Elsewhere, Schmidt was still reeling over Cece’s engagement. Since he couldn’t drown his sorrows in Midori for free anymore, Winston tried to distract him with an afternoon as the Pacific Sea Center. But Schmidt sublimated his laser-like focus onto a California lionfish, which he described in terms eerily like a certain Indian model ex-girlfriend (“So beautiful, exotic, perfect curves, giant almond eyes, caramel-colored stripes, sumptuous lips… floats like an angel”). Schmidt attempted to physically intimidate an attendant into letting him illegally buy the lionfish, landing himself and Winston on the curb. Winston bought a clownfish to console Schmidt, but he spat back, “I don’t want some janky, freshwater bitch fish, Winston!” No, Schmidt would get his lionfish straight from the source. Winston: “The ocean?” Schmidt: “That’s an even better idea!” Wait, what?
After a heart-to-heart, Winston agreed he’d join Schmidt’s idiotic (and, again, illegal) mission because, “If I was doing something stupid, you definitely would be involved.” Schmidt: “You’re damn right I would! And I would probably be there to make it even stupider.” Kidding aside, Winston wanted his pal to be happy. But he couldn’t possibly have imagined how the day would test their friendship. After pouring themselves into wetstuits and waiting in the water for several hours, they thought they spotted a lionfish. Schmidt leaned down into the water and got a face full o’ jellyfish stinger. Back on the beach, he told Winston they had only one option: Winny would have to pee on Schmidt’s face to sterilize the wound. Unfortunately, Winston had just peed in the ocean (which Schmidt hilariously deemed “disgusting!” — more disgusting than face-to-urine contact?). Winston asked hopefully, “I know this is a dumb question, but… will number 2 help?”
Cut to the hospital where there were mercifully no traces of feces on Schmidt’s face. The douchey ichthyophile was sleeping when Cece arrived (he’d called her from the ambulance). She held a lionfish tank in her hands: “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.” Winston realized then that, as hard as it was, the best way he could make Schmidt happy was to was ask Cece to back off. It was really uncomfortable, but Cece agreed to give Schmidt some space, then left.
In the end, the incident made Schmidt realize the lionfish had been a metaphor for Cece. (Of course everyone else knew this from the start, but there wasn’t any point in telling Schmidt he hadn’t been “subtle as hell.”) He told Winston of his coveted lionfish: “I don’t know if it was the jellyfish’s venom or the paramedic’s urine, but it made me realize she’s not mine to keep.” Then he went to flush the fish in the toilet, which Winston pointed out did not flow to the ocean. Schmidt: “What are you, the city planner?”
The next day, they returned to the scene of the sting. Schmidt made a teary speech: “I know you’re going out into the ocean, lionfish. But, if I ever see you again, and, well… And should you meet a charming, physically fit… I don’t know, whatever fish Gefilte fish come from, treat him well.” Then he dramatically raised his arm to throw the glorious creature to freedom — and she slipped out of his palm and flew backward into the sand. Ha!
NEXT: Straight ballin’