Did you miss the latest episode of Girls on HBO? Read our episode recap of Girls “It’s a Shame About Ray” . The show is always at its best when its working as a true ensemble rather than just a singular character study. Hannah can be a lot to handle, and over exposure of her personality can cause some uneasiness in the storytelling (as displayed last week). While Hannah still has plenty of issues to be dealt with over the course this season, it’s nice to take a step back from them for one week to get a better picture of what’s going with Jessa, Marnie, and Shoshanna.
Hannah has plenty of involvement in this episode. She does, after all, finalize her farewell with Elijah and hosts the dinner party that takes up much of the half hour. But while she has plenty of quality moments, there’s virtually no story arc for her this week, leaving plenty of time for the other girls to get more fleshed out.
Marnie gets invited to the dinner party as a gesture, and considering their recent falling out, Hannah did not expect her to show up. When Marnie realizes Charlie and Audrey are there, she desperately wants to leave but ends up staying at the request of Hannah (while gesturing with a huge knife in her hand).
She seems to be handling herself pretty well during the party. She manages to sneak in a few quips at Audrey’s expense but nothing too scathing, and her and Charlie rarely speak to one another. But at dinner Audrey breaks the ice, calling Marnie out for being an unstable stalker after finding out about her sleeping in Charlie’s bed that one night, which upsets her enough to escape to the roof, where Charlie follows right behind.
On the roof, Marnie explains to Charlie what the we’ve known throughout the season — that she has no idea what she wants and sometimes wishes that someone could just tell her how to get through her rough patch. The two obviously have a shared history and love for one another, so it’s understandable when Charlie wants to console Marnie in a vulnerable moment with a kiss (a subsequent boob grab), but she immediately shuts him down because of her involvement with Booth Jonathan, and Charlie doesn’t take the news too kindly. He goes back downstairs to find that Audrey left the party, and in his frustration calls Marnie a cunt. And then something amazing happened. Hannah actually stood up for her friend.
The amount of times that these girls have talked shit on one another behind their backs have become too many to count, but I can never remember any of them blatantly sticking up for someone, especially not from Hannah, who sides with Marnie and all the difficult stuff she’s had to go through this year (losing her job, parents’ divorce, moving out of Hannah’s to name a few). Hannah is still mad at Marnie for double crossing her (as she called it), but in one little moment we get an actual redeeming quality out of Hannah that could help steer her back on the more likable track.
Last season, I was unapologetic in my love for Jessa as my favorite of the girls. I thought her free spirit and carefree attitude came with a sense of self awareness that the others rarely possessed. Sure, Jessa was terrible a lot of times, but she was always aware of what she was getting herself into and never apologized or pretended otherwise. But here, in the epic meltdown between her and Thomas John’s marriage, there’s hard to come up with any sort of positive thing to say about Jessa’s actions.
Thomas John is not entirely faultless here of course. He is oftentimes a pretentious douche, and clearly his union with the younger, more attractive Jessa wasn’t done out of love. He also makes excuses for Jessa’s unemployment while out to dinner with his parents, which ticked her off. She responds by acting about as rudely as she possibly could at dinner: discussing her past addiction to heroin and denigrating his parent’s religious faith all while unabashedly flirting with his dad. The point she was trying to make was that she is who she is, and nothing (and especially no one) can change that. She’s going to look 50 when she’s 30 and she’s going to be fat because she’ll be full of experiences. She’s just as or even more selfish than Hannah has been at her worst, but for the first time, Jessa is unable to step back from herself and see the whole picture.
“You’re a ridiculous person,” she tells Thomas John, which might not be entirely untrue, but she fails to see how ridiculous her life has become, that maybe her drifter and story-motivated mentality has an expiration date. After culminating the meltdown in the smashing of TJ’s humanitarian award (so not cool), she retreats back to Hannah’s house and sits with her in the bathtub, crying (another great bathroom scene). After such a tragic blowup of a marriage we all knew was doomed from the start, maybe Jessa finally is starting to realize that she can’t keep up like this.
Shosh is always the most criminally underdeveloped of the girls, which is a shame because Zosia Mamet is so god damn good with what little she has to work with. Here, she’s given perhaps her meatiest storyline to date, where she gradually realizes that her new boyfriend Ray is technically homeless and shacking up with her.
Generally a pushover, Shosh shows some stones when she stands up for herself upon this realization, saying that it’s not OK for Ray to take advantage of her like that. Although she still does have her moments of immaturity and naivety, Shosh is slowly but surely growing into a strong and independent woman, and she realizes that maybe her relationship with Ray has been a driving factor in that.
In the subway station after the party, Shosh confronts Ray about why he doesn’t have his own place, and even more importantly, why he doesn’t seem to have any interests or passions, which makes Ray finally break, telling her that he’s a loser and he was simply counting down the days until she found out. He asks her, “What makes me worth dating?” which Shosh responds with, “I think I’m falling in love with you.” Ray deflects it at first, saying it’s a crazy thing to say this early, but then caves by reciprocating the love. It was a really touching scene played very well by both the actors, but I just wish it was a little more well-earned with better Shosh-Ray development along the way.
– Shout out to the Girls guys, who are (understandably) sent to the background a lot, but Charlie, Ray, Thomas John, and Elijah are all spectacular when given screen time. As of course is Adam, who I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of this season.
– Word of the day: Butt-plug. Elijah uses his purchase of the tool (along with his hilarious emphasis of the word) as an excuse to get out of paying Hannah rent, and it comes up again at the dinner party, where Hannah has to describe its use to Shosh. On a related note, Marnie hates the word ‘butthole.’
– Hannah on cooking: “Noodles are so hard to make!”