A great guest star can come into a show and reveal something completely new about all of the characters we already know so much about. Not only did Linda Cardellini grow up on a show that was a perfect example of this—Freaks and Geeks—but she also similarly did this last year on Mad Men, where her season-long presence constantly tempted a Don Draper who wanted to change. With Cardellini showing up as Abby, Jess’ sister and essentially the anti-Jess, she flies in causing havoc, yet also enabling the other characters to come to realizations of who they are and where they are in their own lives.
In the first “Sister,” we only saw glimpses of what damage Abby could cause, but in “Sister II,” we start to see what Jess meant when she said that Abby ruins everything. Maybe that’s just because Abby is the opposite of Jess in every way. Instead of adorable, colorful dresses, Abby wears all black. Instead of True American, Abby talks the group into playing the much less safe Sky Knife. Remember when Jess could hardly even walk on heels while modeling a car in “Models”? Well Abby has no problem jumping on an antique car just to drive Nick nuts. Abby has moved right on in, causing problems even as she triggers viewer revelations about these characters (and enhancing the problems we already knew about).
Abby has decided to stay in L.A. and move in with Nick and Jess, which Jess is completely against. So Jess gets Nick to babysit Abby while Jess and Cece try to find Abby a nice apartment near churches, emergency rooms and places filled with middle-aged gay veterans. If Abby ruins everything, then naturally Jess wants to fix everything, which Abby states when she finds out about the apartment hunt. A running question this season has been whether Nick is changing because he genuinely wants to, or because Jess is slowly changing him into what she wants him to be, so Abby does have a point about her sister’s actions.
She even uses her powers on poor ol’ Winston, who she gets to freak out about the results of his LAPD entrance exam for no other reason than she wants his bagel. Winston tries to distract himself from the results by bugging Coach at his job, before hitting rock bottom after he fails the test and tries getting a job at a local coffee shop. Winston and Coach together have been a winning combination this season, and nervous Winston is always hilarious. Now that Winston has finally figured out that this season has been a new low in his life, it’s great to see him try to dig his way out of his rut. Instead of giving up on his dream of being a police officer, he is now determined and plans on not giving up until he achieves what he wants—quite a change for Winston.
But no one knows crazy girls like Schmidt. In fact, they’re in his hurt locker—he knows how to handle them and he has a no-nonsense attitude towards them. However Abby actually knows how to play Schmidt, and about halfway through the episode, he’s hogtied in his own apartment at the will of Abby. While Jess and Nick kept their relationship secret for quite some time, during dinner with Nick and Jess, Abby decides it’s a perfect time to give Schmidt a … special under the table. Abby doesn’t need the apartment Jess found for her because she’s moving in with Schmidt, which could never go wrong, right? This says more about Schmidt than it does Abby, as he is incredibly lonely, looking for a relationship and moving in with the first girl to tie him up … literally.
Much like Coach did earlier this season, Abby is bringing out the true feelings of our characters, which on the surface looks bad, but in actuality is the first step in everyone improving. By the time Hurricane Abby has left L.A. in a few episodes, she may leave destruction in her wake, but that just means there’s an opportunity for everyone to rebuild.