Note: Do not read on if you have not yet seen Season 2, Episode 19 of Fox's "New Girl" titled "Quick Hardening Caulk."
Umm ... BEST. EPISODE. EVER.
OK, so Schmidt, Winston, and Jess are at Nick's bar where Schmidt does most of the drinking (though, in all fairness, it's only shots of melon-flavored liquor) because he is upset over Cece's impending nuptials. Not that he'd admit it or anything. When Nick slaps the gang with the bill, Jess realizes she is super attracted to newly responsible Nick. No, like really. She wants him bad. So much so that she shoos him out of the bathroom for no apparent reason when he comes in to do laundry, after he's discovered there's a little separate compartment for the soap and everything.
Back at the bar the next day, Nick admits to Winston and Schmidt that he had to ask them to pay for their drinks because there's a new manager. Coincidentally, she's also a hot chic, Shane (Odette Annable), who Nick is sleeping with. She finds him really attractive because he's so different than everyone she went to business school with -- he's real ("the realest"). And though he knows it won't end well, he's enjoying the ride ... In the meantime, anyway.
To help Schmidt bounce back from his dark place (and to get him to stop drinking all the melon liquor), Winston takes him to Pacific Sea Center. There, Schmidt falls in love with a lionfish, with its exotic beauty, perfect curves, and caramel-colored eyes. In essence, it's Cece. In a fish. He tried to buy it off of the aquarium keeper, but it's not for sale -- it's protected and illegal. Winston has to carry him out of there kicking and screaming "love is a lie."
At the loft, Nick is getting ready for "Guys' Night" at the bar when he notices Schmidt's new giant-sized aquarium. The gang all convenes around it to decide how to best handle the situation, because clearly Schmidt isn't talking about building a life with a lionfish, but rather with Cece. When Nick and Jess are left alone together for two seconds, she begins to fidget and lose her cool. When Nick compliments her on her dress, she loses it completely and runs off to her room. Nick follows her and asks for her help prepping for "Guys' Night" and she reluctantly agrees, though she can hardly keep her hands off of him. As a side note, their interaction is serious prime television, and it brings the best out of Zooey Deschanel. And also Jake Johnson, who plays Nick, is a supremely brilliant.
Moving forward ...
At the hardware store, Nick acts all manly with his chain yanking, his long shafted drive drill, nut wrench, and quick hardening caulk. When he calls Jess over to check out his strategically positioned big ol' pipe, she is so flabbergasted, he somehow manages to knock her out with a plank.
Back in bed with plenty of pain killers, Jess is so delusional, she comes on to Nick who only came in to bring her some soup. She tells him she wants to have sex with him, pulls him into bed with her despite his restraint, and tries to stick her hands down his pants. When he falls over, he gets his hand in the scorching hot soup and cries out in pain. It is then abundantly clear that Jess has no idea what's going on and is severely medicated. The scene, by the way, is another perfect example of Zooey's penchant for physical comedy, but it is much better executed this time than it was two episodes ago.
With a bright shiner and a burnt and bandaged hand, Nick consults scuba-gear clad Winston and Schmidt for advice about Jess (they're in suits because they're going after lionfish, clearly). He asks them what he should do if the door he once thought was closed may now be open, and if he should at all take Jess' words seriously given she was so doped up. Should he end it with Shane for the chance to "walk through" Jess' door? Just as the trio contemplates this, Jess walks in the kitchen and shows no recollection of the night before.
Out in the ocean, Schmidt and Winston stand knee-deep in their scuba suits and wait for an illegal lionfish to swim by. Schmidt mistakes a jellyfish for his beloved, coveted Cece fish, and gets stung in the face. He asks Winston to pee on him, but the latter refuses -- not because he's grossed out, oh no, but because he already went in the ocean.
At "Guys' Night," Jess shows up even though she agreed in the morning she wouldn't. Nick tries to avoid any contact with Shane now that he knows the door, as in Jess, may be open for a second chance. But as Nick's luck would have it, it doesn't really work out and Shane and Jess both get offended. (Honestly, he described Jess as his "room friend." That's pretty insulting.)
At the hospital (you get treated for jellyfish stings these days?!), Cece comes to visit a knocked out Schmidt and brings him a lionfish. Winston, waiting by Schmidt's bed, tells her she better give him some space because her engagement is killing him. As Schmidt wakes up, Cece is gone, and he finally acknowledges out loud what has been so plain obvious: It's not the fish, it's Cece he's been chasing. Winston lies to him and tells him he was the one who caught the lionfish so as not to tell him about Cece's visit, and Schmidt decides to let it free back out in the ocean.
Back at the loft, Nick finds Jess wallowing in a tub of ice cream. He tells her that the night before, when she was on pills, she told him she wants him, but she doesn't believe him. He tells her she even shoved her hands down his pants and that he's willing to move on and not talk about it if it was just the pills talking, but that if she meant it, he's been thinking about it a lot too. "Do you want to have sex with me, yes or no?" he asks her, and Jess, without blinking, shouts, "Yes!"
That's when I stopped breathing, but somehow managed to keep typing.
Jess explains to him that she found him more attractive when he tried to actually be good at his job, and Nick calls her a gold digger. She tells him she isn't, he says prove it, and they kiss and it's magic and I'm pretty sure I heard the new pope clap. They make out pretty rough, more intense than that one kiss that one time, and as they start getting serious and Nick props Jess on the table and tells her to undress, he shatters the fish tank.
The moment is almost ruined, save their persistent kissing-bickering, and instead of going through with their intercourse plan, they each go to their respective room. They pop out of there for a minute to kiss again, but that's it.
Best. Episode. Ever.
And here are the best quotes from it:
Schmidt: "There are plenty of things to be down about: the air pollution in China, the deficit, 'The Hobbit' wasn't very good."
Nick: "I don't trust fish! They breathe water -- that's crazy."
Jess: "Why do you smell so good?"
Nick: "It's because I did laundry. I smell like a baby in a damn meadow."
Winston: "Let's cut the crap, Schmidt. We both know what you really want. It's Cece."
Schmidt: "Cece who? Woman? You can't put a woman in a fish tank Winston? That doesn't make any sense."
Cece: "One of the perks of being a model, you get to meet a lot of sketchy people. The guy who got me this also said he could get me a box of dolphin steaks or a mostly white baby."
Jess: "An aquarium the size of a sixth grader just broke and you're grabbing paper towels?"
"New Girl" airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on Fox.