New Girl Review: “Sister III” (Season 3, Episode 18)


Schmidt and Abby flaunting their relationship bugs the rest of the New Girl gang on this week’s episode and each of them react in different ways. While Nick, Coach, Cece and Winston react with disgust at their overt display on the sofa at brunch, Jess looks at them with envy. They’ve only been dating for a week and are already living together, having sex every which way they can, and in the midst of the honeymoon period.

Schmidt certainly seems to be enjoying himself, even if Abby doesn’t seem as into him – she’s enthusiastic, sure, but can you imagine her wearing jewellery made by him? She’s in the midst of what we later discover is the usual cycle for her, but Schmidt seems to be buckling up for the ride. He’s in it for the long haul, but is she?

I did feel sorry for Schmidt when she upped and left without so much as a goodbye. After three episodes we’ve really got to know Abby, and Linda Cardellini really seems to enjoy playing her, but her time with us came to its natural end, and the narrative purpose for it all was revealed – to bring Cece and Schmidt closer together.

Cece in this episode acts towards Schmidt like Schmidt acts towards Abby, in that s/he just wants him/her to be happy and safe. This leads Cece to tail Abby with Coach and Schmidt in tow, and this leads Schmidt to take out a three year lease on a storefront in a bad part of town. Affection would appear to manifest itself in the strangest of ways. By the end of this episode, Cece and Schmidt appear to have made peace with each other, and the efforts she goes to to protect him from Abby would suggest that she wants to make another go of things with him, or at least, will want to pretty soon-ish – in three or four episodes maybe? When Coach confronts her and challenges her to really think about why she wants to help Schmidt so much, she doesn’t give a straight answer, or any answer at all in fact, but it’s obvious that she’s thinking about Schmidt in that way again.

It’s hilarious that Coach is deferring his own pain at Cece’s rejection by becoming her stereotypical “gay best friend,” which gives him a reason to be there when Cece and Schmidt are in the car outside Abby’s zip dealer’s place. He is to Cece as Cece is to Schmidt, which Schmidt is to Abby, in turn. It’s a complicated web of misplaced and displaced affection and with Abby at the top of the love chain, her disappearance means that Schmidt will have to refocus on what, or whom, he really wants. I’m guessing Cece.

With Schmidt moving back into the apartment as well, it means he’ll be around Cece a lot more, which should just provide enough sunlight for their relationship to blossom and grow into something special again. Is it too late in the game to hope for Elizabeth to burst back on the scene again? That’d be great. Unlikely, but great.


We’ve had episodes like this before, episodes where Jess thinks that her relationship with Nick is somehow deficient because of some perceived irregularity, or just plain old jealousy at what somebody else has. We saw it way back in “The Cabin,” when she was still with Sam, and we see it here again. She seems to suffer from permanent grass-is-always-greener syndrome, and experiences that in many different ways here.

First, after seeing Schmidt and Abby’s display at brunch, she thinks that Nick and her should move in together. Even though they already live together, they’re not Living Together. Nick hasn’t changed in front of her, and Jess hasn’t used her book light in front of him, for instance. I didn’t really see the difference between living together and Living Together, and I think the point was that Jess didn’t really see it either – that she was just flailing at a possible way Jess and Nick could further strengthen their relationship, at least in the eyes of the others.

What I didn’t expect was for New Girl to suddenly go all real on us, or at least as real as New Girl ever gets – I didn’t think Jess and Nick would actually hate living together, and for Jess to go so far as to stay in a hotel for the night, rather than admit she was wrong to Nick. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I absolutely love Jess’ stubbornness to not give Nick a single inch of satisfaction, and I love the myriad ways that this quality makes for great storylines time and again. In her reticence to just tell Nick she doesn’t like living together she fakes a trip to Sacramento, with an alarming amount of false detail. What she’s actually doing is staying in a hotel booked by Schmidt that he and Abby never got to, and if Winston hadn’t happened to discover her it’s difficult to see how that story would have panned out – would the conclusion have happened eventually, or would Jess have to fake a move to Sacramento?

That Jess and Nick resolve to move back to how it was, with separate rooms, only for Schmidt to announce his return to the apartment after Abby goes home and therefore forcing them to live together in the new arrangement whether they like it or not, was a stroke of genius. It’s extra awkward now that they’ve told each other how much they dislike it, but I suppose it’ll make them stronger by weathering the storm. Maybe the honesty is what they really needed, not Living Together. With Jess and Nick being honest with each other, and Cece being honest to herself, Coach and Schmidt as well, this was an episode of self-realizations.

We’re in the final third of the season now, people, buckle up!

Random Robservations:

  • Not a lot of Winston action this week. He got the funniest line of the episode, though – “Where’s the crab gonna go?”
  • Ahh, the zipper dealer who also really likes crack. That tired stock character. Such a cliche.
  • Kudos to Schmidt for sticking with the jewellery for so long.
  • Cece wants Schmidt. Schmidt wants her too, he just doesn’t know it yet.

More New Girl next week.