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The Return: 11 Years Later is return episode of Will & Grace. It is the first episode of season 9 and 195th overall.

Heavily influenced by the success of #VoteHoney campaign, the episode makes many political references to the US President Donald Trump's recent win and affairs the administration has faced during his first months. As explained by the producers, the original ending which chronologically ended 20 years after the finale episode (i.e. in 2026) is addressed during the first scene of this episode.

Synopsis

The Craziest Dream

The scene opens in Will's apartment with Will and Grace playing Heads Up! with Jack, who is busy looking at a gay dating app; and Karen, who is spacing out. Karen snaps back to reality and she tells the group of her dream where they all have different lives, implying that the flash-forward events during the finale—including Grace ending up with Leo, Will ending up with Vince, the two couple raising their children who would later marry, and Karen losing her wealth—were all part of Karen's hallucination. Will reaffirms to Karen that she is still rich and Grace is simply staying over until "the dust settles" on her divorce.

The Rose Garden

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Will is writing an angry letter to a Congressman who is gutting the EPA. Curious, Grace takes a look at his profile and remarks that he is handsome, but evil. While talking about ways to do things that are high impact, but with low effort, Grace gets a voicemail from Karen telling her that she had a conversation with Milania [Trump] that she has to chat with Grace about it. Ready to put her foot down with Karen's behavior over the election, Grace leaves for work feeling inspired. Jack comes into the apartment and sees that Will has a glow about him and asks who the guy is. Will, tells him that he's writing a letter to a congressman, but that they are totally flirting and he hasn't told Grace about it. He laments that they won't ever meet anyway, which makes Jack spring into action finding a speaking event and booking a train down to Washington D.C.

Will and Jack arrive in the Rose garden for the Congressman's talk. WIll has no idea how Jack managed to get them there, which Jack informs him he has connections in the Secret Service. In disbelief, Will goes back and forth with Jack until a Secret Service agent (Lenny) walks up and starts hitting on Jack. It's after that moment that the Congressman calls out to Will and they meet in person for the first time. Their meeting is very flirty.

Congressman Steve Sandoval calls Page over and tells her to take Will on a tour of the West Wing. After parting with the Congressman, Page let's Will know that there is someone in the Oval Office redecorating, so to just be aware. Will turns to follow her inside and sees Grace in the window. They lock eyes.

Jack is chatting with Lenny in the White House about life and what they've been up to. Jack, catching Lenny up, demands that he not mention the one man show that Jack had since it's dead to him. He talks about the ego he must have had to put his own name in the title and shuffles through the businesses that he's created that all contain his name....except for the last one.

Back at the apartment Will and Grace talk and admit that they both didn't want the other to think less of them. Will tells her to stay for as long as she wants.

The Oval Office

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Act and then think.

Grace arrives at work and is greeted by Tony, a new employee at GAD. She asks him if he's ever been offended by Karen, which he doesn't want to outwardly admit, but eventually says she does not. Karen arrives and Grace has talks to her about keeping politics out of the office. It's immediately after that moment that Karen mentions that Grace will be redecorating the oval office. Not wanting to show her enthusiasm, Grace pretends that she is uninterested, but at the mention of the train departure time, assures Karen that she will be there early.

Grace and Karen are in the Oval Office, with Grace discussing how the great minds of the country have sat behind that desk. She then peeks inside the keepsake box sitting on top of the desk and notes a Russian dictionary and a fidget spinner. Karen recounts the first time she was in the office, mentioning that her and Nancy were chasing Ronnie around the desk. They get to work and start planning curtain color, Grace bringing out a bag of Cheetos to make sure that the skin tone of the president goes well with whatever they pick.

Grace is looking out the window at the Rose Garden and asks the butler what is happening out there. He informs her that it is an energy caucus that Congressman Sandoval is about to address. Grace, remembering the name, mentions to Karen how awful the guy is. She starts to feel a little skeevy over what she is doing vs the resisting that Will must be doing at that moment....until she looks out the window and sees Will getting chummy with the Congressman.

Will walks into the Oval Office and faces off with Grace. Both want to know what the other is doing and figure out they both had their own selfish reasons for being there. Will tells her that he can't deal with her crazy again and that if she is so unhappy then she should move out. They have a pillow fight in the Oval Office.

One little change

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The next morning the gang is hanging out in the apartment mentioning that they should just stick with what they all know and leave politics out of it. Karen laments that she cannot believe Grace blew the opportunity to decorate the Oval Office, but Grace says that she was able to make one, little, change. Cut to a hat on the president's chair that says "Make America Gay Again".

Cast

Main

Guest

Notes

  • Episode features a new title sequence.
  • First appearance of Tony, Grace's apprentice.
  • Eddie Matos's character shares his name with Will & Grace producer, Steve Sandoval.
  • While at the Oval Office, Karen mentions again her relationship with the Reagan family. She has previously implied that she was a mistress to US President Ronald Reagan in the episode The Mourning Son.

Cultural references

  • Grace mentions that she used to be woke but now she uses her pussyhat to sneak candy into the movies, a reference to The Pussyhat Project designed to protest Trumps inauguration earlier that year.
  • Grace likens the "bad guy" congressman to the villainous lion Scar in the Disney film The Lion King (1994).
  • When Will implies Grace farts in the elevator, she denies it and tells him it is "fake news", a reference to the tumultuous accusations of President Trump against media outlets who have been critical of him during the 2016 campaign and during his administration.
  • Will describes Congressman Sandoval's hotness on "the Ryan scale" as "Reynolds-point-Gosling", after actors Ryan Reynolds and Ryan Gosling.
  • After finding out about Will's romance with a politician, Jack references Scandal, the political drama produced by Shonda Rhimes.
  • Jack enumerates famous "power gays": journalist Andersoon Cooper and singer Elton John who are both openly gay. He also mentions US President Abraham Lincoln, whose sexuality has become a subject for debate among historians since 2005.
  • Karen plays with Grace's boobs and calls it the "Sugar Ray speed bag", after American boxer Sugar Ray Leonard.
  • While at the Rose Garden, Will observes the garden where "Michelle Obama introduced broccoli to the Midwest".
  • At the Oval Office, Grace finds a Russian-English dictionary. This is a reference to the scandalous relationship of the Trump administration with Russian president Vladimir Putin since the 2016 elections.
  • Jack expresses his excitement by exclaiming "Kellyanne Conway, he's hot!", after the current Counselor to the President.
  • Grace tests the coloring of the Oval Office using Cheetos, poking fun at the popular joke that President Trump's skin has the same color as the cheese-flavored snacks.
  • Read my lips: no new taxes
  • Will asks Grace, "who are you? Mrs. Peacock in Clue?". This is a nod to Eileen Brennan, who played Mrs. Peacock in the film and Jack's acting coach Zandra in the original series.
  • Grace mentions knowing about "the Anderson Cooper" from reading the online gay magazine Queerty.

Media

Quotes

Grindr has gotten so skanky, I feel like I could get finger herpes just from scrolling. Jack

I use to be woke. Now I use my pussy hat to sneak candy into the movies. Grace

Grace:She never stops rubbing it in my face.
Will:Yeah, but does she ever bring up the election?

Who's the guy? Your lips are pursed, your neck is flushed and you're presenting. Jack

Jack:How hot is he on the Ryan scale?
Will:He's a Reynolds-point-Gosling.
about Cong. Sandoval

Okay Shonda, now we got a Scandal. JackWill flirting with a Congressman

Do you know how many men I've been with who I disagree with politically? I don't. 'Cause I don't ask. You just pop out your contacts and you get to work! Jack

What's with the Laura Bush pour? Give me the full Pat Nixon! Karenon her drink

Actually, you could say my job's gotten a lot easier. The nutjobs that we protected the last president from are this guy's biggest supporters. Lennyworking for the US Secret Service under Trump

Will:You're really leaving, huh?
Grace:Yep. I was gonna go to a hotel but...
Will:You're too cheap?
Grace:Yep. I was gonna to my sister's but...
Will:She was eating on the phone?
Grace:Yep.