There was a moment on last week's episode in which Riz Ahmed's surf instructor character tells Hannah, "It's so much easier to love something than to hate it, don't you think?" I'm beginning to feel that way about GIRLS, a show I started out loving, then hated so violently I was assigned to recap it with passion. Last season, I started to like it again. Maybe I just have Stockholm Syndrome or really appreciate the accurately awkward sex scenes and Jessa's wardrobe.
Or maybe, now that we're about to lose GIRLS, I can see it's a fascinating no-holds-barred snapshot into a certain self-absorbed white woman Brooklynite world, a little time capsule my future children can watch to see what Mommy refused to acknowledge she was like when she was an egocentric nightmare in her 20s. Of course, the Earth will have exploded by then so these children will be watching this show on Mars and will have never heard of Greenpoint, or breathable air.
Anyway, let's dig into this week's episode, which wasn't as good as last week's (BRING BACK RIZ AHMED) but had its moments.
Desi and Marnie are fucking again, because these two TV demons are perfect for each other. Apparently Desi cries every time they say hello or goodbye, and the two are "seriously considering trying anal," as if butt stuff is still a big deal in 2017. So in order to clarify her life situation, Marnie decides to drag Hannah to Poughkeepsie with her and Desi. Poughkeepsie, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Dutchess County, is home to Vassar College, this super dope Italian deli, and a mall with an Abercrombie and Fitch at which I spent all my babysitting money in ninth grade. In the last few years, it's joined Beacon, Cold Spring, and other cutesy little towns along the Hudson in becoming a weekend getaway for twee Brooklynites, something that certainly won't be exacerbated by this featured role on GIRLS, no sirree.
Anyway, Hannah stumbles into a junk shop and briefly befriends Joy Bryant from Parenthood; Joy's character, who allegedly survived physical contact with the third rail and is now a psychic, doesn't stick around for long, but she does give Hannah a vintage tea set that she claims will save her life. Hannah tells her she’s never wanted to “Instagram a stranger” so badly.
At their vacation home, Hannah works on a story about Staten Island orgies and sheet cake, Marnie finds Desi's OxyContin in a Mason jar, of course. Desi goes apeshit, telling Marnie he's been addicted to OxyContin for a year, which I guess explains a lot about Desi, and he goes on a rampage, screaming at Marnie for not even noticing he was on 20 milligrams of Oxy a day. "You abandoned me! My whole life is a cry for help!" Desi yells, because Desi is the Scott Disick of the GIRLS world.
Marnie calls Hannah for backup, and the whole situation basically devolves into a scene from a horror film—the two of them lock Desi out of the house and he punches through a window, screaming at them that they're "bitches and cunts." Hannah tries to fend him off with a spatula, and he smashes up her beautiful free teapot.
The upshot of all that scary (though, for us viewers, quite funny) Desi stuff is that it gives Marnie and Hannah a moment to bond, a moment in which we return to their friendship, perhaps one of the most important relationships on the show. In Season 4 we saw this when Marnie comforts Hannah after Adam breaks up with her, and here, Marnie cries to Hannah about having failed to notice her husband was a drug addict.
"It can be pretty hard to have observations about other people when you're only thinking about yourself," Hannah tells her, adding something many viewers have likely been waiting to hear: "I would know." Hannah's not judging Marnie, she's there to admit her faults, too—"I'm done acting like I know anything at all. None of us know fucking anything," Hannah tells her. Which is true, though it would be nice if the GIRLS finally learned like ONE THING after six seasons. At least now, though, they're learning to empathize.
Elsewhere in the GIRLSverse, Shosh invites Elijah to be her plus-one at a young professional women's networking club's event called WeMun (not The Wing) hosted by a couple of her old college friends, and Jessa decides to crash. Shosh is upset because she pushed away those college friends for Jessa, even skipping her senior spring break with them because Jessa convinced her to go to Rockaway to meet Vincent Gallo, thus destroying their relationship. Now those other friends are super successful, having started their own jeans company, and she's only just clinging to the career ladder. Still Shosh's former buddies seem impressed by her new gig at a branding company, and you can see how validating that is for her—when you struggle to find your footing, professionally, and finally start getting people excited about your work, it's a big deal!
Unfortunately, Shosh's friends aren't impressed enough not to be upset that she ditched them, and when they turn on her, Jessa tries to cheer her up. But Shosh has had enough, and thinks Jessa played in integral role in ruining her life, or at least throwing her off course. Jessa doesn't handle the confrontation well and storms off screaming "grow up." During the sidewalk drama, however, Elijah reveals to both of them that Marnie has been boning Desi, a secret Hannah revealed to him, and Shosh is noticeably upset that Marnie would do something like that to Ray.
The Jessa/Shosh fight is fine, I guess, but the drama seems a little forced. It seems like Jessa hasn't quite earned this reaction, though it's easy to see how the overachieving Shosh is frustrated with the way things are turning out. But just because you haven't started a successful jeans company a couple years out of college, doesn't mean you're a failure. Still, Shosh is trying to separate from the other GIRLS.
THIS WEEK'S WORST GIRL: Desi, obviously.
- Again, kudos to the GIRLS team for its dedication to depicting sex in all its wretched glory—Marnie's face while waiting for Desi to come in the opening scene is Spot. Fucking. On.
- I totally forgot that Shosh and Jessa are COUSINS, as was established waaaaay back in the halcyon pre-Desi days of season one. Thank you, writers, for reminding us of this fact.
- "I hope there's no elder abuse at the facility you're in." Jessa is my special star.
- The third rail carries 660 volts of electricity. It is very unlikely Psychic Joy Bryant actually touched it.
- "I will be writing, if you need me, which I hope you do not!" Choice line.
- Who the fuck calls a chandelier a "chando?"
- HARD cringe at the WeMun line about whether or not the group includes trans women, which was way too cutesy to make a self-aware statement.
- Hannah's Staten Island cake orgy piece involves a narcoleptic chef. I have a lot of questions.
- "You're being very violent and inappropriate!" "I'm all about peace!"
- "They're like Khloe Kardashian and Bethanny Frankel. If those women weren't amazing and revolutionaries." Jessa 4 Queen.
- "He looks like someone in the Pacific Northwest knit a man." Hannah has Desi down to a T, and this show still has some of the best one-liners.
- Ten points for opening and closing this show out with Joni Mitchell, and arguably one of her most popular songs, "Free Man In Paris," which is about David Geffen (though she never belts out his name).
Next week: Hannah meets a real writer!