Last week, GIRLS managed to deliver a strong episode amid a weak season. And thankfully, the writers kept it going strong this week—"Close Up" did a solid job with several story lines, juggling a job interview, post- breakup ennui, an abortion, and Ray's impending rise to world dominance. And Elijah's back! Not too shabby, writer Murray Miller.
Let's start with the lighter plots, since this episode does indeed get a little heavy. Hannah's still raw after her official breakup with Adam, but thankfully she's gained a new-old roommate in the form of Elijah, who wears tiny briefs and eats all her Cinnamon Toast Crunch. She sees therapist Bob Ballaban, who tells her he's happy she's been able to handle the situation so elegantly. And apparently, these love and life failures have driven Hannah to discover her True Calling—she's going to be a teacher! Can't wait for her to mold some young minds, it's going to be a blast.
Meanwhile, Desi and Marnie fill the sex scene quota for the week by BONING TO THEIR OWN TERRIBLE MUSIC—one of the most cringeworthy moments to ever hit the small screen. This is followed by an argument over whether they sing "love songs" or "modern American folk." (I can solve this debate in 12 seconds—they sing disgusting trash music that defies genre labeling). Then Desi freaks out because Marnie likens them to She & Him, and he and his love beads spin out.
Shosh goes on another job interview, this time for a position at an instant soup company called Madame Tinsleys. Now an expert at Interview Real Talk, Shosh dresses down everything from the company's name to its ideology. Her straight talk doesn't get her the gig, but it does get her a date with the company's founder, played by Jason Ritter, who is easily the hottest dude on this show since Charlie departed for unknown waters. Ten points to Shosh, who deserves a little post-grad dopamine spike, though she's apparently not thrilled about a future as "Mrs. Madame Tinsley."
Best of all, Ray goes to a Community Board meeting to protest the devastating car horn-honking that's plagued his previously idyllic neighborhood this season. Here, he goes head to head with CB 8 President, played by Marc Maron, who will hopefully stick around for a bit, and discovers that small scale bureaucracy is quite boring. "I've been sitting patiently, quietly in this chair all day. All day. You wanna know why? Because I'm on today's docket. Today's docket should happen today. Next week is for next week's docket... I take umbrage at your sweeping disregard for the taxpayer, and your general managerial ineptitude." On the bright side, now Ray's running for CB Chairperson, which is only a few steps away from World Ruler.
And now, for the drama. Adam has moved in with Mimi-Rose, who lives in an impossibly beautiful loft space. Here, they seem to be experiencing the usual early-relationship honeymoon bliss, complete with kissy wakeups and elaborate love brunches. But amid all this syrupy romance, Mimi-Rose casually tells Adam that no, she can't go for a jog with him that morning, because she had an abortion the day prior.
I appreciate that this show handles abortion lightly. The more film and television treats the decision to terminate a pregnancy like an all-caps ABORTION, the more stigma we assign to women who do choose to have them, as if they're walking around with scarlet As tattooed on their uteri. You do not get the impression that Mimi-Rose agonized over whether or not to have an abortion, and it doesn't seem like she'll spend the rest of her life dwelling on the what-ifs.
Of course, there's the question of whether or not Mimi-Rose should have told Adam beforehand. Adam, unsurprisingly, flips out when Mimi-Rose off-handedly confides in him, demanding why she didn't tell him. And Mimi-Rose's answer is satisfactory, at least to me. She and Adam have been together seven weeks, and this relationship is still new, delicate and sweet. She is not going to carry and give birth to a baby right now—it's not going to be a debate, and it's not a decision he gets to make for her. There are a lot of discussions over the ethics of telling your partner whether you're going to terminate a pregnancy, but it seems unproductive to judge Mimi-Rose for making this very personal choice. Then again, it's much easier for me to see her POV than Adam's, and his outrage isn't necessarily misplaced.
At the end of the episode, speaking to Adam's uncharacteristic insecurities, she tells him: "No, I don't need you... wanting you like this, that's better than needing you because it's pure." Mimi-Rose and Adam's relationship is not borne out of insecurity or some urgency to escape being alone, at least not for now. Whether Adam can handle Mimi-Rose's independence remains to be seen, but perhaps its better for him to experience life with the anti-Hannah for a bit.
And now for some closing notes:
- Elijah eats poor, brokenhearted Hannah's cereal and leaves the empty box, and it's a thing of beauty. "That's so fucked up. Elijah, this is my cereal, okay? You can't just waltz into town and eat another person's cereal. If all you want is cereal, go to the store, and get some cereal. And put your name on it." That voice-cracking on the last line kills me.
- Not to return to the appalling Desi/Marnie folk music sex, but I would rather marathon all four Toxic Avenger films (currently streaming on Netflix!) than re-experience that scene.
- Jason Ritter disses a camp counselor gig listed on Shosh's resume, to which she snaps, "I don't know if you've ever been a camp counselor, but it is no easy feat." I was a camp counselor one summer, and it was the worst, most difficult job I've ever had. Good for you, Shosh.
- Desi and Marnie have a track called "Song For Marcus Garvey."
- "My parents got married after a fucking week." Peeks into Adam's family life are always welcome.
- "I guess the upside to having everything go wrong in your life is you cease to having any expectations of anything or anybody." Feel you, Hannah bb.
- Jessa gets two lines this week.
- "I could be at brunch with a guy who runs a microbrewery, so let's pep it up." Elijah deserves a spinoff.