‘Younger’ Series Finale: Hope for Liza and [SPOILER]? Sutton Foster on That Final Scene (Exclusive)

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Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched the series finale of YoungerRead Nico Tortorella’s thoughts on the series’ final scene.

Did Liza Miller get everything she wanted?

On the series finale of Younger, which dropped Thursday on Paramount+, the series ended with the blossoming editor turning over a new leaf in her career and romantic life. After briefly rekindling a relationship with Charles (Peter Hermann), the couple decided to end things once and for all — the lack of trust between them too much of a hurdle to bear. But instead of a contentious breakup, Charles promoted Liza (Sutton Foster) to the coveted job of editor in chief at Empirical as he embarked on a new adventure to explore his potential as a full-fledged novelist.

With Kelsey (Hilary Duff) preparing to relocate to the West Coast for a venture with Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine, an exciting new chapter for Liza at the publishing house and several major life changes for other characters, some things stayed the same. In the final scene of the series, a callback to Younger‘s very first episode, Liza and Josh (Nico Tortorella) experienced a case of déjà vu as they found themselves at the bar having the same flirtatious conversation they had years earlier — only this time, with seven seasons worth of history between them. So what are we to make of that full-circle moment between the two exes? The answer isn’t as simple as you’d think.

Following the series finale, Foster hopped on the phone to break down that monumental final scene, if it means Liza and Josh will get back together and whether she’s open to revisiting the world again down the line.

ET: How does it feel now that Younger is over?

Sutton Foster: It’s very bittersweet. We wrapped in February, so we’ve been wrapped for a while. I’ve already cried all my tears and stuff, and I have to say too I’m really proud of our final episode. As much as I’m like, “Aww, it’s the last one,” I’m really excited for people to see it. Younger has marked seven seasons but it’s also the last seven years of my life, so it is strange to think we’re not all going to be coming together again next year. That just makes me sad but I’m also excited for new opportunities too. It’s very bittersweet.

What are you proudest of in terms of what you were able to do as Liza over these seven seasons?

I’ll probably have a deeper perspective in a couple of years as I look back on the whole thing. I think what resonates with me now is more about the environment and sort of what we all created and were able to sustain for seven years. And yes, I’m so proud of the show and I’m so proud of how it was an optimistic, hopeful show about reinvention, and about female relationships, and multigenerational relationships, and females championing each other and supporting one another. It wasn’t a show about blowing things and running from zombies, it was a good-natured escape and I loved playing a character who was, at her core, a good person. I think she was a good friend and loyal and creative and wasn’t a victim. She was resilient and that was exciting and a gift to have her be a part of my life for seven years. When I look back at the whole experience, what I take away from it is all the good-natured quality and optimism, it was part of the work environment as well. It was a very happy and fun place and supportive and kind. That’s what I take from the whole experience is that it was a place where we all felt valued and treasured and nourished. I’m so proud of that. That was a priority.

Looking back on season 1 of Younger, the show began with a simple premise — of a woman who needed to enter the workplace and the only way she could get a job was to lie about her age. But as the show went on, the conceit evolved into something more complex and nuanced. What was the most meaningful part of seeing the show’s transformation?

I feel like the show grew up and I think Liza grew up too. It was really cool to play a woman who was — she was floundering in the first season — and I appreciate you saying that because I think the show became so much more than that initial conceit. I mean, so much more that in this last season it isn’t even part of the story, which is really cool that it emerged beyond that. That was very satisfying for me. I felt it evolved slowly over the years. The first season, it was 100 percent of the story and then in the second season, it was 85 percent of the story and then it was 70 percent and now it’s like not really a point. That was cool to play a character that, as she was becoming more authentic to herself and also growing up — it seems so trite to say it that way but she was finding her way and her confidence and her voice and her power, especially in the workplace at Empirical. It was satisfying, especially this season, to really see her fly. Especially in the last episode, you see her ultimately get [a happy ending]. I think everyone gets a happy ending. Ribbons aren’t tied, everything isn’t all tied up in a bow but it’s incredibly true to the initial conceit of the show. She ends up on top and that was really exciting. It was exciting to be like, “Wow, she’s worked seven years and this is where [she ends up]. There are consequences to her lie, ultimately, in her relationship [with Charles] but she comes out successful in the end.

Liza gets the top job at Empirical as the new editor in chief. What are your thoughts on where she ends up and did it align with any of your own ideas of where Liza’s story could wrap up?

I had no idea how they were going to do it. I really didn’t. [Creator] Darren [Star] kind of alluded it to me early on. He was like, “I think we’re going to end it where Liza’s in charge, where she’s going to be running Empirical.” And I was like, “What?!” I just didn’t know how we were going to get there. What I love is that that’s what the happy ending is, as opposed to she marries Charles or whatever. I read the final episode and I loved how they resolved her storyline with Charles. I thought it was really elegant and I love that he’s, in a sense, Liza back in season 1. He’s reinventing himself. There’s something incredible about that. I love their breakup scene because it’s just done with maturity and respect. Charles knows who he is and knows it’ll always come between them, the lie.

Younger
Nicole Rivelli/ViacomCBS

When Liza and Charles realize the level of trust will never be there, that scene was heartbreaking.

Heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking but it’s also real. These two people are adults who’ve been through a lot, who’ve been through marriages and relationships, and they both kind of know. And they go, “S**t, we love each other and it’s not going to work. But we respect one another and we’re there for one another still.” That’s why I love that last scene when he tells her he’s going to write his book and asks her [to take over Empirical], I think it’s so beautiful. When I read the script, I was shooting a scene with Nico and Debi and they sent us the final script. We were all in our chairs in between takes reading what was going to happen and I got to the very last scene and I was like, “Oh my gosh!” I turned to Nico and said, “It’s you and me in the end.”

Let’s talk about the final scene because it was a sweet callback to the first episode of the series. 

I just thought it was a beautiful bookend to the pilot and even Darren doesn’t specifically say, “It’s Liza and Josh.” There’s no… that’s just how we end it. I don’t know. It was Josh at the beginning who set this entire train in motion and I love that it’s him at the end. It didn’t leave me frustrated. And when I watched that last scene, I closed my computer and just burst into tears. When Nico and I were filming that last scene, we were both just… it was also Nico’s last scene that he filmed and we were both puddles, just bawling because Darren gave us a gift to be able to go back. We went back in time for a second. It was very cool.

The scene was left open to interpretation and viewers might read into it differently. What do you make of that final scene between Liza and Josh? Does this mean that they might rekindle something or not?

I don’t know. It’s so interesting because my initial reaction was, “Oh my gosh, there it is.” I was like, “It’s Liza and Josh.” But Darren Star, who wrote it, that wasn’t his intention. That wasn’t his intention to leave viewers thinking that it was going to be Liza and Josh. But it’s Liza and Josh! I think he wanted to leave it a little more open-ended and ambiguous. But I don’t know. I have no idea. We’ll have to wait until we do the reunion special. (Laughs.) 

With Kelsey moving to the West Coast, how do you think their friendship will fare?

You see both of them fly. Kelsey was put through the wringer at Empirical — she was publisher, then she was back to editor — she really wants to be her own boss and so it was time. And in a way, they both end up the boss, which is so cool. Ultimately now they’ll be competitors but they’ll always have each other’s backs. They have bonded in a way that they will always be able to navigate it. But they both are in charge. Everybody kind of gets their ending. Maggie’s in love. Everyone has hope for a promising future.

While Younger ended on a nice note, the finale was missing the presence of Miriam Shor and Charles Michael Davis. Was there anything you wished the series finale could have included?

I know! They had written a scene where [Diana] came back but we weren’t able to shoot it. There was a lot of that really. There was a lot this whole season. We missed Miriam so much and we missed that character. And Zane too with Charles Michael Davis. Those were the big losses of this final season. 

Lastly, what will you miss most about Younger?

It’s just such a fantastical world where you get to wear amazing clothes. And I loved playing a character who — yes, romance is part of the story — but her main focus is her career. And also being able to play a good-natured, hopeful, optimistic character who is inherently a good person. I will miss that. I never had to do a scene that betrayed [who she was]. I did have a lie and I did hurt some people but nothing was ever [malicious]. The show was fun to do, playing Liza was incredible and the work environment was [great]. I would be so lucky to be able to have an experience like that again. I know how rare it is and I will treasure it forever. 

And in five years time, we’ll find out how Liza’s doing as the boss.

Yeah! I think that sounds like a great idea.

For more on Younger, watch below.

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