This week on Girls … Hannah doesn’t take the news of Adam and Mimi-Rose’s relationship well. She barricades herself in her bedroom as each of her friends visit in turn. And then she finally accepts the inevitable: she and Adam are no more.
Hannah and Adam
So I guess we’re not like some great artistic love story.
Returning to New York expecting to be able to step back into her old life as if she had never left, Hannah discovers that Adam has moved on during her brief absence. Shaken, she barricades herself in her bedroom to process the news.= and sulk. A lot.
Adam has clearly stepped out of one phase of his life and into another. He has moved Hannah’s stuff into storage and knocked down a separating wall between rooms, something they had planned on doing together. There’s regret and sorrow, certainly, but he has drawn a line under the past and moved on. When he tells Hannah, “I want you to understand, this isn’t about you,” it’s meant apologetically but inadvertently riles her because, of course, everything has to be about her, even a break-up.
It’s obvious he still cares about her from the way he carefully repairs Ray‘s botched bandaging job. Yes, he admits he was relieved when she left but there’s also genuine sorrow when he tells her that what they had “was real and it was beautiful, intense and weird and terrifying”. Adam has always been a complex, sometimes contradictory individual, in stark contrast to Hannah, whose world is pure black-and-white and defined solely by her own values and filters. The pair have simply drifted apart and Hannah’s departure for Iowa merely accelerated their break-up – but only Adam recognised it for what it was.
Hannah and Shoshanna, Jessa and Marnie
In turn, Shoshanna, Jessa and Marnie try to coax Hannah out of her funk. Hannah pushes Shoshanna away, gets into a slapping match with a typically insensitive Jessa and leaves Marnie a message disowning her when she doesn’t turn up.
After getting short shrift from Adam’s pregnant sister Caroline and her boyfriend (and Hannah’s former neighbour) Laird, Hannah goes to see Ray, who is still absorbed in the issue of the new stop light outside his building. While he rants, she burns herself on a hot frying pan.
When Marnie does finally show, she tells Hannah what she really needs to hear: that she needs to let Adam go or they will both end up hating themselves and each other.
Only then is Hannah able to have the proper discussion she needs to have with Adam about how his feelings have changed, and she finally accepts the truth. Brought to her lowest point, she parks the emotional baggage of her Iowa experience with her physical baggage, bedding down for the night in the lock-up where all her things are stored.
This was a relatively contained episode and worked well for it, with the focus on dissecting Hannah’s reactions to the end of her relationship with Adam and the effect of her absence on her friends. There’s something poignant about the quiet way in which Adam and Hannah come to their final understanding. There’s no dramatic showdown, no one big thing that causes the break-up, just a gradual drifting over time fuelled by their careers and aspirations taking them in different directions.
It takes Hannah time (and some surprisingly sage advice from Marnie) to accept that going to Iowa, albeit briefly, has changed her life – just not in the way she thought it would. In Mimi-Rose, Hannah is presented with a reflection of what she aspires to be: a cool, successful artist who can command an audience telling stories about her life, one who has her own studio – and now Adam too.
Has Adam moved on too quickly? Not really. His and Hannah’s relationship had been fizzling out for some time. She headed off to Iowa, supposedly for two years, with barely a thought as to the impact it would have on him. And, if her experience there had been a more positive one, would she have hesitated to take a new boyfriend if the opportunity had arisen? Probably not.
The episode also highlights how fractured the friendships between the four girls have become. They have never been the most cohesive group but right now there seems to be little holding them together as they each face an uncertain future. There’s a definite whiff of change in the air after the best episode of season four so far.
Fun stuff, references & quotables
- Hannah on Mimi-Rose Howard’s name: “That’s not a name. That’s just a woman’s name and man’s name with a flower stuck in the middle of it.”
- Adam demonstrates how well he knows Hannah: “She’ll stay in there until we have a new president. She’s stubborn as f*** and likes to be in bed a lot.”
- “Well, the heart wants what the heart wants.” Jessa is quoting from a letter by American poet Emily Dickinson, which begins: “When the best is gone – I know that other things are not of consequence – The heart wants what it wants – or else it does not care.”
- Caroline on her brother Adam: “He’s really at his best when he’s nurturing the poor, the lost, the profoundly damaged – which is why you were so perfect for him.” Me-ow. (But not inaccurate.)
- Another classic piece of Hannah Horvath deep-as-a-puddle analysis: “This whole thing feels like a puzzle with no possible solution, like a Rubik’s cube.”
- Ray: “You deserve justice. I deserve justice. And together, by God, we will have justice. Come hell or high water, we will have our justice. Can you flip the bacon, please?”
- Ray’s description of Desi as “that Mumford and Son”. So accurate.
- This week’s closing credits song is Shiver by British folk rock singer Lucy Rose.