It was always going to be difficult (perhaps impossible) to live up to the expectation and anticipation of Charles and Liza’s first time sleeping together. Younger 5×08 “The Bubble,” unsurprisingly misses the mark for me with the couple’s bedroom activities, but delivers in other firsts.
Stay with me, Team Charles. Although this episode didn’t do it for me between the sheets this time, Liza and Charles have officially sailed and there will be plenty of opportunities for the couple to hit the spot.
Charles and Liza have their first post-truth kiss in a blissful snow scene. Then, we rush past the seconds after that kiss, right to the drinks of their first post-truth date.
The speed is jarring and I find myself wishing there was a slow down button on my remote control.
I want to savor every second and instead, it feels like the moment we have all been waiting for is over before it begins. It is a premature delivery of the get-together scene.
There are many aspects of the sex scene and the follow-up romantic moments that I love. In particular, any moment where the couple laughs together.
They are the most themselves when they are giggling or connecting over their shared values.
I also dig that the sensual encounter between them is filled with different positions and clear pleasure. Over 40 and still tantric! I love it. But, even there, it is too rushed. I want 10 to 20 seconds more of each shot. Not just for the randiness, but also for the story to really steep.
This is a big deal!
I have a few other points of incomplete satisfaction from Charles and Liza’s first time.
Location, location, location. The long-awaited first time between Charles and Liza fails to utilize location as a way to capture the intimacy and history between the couple.
The first date scene is on a random bench in a random bar. Besides the side by side awkwardness (the couple manages to be far sexier when sitting knee to knee on Ms. Hart’s couch on “Sex, Liza, and Rock and Roll”) the scene’s setting is lackluster because it means nothing to us viewers.
We have a history with so many places on Younger. The idea of Charles being in Liza’s apartment is thrilling, as is the idea of Liza finally being in Charles’ home as his lover, not the babysitter.
I can’t even recognize the room where they undress and connect. It must be in Charles’ home, but it doesn’t have the same tone as what we’ve seen from his walk-up. I feel almost betrayed that the setting isn’t filled with little reminders of what they mean to each other.
Even just some books! (I do recognize that they meet in front of the library- but they don’t even go in!)
The Carlyle has meaning for the couple and there have been two significant rooftops scenes for the couple as well.
We don’t get to explore any of those places on “The Bubble.”
This next complaint may be far too into the weeds, but such is the consequence of getting a couple together after five seasons of longing: I need a staircase situation!
Staircases have meant a great deal to Charles and Liza. At the opera, they steal lovesick glances at each other as Charles goes up the stairs. Rhada following Charles up the stairs pierces Liza in the heart.
The top of the staircase at Charles’ home is where Liza has felt her love for Charles burgeon and where she started to put her heart on the line for him.
True, we get a juicy staircase kiss on the episode, but it is so, so brief that it almost doesn’t count.
It is greatly disappointing to me that we don’t get to see any reference to the past and the stirring history of this incredible pair. This leads me to my next, related, point.
There is no foreplay.
The episode jumps right into Charles and Liza’s date and then, very quickly, the clothes are coming off.
Part of what makes the scene on “Fever Pitch” (both dream sequence and in reality) so passionate and wonderful is that there is build up. The small conversations.
For me, the sharing of the first time they saw each other is more strange than sexy or romantic.
What would have been really hot is Liza telling him about the sex dream she had about him and how that impacted her choice to kiss him in his office! That is a conversation I’d love to see.
Again, I want to savor these precious moments. I, too, want to be in a bubble. The straight out the gate presentation of the love scenes don’t allow us to get in that bubble.
The very final glimpse of the couple in bed, laughing at how happy they are, coupled with the the cab scene, with the gorgeous kiss and immediate “I miss you already,” text almost get us there. We are so, so close.
But then that dang beard takes away all the attention.
It is SO distracting! I can’t take my eyes away, and not in a good way!
Where does it even end? Why would he have grown such a thing? How come he can’t trim it all tidy and sexy, like Peter Hermann does in real life?
I love Kelsey, Diana and Liza’s reaction to Charles’ beard. But, I wish it would have been used as more than just a device to show us that Charles cares what Liza likes. Of course, he does! It is a missed opportunity to let us in on something sexy–maybe a little role-playing Charles has in mind, or something that he picked up that she likes in bed? Or even a reference to a person Liza has expressed is handsome and has a beard?
It totally makes sense that Charles is trying something new to reflect his new happiness. I want to be let into his reasoning, though, so those choices have more impact.
Another reason an hour-long Younger is so needed!
Much like the first time in real life, Charles and Liza’s first time doesn’t (and likely never really could) live up to the perfect image I have created in my mind. So, in that way, it is at least accurate.
I do like the first time Liza and Charles have been a couple in the office.
The finger on her leg and the two fingers on her back are gasp-inducing. I love Charles being provocative and heady.
If I was sweetly nestled in the bubble with them, it would be all good.
But because I never quite get there, the result is disjointed moments of greatness, that never quite reach the climactic result I continue to hope for.
Pardon the sex puns. I can’t help it with these two rascals.
Maggie’s First Time
The episode overall delivers big time for me because of the ways Liza’s best friends, and the people who love them, get to shine.
Maggie embraces “doing the work” for a relationship for the first time. It is so cute and dreamy. I love everything about the return to Malkie we see on “The Bubble.”
In particular, I love how we see the heart of the mature friendship between Liza and Maggie. Liza sets aside her date-night story to be there for her hurting roomie. She advises wisely:
We all have issues. We’re all scared to put our hearts out there. But the good things only happen when we risk letting the bad stuff happen too.
I love that Younger lets us fall in love with these characters over and over again.
Liza’s advice is good friendship. It is nonjudgemental, true, and challenging. It is a continual factor on Younger that women call each other out on issues or hypocrisy and they listen.
I am #TeamCharles every second of the day, but the story of friendship in the most compelling and necessary story on the show.
I will note that Liza and Charles’ friendship is one of the most important aspects of their connection. Just saying. Perhaps even more importantly than boyfriend status, Charles is on his way to best friend status with Liza.
Maggie leans on Liza, Josh, and Lauren as she goes for it with Malkie. It is truly beautiful. I absolutely love that as Maggie exits Lauren’s house she tells Josh to call her tomorrow. It’s so simply said and clearly established their independent friendship.
That there is no jealousy or questioning or general hullabaloo between Maggie, Josh, and Lauren is a testament to the development of drama and humor outside of tired relationships tropes.
Kelsey’s First Time
Kelsey takes a big stand on “The Bubble” when she breaks up with Jake so they can focus on the book. She is honest and firm: she doesn’t want to keep making the same mistakes as before.
Kelsey is underrated for many reasons. Here, she shows that she will not be goaded into jealous fights. Jake brings up Zane and Kelsey just zooms right by, refocusing on the issues for Jake and Kelsey.
Kelsey is legitimately savvy in all ways. Other than hiding her reaction to Charles beard, she is able to control her emotions and focus on her career goals.
Jake is a total snake and I am really glad to see that Younger is not drawing out the triangle, but is instead allowing us to fall for Zane.
Zane’s First Time
In an opportune and confidential moment with Charles, Zane is honest about Kelsey’s work on Jake’s book. Zane passes up a chance to enrich himself and it gives me singing, great hope for their love story.
Zane delivers his New Years zinger to Kelsey (which he undoubtedly practiced in front of the mirror countless times):
First you screwed me, then you screwed me over.
He then supports her, without any expectation of recognition for his loyalty. Zane, for the first time, shows that he is a layered, genuine character who has real feelings for Kelsey.
My “meh” for Zelsey has turned into a heart “Yippie!” I hope Jake is no more than a footnote in the rest of the season and we can focus on the battling ambitions of these two incredible editors.
“The Bubble” is a solid episode that whispers promises of more special moments to come. If the bubble has to burst to get to the gritty stuff, so be it. We’re ready.
Notes in the Margins
- Diana smelling the coffee to get her fix while on a cleanse is so very relatable. I adore those little quirky moments of genius from her.
- The actress who plays Reese Witherspoon’s publicist is so great. Her face during the whole Pauline scene is just to die for. I’d love to see her more regularly on the show. Maybe a love interest for Lauren?
- Josh doesn’t get romantic screen time, but I LOVE how he is supporting his friends. It’s like Younger reads my diary.
- I love how obsessed Liza is with grabbing fabric on Charles. It’s so yummy and we see it in the bedroom too. I love that she’s so greedy for contact with him. We get, Liza. Oh, we get it.
- Lauren is a wonderful example of modern morality in dating. She is gentle, but authentic, with Maggie and Malkie. I’ll say it again, Lauren deserves more from her friends and more screen time on the show!
What do you think about Younger 5×08 “The Bubble”? Let us know in the comments!
Younger airs Tuesdays at 10/9c on TV Land.