It's happening: GIRLS' final season is here, and it kicked off Sunday night with a longer-than-usual 41-minute episode. Titled "All I Ever Wanted," it delivered a promising start to the end of a series that's had its ups and downs. So let's dig in.
First and foremost, Marnie and Ray are still fucking, though thankfully Marnie's online therapist is on hand with a reprieve—at her suggestion, Marnie is kicking Ray out of her apartment in hopes of properly moving on after her divorce. Poor Ray first tries to move back in with Jessa and Adam, only to find the two of them have turned the apartment into an anarchic sex den where it's cool to chill naked on a couch and eat the communal yogurt right out of the tub. Animals.
Then Ray moves in with Shosh, much to Marnie's chagrin. Shosh knows to buy Ray gluten-free bread and serve him non-corporate coffee and banter with him over Paul Krugman's NY Times op-eds. When Marnie pays the two of them a visit—surprising Ray with a cup of reviled corporate coffee, no less—she seems to see what the rest of us already know, which is that Shosh and Ray make a hell of a lot more sense than Marnie and Ray. So, she meets up with Desi, who somehow still exists, and he feeds her ego and thirst for drama. "You're a musical force," Desi tells Marnie. Desi is an idiot. Then they hook up. Marnie is also an idiot. Honestly, these two probably deserve each other.
Shosh and Jessa only seem to exist within Marnie's storyline, and the real meat of the episode belongs to Hannah. GIRLS' fair heroine published a Modern Love column about last season's Adam/Jessa betrayal that generated some buzz and netted her a meeting with the always-welcome Chelsea Peretti, whose character runs something called Slag Magazine. She heralds Hannah's writing and her, er, aesthetic, and though the whole thing seems startlingly akin to the Rory Gilmore New Yorker column storyline from Netflix's Gilmore Girls reboot, it's actually done a whole lot better here—the show makes it clear Hannah's accomplishment is a big deal, but it doesn't force you to take her too seriously. She's still Hannah Horvath, after all.
Peretti puts Hannah on assignment—she's going to a Montauk surf school for rich women, because she doesn't look like them and Slag Magazine thinks it's funny to put a non-yoga toned woman on a surfboard, or something. Hannah shows up at the surf school, totally hates it, fakes an injury within the first ten minutes and spends the rest of the day hanging in a pool with some kids and sunning her vagina to get Shailene Woodley's hippie nymph glow. For any journalist who's been assigned to something she really doesn't want to do, this scene is pretty relatable—not that long ago I found myself sweating through a mermaid tail at Coney Island while old men took pictures of me, and I probably wouldn't have been opposed to spraining my "front arm" to get out of that.
So Hannah quits surf school, sort of, but she still gets in some private lessons with hot instructor Paul-Louis, played by Riz Ahmed of The Night Of. And by "private lessons," I mean boning—Hannah drunkenly (and veeeeery awkwardly) has sex with him on her first night in Montauk, and captures his heart by throwing up over the side of a bunk bed the next morning. The two of them spend the rest of Slag Magazine's surf school dollars making out in the ocean, hooking up, and smoking weed. Hannah's captivated by Paul-Louis's freewheeling surf instructor lifestyle, and considers sticking around Montauk to de-stress from the Adam/Jessa nightmare back in New York.
The kicker, of course, is that Paul-Louis is in an open relationship with a girlfriend in the Bahamas, the revelation of which manages to shake Hannah out of her sun-drenched reverie. Instead of freaking out, though, Hannah seems to accept that she has to take Paul-Louis for what he is. Though it's always frustrating to watch a potential future with a new partner die, part of growing up is learning when you have to let the moment go.
- Ray has the line of the night while describing why he can't move back in with Jessa and Adam. "They're always somehow reheating fish." Ray is a delight.
- But A Little Life, the book he is reading at Marnie's, is absolutely not a delight.
- Honestly, though, Jessa and Adam's sex dungeon apartment seems like the best place to be in the GIRLS world.
- Elijah trying to break onto Broadway by hosting an orgy is the throwaway highlight of this episode, but it is also very sad. I want Elijah to be happy.
- The costume department has been killing it with Hannah's wardrobe. Her Montauk Day 1 beach outfit is so good.
- It's tough to watch awkward sex onscreen, but I do appreciate the show's dedication to reminding us that it happens to the best of us.
- I think Riz Ahmed is, sadly, a one-time guest star on the show, but I really hope Chelsea Peretti sticks around. Though she might not be thrilled her magazine spent money on whatever story Hannah will try to pull out of this.
Next week, a trip to Poughkeepsie!