Tuesday, May 1, 2018

New Girl 7x04 Review: "Where the Road Goes" (Goodbye, Friend) [Contributor: Jenn]

"Where the Road Goes"
Original Airdate: May 1, 2018

When an episode of New Girl opens with Enya, there’s nowhere to go but up. And truly, “Where the Road Goes” (a lyric from the song that begins the episode) is a fantastic example of how the show can weave together the absurd with the genuinely heartfelt and make us believe that yes, three years into the future, our favorite weirdos are holding a one-year memorial for a cat. But there’s more to discuss this week than just Furguson’s untimely end — we get glimpses into a few different character pairings and relationships. Because nothing brings out emotion more than Furguson’s memorial. Apparently.


I love Nick and Jess, and a lot of you on Twitter had asked me when the Nick/Jess portion of our story would begin to pick up. Luckily for you, Furguson’s memorial sparks a discussion between the two about secrets. When Coach shows up for the memorial, it’s clear that he and Nick are at odds. Nick is oddly harsh toward his friend, and Jess is determined to get to the bottom of their feud so that her perfect memorial service isn’t ruined. Coach confesses that the fight is about money, and Jess essentially brushes this off and tells Coach to just pay Nick back whatever is owed. She assumes, given the pair’s history, that the conflict is rooted in something trivial.

Until Nick tells Jess that Coach owes him over $70,000. As it turns out, when Nick got his advance on his book, he leant Coach money to open a restaurant called “Coach’s Jim” (“It was a real Ruth’s Chris situation”), which failed miserably before it even opened. The reason Nick never told Jess about the loan was because he assumed one of the reasons they broke up years ago was because he was so bad at money (“The Box”), and he didn’t want her to leave him. It’s a sweet confession, and one that catapulted Nick into confessing more things — like the fact that he sometimes wears his boxers backwards.

He earnestly tells Jess this because he doesn’t want there to be any secrets between them, and believes only secrets to be on his end. It’s reminiscent, in a lot of ways, of the scene where Nick spills his feelings in “The Captain”: he cares about Jess so much that he wants to tell her everything that’s on his mind. But that’s when Jess admits that she’s harboring a secret. And Nick laughs. It’s absurd, literally, for him to think of Jess hiding ANYTHING. But she is — she confesses to killing Winston’s cat.

And Nick does not respond well at first. He’s shocked that the secret Jess tells isn’t some little one, but a pretty huge deal. Jess is wracked with guilt over what she did — not paying enough attention and letting Furguson get into her crafting glitter and eat a bunch of it — and after Nick has a moment to process what she said, he tells her that he’ll never leave her over secrets. He’ll be right beside her if she ever needs help, and there’s nothing she could do that would make him love her any less. It’s so sweet and wonderful to see these two grown up. Years ago, Nick and Jess fell apart because he was too immature to imagine a future, and she was too stubborn to imagine any compromise in her relationships. But now, whether they’re planning a cat memorial or going through serious things, Nick and Jess have each other’s backs. There’s nothing that could tear them apart, and I love that the final season of New Girl isn’t trying to do that. Russell isn’t a threat. Nick isn’t expressing fear of commitment. Jess doesn’t want to run away.

They’re together, for better and worse, now and that’s all that matters.

(And, of course, Jess didn’t ACTUALLY kill Furguson so that’s a comfort.)

Speaking of together forever...


When Cece points out that Winston should get a new cat since it’s already been a year, Schmidt wonders aloud whether a year is a long time to Cece. This sparks a conversation about how long Cece would wait if Schmidt died to remarry. When Schmidt pesters her, like only Schmidt does, Cece throws out a number: three years. Schmidt is aghast, believing that to be too short an amount of time. As the two talk more and more, Cece hits a breaking point and admits that she doesn’t even want to think about a world in which Schmidt died and she was alone. In reality, she tells him what her life would actually be: her visiting Schmidt’s grave every Fourth of July and dragging a lawn chair up to it. For as much pestering as he does throughout the episode about Cece not ever remarrying, the image of her alone strikes him. Even though in this pretend scenario, he’d be dead, he still doesn’t want her to ever be alone. He wants her to be taken care of, and loved — even if he’s not around to do it.

These two have such a wonderful, sweet little love story that it’s almost hard to imagine where they began. I love that they can’t imagine a world in which they’re not together, and that they mean so dang much to one another. May we all strive to have a love story as wonderful and weird as Schmidt and Cece’s.

I’m really nailing the segues today because speaking of wonderful and weird... 


The B/C-story this episode (which didn’t even feel like a B or C-story, because everything was threaded together so effortlessly that it might just be technically an offshoot of the A-story) is about Winston’s grief over losing Furguson. Aly is worried because Winston hasn’t had “the cry” yet since Furguson died. The group is shocked that Winston hasn’t properly grieved the cat who was more like a son to him than anything else. Throughout the episode, the friends — and primarily Aly — try their best to get Winston to open up and allow himself the space to feel all of the emotions he’s feeling.

It almost seems to work, when Winston assures Jess that she didn’t kill Furguson. Winston then begins to recount the story of how his cat actually died: it was a heart attack, while Winston was making breakfast. And he watched Furguson’s little heart give out on him. The whole story is moving to all of our characters, but by the end of it, Winston STILL hasn’t broken down in tears yet.

And that’s when Aly’s fear seems to come true — Winston just loses it. He hushes everyone, believing that he hears a cat meowing somewhere in the bar. All of our characters respond to him with equal parts pity and bewilderment, with Aly convincing Winston that he’s just imagining a cat’s meow because he hasn’t properly grieved yet. When he sits down, he finally lets out his pain to Aly, admitting that he shelved it when Furguson died because they had just found out they were expecting and he wanted to be strong for her and the baby. Aly tells him, adorably, that she’s the strong one and he’s the sweet and sensitive one. That’s okay.

After Winston properly grieves, Aly also hears faint meowing. It turns out, Winston wasn’t crazy after all: there was a kitten stuck under a couch cushion who was calling for help. (Nick then pays off the bartender, who is actually the cat’s owner, so that Winston can finally have a new cat to fall in love with.)

“Where the Road Goes” is a fun little trip down memory lane that reminds us that these characters might do some weird stuff sometimes, but it’s often rooted in love and definitely leads to them being better people in the end. 

And now, bonus points:
  • I couldn't stop laughing at the opening the first time I watched this episode. It might be my favorite in recent TV history.
  • This episode brings back some of our favorite New Girl recurring characters (a nice way to bookend the series, honestly) including: Sam, Robby, Coach, Dunston, and Outside Dave.
  • I always notice whenever actors seem to be sick while filming, and this episode it appears Zooey Deschanel is under the weather.
  • "You call me 'ham calves'?"
  • "Your new husband would still be finding my bobby pins in couch cushions."
  • "It's onomatopoeia!"
  • "And even though Furguson walked on short legs, he stood taller than any man I have ever known!"
  • "You can tell cat teeth by taste?" "Yup."
  • "Like the time that he hid in that bag we got burgers in..." "... I just can't believe that my girlfriend killed Furguson."
  • "... Am I attracted to murderers?"
  • "There's nothing that you could do that would make me love you any less."
  • "Caaaaat, where you aaaaaat?"
  • "If you're the rock, then what am I?" "You're the beautiful flower sprouting out from the rock."
  • They named the cat NAFTA, which is so great.
What did you all think of this week's episode? Sound off in the comments below!

1 comment:

  1. I'm curious, do you have an idea as to why they named the cat nafta? It's cute, but I don't get what relevance the cat has to NAFTA