"New Girl" spent the past few episodes building up to a huge season finale with Nick dumping the roomies to backslide into a relationship with Caroline. The whole show is in a peril if Nick, the grumpy glue for the mismatched gang, leaves. It sounds like a can't-miss finale with an interesting cliffhanger. Instead, the show rushes through too many plots and misses some prime opportunities for hilarity.
The Search for a New Roommate
Nick's exit leaves room for an awkwardly entertaining hunt for a new roommate, but there is no parade of weirdo applicants. Pitiful, divorced Neil (Thomas Lennon) is the lone candidate. The guys are fine with the change, but Jess wants Nick to stay and tries to scare Neil away. For an adorkable gal with a ribbon hat, she certainly has a twisted mean streak.
Nick Flips Out
Pessimistic Nick is uncharacteristically excited about his big move until he suddenly freaks out, drives the moving truck into the desert, and tosses the keys. The stranded pals enjoy some impromptu glamping thanks to the moving truck full of Nick's mismatched furnishings. His 1990s mix tapes are the perfect excuse for a goofy dance party.
Later, a coyote threatens him and Jess, but she manages to scare it away. The pair has another weird moment, which is either budding sexual tension or the universe reacting to the closeness of the world's biggest pessimist and most clueless optimist.
Winston Versus the Wild
Winston's quirks are nothing compared to the rest of the gang, but he is always good for a surprise. He reveals he is afraid of the dark and overcomes his phobia with a lone trek into the night. He triumphantly emerges with an armor of urine and tree branches. Thankfully, he does not provide any details.
Schmidt "White Fangs" Cece
It may seem like Schmidt casually shifts personalities to suit the storyline, but he is complicated and, well, Schmidt happens. Having a beautiful model as arm candy is a win for any shallow guy, but there is the equally shallow burden of protecting that prize. It is totally believable that Schmidt would suddenly become jealous of Cece's modeling career. Even though their relationship is evolving, and they seem to have a strong emotional connection, he does not fit into her glamorous world. Their breakup feels abrupt, but fitting since, despite his apparent "douchiness," Schmidt is self-conscious enough to set her free.
Dance, Dance Resolution
Nick slinks back to the loft in the middle of the night and signals his return by playing his mix tape. The roomies all have solo dance parties in their bedrooms while Winston tells them to knock it off. Meanwhile, poor Neil sits on the couch, clutching his growling box.
The season finale of "New Girl" has too much action for one regular episode, and Neil seems underutilized. The plot suddenly restores the status quo instead of making a risky change by letting Nick leave. Cece and Schmidt's revolving door romance is on the verge of being too annoying to watch. However, the signature quirkiness, elaborate dance scenes, and hilarious mix tapes are a reasonable bandage and make this a fantastic episode. Take a Jess-tastic approach and enjoy it for what it is instead of lamenting the missed opportunities.