New Girl "Table 34" Review: Surviving the Morning After

New Girl S02E16: "Table 34"

It’s like Nick said: Everything’s back to normal on New Girl, or at least that's the case on the surface. Dr. Sam was super cool about Nick and Jess kissing as part of True American, but once he found out they'd smooched for realsies after the game ended, he was less happy-go-lucky about things and more it's-not-you-it's-you about ending his relationship with Jess. The jury's still out on whether or not that was conveniently sudden of him, but I wasn’t exactly looking forward to their star-crossed love taking up an excess of screen time to die its slow, but certain, death. However: Taylor Swift, boo? That’s your coping music? Jess, you can do so much better.

Winston revelled in his rediscovered mojo after hooking up with that chick from the Disney Channel last week and his confidence soared when the host of an Indian arranged marriage convention singled him out from the herd to keep him all to herself. Sure, she was totally creepy, but she responded well to Winston’s “arranged bang” substitute—which is another point in his favor because it meant that he read a woman well enough to give her what she wanted. Epic win!

And finally, Schmidt’s ongoing pursuit of Cece came to a head when he got the gang together to infiltrate her arranged marriage party and stop her from claiming a brown husband of her very own. Dressed like a bad Mike Myers impersonation, Schmidt tried to do things Cece’s way, with the ice breakers and the speed dating, but the system worked to keep them apart. Schmidt ended up with quite a following of wannabe Mrs. Schmidttys while Cece, due to her resume and the responses she offered on the pre-conference questionnaire, ended up at the reject table—the episode-titling number 34—with Nick. And weirdly enough, Jess and Schmidt ended up sitting together. Or maybe not so weirdly; it was a very self-aware night on New Girl. Nick and Cece are polar opposites. She’s a successful model, he’s a trainwreck with anger issues. They’re both impulsive, though, and as Cece pointed out, they both have a history of hurting people with their decisions. Schmidt and Jess, meanwhile, are thoughtful. They plan things out and they like things a certain way. They’re both kind of neurotic.

Nick confronted Jess and apologized for the kiss, claiming that it meant nothing—which is total B.S. and Jess called him on it. It was too late to save Sam/Jess from sinking, but after a bottle of wine and a good long cry, Jess admitted that she didn’t like Sam’s morning fistbump habit. It’s the little things that can make or break a relationship, you know? Also big things: Earlier, she'd admitted to Cece that she saw space and time move when Nick kissed her. SPACE. AND. TIME.

But after witnessing the destruction his impulsive move wrought, and knowing Winston’s fear that a Nick/Jess hook-up has the potential to ruin the entire living situation at the loft, moving forward, Nick seems perfectly willing to panic-moonwalk himself away from a potential relationship with Jess and let everything revert to its previous state. They’ll pine from afar and carefully dance around the issue until someone slips up again. The ball’s in Jess’s court, if anywhere.

I think, with all the ice breakers at the conference, and the way they revealed Jess to be compatible with Nick, New Girl's writers were trying to make it pretty explicit that Jess and Nick are meant to be our COUPLE. I don't know that they can really "go there" yet, though. But I also know that personally, I'll get bored if the show keeps dangling it. It's weird, because I still love last week's episode but I'm nervous about the position it puts the show in for the long run.

However, there IS precedent for these things to boomerang: Jess rationalized her way out of pursuing Nick by pointing out his habit of breaking things (whereas Sam “fixes things you don’t even know are broken”) just like Cece talked herself out of Schmidt earlier in the season, citing his late (and drunken!) arrival at their getting-back-together date and general Schmidttiness as reasons to run far, far away. But despite finding herself flung back into the realm of desirability after a heartfelt Ode to her Awesomeness from Schmidt, Cece ultimately returned to the love guru himself and all was right with the world.

C’mon, Jess. Make a play.


What did you think of this episode?



NOTES


– One-liner of the night: “I’m a man, Jessica. Pink robes are my catnip.” —Nick

– Cece’s “Whaaaaaaaaaat?!” leading into the opening credits was great.

– The Jess/Sam break-up: too soon? Too convenient?

– How do you think this episode "handled" the aftermath of the kiss with regard to where Nick/Jess can feasibly be as a couple? Was "Table 34" a good way to get New Girl back to will-they-won't-they sitcom basics after subverting our expectations by having them kiss each other halfway through Season 2? Or did you want to see one or both of them admit their feelings more honestly?


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Am I the only one that doesn't find Dr. Sam to be a douche? Or that his break-up was "conveinent" or "sudden"? He announced his commitment to Jess, and affirmed it during the cabin trip when he turned down the stripper while drunk on absenth. We don't know what exactly Jess said while she supposedly admitted to the kiss during the "speed dating" portion of the night. It could've been numerous different things- ranging from "I think I'm really having feelings for a different guy" to "So...Nick kissed me. And I didn't hate it." or anywhere in between. I didn't feel that Sam was being either hasty or a douche. If a girl had been in the same position,we would've bee chastising her for NOT breaking up with the guy! That being said, I love Dam and I love the actor, so I do wish he could've lasted a little longer. Sam sort of karate chopping Nick in the neck was funny, and then he told him he to treat it- again adding to his coolness, and not-a-douche, quality. I really find it hard to believe that a character would break up with his/her significant other because he/she essentially cheated on him/her! If Sam had cheated on Jess, even if it were just one kiss, would you all be saying the same thing?

I'll leave you with one last question: if Sam had been a main character and Jess a minor, guest-star character, would you still be calling Sam the jerk, or Jess the one for cheating on him?
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I love that they threw us a bone and finally had some fire between Jess and Nick. I want them to get together but I'm willing to wait it out. I think they'd be hilarious together, can't wait to see what happens.
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Unfortunately, time and busy-ness prevents me from doing a full and eloquent review in the style of the perpetually-brilliant FringePsychotic(!!), but I really enjoyed this episode, forming a great double-header with last week's edition. I have already stolen the panic-moonwalk for my own....

I'm not sure I agree with Sam's decision to bail on the relationship being hasty on his part. Being a stickler for show and character history on a pretty general/generally obsessive basis, I recall he revealed his womanising and non-committal player ways were due to a 'girl really messing him up'. Jess was the first girl since then that he had formed a bond with and with whom he once again willing to open up and commit to. Remember also his display of loyalty even when high on absinthe. Given that, I don't think it can be classed as strictly convenient and rushed that he would flee at this sign of betrayal.

On another note, I am starting to wonder if time and space didn't actually shift during Nick and Jess' kiss. Did nobody else find it weird that this was the morning after the night before....not only their interlude, but Schmidt begging CeCe to declare her lingering love for him so he could 'move on' and sleep with a bar random, only to wake up in the morning, slip into his Indian outfit and declare that he has been planning for week to win CeCe back that day? Either the continuum was actually knocked out of balance (allow future Nick to travel back perhaps?!) or he now owes a serious amount to the douchebag jar!
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Future Nick told Present Nick that he was going to have to apologize to Jess for something. I don't think it was breaking up her relationship with Sam. I have a feeling whatever he's going to apologize for is something he can't panic moonwalk his way out of.
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TIME AND SPACE!!! Those crazy kids will work it out eventually.
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Given that both Nick and Jess are very bad at dealing with their feelings i wouldn't have expected for one of them admitting anything to themselves, let alone to each other. I absolutely loved the panic moonwalk.
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I want them together really... but the akward relationship is really funny and if they get together it could be a little bit the end of the show.... or it is the new chandler/monica ??? I think it is too early for them to be together!
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It can't happen just yet cause its a little too soon but if they drag that shit out they'll end up writing themselves into a corner. The issue of unresolved sexual tension can either make or break a show - Moonlighting, Bones, Castle have all had the issue of dragging stuff out for too long and their response has in every case been less than stellar.
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I feel like if they got together right now it would be because they kissed one time for the heck of it and now Jess broke up with Sam because of it. There are definitely feelings there between the two of them, but neither of them is ready for this relationship right now.
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I really liked how the writers handled this situation. Nick and Jess are not ready for each other just yet, and I knew they had to be awkward and weird and avoidy. Nonetheless, they still acknowledge their feelings, their whole dance with the "admit it meant something to you - no, admit it meant something to YOU" is pretty much self-explanatory (it meant something to both of them). And a few lines thrown here and there ("I saw through space and time for a minute. - It was a fairy tale kiss, it was the best kiss of your life") clearly demonstrate that that kiss is definitely in both of their minds. So, yeah, I'm kinda happy they are not together YET. The show has done very well in showing a slow but steady progression in their relationship, and in order to continue down that road, Nick and Jess have to try to be friends again. What I'm actually excited about is the fact that Schmidt hasn't learned about the kiss just yet, and I'm dying to see his reaction, he'll probably make a huge deal about it, ensuing more awkwardness.
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I didn't even think of Schmidt and Winston not knowing about about the kiss yet. They'll probably find out at an time that is inconvenient for both Jess and Nick. Probably being when either Nick or Jess is not present when the kiss is found about and awkwardness will ensue when the one has to find out that someone else found out. It will be good :-)
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Nick already told Winston about it, the only one still in the dark is Schmidt.
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OMG Schmidt HASN'T learned about it yet! You're right! I can't wait for that. :D

I really like how the writers are handling it so far too. The awkward is there. The awkward HAS to be there, definitely, but it's not an annoying, drawn out awkward.
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Okay, I really liked this episode because it seemed like a natural reaction of both characters (I also take into account the whole episode took place in one day, the immediate day after). I also appreciated that both Nick and Jess were totally lying to each other and themselves, and while Jess had a few moments of truth with CeCe...Nick really still needs to (and as much as we like Schmidt, you know is more mature friend is Winston). Yes, Sam was a little abrupt, but I kind of theorize that wasn't the last we see of Sam (I imagine that he was going to go do a Hallmark movie at that point which had him cut his hair).
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Yeah, I can kinda see Sam coming back and being all "I overreacted and I'm sorry" later this season.
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then there would be this awkward love interest triangle of Sam and Jess and Nick which could be very interesting.
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That would seem to keep with this show's desire to both acknowledge and deal with obvious sexual chemistry between two characters but a slightly more unique way to keep them apart, both because they are both trying to actively avoid it and then throwing legitimate other options in their way. They kind of went out of their way to make Sam be almost too perfect not to have him come back and for us to see some more valid flaws than fist bumps in the morning (as I generally want to flip over or cry when I wake up, I totally agree with Jess on that one).
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RESET BUTTON ------------------------> *Click*

New Girl has put the Nessie watching into a sustained limbo until further notice. Things are "back to normal." The loft dynamic saved for the immediate future. No romantic declarations on the horizon. At the moment you'd have a better chance spotting a marine reptile from the Mesozoic Era than these two confused lovebirds currently admitting they have some serious feelings for each other.

The quantum kiss notwithstanding, Nick and Jess still aren't quite in the right place to act on their feelings. The show isn't either. As I have written before, they're soul mates. With each passing episode that becomes more and more apparent. The unbreakable table bit was absolute gold! (Strong table, strong relationship.) They put eHarmony success stories to shame.

I completely agree with MaryAnn that "Jess and Nick are meant to be our COUPLE." I was concerned that if the writers put them together too soon, they'd be in danger of the Ross and Rachel cycle of futility. Sustainability and longevity obviously being the issue. Now I'm beginning to think I needn't have worried. Nick and Jess aren't Ross and Rachel, they're Jim and Pam. They are MEANT for each other. And we, as the audience, are MEANT to root for them. But like any good URST buildup, it can't come cheap.

New Girl has treated this relationship with care, originality and finesse. First there was the latent if obvious attraction. Then early in this season there was a frank and honest discussion of their mutual feelings. But now that Nick has Star Trek'd Jess's world, we have moved into a place many have not so boldly gone before. The "pining from afar" and "dancing around the issue until someone slips up again" has been done to death. Nick has played his hand (albeit a mind altering one), but to use a Seinfeld term, Nick has now lost his "hand." There is a power imbalance. That usually leads to cliche romantic misunderstandings. Although, since New Girl pulls off awkwardness with such aplomb, I don't think it will be a problem.

Ness is gonna happen. It's inevitable. Like death and taxes, but way more cute. The only question is when. For some reason there are a few people who think it will ruin the loft dynamic. They fear "It's a loft thing" will be no more. I get that. But these writers are awesome. I actually trust them to make the right decision. I also think holding off right now is a good call. Waiting until season 4 would be excessively maddening, but I believe stretching it out a little longer will make the eventual Nesscafe that much more satisfyingly sweet.

NOTES:

- Sam gave up on Jess way too easy for my liking. His commitment speech is feeling a little empty now.
- Schmece!
- Cece's "Whaaaaaaaaaat?!" was totally feigned surprise, right?
- "Taylor Swift, boo? That's your coping music? Jess, you can do so much better." Haha! Finally, someone who isn't beguiled by her nostalgic lyrics inundated with teenage wistfulness.
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What is URST?
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I always love your reviews. You should definitely become a profesional writer - if you aren't already. You phrased everything that was in mind more eloquently than I ever could have.
On a side note, have you watched Fringe finale yet? Or will you ever?
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Thank you! That means a lot for an aspiring writer. I was worried the Loch Ness Monster joke might be too much.
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Here you are! We were all looking for you at the Fringe finale article. Did you not like it?? Or were you just too emtional to chime in??? (I must know!!)
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I direct you both to a comment I posted in response to this very question on last week's New Girl review ... Would you prefer I just copy and paste it here? Yeah? Okay.

"I've been out of country for the last 2 weeks (escaping the harsh Canadian winter), and got back a few days ago, but I can't use that as an excuse. I've snapped man. I cannot bring myself to watch the finale. You might think this is all some strange joke, but I'm dead serious. I think I've lost it. Most "sane" fans of a show would want to watch the final episode ASAP, but I never claimed to be sane. I've actually had it all ready to go with my thumb poised above the play button, but god help me I COULDN'T PUSH THE BUTTON! A "sane" person would say "suck it up you weirdo and watch the damn thing!" I have no rational explanation and don't expect anyone to understand, but the finality of a Fringe finale scares the shit out of me. I don't deserve the second "F" in my username. FringePsychotic is now more appropriate."

Just as shameful the second time. And I still haven't watched it. One of my buddies told me if I don't watch it in the next week he's referring me to a psychiatrist. I think he was only half-joking. So I plan on watching it this weekend before not doing so threatens my mental health.

Thanks for the concern. I regret the timing and my insanity prevented me from joining in on the Fringe farewell.
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Hell, I think *I* saw SPACE and TIME when I watched that kiss.

But I have a similar fear about how the kiss has set up the future of these two and the idea that the writers might start Ross-and-Racheling Nick and Jess frightens me a bit.
That said, I think they handled it well for this "morning after" episode. It was still funny, not cheesy and, much like real life, nothing actually got resolved right away, which I think opens up a lot of options down the road. Eventually Nick has to admit that he too saw space and time, right?

As for Sam, part of me feels it was a bit convenient, but another part of me thinks that he would be hurt by the admission of the kiss and it isn't all that out of the realm of possibility that he would decide to end things.

Now I'm just curious to see how this continues to play out over the next couple of episodes.
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That kiss was so swoon-worthy. *swoon*

So far I think it's all being handled very well and I love that New Girl DOES manage to "keep it real" while still being silly and sitcom-y and entertaining. I'm really excited to see where this goes too because I think the writers know that they put themselves in a precarious position, but I also think they know how to handle it. Yay!
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Best line of the night: Winston to Nick "you think I like living with you? You have centipedes living under your bed!" Had me roaring! Also Cece's Whaaaaaaa...was Perfect!
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My favourite line was Schmidt's speech.
"You're a smart people. You look at the roof of a bus and see more seating."
Obliviously racist Schmidt is hilarious.
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Actually, that was pretty damn funny as too.
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I think making Sam kind of a douche at the end there wasn't quite fair since Sam was mostly likeable and hitting Nick is the equivalent of a wrestling "heel" turn for the sake of expediency.
While I feel it's far too soon to pair up Nick and Jess (and I think, at least ATM, Winston is spot-on that it'll make the apartment situation odd) I think it can be done well enough to not kill the show. Just look to it's sister show Raising Hope to see you CAN put your couple together fairly early into the show's life and still keep the qualities we like about them. I'm actually happy that Jess seems to accept Nick as the trainwreck he is and doesn't really try and change him.
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Eee! Love Raising Hope! I agree that turning Sam so quickly felt rushed and convenient, especially with the hitting. I kinda hope we see him again and get a more formal resolution to the story that doesn't leave us "hating" him.
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Cece and Schmitt are doing it again......I really think the writers try not to have more than one relationship/bang situation @ a time
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If I were Jess I would want an honest reason as to why Nick kissed me that way. He got off the hook easily. I want them together but I guess it can't happen until Nick is in a place where he can honestly admit that he is in love with Jess. I was suprised at Sam leaving. I thought they would drag that out for at least a couple more episodes. Not sure what they are doing with CeCe but I would love to see her start a family before it is too late. No idea where the show will go now. But, I trust the writers. They never fail to make me laugh.
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True, but as a member of the audience I do not want honesty.... If Nick said he was in love with Jess I would just end up feeling sorry for him and I don't think Jessica is in that emotional space to want something more than a physical liaison with her very own Hiro Nakamura

Sam surprised me too. It wasn't very characteristic of him, and I kind of wanted the writers to flesh it out in a realistic manner (meanwhile why did Jess invite him to that thing?...that's horrible)
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He got invited b/c Jess was in the process of calling him to pick her up from the venue and b/c she didn't hand up invited him to join her? yeah idk why she did't just cancel the call.
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The kiss obviously stirred some feelings and maybe she is trying to prove to herself that she liked Sam more than Nick. Certainlyif it was me - I would want out of an uncomfortable situation and leave but I would also start comparing my romantic interests against eachother.

I agree that neither one of them is ready for the committment that their chemistry will eventually lead to. I just thought, from a woman's perspective, that Nick got of easy.
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NO SAM!!!!! COME BACK!!!!

ok so honestly speaking Sam was really handsome but not one of my favorite characters. I know that their breakup was inevitable but I wish that the writers would have found a way to do it in a more organic and less-Nickcentric fashion.

I will pretend I didn't see that mind-altering kiss *sigh* and ask who breaks up with anyone for getting kissed? massively insecure move Sam....not cool
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It WAS weirdly insecure for Sam, definitely! I really don't think he had anything to fear concerning Nick (yet) and even Jess had talked up how much "better" Sam was as a potential partner than Nick.

I can understand a kiss like Nick and Jess' leading to a breakup in certain situations, but it just seemed strange that super confident Sam would suddenly feel threatened by the likes of Nick...of course, the admission came right after bombing all those ice-breakers with Jess, so maybe he was just overwhelmed or something. :/
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I feel like now that they have kissed, it has definitely upped the URST between them which I think will lead to more kissing moments between them. Can't wait! I loved all of Schmidt's lines, he is hilarious. Also Jess describing the kiss to Cece was amaaaaaazing!
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I think I liked Cece's reactions to her discriptions more
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haha good point!
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I liked the episode, I found last weeks episode better as a whole but this one was still great too. I loved the flash back scene with Nick distroying Jess' gandmother's scarf and his reaction, the whole table-making scene and also the last scene with Nick tryin to make Jess feel better.
However I do wish they expanded more on the whole Winston getting sexually harassed by the coordinator because I think there could have been alot more funny moments b/w those too, but those are prob deleted scenes and I do think that Sam and Jess' break up was a little bit forced. I would of thought that he would at least tell her to move out of the loft first and stop seeing him before totally breaking it off with her. I will miss him cuz so far he has been the most likable boyfriend that Jess has had and I kind of wish they expanded on his character a bit more, oh well.
also is it just me or are the pictures in the article of scenes that didnt make it into the episode? Cuz i dont remember seeing Jess kissing Sam or Nick and Jess fighting over the tape.
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I laughed so hard and so loud at CeCe's WHAAAAAAAAAAT that I woke my poor boyfriend up. I had to rewind it and watch it again it was just perfect.

I do think Sam's reaction was slightly out of what we know about his character but at the same time, the show didn't do ALL that much to flesh him out so I can forgive it.

I do like how the show handled it. Nick and Jess are NOT at a point where they can just jump into a relationship. Nick seems to already realize he has feelings for Jess. With Sam still in the picture, Jess would use that as an excuse to ignore thinking about it. So I think it's a necessary place to put them in right now. The kiss was amazing, but if you put these 2 people in a relationship at this juncture it would just fail. They both have to do a little more thinking/growing to get to that place where a relationship can really work.

The really nice thing is that the writers really seem to know Nick and Jess are endgame but they are actually going in a very mature manner about it. They are actually letting the characters grow together to a point where they can pursue a relationship but they also seem to realize that they can't do it forever. I amazingly trust the writers with this relationship which rarely happens.

And man did I ramble............
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I thought Sam breaking up with Jess then was wayyy too convenient. It seemed very out of character. That being said, I think it was time for things to "get back to normal" and so from that standpoint, Sam needed to go.

I also think it's fine that Nick and Jess didn't have a completely open heart to heart. The kiss WAS an impulsive thing for both of them, and so they are both relatively unsure of what they want. It's fine to put that on the back burner for now, although I'm sure things will resurface fairly quickly.
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Poppycock.
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