With a title like "Stiff Competition," it was obvious that Charles and Liza would be squaring off against each other on Younger Season 6 Episode 5.
Sure, the "stiff competition" actually referred to Charles' penis, but it more than applies to the current dynamic between Charles and Liza when it comes to Millennial and Mercury.
There was a possibility that Charles and Liza could keep this competition friendly and lighthearted, but that all went out the door the moment Charles began pulling almost every author right from under Millennial and showing absolutely no remorse.
Competition can keep you on your toes, but it can also destroy your relationship.
As Diana and Kelsey put it: Liza is sleeping with the enemy, and it was bound to become problematic.
Being caught in the middle is nothing new for Liza; it's a formula we've seen Younger implement since the first season.
Diana: Did you see this, Kelsey? Your decapitated head is hovering between low brow and despicable right next to Disney live-action remakes and nude restaurants.
Kelsey: Yeah, I saw it, Diana.
Diana: How unflattering to crop you right at your chin. A head without a neck is like a kite without a string just a floating tragedy.
She's always in the middle trying to make everything work and watching it crumble around her.
If it isn't Charles vs. Josh, it's Charles vs. Kelsey or Millennial vs. Mercury.
Lines have become blurred, and there are only three ways this potentially goes: Charles and Liza break-up, Charles pursues different authors than Millennial (as he should), or Liza goes to work with him at Mercury.
Keeping the peace and remaining neutral didn't work when Kelsey's whole reputation was on the line.
And to be honest, by the end, I was against keeping things neutral, too.
I'll fully admit that I'm a bit confused on Charles' motivations and where he's coming from internally.
Is he genuinely fine with competing with Liza? Does he enjoy it?
Does he not value her as a career woman because she's still technically working for him? Is he just oblivious to how it's affecting his former co-workers?
Liza: Don't read into it. It's just a pop culture hot or not list.
Kelsey: Charles is hot and I'm not?
At one point, he tells Julia she'll be in good hands whoever she signs with.
Initially, it seemed like Charles had no ill intention and believed in Liza and thus, Millennial, but after his last statement about everything benefitting the bottom line, he took all of Liza and Kelsey's wins as his own.
His approach in that final scene was surprising
I've never pegged him as an egotistical man, but that's the kind of the vibe I'm getting.
All those things he said about "risking everything for his dream" don't apply because somehow -- and I truly don't understand how he's allowed to still have a stake in Millennial while running Mercury -- he has toes dipped in both companies thus making it impossible for him to lose.
He's winning regardless of who is signing the authors.
In a way, he's scamming the whole publishing industry.
You better believe Kelsey is going to lose it once she finds out.
It's not my intention to paint Charles as the villain, but I'm struggling to see it any other way. If you disagree, please let me know in the comments.
Charles' actions made me wonder if telling Liza that he's scared was just his way of buttering her up so she'd feel sorry for him and be less aggressive about landing all the authors.
It's almost as if he's using her feelings against her.
And seeing this side of Charles is disappointing because it makes me question everything I've ever thought and believed about him.
Charles seems to be winning over these authors without as much as lifting a finger, and I don't think it's because he's an established name in the industry.
Agreeably, both his age and his experience work in his favor, and in general, men don't have to try as hard as women, but I also don't see Kelsey, Liza, and Diana bringing their A-game.
They seem so intimidated with Charles' winning strategy that they're just caving and drinking their sorrows away leaving Liza to do much of the chasing.
And then Kelsey had the nerve to question Liza's loyalties.
Her suspicions were valid because Liza accompanied Charles to his dinner with the authors and inadvertently helped sign said authors, but she would never betray Kelsey.
And it's suspicious that Charles is gunning for the same authors as Millennial. Is that purposeful?
Why isn't he going for authors that fit more with his age bracket? Or focus on male-led books?
Kelsey needs to be huddling up with the team and re-strategizing so they can come in from the angles that work for them.
Millennial shouldn't be squashed under Mercury because they wield so much power as two vibrant, young women running the show alongside a female marketing genius.
Charles: You're enjoying this.
Liza: Maybe I am. What choice do I have? Be mad at you or be better?
There's so much draw there that Charles and Zane cannot tap into or deliver on.
Why aren't these ladies harnessing that or making it personal the way Charles did by bringing up his relationship with Liza.
I sincerely thought I was going to enjoy this storyline, but it's falling apart rather quickly.
And instead of worrying about losing Liza to her career, Charles assumed he's competing with Josh again.
Okay, maybe Charles really is that ignorant.
The remark, however, affirmed my belief that he doesn't take Liza seriously at all.
He's not concerned about her leaving him because of a career move, he's only concerned about another lover.
Speaking of Josh, it's been refreshing to see him invested in a lifestyle that doesn't revolve around Liza.
Having Gemma be the youngest Instagram influencer in the game is a bit of a stretch, but it's lighthearted and fun.
Josh has found some purpose in life while Lauren found her meal ticket with Gemma.
After having amassed 5 thousand followers it's safe to say, Lauren is a social media (and baby) whisperer!
We knew Diana was going to get arrested from the Younger Season 6 trailer, but I never would have figured it would be for public urination.
Diana is a badass this season, and I'm here for it.
The situation quickly escalated with Diana committing a felony as she tried to bribe the officer and it didn't help that Kelsey came out swinging an ax.
If their record were ever made public, it would bump Kelsey even lower on the low brow list.
Like I said prior, Kelsey and Diana should be funneling that rage into something more constructive.
But I won't complain because everything about Diana and Kelsey's scenes made this episode hilarious.
These two are a force not to be reckoned with.
Okay, TV Fanatics, I'm turning it over to you!
Be sure to watch Younger online and let us know if you loved or hated this episode in the comments below!
Lizzy Buczak was a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She retired in June 2021..