Younger 5×07 “A Christmas Miracle” really is a MIRACULOUS episode!
“A Christmas Miracle” is a snow flurry of my favorite things about Younger, including its ability to make a magical PG kiss just raunchy enough with the little booty grab.
I am in #TeamCharles heaven!
The deeply satisfying love story we get in the episode isn’t the only thing that makes the hills come alive. But you better believe it is getting some serious attention in this review!
Here is a Sound of Music-themed gush-athon about my favorite episode of Younger to date (“Fever Pitch” is not far behind).
Doe: A Deer, A Female Deer
Liza makes doe eyes at Charles throughout “A Christmas Miracle.”
Especially during the tender moment when she introduces Charles to her daughter Caitlin. Liza’s eyes are sweet pools of vulnerability and hope.
Then, when Liza and Charles talk about their new meet cute in the break area (which, like Charles’ office, is suddenly different. We’ll go with you on this, Younger, but it would be nice to at least get a reference to the new office design), Liza’s eyes are a soliloquy.
Can you tell I love this episode?
And her soft, loving glances are in stark contrast to her burning hate-gaze for David. Sutton Foster’s face is so very entertaining, I love that the episode gives us such a wide range.
Even though Charles is not female, his doe eyes are also out in full force on the episode. I have never seen him smiling so much, and it is this beautiful peek into what it will be like when they’re dating.
I am astonished I am so many paragraphs into this review without getting into THAT KISS! Here is how it is linked to doe-eyes:
Charles is pure, childlike joy for much of the episode. When he looks at Liza his face lights up and it is smiles, smiles, smiles.
Folks, he even BITES HIS LIP when he’s smiling at Liza as she walks off to meet that Becky (kudos to the writing team for giving Liza an accidentally cool Becky reference).
But then, when Charles leans in to kiss Liza, his face looks pained.
His faces show the ache he has in his heart for Liza and the pain he has been feeling for so many weeks. He wants this so badly that his face reflects anguish upon finally getting what he wants.
It’s a perfect balance of the smiley sweetness of the episode’s shenanigans (and the Sound of Music itself) and the intense passion that exists between the two.
True, Liza has a childlike wonder to her that attracts Charles like a magnet. But, she is also a serious, deep person who has gone through a lot in her life. Just like Charles.
They can be both silly and sexy together. They can be both cute and passionate.
The doe eyes from the beginning parts of the episode make his near grimace even more powerful.
Ray: A Drop Of Golden Sun
Enzo adds rays of golden sun to Diana’s life. He adds literal light with his sweet, albeit shedding, Christmas tree. But, more importantly, he adds a sparkle of fun and family charm to Diana’s long single lifestyle.
Unlike Richard, Enzo is not taking from Diana. He is fitting into her life, inviting her into his, and popping that champagne to celebrate the union.
Honestly, when Enzo tells Diana to wait for just another second, I anticipate him pulling a ring box out from his pocket. They seem so in love and a proposal would be a fitting delight for the incredible, inimitable Diana.
Alas, he elegantly busts out the bubbly and pulls her into an embrace. Enzo might have just the right idea. Diana doesn’t need a ring, she just needs to ring in her new relationship.
Another aspect of this episode that is a ray of golden sun for me is how Diana is so understated and shy about her emotions. She is clearly smitten with Enzo and is touched by Liza’s handmade gift. But, Diana holds those relationships close to the chest. She doesn’t parade them out or brag about them. Ever.
Given the fact that her statement necklaces basically shout, it is a nice character trait she has developed that she is actually pretty humble and protective of people she cares about.
Me: A Name I Call Myself
On “A Christmas Miracle,” Liza finally gets to introduce herself.
Beautifully, Charles gets to meet Liza in a context that doesn’t include the weight of the sadness and hurt she has caused him. He meets her from afar, looking on at her performance as an outside and then hearing how his best friend and his wife see her.
This is exactly how I hoped it would happen.
Charles meets Liza at the home of his best friend and he is suddenly able to see her in a whole new context.
He sees her as a mom. He sees her as a divorcee. He sees her as a member of his community in a way that a woman 15 years younger than him could never be.
He meets older Liza, and he loves her even more than he loved younger Liza.
This is one of the miraculous parts of the episode. Charles is a powerful, wealthy, mature, grossly handsome man, who takes his responsibilities and himself very seriously.
Charles has fallen for Liza, a genuine, goofy, awkward, imaginative, strong, intelligent, humble and weird woman. He is so happy to discover that, even though she is older than he thought, she still makes him feel young and uninhibited. That was never a lie.
When Charles sees and hears the Sound of Music advertisement in the cab, he decides to be impulsive and follow his heart because it reminds him of Liza. But, it is deeper than that too.
I think at that moment Charles puts together that Liza is a lover of make-believe. Escaping reality into another world is what loving literature is really all about.
He has always known this about Liza. In fact, Liza’s very first interaction with Charles is about her love of literature. Their bond continues to grow because of that shared love. Charles love The Hulk, so certainly he has a connection to the land of make-believe as well.
Importantly, Liza is a lover of make-believe who uses that passion to be there for her daughter. She tells Charles, poignantly, that she did what she did for Caitlin.
She made-believe when Caitlin was little and then kept doing it until she was older because that is what her daughter needed. It wasn’t such a stretch, then, for Liza to be willing to make-believe that she was younger, so she could, again, give her daughter what she needs.
In the cab, it clicks for Charles that Liza’s lie, in some ways, is another version of the make-believe that she has played throughout Caitlyn’s life to make her happy.
Understanding Liza’s motivations and character, and how much he can relate to it, is what makes him turn that cab around and synchronize his passions with Liza’s.
Fa’: A Long, Long Way To Run
Maggie has had a long, long way to go from struggling as an artist to having all of her paintings sold. I love that we get to see Maggie excited by her new success and dressing for the occasion.
Her gloves are to die for.
Maggie’s storyline on “A Christmas Miracle” is a nice divergence from the A plot that still ties in nicely to the themes of independence and gifting that are on the episode. Maggie doesn’t want to be a kept woman, whether it be by an art collector or a girlfriend.
The artist’s raw tenacity and sense of self are inspiring and I hope we continue to explore the troubles and joys of a middle-aged artist trying to make a living in New York City.
I hope a love story is not “fa” for Maggie. I also want to see her friendships with Lauren and Josh deepened. Those pairings are always a treat.
Sew: A Needle Pulling Thread
Liza is in full-on mom mode on “A Christmas Miracle.” Not only does she have her knitting needles at play, she is also dressing with the most layers and tacky accessories ever. I almost expected her to bust out a puffy paint sweatshirt!
The costuming and characterization work perfectly to highlight why Charles adores Liza.
Their stunning snow kiss happens when she has no make-up on and is caring bags of groceries through the streets of Brooklyn. She has a heavy coat, a knitted scarf, a dorks hat. As much as is possible for Sutton Foster, she looks frumpy.
When Charles looks at her, he sees a person he can’t get enough of. He loves her, more now than ever, in this older, better package.
It is darn romantic I tell you.
It also drives home the point, Charles loves Liza because of her joyful exuberance and curiosity about the world, not because of the taboo nature of their romance or her youth.
I love that Charles doesn’t say, “I forgive you.” Or, “I understand why you lied.” He says, “I don’t care anymore.”
For the record, I think those first two options I wrote above are true. But, he says that he doesn’t care anymore almost as a joyful confession. It’s like he’s sharing this joy with her that a burden has been lifted and he feels so free.
It is as if he is coming to the doorstep of his best friend to share his joy with her that his pain is gone. It’s an expression of friendship, longing, and love.
La, A Note To Follow Sew
La is the note that follows sew because it is difficult to figure out its separate purpose. This is Josh on “A Christmas Miracle.”
Don’t get me wrong, I love Josh. He adds a mischievous flair to everything he does. He counters toxic masculinity and he is a great friend. He brings beautifully wrapped Christmas gifts to his best gals!
The direction of his arc on the middle episodes of the season, however, is aimless at best.
He’s sleeping around, then he’s bonding with Maggie (THIS. This is where his arc should be, supporting Maggie and Lauren in their careers), then he’s piping in with concern about Liza being with Charles rather than expressing interest in his friend’s dilemma, and now he’s flirting with Caitlin? It’s all too much and not enough.
Even though the romantic relationships on Younger make me literally scream, it is the friendships that are the true love story. Younger would be smart to remember that this applies to Josh too and he can expand beyond being Liza’s love interest on the show.
Tea: A Drink With Jam And Bread
Zane is being a real jerk. That’s the tea.
Not so long ago, like two episodes ago, in fact, Zane was seeing other women while also sleeping with Kelsey. Neither of them objects to a non-exclusive relationship, at least to each other’s faces. Importantly, they have not DTR (Defined The Relationship).
Yet, Zane gets jealous and kisses Kelsey at a work party in a misguided attempt to mark his territory. Gross.
Then, he basically shames her for having a romance with Jake. What did he think was going to happen with his public display of caveman, erm, I mean, affection?
Kelsey does have issues with fidelity, but, and I can’t believe I’m going to say this, I prefer the version of her character when she was with Thad and she embraced the moral murkiness of relationships.
That was at least provocative.
In the Kelsey/Zane/Jake love triangle, Kelsey comes off as unable to make a decision and completely at the mercy of these two men who seem bigger on themselves than on her.
I want Zane to stick around because I adore Charles Michael Davis, and Younger absolutely needs at least one person of color on in the lead ensemble.
But the love triangle stuff is not exciting or juicy. I am more enamored by the fun allusion to Pod Save America’s host Jon Favreau and by Kelsey with those half and half french fries.
Notes in the Margins
- The extras in holiday sweaters and outfits are fabulous. It is worth pausing through the office scenes to check out the zany get-ups!
- Lauren is missing for the episode, which is really the biggest fault. Lauren seems to get dismissed and ignored by the people who are her closest friends. I hope that the show starts showing how the whole team supports Lauren’s dreams.
- I could never like Caitlyn more than I do when she decides to twerk at the end of a yodeling number with both of her parents, in front of a room full of people her parents’ age. MIRACLE.
- Really, Jorge? Really?
- Caitlin’s face, when Josh delivers presents, is hilarious, but I don’t get why exes being friends is a big deal. Caitlin’s comments to Josh are way out of left field.
- Diana’s zinger, “Necklaces should inspire envy, Liza. Not seizures.” is all the holiday charm I need.
What did you think about Younger 5×07 “A Christmas Miracle”? Join the conversation in the comments!