'New Girl': Walt Miller... amirite?

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Back in the chapel, with no Elvis and no Nick, Bonnie asked Winston to take the mic. “Keep it light,” she begged. “Don’t mention the felony thing… or Paraguay… or the storage space.” Winston dutifully walked to the podium and began to share his philosophy that a funeral should be a celebration and a party. It’s what Walt would have wanted, he said. Then he looked back to gesture at Walt and… oh dear, abort! Abort! The sight of his scam artist father figure shot full of formaldehyde was too much for Winny. He looked back at the crowd in alarm, tried (and failed) to collect himself, then let out a Stanley Kowalski howl before collapsing and screaming, “Walt! I can’t do this no’ mo’, Walt!”

Bonnie headed to the prep room. Even with some distance, Winston’s wails were still audible and mixed repulsively as “Elvis” struggled to stifle his vomit. Usual steely, Bonnie crumbled and vowed to send everyone home before walking back toward the chapel. Jess ran after to reach out. In return, she got a venomous look and a terse warning, “Are you tapping me on the shoulder, girly? Let me make this totally clear: I don’t want you here. I don’t know you. I don’t know your people.” She turned again. And Jess reached out instinctively again. Bonnie snarled, “Are you tapping me twice?” She said she’d rather not have the funeral like this and stormed out. At which point “Elvis” upchucked and passed out.

Just as Bonnie stood up before her friends and family to deliver the bad news, a thick twang echoed through the room: “Stop the funeral! Everybody sit down. This is the King.” Bonnie: “What the hell?!” Apparently “making it right” in Jess land means jumping into a rhinestone-bedazzled onesie, plopping on a pompadour, and putting on a show. She said, “I think you mean… ‘What the heaven?’ mama,” then strode into the chapel and launched into a rendition of “In the Ghetto.” Granted, it wasn’t the most obvious choice song selection, but it was the literal one thanks to a lyric about Chicago in the snow.

The impromptu concert was touch-and-go for a minute. About the time Bonnie threatened to take Jess out, Nick returned and beheld his roomfriend with an expression that can only be described as loving admiration. He told Bonnie it was exactly what Walt would have liked — though he probably would have faked a fall and sued the funeral home. With Bonnie pacified, Jess hit pause on her performance so Nick could deliver his eulogy. It was honest about his constant (usual intentional) skirmishes with Walt, and Jake Johnson’s voice gave way just enough when Nick said ruefully, “He was very good at gambling.” He immediately followed with, “He had a great mustache…” (cue a hilariously authentic, over-the-top breakdown from Winston) and noted, “he was so mean to cabbies in such a cool way.” Finally, Walt “never was scared,” said Nick. “How did he do that?” He took a deep breath. “I don’t know if Walt was a good guy or a bad guy in the whole scheme of things, but he was my dad, and I’m sure gonna miss him.” Well done, Jake. Well. Done.

Having let it all out, Nick hung his head silently and finally gave into the sober reality before him. Jess stepped forward, her big eyes wide, and grabbed his hand just as she had promised she would. Cut to Bonnie, who now understood what made this girl special. Jess asked Nick, “You okay, mama?” He said he would be. Jess resumed “In the Ghetto,” which could have been horribly tone-deaf move, but it was actually what everybody needed. Soon enough, they were all singing and clapping. Nick showed off his sweet falsetto, and Bonnie even did an Elvis-style hip swivel. Behind it all, Schmidt told Winston: “I really feel transported to the ghet-to.” Winston looked at his friend in disbelieving silence. As usual.

The next day, as the roomies set off for the airport, Schmidt received a warning from TSA employee Bobby — still sore over the gold chain — never to visit Boston or else he might find a gun in his baggage. Winston had loaded his pockets with Walt paraphernalia. And Bonnie took Jess aside to give her a Ziploc bag full of cheese puffs and a hug while Nick look at his ladies with a knowing smile. He walked over to Bonnie, who apologized for how dependent the family had been on Nick. She added, “I’m glad you have someone who takes care of you [now].” Cut to Jess trying in vain to open the snack bag with her mitten-covered hands. Unbearable cuteness aside, Nick and Jess had turned this ship around. Together. Sure, it wasn’t the sexiest episode in the traditional sense, but it was a major stepping stone for them and a necessary bit of grounding for the show. Thank you, writers. Thank you very much.

NEXT: There are levels of Elvis impersonators?

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