In the first episode of New Girl’s third season, “All In,” Nick and Jess were so afraid of the normalcy and daily routine of living together in Apartment 4D that they feared even going into their mutual home, yet by the end of the episode they walked through the door and faced their fears. Yet in these first three episodes, Nick and Jess have barely stayed in the apartment long enough to show what this environment is like for them now, as they’re off trying to make friends with the cool teachers or racing to double dates. But now four episodes in, we finally get to see the havoc that the Nick-Jess relationship is causing on 4D in “The Captain,” and get the best episode so far this season.
Even though Schmidt plotted to tear apart Nick and Jess at the end of last week, the two seem to be as strong as ever, being cute and having nonstop sex, much to the chagrin of the other two roommates. Unlike Winston, who has his best cat bud Ferguson to keep him company, Schmidt has nothing but his broken heart to brood over. So while Winston is trying to get Ferguson laid before getting neutered, Schmidt’s goal to stop Nick and Jess from sleeping together is just getting started.
Schmidt’s degree might say communications, but his heart majored in Nicholas Studies, which he uses to destroy the adorable couple. First he throws Nick off by mentioning that Jess is actually Nick’s second-longest relationship, leading to immediate fear and impotence. Then to help out this situation, Schmidt suggests a experiment called The Captain to Jess, which basically is the bedroom version of True American, just much more soul-crushing (remember when Jess couldn’t even say penis? Things have changed). The Captain turns them into shell-shocked individuals—making Nick a stuttering combination of Marlon Brando and Drunk Uncle—that is until they realize this is all part of Schmidt’s diabolical plan.
During all the apartment shenanigans, Winston goes to a pet shop to help his cat get lucky, where he runs into guest star Riki Lindhome, who believes that Winston is hitting on her, when really he’s just trying to set up a date between their two cats. Yet as Winston puts it, the person trying to create a cat brothel in his room is somehow the sanest person in the apartment.
But of course by the end of “The Captain,” Nick and Jess are stronger than ever. They learn that the problems they have aren’t caused by Schmidt; they’re from lack of communication with each other. As the episode ends, it does put Nick and Jess in a interesting place for further episodes. Nick is now so open with Jess, he feels free to talk to her about everything, which switches the roles, as Nick is now over-sharing much like Jess used to, while Jess just wants Nick to shut up and take her bra off. It’ll be great to see if as these two gain similarities to each other it’ll cause a damper on their relationship.
Schmidt also sees that he can’t blame other people for problems he created and goes to Cece’s apartment to apologize. She takes his apology and throws it in the trash. Some problems just cant be The Captain-ed away.
However Winston and Ferguson both end the episode disappointed, with neither of them getting any action. While the Winston and Ferguson relationship is incredibly weird and pretty funny, it is sort of disappointing that with all the other meaty character developments happening, Winston is becoming a crazy cat man. I have to imagine that the show is just biding its time until the return of Coach, but hopefully he’ll having something more to do before then.
Just look how far these characters have come, though. In “The Captain,” we’re seeing them not only growing but becoming more comfortable with themselves. Nick used to be a grumpy sack of sad, but now he’s extolling his enjoyment of love songs. Jess couldn’t have even explained how The Captain works two years ago, but now she’s open to trying it out. Schmidt is realizing the errors of his douchey ways, and Winston…well, Winston has a cat.
It’s great to see these four characters spending most of their time in the apartment just like the old days, but now these characters have a history and love for each other. It’s this type of character growth and change that makes New Girl even more fascinating as time goes on, especially with wonderful episodes like this to back it up.