Girls S4 Ep6: Close Up

This week on Girls … Adam discovers a shocking truth about Mimi-Rose. Hannah considers a change of vocation. Marnie and Desi have a difference of opinion. And Shoshanna’s search of employment doesn’t earn her a job – but it does get her a date.

Image: HBO

A new direction for Hannah? (Image: HBO)

Want, not need

Wanting you like this – that’s better than needing you because it’s pure.

The second half of Girls‘ fourth season opens with what feels very much like a mid-season premiere, an understated half-hour in which Hannah, Marnie and Adam each approach a crossroads and ongoing storylines featuring Shoshanna and Ray bubble to the surface.

The episode is bookended by seemingly idyllic scenes of Adam and Mimi-Rose cuddled up in bed together. In the first, Adam wakes up, quietly tucks her in and makes her breakfast. Second time around, he goes through the same ritual but although his actions are the same they’re visibly forced. In between, she casually mentions that she had an abortion the previous day, sending Adam into a rage. He packs up to move out, but decides to stay after she explains to him that, although she doesn’t need him, she wants him.

Adam’s relationship with Mimi-Rose is in many ways the opposite to his one with Hannah, where the pair needed each other while their desire petered out, with Hannah’s departure for Iowa breaking the cycle of dependency. The sweetness and gentle touches of the opening scene are in stark contrast to the more feral aspects of his nature, and although he relents and stays with her it’s clear that behind the facade he’s not at all comfortable in this new situation.

Those who can’t, teach

Hannah, you’re the most selfish person we know. You won’t even share a Kit-Kat.

Disappointingly, the episode rather glosses over Hannah’s side of the aftermath of her break-up with Adam, although it does push her into a seismic shift in terms of her career choice. Her therapist, who clearly doesn’t know her very well, concludes she has a giving nature and, although her friends attempt to convince her otherwise, she decides she wants to be a teacher, in spite of a complete absence of relevant qualifications.

I take umbrage at your sweeping disregard for the taxpayer and your general managerial ineptitude. Umbrage. Shame on you, people!

Elsewhere, Marnie and Desi, after having sex to their own songs (eww), have a falling out over song selection for their upcoming showcase, with Marnie suspicious that Desi doesn’t want to lead with Close Up because it was she who wrote it. Shoshanna has another spectacularly bad interview with an instant soup start-up but gets asked out on a date by her interviewer, Scotty. And Ray’s dispiriting experience of local politics leads him to run for chairman of his local community board.

Let the second half commence – now what?

What does the second half of this season have in store for us? Hannah looks set to exchange writing for teaching, and Ray appears headed for local politics. The cracks in Marnie and Desi’s relationship continue to grow, while Adam is just discovering the ones in his seemingly perfect relationship. Shoshanna may find a boyfriend before a job. And Jessa‘s status in the show seems to have been reduced to throwing in one or two barbed comments per episode – a role performed with far more elan by Elijah.

The downgrading of Jessa’s character continues to rankle, but with focus shifting away from the girls as a whole towards Adam and Ray, this episode felt a little unbalanced. It cements the show’s change of direction for several of its characters in a plausible way – it takes the double whammy of her Iowa experience and her break-up with Adam to turn Hannah away from writing, and Ray’s interest in local politics also feels organic – and although none of the major female characters are particularly likeable this week, there’s enough humour to compensate. Ray’s scale model of the streets around his block and the bickering he stirs up among the community board members are particular highlights, as is pretty much the entire restaurant scene between the girls and Elijah as they rattle off a list of jobs that Hannah is better suited to than teaching.

Not Girls‘ finest half-hour, but not bad as a pivot point to bridge between the Iowa and post-Iowa portions of the season.

Fun stuff, references & quotables

  • Shoshanna isn’t getting any more tactful. “Harvard alum makes good. That is such an exciting story. Do you mind if I write about it for Holy Shit magazine?”
  • ‘Badussy’ as a portmanteau of butt, dick and pussy is just so Shosh.
  • Desi’s pick of his and Marnie’s top six songs: Rattlesnake Cowgirl, Heart For Sale, Whoa Wow Wonderful, Song for Marcus Garvey, Oaxaca Blues and Kokopelli Shelley. Marcus Garvey was an early 20th-century Jamaican political leader. Oaxaca is both a city and one of Mexico’s federal states. Kokopelli is a Native American fertility god. The song title is a possible reference to Seeking Kokopelli, a novel by Shelley Munro. Or it could just be an unspeakably bad rhyme. You decide.
  • Why Elijah decided to leave Iowa: “I had just gone as far as I could go in Iowa. I was practically running that JC Penney, I was dating a guy who was the frontrunner in the mayoral race, and I had just put a bid in on 16 acres but I thought, I don’t know, I just feel empty so I might as well come back here and be with you losers.”
  • Elijah and Marnie, one cynical, the other idiotic. Elijah: “I’m very sceptical of anyone who wants to help others. There’s always some sort of hidden agenda.” Marnie: “100%. Mother Teresa loved being famous.” However much of a cad Desi is, he and Marnie really do deserve each other.
  • The episode opens to The Zombies’ Can’t Nobody Love You and closes to El Perro del Mar’s God Knows (You Gotta Give to Get).

Rating: 7/10

Girls season 4 reviews

4.1 Iowa

4.2 Triggering

4.3 Female Author

4.4 Cubbies

4.5 Sit-In

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