We’ve reached the third and final installment of the sister saga and of course it ends up being the strongest of the bunch, finally managing to win me over. It didn’t do anything particularly different with the Abby character or offer up any scene that begged attention. What it did do was allow Abby to act as a foil for Jess’s insecurities and rather than casting them to the side we stuck with them for the entire episode.
The insecurity worms inside her at the start of the episode when the gang is over at Schmidt’s having a celebratory brunch for he and Abby’s first week anniversary. Jess watches on as despite their mutual idiosyncrasies Schmidt and Abby eviscerate any form of boundaries, poster children for intimacy as they practically climb into each other’s laps while eating. Meanwhile, on the flipside, we have Jess who when she turns to Nick to try to match her sister’s relationship ends up turning him skittish as he tries to hide his food from her.
Her attempt to even the playing field isn’t working and is sunk even deeper when she sees Schmidt wearing Abby’s jewelry—just because he wants to make her happy. Jess can see how gross they are but can’t help but want to stick it to her sister by forcing a similar rapport between her and Nick.
It was nice seeing the entire group in a cold open like this just hanging out—it allows for a quick update on all of the characters—with tidbits such as Winston trying to bulk up for his LAPD obstacle course exam.
Jess presses her concerns onto Nick who was appalled by the other couple’s behavior.
“Making love at their own brunch; no class.”
Nick Miller likely has the most relatable thoughts but worded in such a manner that they instantly become absurd.
Jess tries to ease her way into a discussion about them living together. Nick thinks it’s ridiculous since they already spend nearly each night with each other to begin with, so why mess up a good thing? Jess twists this as Nick not wanting to live with her period so, browbeaten, Nick concedes and they decide they should live in the same bedroom from here on out.
We instantly learn that this wasn’t a plan Nick wanted executed as he sits at the bar with Schmidt. He complains about all of the reasons why living together won’t work the number one being having to change in front of each other. Schmidt points out that they’ve seen each other naked but Nick says there’s a difference when it’s sex. When it’s sex it’s by passion and lust and everything is attractive and heated in the moment. When you’re changing you’re all hunched and bunched over, all of your unattractive parts on display.
This was supposed to be an example of the bizarre ways that Nick’s mind works, but I hope I wasn’t the only one agreeing with it. There is a distinct difference between heat of the moment, baring it all and changing. One’s so grounded in normality that it becomes uncomfortable with an audience.
Schmidt can’t understand this at all as he tells Nick that he and Abby have reached a new level of intimacy—they even share the same sponge.
I joined Nick in his cringe. That’s crossing a line.
In my favorite pairing of the week we find out from Coach that he and Cece have grown closer but more like best girl friends or sisters rather than anything romantic, and he likes it like that. Hello Damon Wayans Jr., this is the type of personality he should always play. The closer as he gets to turning into his Brad character from Happy Endings the better. Cece comes over to tell Coach that she wants the two of them to go snoop on Abby. From what she knows of her, Cece thinks she’s up to no good with Schmidt.
They leave Winston as he trains and go next door to look around for anything suspicious. While digging through his trash, Schmidt catches the two of them in the act and asks what they’re doing. They play it off and Schmidt, annoyed at their budding friendship, walks away. Max Greenfield playing put off is a fun turnaround as he’s allowed to play the straight man character for once to Hannah Simone and Wayan’s broader comedic strokes.
The first night of living together goes as the audience believed it would with Jess almost instantly regretting her decision. From the nightgown that Nick wears to bed, to his dirty feet and the way he prepares to get comfortable. Living together is going to be harder than simply doing it out of spite for her sister.
Jess instead finds a place to have for herself—their apartment building’s elevator. Abby finds her in there and tells Jess that being with Schmidt is fantastic. She says that she’s never felt so clean being so dirty.
Great delivery by Linda Cardellini. See, I warmed up to the character. Abby tells Jess that she has a coupon for a night in a hotel and that her and Nick should take it to have some private time.
Nick has been complaining to Winston about his lack of alone time just as Jess runs in and claims she’s taking a trip and will be back in a day or two. In reality, she’s taking the night at the hotel for herself to escape from Nick.
Cece has convinced Schmidt and Coach to go on a stake out with her to find out what Abby is up to and if it’s anything that will incriminate her in the way Cece wants. This obviously makes viewers ask why Cece has such a vendetta against Abby, or if she’s doing it because of her past with Schmidt? If it’s the latter what does that mean for the past couple and do we want to see whatever it is? Schmidt did royally screw Cece over when he was dating her and Elizabeth at the same time and it shouldn’t be a plot point that was forgotten, no matter how much audiences want to. If it’s an expression of a stronger friendship, that’s durable character growth. If it’s tentative steps back into a possible romance, that’s on shakier grounds.
Schmidt blows their cover after driving into another car and Abby sees them and tells them she had just been getting slippers. Cece tells Abby that she’s just trying to protect Schmidt.
It’s worth mentioning just how great Simone is in this episode. She really shines when she isn’t delegated to being the reactionary character.
Zooey Deschanel also gets a fun bit to play as she enjoys a night in the hotel to herself, quickly donning a fluffy robe and running around the room in elation. She orders room service, watches a documentary and drinks and has some much needed alone time.
Her relief doesn’t last long however when Winston catches her the next day in the lobby while complaining to security about their beach not being monitored well enough. Winston, like Schmidt, is also intimidated by the youths. Jess orders him to not tell Nick anything.
Coach and Cece are having some buddy time at a café and he tells her that she’s acting like a lunatic and needs to sort out why she’s behaving like this. He thinks there’s something deeper than simply acting out for Schmidt’s best interests.
Jess’s threat doesn’t deter Winston for long and he tells Nick the truth. Nick, despite being upset that Jess lied, is also oddly enthusiastic. He never gets to win these types of fights and now he has the best ammunition on his side. He may have also been upset by the room situation but he’d tried to make it work and most importantly had never lied about it.
Cece goes to Schmidt’s and apologizes. She tells him that she’d only been trying to look after him because she knows the lengths he will go for those he cares about and didn’t want him to be caught in Abby’s schemes. The scene allows us to remember just how good Greenfield and Simone’s chemistry is when they’re written strong material.
In the other apartment, Nick confronts Jess and despite her trying to cover up her lie he calls her out on them and says he can’t believe how good she is at lying. She says she was being driven crazy by him and that she was only trying to do what good couples are supposed to do. She asks why can’t they do this and be successful. Jess is missing the point about how she forced the issue rather than allowing it to develop organically but still is distressed and goes to the bar.
Abby finds her and gives her a pep talk. Jess tells her that she’s jealous of her and how she can just be content no matter the situation. Abby tells her she’s wrong and that what Jess is doing with Nick is tough and she’s envious of what the two of them have, how they know so much about each other that they can fight about it but still want to be together. She tells Jess that she jumps around from one guy to another so much because she’s afraid of being alone.
Jess tells her that she’s tough and that maybe alone time is just what she needs.
The end of the episode allows for reconciliation for Nick and Jess as the two decide that they can live in different bedrooms and still maintain a strong relationship. However a wrench is quickly thrown into the plan as Schmidt comes over to tell them that Abby has left to go live with her mom for a while to try and find her own independence. Since he spent a lot of money on finding a place for her to open a shop, his bank account is essentially dried up and he needs to move back into the loft, which he thinks will work since Jess and Nick now share a room.
So they’re stuck, Schmidt’s back in and Abby’s out. After three episodes of laughs but nothing substantial that seems like a decently-sized development for the show to work with and there are a lot of directions that the characters can now be written in. It will be interesting to see what changes, if anything.
A much better output than the show’s last two, “Sister III” finally seems like a return to old form for the show.