New Girl, Ep. 2.19, “Quick Hardening Caulk”: Fish, Insults and ‘Friends’

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New Girl, Season 2, Episode 19: “Quick Hardening Caulk”
Written by Brett Baer, Dave Finkel and Ryan Koh
Directed by Lorene Scafaria
Airs on Tuesdays at 9pm on FOX

Caulking is a process used to seal cracks and in “Quick Hardening Caulk”, New Girl cleverly uses the opportunity after a two-week break to seal the cracks in its narrative. Every week New Girl manages to squeeze in a lot without feeling rushed or sacrificing quality and this week’s episode is no exception. Picking up where we left off two weeks ago, both the Cece/Schmidt and Nick/Jess relationships get a lot of attention this week.

Suffering depression from Cece’s engagement to Shevrang, Schmidt parks himself at Nick’s bar and drowns his sorrows with a melon liqueur. Nick decides the gang can no longer have free drinks, as this is his only job and opportunity to be a responsible adult. Jess embraces her feelings for Nick when she finds his newfound sense of responsibility and initiative a massive turn-on. Which leads to a number of amazing scenes where Jess awkwardly and hilariously tries to handle her feelings. Spending time with Nick eventually leads to a wooden board to the face and doped up on painkillers, she reveals she wants to have sex with him. Conveniently Jess “forgets” when the drugs wear off and Nick frets about it to the guys.

Meanwhile after a visit to the aquarium, Schmidt projects his love for Cece onto a California lionfish. His quest to capture one leads him and Winston to the sea. Winston doesn’t get a B story this week but he does get slightly more airtime than usual. Winston is a great character and we often only see him in a hilarious light in his ridiculous side stories but this week we see him differently, as he is there for his friend after he refuses to pee on Schmidt’s jellyfish sting. Cece drops by with the fish to see Schmidt in the hospital and Winston, being the good friend he is, asks her to give him some space. This is genuinely a sad scene because Schmidt is obviously not dealing with the engagement very well at all. You know Schmidt really likes Cece and is genuinely upset when he drops his douche facade. Cece never shows a huge amount of enthusiasm towards Shevrang and there is something about Schmidt, besides the fact he lives with Jess, that always keeps her coming back. When he comes to, he acknowledges his misplaced feelings towards the fish and refers to it as “Fish Cece”, instead of having a living symbol of what he’s lost, Schmidt decides to throw the fish back into the ocean and ultimately let go of Cece. Though it isn’t convincing that things are completely over between them, this is definitely a bittersweet moment and slightly sad to watch.

Whilst this is all happening, it appears we finally get a Nick and Jess sex scene, kind of. Back at the loft Nick confronts Jess and they angrily get ready for some action. Before this though, Jess discovers that Nick is sleeping with his new boss and Nick is unable to formulate an appropriate response when his manager demands to know who Jess is. This moment sums up the current state of their relationship perfectly. It wouldn’t be right if their attempt at sex would go smoothly and it really doesn’t. Their dynamic and chemistry is great- they annoy the hell out of each other like an old married couple but are incredibly attracted to each other. In this scene they cannot keep their hands off each other like randy, hormone-fueled teenagers and seeing Nick angrily demand she takes her clothes off is hilarious. Throughout this weird kind of foreplay they share, they are constantly firing insults at each other. This scene is great and really gets the audience excited. Nick pushes everything off the table and we really believe we are going to see them finally do it, but instead they break a fish tank and continue to argue. Perfect. The last frame they share shows Nick and Jess continuing the argument and then making out once again before returning to their rooms. It’s important to note that the defining factor in Jess deciding to make a move is Nick going responsible on us. Responsible Nick isn’t the Nick Miller we know and love so it puts a condition on her feelings that can and probably will quickly change. When Nick reverts back to his old self, her feelings will of course still be there but she could revert back to being scared of them because Nick isn’t really the type of guy a woman would want to commit to. Though it would have been great to see them consummate after all this build-up, it leaves the audience intrigued and excited to see where they will be next week. With Nick taking the gang with him to visit his family in Chicago in next week’s episode, it’s going to be interesting to see what the writers have in store for us.

Other thoughts/observations:

–       The whole jellyfish debacle is a great reference to classic sitcom Friends
–       Best line of the episode: “I don’t want some janky freshwater bitch fish!”
–       The old lady in the hardware store was a nice touch (“Yeah, pull that chain”), as she says exactly what Jess is feeling

Tara Costello

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