'New Girl' Season 1, Episode 24 Finale Recap - 'See Ya'
The big question going into the finale episode was this: will we get a Nick/Jess payoff? Fans have been hoping for a connection all season, but the writers have balked. And with good reason, too: shows with a "will they/won't they" tend to lose their steam once the couple actually gets together, a la Jim and Pam on "The Office." Nothing will ever quite top the second season, because it's just not as fun when everyone is happy. Because apparently, TV audiences are a bunch of jerks. It's true, we are.
So, if "New Girl" fans had their way, this episode that started with Nick getting ready to move in with Caroline would have ended with Nick moving back into the old apartment, and would probably have been capped off with Nick and Jess totally making out or whatever. Unfortunately, we only got half of that.
Despite Jess' protesting, Nick drives off in his moving fan with Schmidt and Winston to move in with Caroline. But when he gets to the apartment, he keeps on driving... and gets on the freeway and heads east into the desert.
As if that freakout wasn't enough, he then opts to throw his keys out into the desert, stranding them there until Jess shows up with Cece to rescue them... but with Jess still disapproving of the move, she throws her keys as well.
That turns out to be the best choice for everyone involved, as everyone has a transformative experience in the desert, as they camp out with Nick's possessions out of the back of the van. Well, it works out for everyone except Schmidt and Cece, anyway, as Schmidt's jealousy over Cece's work (and a fellow model named Gino) leads him to "White Fang" her... he sets her free, because he knows he can't tame a wild thing. This never gets resolved, so it looks like Schmidt and Cece won't be an item going into season two.
Nick and Jess work out their issues, as Jess gets some wise words from Schmidt: "When you care about someone, you do what's best for them, even if it sucks for you." Armed with that (and overcoming a potential coyote attack), Jess tells Nick that she just wants him to be happy, even if that means being with Caroline.
Oh, and Winston overcomes his fear of the dark, which is apparently something he has. Yay, Winston has a quirk! He's afraid of werewolves!
As it turns out, Jess never threw her keys in the first place: she had them in her pocket all along. She just wanted one more night with everyone together, dancing like goofballs to crappy 90's songs that Nick put on his high school mixtape.
Luckily for her (and us), Nick has a change of heart when he finally gets back to Caroline's, and the roommates all awake to the sounds of AC/DC.
Unluckily for us, the only Nick/Jess closure we get is Jess' line "welcome back, you clown," and a meaningful smile between the two.
But to have a real payoff at this point would have been too dangerous. If the tension was gone, would we be as likely to return for the second season, which "New Girl" has already earned? The show is funny, well written and well acted, but without a through-line, viewers might not see weekly tuning in as a necessity.
Worry not, "New Girl" fans. We'll get that payoff eventually. And you can bet that when we do, it will be just as good as Jim and Pam, but like, infinitely more awkward.
Notes & Quotes:
- "What in the hell war is this?"
- "I took a bunch of rubber bands, so I don't want to hear about it."
- "I'm worried about Schmidt. He's a Jew in the desert, I don't want him to wander."
- "A woof."
- "Coyotes wanna kill roadrunners!"
- Schmidt's White Fang/Harry and the Hendersons moment.
- For that matter, Schmidt's full-on kiss with Nick. Highlight.
- Big ups to "Reno 911" star Tom Lennon, who guest stars admirably as potential new roommate Neil.