After a fantastic first season, Girls is back. All the polarizing stuff about the show buzzed up from last spring is on the back burner now. By now, you either know that it’s not for you and the whole ‘hate watching’ phenomenon has worn off, or you’re like me and you stuck around because, regardless how mad some people may get on the internet, you’ve realized this is a damn fine show about complex characters that is also sharp and hilarious.
Of the shows I’ve recapped, covering Girls in Season 1 was by far the most fun, so I asked back on the beat for this season, hoping that Hannah and company would pick right back up with the fun, twisted, heartbreaking stories they explored last year. And one episode in, it’s safe to say they have yet to disappoint.
Last we left Hannah, she was stranded in Coney Island left with nothing but a piece of cake, and after a season’s worth of progress working towards being a better person, she was back where she started. Season 2 picks up a few weeks after those events and it appears as though Hannah’s life hasn’t gone into a complete spiral. She’s living with Elijah and the two appear to be having a ball together. She’s even dating someone new (DONALD GLOVER, although I didn’t catch his character’s name), and she’s actually trying to put boundaries up, wanting to be responsible and logical with her relationships since her previous dating policy was basically liking any guy who liked her back.
But of course, this is Hannah we are talking about, which means even though life is mostly good, she has to complicate things by spending most of her free time tending to Adam (who’s injured after getting hit by a car, remember). Even though she lays down specific ground rules that those two aren’t together anymore, Adam isn’t quite buying it. Neither are Elijah or Marnie, who have to hear Hannah do nothing but talk about him. It’s obviously difficult for Hannah to make a clean break, and while she admits to feeling responsible for Adam’s condition, the issues between these two run so much deeper than that. Adam, not one for holding any of his feelings back, calls Hannah on her actions and professes how lost he is without her. (in the ever escalating statement, “You’re the best thing in my life. I don’t know how to behave without you. I’d die if you’re not around.”) Hannah stands her ground, saying she used to be selfless and worried about what other people wanted but now this is about her time to figure out what is best for her. All of this while she’s caring for her ex-boyfriend who she promises to never ever ever ever get back together with. Just another example of Hannah saying one thing and doing the exact opposite.
Although Girls is still a show primarily interested in Hannah’s problems, it got increasing better last season at becoming a true ensamble, and tonight’s episode continued with that as we delved deeper into Marnie’s issues than we ever have before. Without Charlie as her boyfriend, without Hannah as her roommate, and now without a job, Marnie’s brief moment of carefree-ness we saw in last season’s finale has all but worn off as she struggles more and more with her identity. I feared last year that Marnie was tipping towards the bitchy side because her character was underwritten, but as more layers are pulled back, we understand more about her. A brief exchange with her less-than-loving mother was a nice peek into her upbringing, and a scene where she tries to see if her and Hannah are ‘good’ after the moving out fiasco was another reminder that being best friends with Hannah Horvath isn’t the easiest thing to do (since when she’s not working or tending to Adam, she needs to make time for her writing and not her friend who needs her now more than ever). Her and Charlie seem to be on better terms, but it still brings her to a sad place seeing him (also interesting to see that he and Audrey are starting to resemble he and Marnie at the beginning of last season).
All of Marnie’s feels come to a head in a vulnerable drunken moment on the couch with Elijah, who’s been dealing with some issues himself with his boyfriend, when they start doing it. After Marnie resists Elijah’s advances at first, she gives in, but then when Elijah ‘needs a minute,’ and he (rather hilariously) calls Marine out for rolling her eyes at him. The awkward moment blows over and Marnie tries to make Elijah feel better by saying, “You don’t have to try and be anything that you’re not,” which Elijah burns back, “Neither do you.” The only question is, who is Marnie trying to be? And who is she actually? She doesn’t even know, so how are we supposed to? All she knows is that she needs Charlie right now, even if it’s just to sleep next to. Charlie obliges, because of course he does. He’s Charlie.
Shosh is still recovering from the fact that Ray hurt her feelings after he took her virginity (she doesn’t exactly miss her hymen, but it definitely feels like something is missing). We never find out what exactly Ray did to break her heart, but we can kind of piece it together that he got sick of her perpetual way of acting much younger than she is (too many emojis), but when he’s with her, he gets her. Kind of cheesy, but I can live it. And then they make up and do it again. A lot of doing it in this episode.
The episode ends with Hannah going back to Donald Glover’s apartment (I am too lazy to look up his character’s name and I would really rather prefer to think of him as the real Donald Glover), overcompensating her visit with Adam by being overly agressive with Donald, getting naked the second she walks through the door (more doing it). Will she start to take things too fast with Donald to prove Adam wrong? Probably. Because it’s Hannah, and she will never not screw things up.
But that’s why we love her. And that’s why we love Girls. Because it’s never afraid to show it’s characters at their most vulnerable, and it’s honesty and charm are a welcome return to my TV screen.
– Great Elijah work in the serious parts of the episode, but Andrew Rannells also gets some of the best lines: While cuddling with Hannah, “I’m sorry I have a boner. It’s not for you.” On doing a French theme party, “I was watching Midnight and Paris and I was like ‘I can do that.'”
– Adam is creepily poetic: “I came. You came hard. We all laughed.” Also, “When you love someone you don’t have to be nice to them all the time.”
– Shosh may be deflowered but she is not devalued. I think she’s been reading The Ladies again.
– Marnie can’t help herself from making a crack at Hannah and her pizza-eating breakup habits while out to lunch with her mom.
– Marnie hates BJs. OF COURSE SHE DOES.
– Jessa’s only in the episode for a brief scene where her and Thomas John return from their honeymoon and she realizes she doesn’t even know where he lives. There’s sure to be Jessa drama to come this season, but don’t expect to see too much of it, as Jemima Kirk was pregnant during the filming of Season 2. So lots of waist up shots and her holding a giant bag over her belly, for sure.
– Thanks for sticking around. I’m Nick, your Season 2 Girls tour guide. Let’s talk about it.
EDIT: So as I was watching/writing, Lena Dunham won Best Actress in a TV Comedy at the Golden Globes. Lena thanked Tina Fey for helping her get through middle school. Tina was none too pleased. EDITEDIT: Girls won Best TV Comedy too! I taped the Golden Globes. Don’t judge me. Well deserved, of course.