Recap: Girls, Season 4, Episode 5

Photo: HBO

Photo: HBO

After the little spark of hope for Hannah’s redemption at the end of last week’s episode (that is, before the door to her apartment was opened by Adam’s new girlfriend), I had high hopes that she would show a little dignity in this episode and that we would get to see how her experience in Iowa has helped her to grow.

I was disappointed.

Instead, we see Hannah confronted by a parade of friends who attempt to coax her out of her cocoon of self-pity.

The episode opens moments after the previous one ended. Mimi Rose Howard (‘That’s just a woman’s name and a man’s name with a flower stuck in the middle of it!’) senses the tension and scarpers to get a ‘cold press juice’. Hannah looks like she’s about to hyperventilate and Adam is on the defensive, pulling the whole ‘it’s not about you’ card which is highly uncomfortable because, on the most basic level (aka Hannah scarpering to Iowa for two years), it clearly is about her. On the other hand, it’s also about Adam attempting to move on, something which Hannah refuses to understand. Instead, she stomps into ‘her’ room to have a rest and discovers that Adam and Mimi Rose have torn down a wall to build an ensuite, something that Hannah and Adam wanted to do together. Brutal.

Mimi Rose is back and opens the door to yet another misguided, self-involved sociopath (aka Shosh) who she mistakenly addresses as Marnie (ouch).

Shosh indulges Hannah in her stalker tendencies and googles Mimi Rose. This backfires when it transpires that MRH is basically a born-again Taylor Swift and has even given a Moth Radio Hour talk on true love which is available to watch online. Shosh makes a valiant effort to cheer Hannah up, suggesting she comes back to hers for tea and a bath. Hannah turns this excellent suggestion down and Shosh leaves, to be replaced by Jessa.

Jessa comes in with her particular brand of tough love (‘why aren’t you in Idaho?’) before revealing she knew about Mimi Rose all along and insisting she told Hannah about her (which, as Hannah knows, she ‘distinctly didn’t’). To add insult to injury, she reveals that she was the one who introduced them in the first place. They then slap each other, which is highly productive. Jessa leaves. Marnie is nowhere to be seen.

Hannah buries herself under the cover, leaving an angry voicemail for Marnie about how their old flat is ‘seething with intruders’ and that ‘Probably no one in American has had to piss worse than me’. She then pees in the trash can.

She eventually gets brave enough to come out into the lounge and finds Adam’s sister Caroline getting her feet ‘creamed’ by Laird. Caroline delivers the ultimate jellyfish comment, claiming that Hannah was perfect for Adam because Adam was at his best when nurturing the ‘profoundly damaged’. Somewhat worryingly, Hannah doesn’t dispute this. The couple then envelope Hannah in a group hug that quickly becomes an extremely awkward make-out session with Hannah on the periphery.

Next to arrive, in a flurry of jazz and bacon, is Ray. At first, he seems to be supportive, giving her a hug and ranting about the ‘ethically bankrupt’ logic of human beings. However, it quickly transpires that Ray is referring to the noise pollution problem in his area, rather than to Adam’s behaviour. As soon as Hannah realises that the spotlight has shifted, she uses the only tools at her disposal to get his attention – burning herself on the bacon pan and mentioning Marnie. It sort-of works. After a (wonderful) throwaway comment in which Ray refers to Desi as ‘Mumford or Son’, he stops talking about his own problems and tells Hannah ‘you do not deserve this’. Whether or not that’s true, it is the kindest thing she’s heard since moving back to New York.

Uhoh. Hannah is watching Mimi Rose’s speech. It’s becoming clear that MRH is sweet, charming, good in a group situation and knows the correct way to use ‘heretofore’. She is the anti-Hannah.

Marnie eventually turns up and declares that she’s late because she’s been ‘woodchopping’ with Desi (I absolutely do not want to know what that is). Hannah’s grand plan to ‘fake shower’ whilst actually watching the rest of MRH’s speech is foiled by Marnie, who comes into the bathroom to dish out some advice. Shockingly, it’s actually pretty spot on. If Hannah doesn’t give Adam the space to see where his relationship with Mimi Rose goes, he’ll hate her forever and she’ll hate herself too. Clearly Marnie, like most of us, is only remotely sensible when it comes to other people’s relationships. As if by magic, Hannah finally stops sulking long enough to realise that Marnie may actually have a point. Marnie may be a tool sometimes, but she sure has those Hannah whispering skills down pat.

Adam arrives home just as Hannah is leaving with an oven mitt strapped to her hand to protect her burn. Adam (rightly) refuses to let her leave until he’s amended Ray’s crap medical skills. As he disinfects her wound (metaphor alert), the two FINALLY talk honestly about what’s happened between them. By avoiding any kind of confrontation over Hannah leaving, they ended up with majorly crossed wires. Hannah presumed they were fine and their relationship would float along in ‘soulmate’ land to be picked up on her return. Adam on the other hand felt he was being abandoned and so chose to move on – sadly, without telling Hannah about it.

Then we had this harsh, but wonderfully written exchange:

‘What we had was real and it was beautiful, intense and terrifying and there was a time I couldn’t imagine myself with anyone else. Ever.’
‘But you don’t feel that way anymore.’
‘No.’

Adam says that he’ll move out, which means Hannah is getting her apartment back. But the conversation seemed pretty final. It’s time for everyone to move on.

The shot of her walking down the pale green endless corridor of the storage unit, suitcase in hand, is strikingly bleak – she’s never looked so lonely. Rock bottom, indeed.

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