The main event of last night’s New Girl finale was the issue of Nick moving out of the loft to live with his “new old girlfriend,” Caroline. This only seems to concern Jess, as Schmidt and Winston have come to accept that it is Nick’s decision and promptly invite “Neil” (guest star Thomas Lennon, who uses air quotes when introducing his name) to move into the vacant room.

But once the three guys get in the moving truck, it’s clear Nick isn’t at peace with his decision either and he ends up hijacking the move and leaving them stranded in the desert. Jess and Cece arrive to bail them out, but Jess, still convinced Nick shouldn’t move, pretends to toss her keys, leaving the whole gang to suffer the night in the wilderness, where plenty of opportunities to further the two major relationships arise (and Winston finally conquers his fear of the dark).

Schmidt and Cece: Schmidt Pulls the “White Fang
Before the impromptu desert trip, Schmidt visits Cece during her modeling shoot, only to freak out about her provocatively posing with another male model atop a random missile. When her “co-worker” texts her later, Schmidt reads the inane message (“Remember your butt? Me too LOL”) and decides he needs to let Cece go… to be happy with this guy, who’s a clear keeper? It’s not clear why Schmidt thinks Cece would be better off without him, but he decides to “White Fang” her, meaning he must let her go in order for her to be happy, even if it means he’s miserable.

When Schmidt does the deed, Cece is onto him (because, apparently, Schmidt raved about the only book on his Kindle obsessively) and questions his reasons. When he reveals he saw the text from the male model, Cece brings up the necessity of trust for their relationship to work. Schmidt then says he can’t trust Cece because, ironically, she chose him – “You slept with me. I mean, that doesn’t say much about your taste in men.” Crying, Cece walks away, ending this relationship with a big question mark for next season (although this tussle does seem like the many this couple has had this season, and it’s not difficult to picture them picking up again when New Girl returns).

Nick and Jess: Coyote Chemistry
The entire episode seems grounded by this indefinable bond between Nick and Jess, whom the writers seem intent on keeping apart as long as possible. But although the story doesn’t end with Nick abandoning Caroline and declaring his hidden love for Jess (which, while being a stretch, would probably make plenty of Nick-Jess shippers giddy), there’s enough intense interaction to pave the way for next season. First, it’s clear Jess doesn’t want Nick to move – both for his sake (she doesn’t think Caroline is right for him, judging from the history) and her own. Nick seems unaffected by the change, but after his freak out in the desert, he can’t deny he has some reservations.

But talking White Fang with Schmidt brings Jess to realize she too must let Nick go. She sees that, as his friend, she must withhold her judgment and let him attempt happiness, however unlikely it may seem and despite the personal cost to her own. While they’re discussing Nick’s impending decision, they encounter a real-life White Fang — a coyote that inspires several moments of Nick and Jess clutching each other desperately (a clever way of acting on that chemistry without romantic implications). After waiting for the coyote to go away, Jess courageously tells Nick that she will be just fine if he moves (“You know why? ‘Cause I met you.”), and she uses this burst of bravery to scare off the coyote with her own impression of a wild beast. The animal runs off and there’s a sense of victory for the pair, both for escaping the perils of the desert and for establishing that by knowing each other, they have become strong enough to stand on their own.

The Last Scene: Dancing is the Best Way to Go
The next morning Jess pretends to find her keys and the gang heads back home, where they all say good-bye to Nick outside his new apartment. After a sparse exchange between Nick and Jess (so much is left unsaid, but a “see ya” will have to suffice), the roommates head back to their loft.

That night Winston, Schmidt and Jess are each getting ready for bed, when Jess sees Nick’s moving truck out her window. She then hears the opening lines for AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” and opens her door to see Nick in his empty room, playing the tape from his childhood with a knowing smile. With a simple “welcome back,” she closes her door and all four roommates, knowing Nick is back, start dancing in celebration (independently, in their own rooms). Because they don’t need an explanation. They don’t need to question Nick’s return. All they need is the music felt through their walls to know their friend is back and that’s reason enough to dance through the night.

(Image courtesy of FOX)

Jenn Lee

Staff Writer, BuddyTV

Jenn grew up in Ohio before moving to Seoul, Korea, where she attended international school and failed to learn Korean. From there she went on to earn a BA in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania before settling in Seattle, where she now spends too much time pondering the power of narrative in TV shows and novels. While she loves a good smart comedy (a la Community or Parks and Recreation), her favorite current show is Breaking Bad; all-time mentions include Arrested DevelopmentLost and Friends. When she’s not consuming television or literature, she’s savoring pastries and searching for the city’s ultimate sandwich.