Recap: Girls, Season 4, Episode 3

Girls S4 E3

With episodes as purposefully uncomfortable as this one, it’s difficult to see yourself (or, indeed, anyone you know) in these girls. When their behaviour is so illogical, misguided or outrageous, it’s easy to dismiss it as removed from your own experience. Then, slowly, painfully, you remember every horrible life choice you made and the sticky, messy consequences. ‘Girls’ can be extremely depressing. It’s difficult to enjoy it, or even to watch to the end at times. But that doesn’t mean it’s inaccurate.

The episode opens with Hannah, who is using her ‘free time’ (aka time spent avoiding writing, and thereby confronting the possibility of failure) to Skype Jessa, whose contribution to the conversation involves posing with a leg in the air and asking if Hannah has met anyone she could use to fulfil her Mormon fantasy. Instead of attempting to change the topic, Hannah responds that, actually, they’re Mennonites, not Mormons.

Elijah swans around in the background and names about 5 people we’ve never heard of and reminds Hannah that they’re going to a ‘poetry party’ that evening, implying that he at least has mastered the Iowan social scene.

Hannah drops the ‘A’ word (Adam, not apples), and Jessa casually tells her she sees him at AA meetings everyday but that he doesn’t talk about Hannah. To which Hannah attempts to act all nonchalant and is rewarded with a close-up of Jessa’s bare arse.

Back in NYC, Ray is attempting to give Marnie the cold, hard reality check she’s needed since Desi first came on the scene. “I’m not the mistress”, she insists, and tells him Desi can’t break up with Clementine in case she gets a rash, to which Ray replies ‘he has a bungalow on Easy street where he can have his cake and eat it too. He is a Casanova who secretly counts cards while he has 4 Queens up his sleeve.’ Well, quite.

Marnie, in a last-ditch attempt to avoid responsibility for the mess she’s in, suggests that the situation might be some kind of cosmic punishment for sleeping with Ray behind Shosh’s back. Ray gives an as-romantic-as-Ray-can-get speech about how Desi is clearly an idiot for not choosing Marnie outright, causing Marnie to launch herself at him, cosmic punishment be damned. Well done Marnie – making good choices since never.

Shosh is having a job interview at Anne Taylor Loft in her best smart-yet-cutesy outfit and chatting with the interviewer like she actually belongs there, leading to her being offered a job as junior accessories buyer. Woo! But just as we’re about to let off a party popper, Shosh feels the need to tell the interviewer that this was just a ‘trial interview’ for a job she’s really passionate about and the temperature in the room drops a few million degrees. Was this a wise decision? Knowing ‘Girls’ – and the job market – probs not.

Marnie and Desi are sitting listening to a recording of themselves singing and Desi is stroking Marnie’s back and I just threw up in my mouth.


Clearly M&D are at a record company and it’s great because everyone just LOVES them and their ‘music’. The atmosphere turns a bit sour when they have to fend off the implication that they’re boyfriend and girlfriend, due to all the back stroking. Desi mentions Clementine and the A&R scouts look utterly baffled (join the club, A&R scouts). Marnie then asks for a cigarette, causing mass awkwardness.

Finally, we get to hang out with Adam! He and Jessa are at the aforementioned AA meeting and at last the whole Hannah-Adam sitch is clarified(ish) – they have a ‘speak once a month’ role because of ‘boundaries’. Yep, totally clear on that one. Jessa admits she has an AA stalker – aka a guy she made out with and then told to replace ‘God’ in his AA mantra with ‘Jessa’, making her ‘the only thing standing between him and a crack pipe.’ Probably not ok.

Post-cigarette-gate, Marnie and Desi are having a fight and Marnie has the balls to admit the whole love triangle situation isn’t exactly peachy for her. Desi then confirms his status as a complete tool by stating that monogomy is a ‘very culturally specific statement’. Miraculously, though, Marnie doesn’t back down. Huzzah for Marnie! Ditch this arsehole and all is forgiven. Let’s hope this version of her hangs around for a few episodes.

Adam and Jessa are walking down the street together, looking cozy (uhoh) and talking about Jessa’s upcoming 4-month-sober birthday and a girl that Adam may or may not be seeing (anyone else confused?). Jessa then squats and pees in the middle of the street because it’s Jessa, leading to her getting arrested. When she moans that the handcuffs are hurting her, Adam steps in to protect her and gets himself arrested too. Excellent.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, Hannah and Elijah are at the aforementioned ‘poet party’ and Elijah is in his element taking pictures of bong-smoking poets. Instead of enjoying herself, Hannah attempts to fake illness (‘I think I have mono’ – ‘For the fifth time?’) and finally admits that she may not want to be a writer after all and she just wants to go home. Elijah points out that this is becoming a pattern (apparently she did the same thing at college) and questions why she is even here in the first place. ‘Because I’m a writer!’, she cries. Hannah’s attempt at being a writer in Iowa has, thus far, consisted of one bad seminar, some self-righteous ranting and a whole lot of Easy-Bake brownies.

Elijah’s pep talk seems to have a positive effect and she heads off to mingle with her classmates. There’s a brief moment of peer-to-peer bonding when she launches into a (justified) feminist rant, but it all goes tits-up when she decides to go round the room bad-mouthing each person (’thinks he’s Updike’; ’tragically hip gaysian’; ‘bad mood millie’), before drunkenly flipping backwards off the sofa, leaving her seminar to deem her their ‘very own Lindsay Lohan’. Leaving the party a limp, miserable mess, she hitches a lift from a passing Mennonite and trots back home on his cart.

Ray comes to release Adam and Jessa from jail and has a go at them for being irresponsible because, to be fair, he just forked out $3000 in the middle of the night for their bail. Adam has also had enough and lays down the boundaries in one of the most mature moments of the episode (‘You’re sober and you’re still doing this shit. Who are you trying to provoke?’). Jessa finally lets her guard down and admits that she needs a friend. Adam’s refusal to tolerate her toxic and destructive behaviour might be the kindest thing anyone’s done for Jessa in a while. Let’s hope it lasts.


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