Will & Grace Season 2, Episode 16
Posted by Sarah
You know how sometimes you hear about something, and then you keep building it up in your head and letting your hopes skyrocket until it’s impossible for that something to meet your expectations? The second I learned about Samira Wiley’s arc on this show, I knew there would be no stopping my mind from creating the love story that Karen Walker rightfully deserves, and the arc that is frankly way overdue. Every time Karen’s bisexuality was ever mentioned on the show, it was as a joke, and every time Karen got involved with someone new, it was always some guy who wasn’t worthy of her, who didn’t know how to be in a healthy relationship. But since all of these years have gone by, it just felt like my girl getting a girlfriend would never actually come to pass. So when I read that Karen would be snowed in with a woman, and opening up about her love life, my mind went to the place you would absolutely expect my mind to go. But I kept trying to tell myself not to be too disappointed if it didn’t happen.
Kids, it happened. It really, truly happened. It not only met my hopes, it went so far beyond them. And I was a straight up mess because of it. I could not have asked for a better episode, and I could not have asked for a better female love interest for Karen. Nikki made such a strong debut this week and already has such a fire dynamic with Karen that it’s hard not to just smash my keyboard a hundred times and call it a day for this recap, because I am just so overwhelmed with happiness about all of this. I’m going to do my best here. But before I devolve into what may very well be incoherent blissful madness, we’ve got big changes on the horizon for Will and Grace, and Jack’s brush with temptation courtesy of a snowstorm and a blast from the (not-too-distant) past. So let’s dive in.
Will, Grace, Noah, and McCoy are making the most out of the night’s snowstorm by having a good old-fashioned game night, and I honestly love the contrast between the two couples so much. Grace and Noah are crushing the game and basking in their victory, Will doesn’t even care that he and McCoy are losing because McCoy keeps stopping the game to tell Will how pretty he is, everything’s going great for everybody. So great, in fact, that when they’re all in bed going about their nighttime routines, McCoy suggests he move into 9C with Will, while Noah asks Grace to move in with him and Katie. It makes both Will and Grace hesitate…until they each blame the other for not running towards the next step in their relationships, courtesy of classic Will and Grace lies. Will tells McCoy that Grace is mentally unstable, while Grace tells Noah that Will is broke from gambling. And when Will kicks Noah out of Grace’s bedroom to have some alone time with his best friend, the truth comes out.
The thing about our titular duo is that they tend to recognize that what they’re doing is wrong, but then completely double down on it anyway. Which is probably not the best way to live your life, but it’s brilliant for our benefit, because that’s the way so much of this show’s comedy happens. As they wonder why they’re lying to their boyfriends, they realize that they’re comfortable with the way things are now, that they don’t really want that to change. And while they acknowledge that they should probably tell Noah and McCoy the truth, continuing to lie to buy more time just seems like such a sweeter deal to them. But unbeknownst to them, Noah and McCoy have been having a little discussion of their own, and oh my god, you guys, I love them together? It made me like Noah so much in that moment, and I’m so mad about it. I could honestly watch an entire show that’s just Noah and McCoy bonding, because it was delightful. In the middle of that bonding, they realize that Will and Grace are lying to them. And they’re not about to let their significant others get away with it.
When everyone reconvenes in the living room, Noah and McCoy give Will and Grace a firm ultimatum: either take the next step in their relationships, or split up. Well…Noah’s giving a firm ultimatum; McCoy’s whispering to Will that he’ll basically do whatever he wants. Either way, they give Will and Grace a minute to discuss. And my god, the way Will and Grace fill up that minute was so genius, gesturing wildly to make it seem like they’re giving a lot of thought to everything when they only took about two seconds to make their decision. It’s the kind of silly antic that I thrive on, that this show does so damn well. After making a big show out of everything, they tell Noah and McCoy that they’ll move in with them, and it’s one big happy party in celebration.
Here’s the thing about the tidy little ending to this storyline: we’ve seen the way living apart changes Will and Grace’s dynamic…not to mention Will & Grace’s dynamic. So while it’s one big happy party now, I have a feeling that it’s not going to last; I mean, isn’t that the whole reason they broke up Grace and Leo (thank god) and Will and Vince (those bastards) at the start of the revival? And from the synopsis of the season finale, it seems as though a wrench is going to be thrown into both of those relationships soon enough. It’s a little sad, because I’ve actually turned around on McCoy, and I like seeing Will so happy. And it’s great that Grace is happy too, but…you know…Noah. But at least we have a couple more episodes to go before things seemingly start to go awry.
Meanwhile, Jack’s ready to make the journey out into this snowstorm when he gets a phone call from his mother while he’s in an elevator (honestly, bless the Judith calls, but also someone get Veronica Cartwright on the phone and bring her back to us, because I miss her). And even though you can only hear Jack’s side of the conversation, it’s clear that Judith doesn’t really have faith in her son making the whole marriage thing work; when she’s not asking him if he’s still going through with the wedding, she’s asking him if he’s going to cheat. Jack is adamant that even if the perfect man fell out of the sky, he would never betray Estefan like that, and he definitely will not feel stuck once he’s married. Which, of course, is the perfect time for the power to go out, and for Jack to get stuck in the elevator. And after having a flat-out meltdown and dialing 911, his perfect man literally falls from the sky to rescue him: his ex-boyfriend, Drew.
Ah, comedic timing. I love you so much.
Drew wastes no time in telling Jack that he never stopped thinking about him, that he made a giant mistake in breaking up. And when Jack tells him that he’s engaged, Drew is so not phased by it. Between that and the fact that Jack has thought about Drew since the break up, it’s the perfect situation for Jack to forget about his impending marriage to someone else and dive into this unexpected rendezvous with his ex, and for a moment, it looks like he’s going to give in when he tells Drew, “I’m just a man, towering over a smaller man, trying to listen to what his heart says” (why was that line so perfect, you guys? Why?). But then you see the realization in his eyes before he tells Drew, “My heart says not to be this guy anymore.” And you know that his love for Estefan has changed him as he lets Drew down easy.
Look, even though I think Estefan is a gem, I’m still sad that Jack and Drew broke up. I really loved them together, and I wish there would have been a way to keep them together. But I am so proud of Jack for not giving into the moment. The Jack of the original run (hell, the Jack of the beginning of this revival) would have totally had his fling with Drew without a second thought and gone on his way. But our Poodle has done a lot of growing up as of late, and he recognizes that the life he used to lead is no longer cute, if it ever was to begin with. And while I’m still not convinced that Jack and Estefan are going to last, it does warm my heart to see how committed Jack is to his fiancé. It’s been so satisfying to see the way he’s matured over the revival while still keeping the foundation of his character fully in tact, and I can’t wait to see where the show takes him next.
And then there’s Karen, about to make all my damn dreams come true.
The snowstorm and power outage has left Karen stranded at Grace Adler Designs and unable to fly out to Islamabad to see Malcolm (and yeah, I’m not thrilled that she’s with Malcolm, we all know that, but even he can’t kill the high I have from the rest of this storyline, so suck it, Widmark). And it’s right around the time she finishes telling Malcolm over the phone that she’ll fly out as soon as the storm passes that Nikki, who works one floor up, wanders into the office. And right out of the gate, these two fully intend to destroy me; that “sexy animated rabbit” bit was legitimately the first exchange these two had, and I can’t believe how high they set the bar so quickly. They just instantly seem so at ease with each other, with Karen being Karen, making martinis for the both of them, and Nikki just taking it all in in such a wonderfully amused way. But when Nikki says it doesn’t look like they’re getting out of the building tonight, Karen’s upset that she won’t be able to fly to Malcolm like she planned. And then shit starts to go down.
Once Malcolm is mentioned, Karen begins to let her walls down, opening up to Nikki about her relationship with him, and honestly, just about every relationship she’s had in her life. Karen admits that she makes more effort than Malcolm does in their relationship, and when Karen asks if Nikki’s ever done that with any of her boyfriends. Nikki hasn’t…but that’s probably because her boyfriends are girlfriends. And it’s here that Nikki decides to keep it incredibly real with my girl:
Nikki: Karen, I don’t mean to judge, but…look, if you’re always taking care of some guy, who takes care of you?
Okay, LISTEN Nikki, you and I are on the same damn page with this one. Because Karen responds by saying that she’s taken care of herself for most of her life, and aside from this being the jumping off point for almost every Karen-centric fic I’ve ever written, it’s also sadly true. Just think about all of the compromises she made when she was with Lyle, or how strong she had to be every time Stan screwed up and ended up in prison or faking his death, without really getting anything in return. It isn’t fair, but it’s what she’s used to. She’s the gardener to these men’s flowers, and when she says it, you can just hear the defeat when she actually puts the words to it. But Nikki sees the flower in Karen. Nikki thinks Karen deserves to be taken care of for once in her life. And it’s so clear how stunned Karen is by this (even though it’s the truth). She’s stunned enough, and drawn to Nikki enough, that she decides not to call Pilot and head towards Malcolm when the snow stops. She wants to stay in this office with Nikki because “Right now, I’m feeling very taken care of.” And it’s so honest, and so very charged, that really, there’s only one natural response to it:
Did you hear me screaming? Because I was screaming, fully aware that my roommates were home, and fully aware that I would not be apologizing for it.
Let’s talk about this kiss. Because I did not expect a kiss to happen during Nikki’s first episode. And I have NEVER seen Karen like this during a kiss that’s supposed to mean something. The way her hand immediately goes for Nikki’s cheek. The way her hand immediately goes for Nikki’s hand when Nikki pulls away (and the way Nikki takes her hand and smiles, COME ON). The way she uses Nikki’s “Oh, girl” instead of her own “Oh, honey.” Everything about it just overflowed with how taken Karen already is by this woman. It made me lose my damn mind in the best way. It made the ten-season wait for this to happen suddenly so worth it. And it made me so ridiculously excited to see more from them. I can’t wait for this to evolve.
I can’t believe it took ten seasons to get here. I can’t believe we had an established bisexual character and didn’t fully explore her bisexuality until now. I have been so starved for this, shouting “GIVE KAREN WALKER A GIRLFRIEND” for so long that I thought it would just never happen. But it did. And it was everything. This representation is so important, and I am already so on board with this relationship, it’s not even funny. I’m obsessed with Karen and Nikki’s dynamic, I am obsessed with the way they just automatically seemed so comfortable with each other, and I am OBSESSED with the way that Karen found someone who sees her the way she deserves to be seen. I just have one plea to the writer’s room: please don’t fuck this up. Please. I’m begging you. Just let my girl be happy with Nikki. Because my girl deserves to FINALLY be in a relationship that’s not super toxic. I will say that I’m already nervous about it based on the synopsis to the season finale, but I’m cautiously optimistic for this to carry on into season three. After so many years of treating Karen’s bisexuality as a joke, I would hope that they don’t dismiss this relationship so quickly. Only time will tell, I guess. But for now, I am so over the moon that this is canon.
And I guess I have to retire “Give Karen Walker a Girlfriend 2k19” from my lexicon. What do you think will happen if I start shouting “Give Karen Walker a Wife 2k20?”
Honey…What’s This? What’s Happening? What’s Going On?
- Hulu threw up a mature audience warning at the beginning of this episode, and I don’t understand why? The only thing I can think of that might warrant it in their eyes is Karen and Nikki’s kiss (or maybe Will and McCoy being in bed together?), and it honestly feels a little offensive that this is the episode that gets a warning, especially when there were literally five million unicorn jizz jokes just last week, and those skated by with no warning. I mean, good lord. This is a gay show. Girls kiss girls. Boys share beds with boys. It’s 2019. Get the hell over it.
- That time this show nailed my sexuality:
- This side by side makes my heart so full. Karen Walker really has been playing for years, you guys:
- Can we please discuss how brilliant the “Honey!” “Girl!” back and forth between Karen and Nikki was? Because it was so brilliant and made me scream before the kiss even made me scream. There was a lot of screaming on my end this week. There’s probably going to be a lot more screaming on my end for the next two weeks.
- Will proclaiming that he and Grace are the better couple is so true to their friendship and also probably the most accurate statement?
- “Don’t feel weird. I’m New York’s most trusted newsman.”
- “You have the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen. You’re like a super hot baby.” Again, I am so mad I liked Noah so much in this episode.
- Related: if I have to keep putting up with Noah, can we at least get more Noah and McCoy up in here? Because it was the most delightful thing.
- “Question: are you permanently parked in the lesbian zone, or do you move your car to alternate sides of the street from time to time for plowing?” “This car is parked, up on blocks, with a hundred tickets on the windshield.” GOD I JUST LOVE THEM SO MUCH.
- “When she actually moves out, she won’t be here all the time, right?” Oh, honey…someone please give McCoy the “When you date Will, you date Will and Grace” speech ASAP.
What did you think of “Conscious Coupling?” Discuss with me in the comments. Or, if we’re talking about Karen and Nikki, scream with me in the comments.
Featured Image Source: NBC