New Girl "Quick Hardening Caulk" Review: Honesty Loves Painkillers

New Girl S02E19: “Quick Hardening Caulk”

For the non-handymen—and women—around here, caulking is a process used to seal cracks and seams in things like walls and sidewalks and rusty ‘91 Chevy Cavaliers (not one of my prouder moments) and in “Quick Hardening Caulk,” New Girl cleverly took the opportunity to plug the leaks in its narrative, ensuring that the whole thing is structurally sound as we move forward. I’m always impressed by how much New Girl manages to cram into a single episode without sacrificing quality or making things feel rushed. Both the Cece/Schmidt and Nick/Jess relationships got some serious action this week, with Schmidt ultimately deciding to let Cece go and Jess embracing her feelings for Nick when she found his newfound sense of responsibility to be a massive turn-on.

Depressed over Cece and Shevrang’s engagement, Schmidt parked himself at Nick’s bar and proceeded to drown his sorrows in melon liqueur. Nick decreed no more free drinks for his friends because he'd come to the realization that the bar is his only job and his only opportunity at the moment to be a responsible adult, possibly one day maybe even a SUCCESSFUL adult. Schmidt and Winston took the opportunity to ditch the bar for the aquarium, where Schmidt projected his love for Cece onto a rare California lionfish. And Jess found herself strangely attracted to the new and improved Nick Miller, which gave way to an amazing series of scenes where a horrified Jess found herself both drawn to Nick’s ambition and repulsed by, well, NICK. Eventually, following Nick around like a puppy got her a wooden board to the face, and a prescription for the good stuff had her blabbing all of her fantasies about playing doctor with him to Nurse Nick... advances that were conveniently forgotten when the drugs wore off.

Meanwhile, Schmidt’s quest to capture a lionfish led him and Winston to the sea, where Schmidt commanded Winston to pee on his face after he got stung by a jellyfish. Gotta love how Schmidt was totally grossed out by Winston’s admission that he peed in the ocean, but totally rolled with the face-pee idea, even when the total stranger EMTs dropped their drawers in the name of medicine. Good job, Schmidtty?

In the hospital, Cece came by with Schmidt’s coveted fish while he was too out-of-it to notice. I don’t judge Winston harshly for asking her to give Schmidt some space—he was truly acting out of a sense of protectiveness for Schmidt, and honestly, Schmidt very obviously wasn’t dealing with the engagement news all that well. But still, it made my heart hurt. Cece’s enthusiasm for Shevrang has never been particularly strong and their planned nuptials don’t appear to be changing that. Schmidt’s general douchiness always serves to make his vulnerable moments all the more powerful and resonating, because you know how much he must be hurting to let the asshole facade drop.

When he came back around, Schmidt acknowledged his misplaced feelings for the fish and even greeted it as “Fish Cece,” but rather than keep the fish as a living, breathing symbol of what he'd lost, Schmidt decided to throw the fish back into the ocean and when he declared, “She doesn’t belong to me,” he was clearly talking about the human Cece as much as he was talking about the fish. It was a bittersweet moment, even though I’m sure the epic of Schmidt and Cece is far from over, but if there was ever any doubt that Schmidt’s love for Cece was anything short of genuine and heartfelt, I think we finally got our answer.

And, it appears, we finally got some Nick/Jess sexytimes? Maybe? Almost? They were certainly gearing up for action before their angry almost-foreplay led to a shattered fish tank in the middle of the loft. Jess decided to tell Nick the truth, sober this time, but her confession was derailed when Nick revealed he was banging his anal-retentive new boss. Jess not-so-subtly insulted Nick’s new lady and when the manager demanded to know who she was, Nick was unable to formulate an appropriate response... which sums up the entire Jess/Nick relationship in it’s current state perfectly.

Even assuming their kissing-fighting-tearing-off-of-clothes-fighting-kissing sequence led to sex, that doesn’t mean that Jess and Nick are an item. It doesn’t make them official in any sense of the word; if anything, doing the deed could end up being more detrimental to their relationship than if they had just kept ignoring their attraction and pretending that the big kiss that kick started this whole thing never happened. I think it’s important to note that Jess finally moved on the feelings she was harboring in response to Nick going all responsible on us. I don’t want to say that Responsible Nick isn’t the Nick we know and love, but historically, it’s not. This sudden ambition could easily be another one of his phases and knowing that so much of Jess’s attraction this week was tied to Nick turning over a new leaf— it puts a condition on her feelings that can quickly be changed. Assuming Nick reverts to his old self, sure, Jess’s feelings will still be there. They were present even before he stopped handing out free drinks and figured out how to use the washing machine (sort of). But Jess was scared of her feelings because irresponsible default Nick isn’t exactly the kind of stable guy a woman might want to commit to for the long haul. Jess is in a situation remarkably similar to the one Cece is facing, but Jess and Cece, BFFs though they may be, are not the same person, and neither are their respective potential partners.

Is Jess/Nick going to be super awkward next week? Probably. But I have faith in the writers that they can steer this ship through whatever waters they choose. They haven’t done us wrong yet.

What did YOU think of this episode?


– One-liner of the night: “I don’t want some janky freshwater bitch fish!” —Schmidt. He gets so passionate, doesn’t he? Because of that, we'll have to forgive him for not knowing that clown fish are actually saltwater fish. You know, like Nemo!

– What do you think the state of Nick/Jess will be when we return?

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