a band, we had to get this proposal just right. It was a massive, massive day. I think we shot until 2 am that day.
TVLINE | Is it bad that I’m starting to get really frustrated with Liza’s indecisiveness?
We say that in the writers’ room all the time. Like, how are we getting away with this? And the answer is always: Sutton Foster. Liza is the most infuriating woman, and she could be [less endearing] in the hands of somebody else. But there’s such a good naturedness about Sutton as a person, and it comes through in her character — even when Liza is torturing someone unnecessarily. She doesn’t mean to.
TVLINE | The scene at the bar between Josh and Liza was so painful to watch. Was any of it hard to write?
She’s just so divided, equally, between Josh and Charles. She cannot let go of Josh. She’s just a human being who had something very special with Josh. She met him in the first episode, it was the first person she met as her new self, and it was kind of like imprinting — like when a baby duckling looks up at its mother. They bonded, and she can’t let it go. There was something about that tattoo that she didn’t want to be public property. It doesn’t mean she doesn’t love Charles; she just doesn’t want that memento from her relationship with Josh to be spread all over town. I actually found it easy to write this scene because I understood where she was coming from.
TVLINE | I don’t know, I still feel like she’s preventing him from pursuing a good opportunity.
My feeling is, “Go dream up another tattoo, Josh.” I’m on her side. Do a little turtle, do a heart with wings, do a skull — do whatever you want. But not that one. And she isn’t just keeping him from a professional opportunity. By saying all of this, she’s also keeping him from moving on and finding somebody else. But like I said, there is nobody like Liza.
TVLINE | Lastly, Kelsey and Zane’s relationship is hard to nail down. How would you say they are after this finale?
We always thought of this as Kelsey finally softening and letting herself be vulnerable with Zane. We’ve always felt that Zane loves her. They’re so well-matched; they’re both very driven and competitive. Neither wants to be bested by the other. But I think Kelsey is finally letting him in. She’s had to rely on herself all her life, so she’s not used to letting her guard down. What will happen next season between them? I don’t know. But he certainly declared his feelings for her, then let her make the next move — and she made it.
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