Spoilers ahead for Younger Season 5 Episode 1. Well, that didn't go as planned. After four seasons of tenuous secrecy, someone on Younger finally told Charles the truth about Liza's age — without her knowing. The big moment that the entire series has been building towards came and went without Liza (Sutton Foster) entirely, and it's all thanks to serial sexual harasser Edward L.L. Moore.
The entire Younger Season 5 premiere dealt with Edward L.L. Moore finally facing justice for his horribly inappropriate comments and actions against all the Princess Pampam models (including Liza), and Charles (Peter Hermann) made the right call in terminating Empirical's contracts with the author — at a great personal cost. Charles took the moral high road despite the financial hit the business would take, and that earned him a lot of respect from his employees and viewers alike. But it also prompted L.L. Moore to seek vengeance and discredit all his accusers. In a private meeting with his lawyer and Charles, L.L. Moore revealed all the dirt he found on all the Princess Pampams... including the truth about Liza's age and how she's been lying to everyone she works for — including Charles, her boss and love interest.
The final shot of the premiere will be a hard one to forget, as Charles realizes the full weight of what L.L. Moore is saying about not only his employee, but also the woman with whom he had fallen in love. Learning about the lie is bad enough, but Charles didn't get to first hear the truth from Liza, and that makes it all the more disastrous for anyone rooting for them to finally become a couple this season.
"Liza told Josh [Nico Tortorella] and Liza told Kelsey [Hilary Duff] but she doesn't tell Charles," Foster tells Bustle with a defeated sigh. "So now Charles knows but Liza doesn't know that he knows. It's pretty brutal and now everything changes. Everything. Here we go. It's a doozy of a season."
She pauses to laugh nervously, but adds quickly, "It's my favorite yet."
Laughing again as she notes that Charles "doesn't handle it well" in future episodes, Foster says that fans might have to wait a lot longer than they'd hoped to see Charles and Liza get together.
"He's not fine with it. It's definitely a rocky road for them for a while," she says. "How it pans out is hopefully why people keep tuning back in to find out. They really put Liza through the ringer. It's incredibly smart. They really leave the audience wanting more and it's an incredibly complicated yet rewarding season."
Romantic developments aside, what's even more concerning is how this truth bomb is going to affect Liza's career at Empirical. Yes, Charles is her potential love interest, but he's also her boss, aka the boss she's been lying to all this time. Working as a 40-something mother on the Millennial book imprint doesn't exactly scream authenticity, so Empirical could be in hot water if more people find out about her real age and lies. And Foster teases that the professional consequences Liza faces could be more brutal than her romantic ones.
"There is a scene coming up I think in the second episode where Charles really doesn't know what to do and he gets some really interesting advice," she adds. "It's yet another twist on the whole story. Liza's job is definitely in jeopardy but she's also invaluable now at that company. She has managed to make herself pretty important there and it's definitely a difficult decision for Charles to make."
And her co-star Hilary Duff agrees that how Charles handles learning the truth about Liza is "not ideal." But her disappointment in his reaction comes from a very logical place.
"When I first read the script, I felt so angry that Charles had such an adverse reaction to it and was so upset by being lied to because he's been in love with her and wanting to see if they could be romantically involved, but the fact that she's so much younger has been holding him back," Duff says. "Then he finds out she's older and you should see how he acts. It's definitely something to watch in the next coming episodes. It really makes Kelsey frustrated because it's not her fault but he's tightening the reins on everyone."
What's even more frustrating is the fact that this whole mess could have been avoided if Liza had used earlier opportunities to come clean.
"I think the opportunity for Liza to come clean to Charles, she had a couple moments where it could have happened but every time it was thwarted by something," Foster says. "It might have happened at the beginning of this season but yet again it gets thwarted by this curve ball. The opportunity goes away before it's even able to happen."
But despite the intense drama in the premiere, Foster doubles down on her assertion that this is the best season of Younger yet. "There are some enormous payoffs," she says. "There are huge moments and stuff we've been working towards for four seasons."
A big part of that is that this is a "big Charles season," according to Foster.
"His world has been turned upside down and we get to learn more about him," she adds. "It's juicy and a wild ride. It's been so much fun to shoot. I'm excited for fans to see the Charles-Liza roller coaster." If the Season 5 premiere is any indication, the ride is only just beginning.