This week on Girls … Marnie sets up a weekend away at a beach house for the girls to work through their issues. Hannah bumps into Elijah and his new boyfriend. And a drunk Shoshanna lets everyone know exactly what she thinks of them.
Falling to pieces – then slowly rebuilding?
Marnie appropriates a beach house in North Fork – almost but not quite the Hamptons – to get the four girls together to talk through their issues honestly. Unfortunately the control freak in her stifles any sense of spontaneity and fun as she tries to cajole them in to complying with her carefully laid plans.
We’re so disconnected now, I thought this would just be a nice way for us to have fun together and prove to everyone via Instagram that we can still have fun as a group.
Hannah rebels, going against Marnie’s wishes at every turn. She is aghast at the thought of having to share adjoining rooms with her. She bumps into Elijah and invites him and his friends to the house, then – despite Marnie’s pointed comments about preparing dinner for four – asks them to stay anyway.
The more Marnie tries to exert control, the more her perfect weekend slips away from her, until finally a wine-fuelled Shoshanna explodes.
She may be a cruel drunk but she’s also an honest and insightful one, precisely skewering her friends’ deepest flaws. Hannah is a narcissist who thinks her life is endlessly fascinating to others. Marnie is tortured by self-doubt and fear. Jessa spouts words of wisdom after staying in rehab for five minutes.
As a group, she sums them up as “a bunch of f***ing whiny nothings”(echoing the sentiments of many of the show’s viewers in the process).
The following morning, Marnie awakens to find the other three wordlessly cleaning up. Later, the four of them sit together by the bay and start performing the dance they had done the previous night. After the storm comes a fresh start and an opportunity to rebuild what has been torn down.
Hurricane Hannah hits a new low
This episode sees Hannah at her worst – and that’s saying something. She becomes more and more self-centred and destructive, sitting serenely at the eye of the hurricane while remaining blissfully unaware of the carnage she is creating all around her.
It’s not just Marnie to whom she behaves objectionably. She boasts about “my high-powered job in the magazine industry” – the same dream-crushing job in the lowly advertorial team of GQ that she nearly walked out on last week. And her dismissal of Shoshanna as “not an intellectual” is a continuation of her growing sense of superiority about having (in her mind) arrived as one of the literary voices of her generation.
Her one moment of self-awareness stems from the recognition of the stabilising effect of her relationship with Adam. Without him, she would already be completely untethered from reality.
For the first time a long while, I started to feel a degree of sympathy for Marnie this week. Yes, she’s overbearing and rigid, but the full story behind her split with Charlie – the Night of the Grilled Pizzas – combined with her abandonment issues with her father underlines why she has a control fixation in the first place.
In Marnie’s life everything is either perfect or it’s falling apart, so she strives for the former to prevent the latter from occurring again.
However, telling Elijah that she is seeing Ray is unlikely to help her own healing process. Will this news find its way back to Shoshanna? It’s already clear that there is unfinished business between Ray and Shosh. What shockwaves would this revelation start among the girls?
Where now? It feels like the entire series has been building to this point throughout its 2½ seasons. Will this prove to be a genuine catharsis for the foursome, or just a false dawn?
There are certainly bridges which need to be rebuilt, not just between the four girls but also with an audience who have had to deal with an increasingly unsympathetic set of characters for quite a while now.
As episodes go, this may just have been the best Girls ever.
The show has led us right to the brink of outright hatred for all four leading ladies before producing this slap in the face – for both characters and viewers – which just might set them back on the road to likeability again.
Girls continues on Sky Atlantic on Mondays at 10pm.