It's never a good sign when one-third through the final season of a television show, you stop and think that maybe that last season was a mistake.
However, Younger Season 6 ended on a massive cliffhanger, so there has to be some closure for the fans, but I can't help but wish a TV movie or a supersized finale had been decided upon instead of a 12-episode final season.
It would have been the kinder option instead of forcing its loyal audience to watch our once-beloved show circling the drain as the writers find a way to prolong the drama.
It's sad because Younger Season 7 Episode 1 was ripe with promise, at least until the final minutes when Charles ended things with Liza.
And with each passing episode, it became clearer that the writers were going drag out the "will they or won't they" trope until the very end.
Liza: I don’t want to lose that moment, this feeling.
Charles: We won’t.
Liza: Then can we just keep riding the perfect ride? I’ve been married, and it didn’t go so well. I love you, and I don’t want anything from you except your heart. I want to be happily unmarried to you every day.
Charles: Whoa, that was not the proposal I was expecting, but I do know what I want, and it’s not a ride or some kind of fantasy. I want to get off the carousel. I want a partner in life.
Liza: I’m still your partner.
Charles: For life. I may be old-fashioned, but I believe in marriage, and it may not have worked out for either of us the first time, but I believe that it can work again.
Liza: And I think we’re finally free of needing to define ourselves of those rules and obligations. I want to be everything to you.
Charles: We’re not young, Liza, and we both deserve what we really want. Thank you for letting me know what’s in your heart.
Liza's realization about not wanting to get married again seemed to come out of nowhere, but it makes some sense based on her character.
Remember when she was dating Josh and realized she didn't want to have any more children after having devoted 18 years of her life to raising Caitlin?
Well, the same sort of logic applies here.
Liza has already done the whole marriage thing, and it didn't work out that great the first time, so, on some level, her not wanting to remarry fits with who she has become over the past six seasons.
Conversely, Charles's steadfast views on marriage also make sense, given who he is as a character.
And while at first, it seemed hasty to break up with Liza over their differing opinions on marriage, we gained some clarity on Younger Season 7 Episode 2.
With the seasons airing so far apart, I completely forgot just how much Charles has put it in his own words and had to bend to be with Liza already.
He walked away from his company and had to renegotiate his custody agreement with Pauline, all for Liza.
Liza: Can we compromise on the whole marriage thing?
Charles: Compromise how?
Liza: I think I was wrong to say never. It’s how I feel now, but who knows? In time maybe I change my mind, or maybe you do. But, let’s give ourselves that time, and if we each bend a little…
Charles: Liza, I’ve had to bend a lot to be with you ever since we met. You never asked me to but I walked away from my company for you. I bent on the custody agreement, time with my girls because Pauline was so upset about your lie. If I bend anymore, I’m going to break.
Liza: That’s not what I’m asking.
Charles: We just want different things. I realize that now. There are no villains here. As hard as it is, it’s best we both move on with respect, not anger.
In retrospect, he's already given up so much to make this relationship work, so it's understandable why he can't give up anymore.
With all this in mind, it makes perfect sense why they broke up.
And if this were the end of the couple, that would be one thing, but the writers seem keen on milking this relationship for all its worth, and their breakup, which will probably be temporary, reads as unnecessary.
Instead of being a natural progression of their relationship, it just becomes yet another obstacle they'll have to overcome before getting back together.
Making matters worse is the introduction of Quinn into this whole mess.
Love triangles are a tired trope, and injecting someone as unlikeable as Quinn into the mix to create even more drama is almost unbearable.
There are no redeeming qualities about Quinn, and we shouldn't trust her one bit.
All of her talk about change and embracing failure read as false, and her cozying up to Charles reeks of ulterior motives.
There has to be some hidden agenda here that we're just not seeing because while Charles may not consider there to be any villains in his and Liza's breakups, Quinn is the villain in our eyes.
Quinn: Are things really over between you and Charles?
Quinn: I just wouldn’t want to date him if there was something still going on.
Liza: There’s nothing going on.
Quinn: So you traded Charles in for a celebrity surfer?
Liza: I didn’t trade Charles in for anyone. He’s free to do whatever he wants.
Quinn: That’s all I wanted to hear.
Maybe dating Charles and publishing another book at Empirical is just part of her long-drawn-out con to take the publishing company down from the inside?
She can't have been happy that Kelsey reneged her offer to go into business together, so what if this is just a way for Quinn to get her revenge?
That would make more sense than suddenly turning over a new leaf.
Elsewhere, Kelsey realized that she might have been too hasty in turning down Quinn's offer.
Millennial Empirical wasn't the home welcoming Kelsey had been hoping for, as she told Quinn on Younger Season 7 Episode 4, and it's hard going from the top to second string.
Kelsey may be the editor-in-chief, but Charles, as the publisher, is in charge.
Kelsey essentially has to run every decision by him, and it's exhausting for her, not the mention stifling her creative freedom.
Millennial was something Kelsey and Liza built from the ground up, and now it's gone.
Yes, Kelsey and Liza are still there, but hardly anything else from Millennial remains.
Kelsey: I should have teamed up with you … in business when you offered to finance me.
Quinn: Oh that.
Kelsey: I went back to what felt safe, and I didn’t take a risk. And I think about it every day.
Quinn: I understand why you stayed, Kelsey. It’s a wonderful group of people, but you did a blow a great opportunity and that would gnaw at me too.
There's oversight from a white male board uninterested in cultivating new and diverse authors, and Charles has reverted to the 'play it safe' publisher.
There's very little room for Kelsey to grow and branch out on her own, and it wouldn't be surprising if she decided to quit at some point this season.
It's just not what she imagined when she agreed to return to the company, and she's unhappy about her decision.
This isn't what she thought she would be signing onto upon her return.
Staying would only be more unbearable, especially with the knowledge that she could have been running her own company instead of playing second fiddle to Charles and Chicago.
Yes, a company change could be in Kelsey's future, and with a potential Kelsey-centric spinoff, the possibilities are endless.
Meanwhile, there's no way we could get through all of this without discussing the elephant in the room: Diana and Zane's absence.
Recently, it was announced that Miriam Shor and Charles Michael Davis, who play Diana and Zane respectively, would only appear in a recurring capacity.
Kelsey: Look, let’s just go to dinner. Just you and me, and we can talk this out. I love you, and I don’t care where you work. I want you to be happy, but…
Zane: Kelsey, I love you too, and I know I’ll never meet anyone like you again, but the competition, it’s crushing me. I need a fresh start?
Kelsey: Are you breaking up with me because I got promoted over you?
Zane: I am probably doing the stupidest thing of my life, letting you go, but at least for now, I think that’s best.
However, it's more like a one-off appearance because so far, all we've gotten is a brief scene with Zane where he breaks up Kelsey over FaceTime, while Diana has been MIA since the very start.
Creator Darren Star told TVLine in a statement that Shor and Davis were unable to be regular cast members due to scheduling and COVID-related matters.
This is understandable, but if we've seen more of Clare, played by Bridgerton's Phoebe Dynevor, then we have a problem.
Zane's absence is a little easier to swallow, what with the character being a later addition to the series.
And while it sucks for Kelsey just to be dumped after she and Zane got back together, this pairing has always been hot and cold.
They're cute and highly 'shippable, but their competitive nature has gotten between them in the past.
So while it was a jerk move to quit and break up with Kelsey the way he did, it's not as devastating as Diana's absence.
Diana has been a staple of the series since the very beginning, and there's no other character like her who so effortlessly balances her unique sense of style, wit, and heart.
She's irreplaceable, and as much as we love Lauren, the 30-year-old can't hold a candle to the legendary Diana.
Lauren: It’s a love story, set in a glamorous arena very close to home. OK, let me set the stage with the characters. Love isn't just for the young and obviously desirable, right? Even with people ripening in Septembers and early Octobers of their years, love can find a way. Love, say, between a publishing titan with very big hands and shoes and a housewife from New Jersey who moved to New York to impersonate young people and learn about memes and Snapchat lens.
Charles: Lauren, I don’t think…
Lauren: And this loveable kitten-eared imposter soon won the heart of the boss-slash-hero, who incidentally believes of promoting from within, and he summoned up the courage… no, I believe he can say this far better than me…
Video Charles: Will you marry me?
Video Liza: Oh my god.
Lauren: OK, so we didn’t get her answer here on video, but he got it, obvy, and therefore, it brings me great pleasure to present to you the Empirical family of the future, Mr. and Mrs. Charles…
Charles: Lauren, we’re not getting married.
Liza: We’re not engaged. It’s not happening.
Yes, Diana left huge shoes to fill, and baby diva is coming up short.
Hopefully, Diana won't be off on her honeymoon for too long because the series is suffering without its secret weapon.
And speaking of absent characters, there was too little Maggie and Josh in these first four episodes.
Per the season synopsis, Maggie gets canceled, but so far, it's only been the writers who have written her too few scenes and not given her enough dialogue.
The character will randomly pop up here and there and dispense some sage OWL advice, as Lauren would put it, but the character deserves more than this.
The idea of exploring cancel culture is intriguing, and it's exciting to see how Maggie will fit into this. However, it's unclear if the character has enough clout as an artist to be effectively canceled.
Josh also deserves better, and maybe he'll finally get it with KT, a new love interest introduced in Younger Season 7 Episode 3.
Josh had spent so much time over the past seasons as window dressing, fading into the background when he and Liza officially broke up.
Floatie V: I already know what I want. This one, this one, this one, that one, connected together across my forehead.
Josh: OK, why don’t we take a seat for a second? Walk this through.
Floatie V: This dress doesn’t sit.
Josh: OK, not a problem. I’ve been doing this for a while, and one thing I learned is you don’t want to get too many tattoos all at the same time.
Floatie V: I do.
Josh: Are you sure? The great thing about tattoos is they tell a story, right, over time, your story. It’s powerful. We can tell your story in the most beautiful, collaborative way possible, but it deserves to just be done slowly.
He finally got a decent storyline when Clare returned pregnant and Gemma was born, but that no longer feels like enough for such a dynamic and complex tattoo artist.
Josh is entitled to more, even if he is a secondary character at this point.
However, more screen time and solid storylines aren't necessarily dependent upon one another, as the worst thing the writers could do would be to throw Josh back into this Liza/Charles/Quinn love quadrangle.
The whole Team Josh and Team Charles thing has run its course, and Liza has chosen Charles.
Adding Josh back in at this late stage would be convoluted, though Team Josh fans may disagree.
Some who want to see Liza and Josh end up together may feel that now is the perfect time for the former lovers to rekindle their relationship, now that Liza is unattached and Josh has a child of his own.
After all, there's still plenty of time left for the pair to find their way back to each other in a way that doesn't feel rushed or put carelessly together at the 11th-hour to appease fans.
And it's possible that things could come together for Liza and Josh in a way they never have before, but right now, it just feels dishonest for the show to entertain that idea.
Liza: I know you never really liked him.
Josh: Come on. That’s not true. I do like him for you. It brings me joy to know that you are happy. You deserve that. I want that for you for real.
Liza: Josh, you are so special to me. I always want you in my life. Promise me that.
Josh: Yeah, I want you in mine too, always, forever. Relationships don’t have to be defined, right?
Liza: No, no they don’t.
Josh: We know who we are to each other.
Liza: We’re us.
Josh: Yeah, we’re us. We’re always going to be no matter who we’re with.
Liza is still head over heels in love with Charles, so getting back together with Josh wouldn't be right for either of them, not if Liza's heart belongs to another.
Plus, I love where they've gotten to in their friendship, and I'd hate for a failed relationship to ruin what they have.
As Liza said to Josh, they both know what they are to each other, and that's enough.
Some stray thoughts:
- Füpa and Kai were interesting author editions, even if they were heavily based on real people. Füpa was so funny and over-the-top, and I wouldn't mind seeing more of her. Kai wasn't as engaging, but he did help Liza get out of her head for a while, so there's that.
Lauren always has the best birthday parties. Can she plan my next one?
When did Clare become this likable? Is it because Quinn is the main villain now, so Clare suddenly becomes this mature and relaxed adult? Hey, it's working for her, and I like that she and Josh have gotten to a place where they can co-parent peacefully.
So what did you think, TV Fanatics?
Will Liza and Charles's breakup last?
What's the deal with Quinn?
How much do you miss Diana and Zane?
Don't forget to hit the comments below to let me know your thoughts. It missed the first four episodes, remember you can watch Younger online at TV Fanatic.
Jessica Lerner is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.