Younger 5×04 “The Talented Mr. Ridley” balances the salty with the sweet but is still not satisfying enough to last the two weeks until the next episode. I’m hungry for more Younger!
Diana’s attempt to re-enter the dating scene with a games night ends up really crappy. Literally.
As I squealed about in my Younger Season 5 Trailer Review, the plumber who laid pipe for Diana right when she needed it has returned!
The reunion could not have been sweeter or more satisfying. Enzo comes in hot with the enticing door frame lean. HELLO, INDEED!
I love that Enzo is chilly at first because Diana ghosted him the previous year. He isn’t punishing, he just makes fun of her and calls her out a bit.
Diana: Can I get you a drink? I just had a party.
Enzo: I know, your toilet told me.
This potty joke, delivered in the midst of a sensual reconnection, is Younger at its best. Love is strange, after all. Liza can say she has diarrhea, Kelsey can get her diva cup stuck and need Liza to fish it out and Enzo can make a reference to a heavily used toilet and it does zero to disrupt the chemistry and sensuality of the characters.
Younger keeps on nailing it when Enzo immediately asks Diana out on a date upon learning she is single. No drama, no games, just romance. I shriek and bring my hands over my heart– this is perfection.
Diana is an accomplished, intelligent, sexy, strange, and bold woman who deserves to be adored and pined after. So far on Younger, we really have only seen Diana rejected or manipulated in relationships.
She reminds us during her game night:
This party, like my marriage, is too gay for its own good.
Her unrequited affection for Charles is hilarious as was her unfortunate penis-breaking relationship with the feminist author. The bike riding hunk was gay and her more long-term relationship with Richard was based on his problematic manipulation and mooching. All these romances have been entertaining, but none have been real.
On “The Talented Mr. Ridley,” Younger takes Diana seriously as a romantic person. The music is light and romantic. The costuming is still in character, but not ridiculous or silly.
And, yes, Enzo shows up in a van with his face plastered on the side, but the date is never treated like a joke. It continues with the excited, bubbly and again, romantic tone.
Diana is not a joke. Being a powerful woman who has worked hard and is single in her 40s is not a joke. Just ask Amal, you don’t have to be younger to find love.
In addition to delivering a strong message about dating in your 40s, Diana’s first date with Enzo is so CUTE! Enzo is smoking hot and he shows Diana he can both fit into her world and expand it outside of Manhattan.
And, perhaps most importantly, he looks at her like she is the only person in the room. I ship Diana and Enzo (Dianzo?) HARD. I also am thinking that it will be really helpful for Diana to have a loving support system when she learns about Liza. I don’t want her to have to face that blow alone.
Josh and Maggie’s platonic romance is also incredibly sweet on “The Talented Mr. Ridley.” I’m not a huge fan of the banging around or celibacy storylines for Josh. But, they are in service, I think, of developing the relationship Josh has with the incredible women in his life.
I wish that instead of focusing on Josh having sex or not, “The Talented Mr. Ridley” spent some time with that pooch and how Maggie and Josh are as doggy parents.
Dogs are so therapeutic. It is a missed opportunity for the doggy to heal some of the wounds Josh is currently nursing.
Still, I adore the frank advice Maggie gives. I also adore how these two have a loving, honest, funny friendship where they aren’t always talking about Liza.
Josh is a feminist and he manages to just live-out the ideals that so many try to put on with excessively on the nose actions. Josh has filled his life with powerful, messy, complicated, women whom he trusts and respects. We never see him objectify or dismiss women.
Josh is truly a fantastically sweet character. Kelsey is also sweet, but more like the sugary rim of a frozen margarita!
I love drunk Kelsey. She is so charming and enigmatic on Diana’s couch–even while she’s slouched and ordering Zane around. Her whisper to Zane that she’ll wait five minutes and follow him to his place is just so darn cute.
Hilary Duff makes Kelsey such a joyful character. I fall in love with her again every episode, usually from just one little line or gesture.
It’s almost a shame that there is so much romance in her life because it takes time away from having time with just her. But, if she can get her half and half fries and eat them too, we can appreciate Kelsey in ships and solo!
Charles is the SALTY of the earth on “The Talented Mr. Ridley,” and I have to admit, I love it. I can love it because of how Charles comes back to Liza and admits that he was wrong to interfere with her work.
But, we’ll get to that apology of sorts in a little bit. First, let’s talk about that mantrum.
Charles continues to express deep passionate anger towards Liza on “The Talented Mr. Ridley,” and it comes out in very petty ways. This is very in character for Charles. When he feels rejected, he scalds with his attitude.
When Liza doesn’t show up to the dinner meet up to discuss the mall kiss, Charles throws major shade. He stoically tells Liza to “Let it go. It was just a kiss.” Wow, Elsa isn’t as frozen as this guy.
Then, when Charles sees Jay and Liza together at dinner he lashes out like a mean girl. He approaches Liza at the office and oh-so-casually questions her about Jay.
Jay, huh? He never married. Loves cats.
So, Charles has a history of salty behavior. He is a jealous man and wears his hurt feelings as much on his sleeve as he wears his love feelings. I find both of these shoulder pads very, very attractive.
Look, it’s not healthy communication. But, it is somehow incredibly sexy.
My favorite part of Charles’ mantrum on “The Talented Mr. Ridley,” is, hands-down, when he acts out putting a pork chop in his pocket. Liza rolls her eyes and I roll on the floor laughing. Salty Charles cracks me up!
Again, I just love how strange Younger can be! What a funky, quirky plot line. It puts Younger out in front of shows like it that tell the stories of bustling work life in New York. It’s weird– just like real life.
Even though he is rude and exasperating, I really like seeing this side of Charles. It adds layers to his identity without ever straying out of character.
Charles is not woke like Josh. He’s still very much a part of the masculinity culture of his generation that tells him he can’t show his emotions. Feeling hurt and sad is a sign of weakness. So, he tries to hide it (very unsuccessfully–we see right through all that Charles).
He punishes Liza for betraying him, which is how he interprets her lie. It is painful, but I think also shows that he deeply cares for Liza.
He has never learned how to communicate openly with a woman he loves. We know that from what happened in his marriage to Pauline.
On Season 4, when Charles reads the final lines of Marriage Vacation, he hears Pauline’s voice fade into Liza’s saying:
What I regretted most was not trusting him enough to show him who I really was. I had to put on a facade to survive. I don’t pretend to house a pearl. I am grit and soft tissue. But, I am here and it doesn’t have to be over.
This means that Charles is already sensitive to Liza literally saying and thinking the same things as Pauline. Pauline betrayed Charles by leaving him. Pauline hid how she was really feeling and what she really wanted and then ran away rather than stay and fight for their marriage. It is, of course, complicated.
But, the extent to which Charles is traumatized and wounded by Liza’s lie is so much more understandable when considering how his marriage ended.
The rift between Charles and Liza is an opportunity too, which is why I can just enjoy and be delighted by Charles’ tantrum, rather than crushed by it.
Liza’s lie and betrayal of Charles is an opportunity for him to be hurt in a relationship and to face that pain head on. It is an opportunity for him to have a real relationship with equality and that is, frankly, age-appropriate.
Because, the fact is, Liza’s betrayal isn’t the same as Pauline’s betrayal.
Liza was not lying about how she feels and who she is. And, when Charles acts out of line and is inconsiderate of Kelsey, Liza immediately calls him out. Unlike Pauline, Liza doesn’t hide her feelings from Charles, even when they’re critical.
Liza shows that she’s exactly who she has always been with her reaction to Charles’ mantrum.
She accepts his anger and that she deserves it. But, she also doesn’t wither away or retaliate in response. She stands her ground and lets him know when his behavior crosses the line by impacting Kelsey unfairly. In the face of the ridicule and punishment, Liza shows us her backbone.
I love that Salty Charles allows us to see Liza’s strength. Even in his most moody, Charles can bring out Liza’s good qualities.
Charles responds to Liza’s strength and after sulking in the shadows and giving some final shade, Charles finally humbles himself. He admits that he was wrong to take his anger out on Liza’s career.
This allows Liza to sincerely apologize to Charles. She pleads with him to stay close to her, to know her (which annoys me a little because I think he already knows her– he just needs to understand why she lied). He can’t handle this.
Charles is undone by her softness and he urges her to stay away. She admits that she cares about him so, so much. She doesn’t even say the truth, that she loves him. Charles asks her to forget her feelings and turns away, shaking his head.
This storytelling trope– where someone needs a person they love to be mean to them, in order to protect themselves from the pain of not being able to be with them but knowing how wonderful they are– hits me so deeply.
Charles can’t ignore how amazing Liza is. He can’t ignore how much he loves her. He has to be mean to create distance from his own feelings. Salty Charles is so salty because otherwise, he would be weeping.
Wow, the angst. I ACHE.
Younger, you really know how to give good ship.
I am near sated by “The Talented Mr. Ridley,” but it leaves room for dessert in future episodes.
But, I have some cravings for those future episodes.
I want to see more of Kelsey working and less of her in a love triangle. Millennial Print is saving the company and is now in a huge relationship with Reese Witherspoon’s company. I’d like to see her take the lead and make a splash with the Marriage Vacation movie deal.
My strongest craving is for Charles to somehow learn that Liza is in love with him and that she fell apart when he was trying to make it work with Pauline. Charles doesn’t know that things didn’t work between Liza and Jay because she is so in love with Charles.
If Charles found this out, it would be a game changer!
Kelsey changed her mind about Liza, and came back to their relationship when she was able to see how much Liza needs her job to care for her daughter. Charles needs to see that.
Their mutual lawyer friend could be that conduit! He knows that Liza’s daughter had the appendix emergency and could have died. Through his own daughter, he is also likely privy to how awful Liza’s ex-husband is and how much Caitlyn relies on Liza.
I need Charles to have a bit more information about Liza, from an outside trusted source, so he understands her.
My final craving is for Diana to meet Maggie and Josh and to have a rowdy slumber party. You can make that happen, right Younger?
What did you think about Younger 5×04 “The Talented Mr. Ridley”? Let’s talk Team Charles in the comments!
Younger airs Tuesday nights at 10/9c on TV Land.