Spoilers ahead for Younger Season 6, Episode 3. Since the start of the season, Younger has been laying the groundwork for something big to come between Liza and Charles. Between mysterious phone calls, ominous toasts with Zane at parties, and their agreement to not talk about work with each other, all the ingredients for a conflict are there. On Wednesday night, fans finally found out what the show’s been setting up — Charles and Zane started a publishing company on Younger and it’s already causing trouble for Liza and Kelsey’s bottom line.
Charles hasn’t actually delivered this news to Liza yet, but the evidence is all there. She finds paperwork for a hefty loan in his name laying out in his apartment, and the episode closes with the news that Zane somehow found the money to launch his own start-up publishing company. Remembering Zane and Charles’ cryptic nods to each other from last week’s episode, Liza connects the dots, and she’s as shocked as anyone.
To be honest, though, did Liza expect Charles to stay away from publishing forever? It’s always felt inevitable that the couple would one day be competitors. Charles stepped down from Empirical last season to avoid any scandal and business backlash that might’ve come from his relationship with Liza, whom the public still believes to be a much younger subordinate he has no business canoodling with. But he’s still not ready for retirement, and he knows the trade like the back of his hand. Partnered with Zane, Charles now has both the old-school chops and the millennial know-how that are making Liza and Kelsey a joint force to be reckoned with.
Liza will likely be pretty miffed that Charles didn’t talk to her about what was going on, even when she directly asked what the loan was about. They’re in a relationship, and especially after the secrets that plagued their early days, they should be honest with each other, right?
Well, it doesn’t help things that Liza just gave Charles a big speech earlier this season about how she doesn’t think they should talk about work — after Kelsey felt betrayed that Liza was talking to Charles about her, she wanted to keep their personal and professional lives distinctly separate.
Of course, with a couple as career-driven as these two, especially when they work in the same industry, that was always going to be easier said than done.
So what happens now? Kelsey and Zane are always on the rocks for one reason or another, and they’re used to being competitive with each other — it’s basically in their nature. Their relationship (if that’s what you can call it) will probably have an easier time dealing with this development than Charles and Liza’s will. The latter two are usually comfortably on the same team, and this will put them truly at odds for the first time since becoming a serious couple.
At the very least, Charles and Liza will have to rethink this whole "we can’t talk about work" idea. If they want to have a future with each other, they should be able to be on the same page about tens of thousands of dollars one of them is funneling into a project.
But at the same time, working for competing companies will make it more difficult than ever to be honest with each other. Zane and Charles’ company has already scooped up the true crime book deal Kelsey and Liza thought they had under their thumb, and it won’t be the last time one of them will have to undercut the other to secure their own success.
Charles and Liza will have to make big changes in their relationship to accommodate both their careers, and it’ll require a delicate balance that might just be impossible to strike.
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