At the end of last season, it seemed clear that the four GIRLS were learning to find strength in solitude, with Shosh, Marnie, Jessa and Hannah all kicking away the crutches that kept them hobbled over in pain. Shosh went to Japan alone, Desi ditched Marnie, Jessa quit drugs, and Hannah turned Adam down—all poised to forge ahead on their own.

This season has addressed this struggle with solitude a few times, and right now it feels like we're digging into the meat of what it means to be lonely, to fear being lonely, and to avoid standing on your own feet because you're so afraid you'll fall over and break your face. GIRLS gave us another look at loneliness this week, when Hannah and her mother attempt to get back in touch with their "inner goddesses" at a female-empowerment retreat, while Shosh takes Aidy Bryant on a tour of Tokyo and Jessa asks her sister for money.

Hannah, still at odds with Nice Fran, joins mother Loreen on a trip to the aforementioned female-empowerment retreat, called "Spring Queening," where Loreen hopes she'll be able to recharge before settling on whether or not she'll divorce Hannah's father. The retreat is full of midde-aged divorcees looking to stop asking for permission and start "leading with [their] cunts." Hannah hates it for all the usual Hannah reasons ("I really don't like being outside"), but would still rather be at the retreat than spend time with Fran. Loreen chalks it up to her poor relationship with Hannah's father, telling her she's "incapable of loving someone who is kind" to her, which is probably true.

But Hannah's not ready to cut ties with Fran, at least not yet. She strikes up a flirtation with a female yoga instructor and ends up hooking up with her in the sauna, and it's an experience that, as Lena Dunham describes, is "so disorienting" it might reset some of her Fran-phobia.

While all this is happening, Loreen is trapped with a gang of sad divorcees, all of whom seem destined for eternal solitude now that their husbands have run off with other ladies. In fact, when Loreen tells the ladies that Tad is gay, they brush it off. "I wish I had a gay husband," one ex-wife tells Loreen, and Loreen decides, for now, to stay with Tad.

Meanwhile, though Jessa and Adam seem to have recovered from last week's bad sex, they've got a new hurdle to shove each other over—Jessa's sister, Minerva, is in town. Minerva's got a sweet trust fund and Jessa, who got cut off after her stint in rehab, needs money to finish school. Minerva tells her no, because Jessa's been an eternal fuck up, and Adam fights on her behalf, going so far as to offer to pay for her schooling. There is no way this will end well.

And last but not least, we turn to Shosh, who is still in Japan. Here, she has found employment—at a CAT CAFE—and, ostensibly, love, with ex-boss Yoshi. Aidy Bryant shows up, and Shosh offers to take her around town. They get fish to eat their dead foot skin, they gawk at Japanese teenagers in sailor suits, they bathe in a public pool, and eat umami ramen. Everything goes swimmingly, until Shosh begins sobbing at a ramen joint. "I'm really sad, and I'm really fucking lonely. I'm so homesick and I swear to god if one more person bows and says I'm sorry I'm going to fucking cut somebody." She wanders down an empty street in Tokyo, soundtracked by a cover of David Bowie's "Life On Mars."

We're halfway through the season now, and it's hard to know where GIRLS is going with all this. Loneliness is crushing. The sad divorcees would stay with a gay husband, because even a partner in crime who can't quite match with you is better than no partner at all. The yoga instructor Hannah hooks up with cries the second she comes, left to finish herself off after Hannah literally can't handle her body heat. Shosh is suffering on her own in Japan, with a boyfriend who doesn't know her (he tells Aidy Bryant he and Shosh are going to lose their virginities to each other, and that ain't true) and a job that doesn't fit her. And Jessa—poor, ever-lost Jessa—found someone who loves and believes in her, but it's hard to know whether she'll really be able to find salvation in Adam, or if this is just "another whim."

Some notes:

  • "Isn't gay husband kind of the same as no husband?"
  • "I was planning to just steadily sit in the McDonalds until I felt safe again." The writing really is quite good this season.
  • So Minerva has had sex with her half-sister's father. Okay.
  • Tokyo, according to Team GIRLS: "I feel like I'm inside Katy Perry's vagina."
  • We did not spend enough time in the Cat Cafe.
  • No Marnie or Desi this week, thank god, but no Elijah or Ray either. Blerf.

Next week, there's trouble in DesiParadise, and is...Charlie back????