Girls S4 Ep7: Ask Me My Name

This week on Girls … Hannah learns a few truths about Mimi-Rose and likes what she hears. Adam learns a few truths about Mimi-Rose and doesn’t like what he hears. And Jessa reveals that she’s just a flat-out bitch. (No change there, then.)

Image: HBO

Image: HBO

New Hannah, same old Hannah

Will you do me a favour and leave before this gets really f***ing weird?

The opening of this episode presents us with an apparently reinvented Hannah Horvath. She’s the hip substitute teacher attributing the origin of the term ‘MILF’ to Oedipus Rex. She high-fives students in corridors. She gets asked out for drinks by fellow teacher Fran. And she’s so over Adam.

Except, of course, she isn’t over Adam. Not at all. She torpedoes a first date that is going perfectly well by suggesting that she and Fran move on to an appallingly pretentious art exhibition which, of course, is featuring Mimi-Rose. There she proceeds to tell Adam how over him she is, demonstrating the exact opposite and driving a freaked-out Fran away. She barely notices.

Two taxi rides

She’s a bad, bad girl who knows what she wants.

En route to her show’s after-party, Mimi-Rose engineers Adam into a cab alone with her toothbrush-chewing ex-partner Ace (a hip, camp guest star-turn from Zachary Quinto that makes Elijah look tame). He promptly tells Adam that he’s still in love with her even though everything about her is ‘curated’, and that she’s just using him as a pawn in a game which will end up with them back together again.

Adam, spooked, rejects this outwardly – but it’s enough to give him pause for thought.

I just want to make something that says something and I don’t even know why any more.

If Ace and Adam’s taxi ride is beyond awkward, then Hannah and Mimi-Rose’s trip is simply bizarre. Mimi-Rose asks Hannah for honesty and receives empty platitudes initially as she describes the show as “perfect – it was Beyoncé to me”. But Hannah’s blood begins to boil when she breezily mentions that she’s writing a book, and when she asks the cabbie to take a sudden turn they hit an old lady.

Taking refuge in first a deli and then a laundromat – where Mimi-Rose befriends a random stranger by putting a poem into her dryer, as one does – the pair’s argument escalates. Mimi-Rose challenges Hannah:

Are you mad because you gave up on art or because you gave up on Adam? Or is it both?

Of course, it’s both.

Hannah calls out Mimi-Rose’s artistic endeavours as bullshit. It’s at this moment when Mimi-Rose opens up, confessing that she doesn’t really know why she does what she does. In return, Hannah tells her that she realised she didn’t have the talent to be a writer – something she was unlikely to ever admit to her friends – and the pair come to an understanding as they realise that they are more kindred spirits than they would like to admit. For all Hannah’s puffed-up self-importance, it’s heart-breaking when she quietly admits to Mimi-Rose that “I just wasn’t talented enough and that is why I left Iowa.” It closes the door firmly on a major chapter in her life.

At the party, Hannah makes a point of telling Adam that she likes his new girlfriend and retreats before she can make things bad again, going instead for a falafel sandwich.

Hannah is still Hannah, but by the end of this episode she has become something that she hasn’t been for a very long time: likeable. She’s finally putting Adam before herself and accepting the fact that giving up her dream of becoming a published writer means accepting a life more ordinary, one which involves other people not automatically knowing her name.

Jessa the schemer

There’s no Shoshanna or Ray this week – I like to think she was busy helping him make up his campaign posters – and Marnie and Desi show up only briefly at the exhibition. However, Jessa (finally) gets something meaningful to do, and it’s not something that casts her in a good light as she admits that she only set Adam up with Mimi-Rose because she wants to get her claws into Ace.

Jessa has always been insensitive, had little regard for conventional rules and generally been difficult to like as a result. But this revelation of just how selfish and callous she can be is a new low for the character.

That aside, this was a self-contained, off-beat and surprisingly intimate episode that I enjoyed a lot. The rapprochement between Hannah and Mimi-Rose was a pleasant surprise, and the fleshing out of the latter’s character makes it easier to appreciate that what attracts Adam to her is not so different to what he saw in Hannah. I’m intrigued to see what direction we’re heading in over the final three episodes.

Fun stuff, references & quotables

  • Hannah masturbates before dates to relieve sexual tension. Of course she does.
  • Ace: “Shall we into the night?”
  • Mimi-Rose’s book is a “psychosexual thriller told from the perspective of a dead woman who solves her own murder using hologram technology that she invented.” Sounds like a best-seller to me.
  • This week’s closing credits song is I Get Along Without You Very Well by Chet Baker.

Rating: 8/10

Girls season 4 reviews

4.1 Iowa

4.2 Triggering

4.3 Female Author

4.4 Cubbies

4.5 Sit-In

4.6 Close Up

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