Recap: Episode 10, Season 1 finale.
Weddings aren’t traditionally thought of as endings, but, in a sense, they can be—the end of singlehood, the end of childhood, the end of thinking as yourself as solo. In that context, the final episode of the first season of GIRLS is an appropriate ending, with one of the girls taking the plunge and the others having to see their own lives through the prism of her “adult” decision. In honour of (SPOILER ALERT) Jessa’s nuptials, we recap the season finale broken down by the classic wedding rhyme “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue.”
SOMETHING OLD: Marnie
Marnie isn’t old, although she feels like she is, or at least much more mature than her friends. She has moved out of the apartment and into Shoshanna’s bachelorette paradise, with vague plans to find a new place. Shosh is not into that idea—with Jessa MIA, she’d like Marnie to stay permanently. Meanwhile she has a mystery party to attend, so she pulls out her best “J.Lo at the Grammy’s” look and hits the party with her new roomie Shosh.
On arrival, Marnie is immediately confronted with two things that qualify as “something old”—her ex-BFF Hannah and ex-BF Charlie. The dust-up with Hannah has bled some of Marnie’s poison out and while she isn’t friendly with either of them at first, she seems ready to move on. She’s as surprised as the rest of the guests at the sudden turn from cocktail party to wedding, but is too entertained by the chubby, awkward but funny M.C. of the festivities to spend any time on being mad that Jessa is getting married first, that Hannah is there with a boyfriend while she is solo, or that Jessa is marrying Thomas John, the venture capitalist that she was interested in first.
Marnie’s great mood (fueled by champagne) makes the inevitable, awkward conversation with Charlie run fairly smoothly. She manages to ask about and compliment his new blogger girlfriend without a hint of the snotty bitchiness she has been known for. When he suggests a bathroom quickie, she plays along and then laughs it off, not entertaining going back (despite the fact he is clearly not joking.) This is the correct way to manage something old, Marnie. Maybe there is hope for you yet.
The split from Hannah has done her worlds of good. Even more amazing than her party navigation is how clearly comfortable she is in her own skin. When she was with Hannah (and Charlie to a lesser degree) she felt the need to seem cool, ironic and detached. Now that she is free of both of them she can be her true, corny, non-ironic self. While the cheesy M.C. is clearly not her physical type, as he himself points out, it doesn’t stop her from going in for the make-out over left over wedding cake, simply because she finds him funny. It may be character growth, or simply drunkenness, but her ability to overlook appearances and just have a good time spells good things for Marnie in season two. Out with the old indeed.
SOMETHING NEW: Shoshanna
Shosh is perturbed. Her cousin (and erstwhile spirit guide) Jessa has been missing for a “full 24/7” and more than worried, concerned or frustrated, Shosh is feeling left out. When she gets a text from the prodigal cousin demanding she show up at a mystery party or Jessa would “gut her like a fish” she dons her best white party frock and arrives.
Shoshanna’s world has expanded dramatically over the course of the season through her relationships with the girls and mainly the one with Jessa. She looks to her glamorous, bohemian cousin for guidance, and at the end of the day truly feels like they are friends. So when the mystery party suddenly morphs into a surprise wedding— her Jessa’s surprise wedding—she is shocked and furious. Her closest friend kept this from her didn’t give her even a clue, and poor by-the-book Shosh, who even wears Spanx under a sequin skirt to a warehouse party is wearing white…to a WEDDING.
The betrayal has her spitting mad, so when Ray ambles up to chat her up (obviously enchanted by her non-sexual massage skills) and asks what’s wrong her answer is simple: “Everybody’s a dumb whore” She has never had friends like these before, especially someone like Jessa and the very things that make her so awed by them are what is hurting her now. None of Jessa’s other friends are that surprised – they’ve seen her do things like this for years – but Shosh can’t fathom keeping something like this from people she considers so close to her.
So it is the ideal time for Ray to declare his fascination with her and introduce her to something new – sex. He wants to take her home, and her anger at Jessa has closed down any part of her brain that would previously overthink this. She has been trying to ditch the v-card for the entire season and now, with this odd, snarky Jewish barista, it is time.
Shosh is finally a non-virgin and has an all-new roommate and maybe even an all-new boyfriend… She may not forgive Jessa for the surprise wedding, but she should thank her for helping usher in her new life.
SOMETHING BORROWED: Jessa
After two consecutive weeks of Jessa getting “grow the F up lectures from two separate adults, it was clear something had to give. While we wouldn’t have guessed that she would take the plunge (with the MASH-UP ARTIST no less), it makes perfect sense with the kind of person she is. She has spent the whole season seeking meaning and roots, something to finally make her grow up. Thomas John, whose main attraction seems to be persistence and ignorance—or as she puts it in their vows “your desire to learn and everything you don’t know about”- is stable, a grown up, and she truly wants him to be the someone that means more that her former boss Kathryn told her about.
Unfortunately, like most rash quick fixes to big life problems, this may not be the perfect fit. She looks at him like one would an adorable alien being—slightly baffled by his earnestness, his terrible dance moves and desperate uncoolness. She tells Hannah that she’s never been happier, but one wonders if that is because she is in love or merely feeling the deep-seated relief of not having to make any more decisions.
To us it feels as if Jessa’s new life is her own “something borrowed” on her wedding day. She is merely trying on a new character, trying to be someone who doesn’t just wander the world stirring up mischief as entertainment. Her lack of family roots makes this decision not less ill advised but more understandable. She wants to have a home and Thomas John desperately wants to give her one. The question is how long she’ll be able to put up with the borrowed life.
SOMETHING BLUE: Hannah
Hannah’s life is changing fast. Her roommate and best friend since college, Marnie, has left her. Her newly minted boyfriend Adam is becoming more committed by the minute, even offering to move in with her. She has a job – albeit one at a coffee shop with the grouchy, dictatorial Ray—and she manages to make it to the mystery party in a (nearly) matching outfit. Everything is coming up Hannah.
Having a date to a wedding (even when you don’t know it will be a wedding) is a power position for any single girl. Adam is attentive, deeply moved by the ceremony (who would’ve thunk it?) and happy to take her for a whirl on the dance floor where he is “even fucking better at slow-dancing than he is at fast-dancing.” What could be wrong? According to her reaction to every mention he makes to their relationship getting serious, Hannah is having some major buyer’s remorse.
A run in with her ex-boyfriend and newly-out gay Elijah seems to come with a solution that will help her put the brakes on her relationship with Adam. Elijah is dating an older guy named George who can’t move in with him until his rabidly homophobic son moves out for college. Elijah, who it turns out did give Hannah HPV, is living in a hellish apartment with a shared bathroom and is desperate for an escape hatch. Despite apparently likening her to Cameron Manheim (unfair!) Hannah forgives him and suggests he move into Marnie’s newly vacant room.
When she tells Adam the news, he is far less thrilled than she is. He storms out of the wedding, and stands across the street literally stomping and kicking in fury. When she comes to try and talk him down he lets her have it, railing against her inconstant, fickle behavior.
“Is this the game? You chase me like I’m The fucking Beatles for six months and then I finally get comfortable and you shrug?”
Hannah can’t argue with this but is still selfish enough to try. While their Jerry Springer-inspired street argument continues, Adam veers into the road and gets clipped by a passing car. Poor, committed, loving and loyal Adam, whose arc over the season has been the most revelatory of any character, has not only had his heart stomped by a girl he reluctantly let in, he’s been literally run over. As he is loaded into the ambulance he refuses to let Hannah join him, banishing her perhaps forever.
The trouble with Hannah is that she always thinks she is the one who is hard done by, that her “extra 13 pounds” entitles her to treat everyone like their secondary to her needs. Even when she climbs aboard the subway, drunk, dressed up and in shambles, it is clear she’ll never make it to the emergency room. Instead she falls asleep and rides to the end of the line (Coney Island?) where she stumbles to the beach as a new day breaks.
She is blue, and deservedly so. She told Marnie that she was making herself her priority over friendship, and obviously the same thing goes for her relationship. Now it is time to choose whether she can make the kind of decision Jessa has tried to and grow up, meaning take other people’s needs into account, or if she needs more time to stew in her own selfishness. Whatever she chooses it seems she’ll be going it alone, and perhaps, given the messes she has made of her relationships, that is just how it should be.
The lines we liked best:
1. Hannah: “Are you OK?”
Adam: “I’m very moved.”
Hannah: “You are?”
Adam: “People finding each other, taking shelter. I’m very moved.”
Hannah: “But they just met like two weeks ago.”
Adam “Time is a rubber band.”
2. Jessa (to Hannah): “I love you. You are so fucking gross lying there on the bathroom floor.”
3. Ray: “I have hardly stopped thinking about you since the night we met. You are the strangest person. You’re just so raw and open. You vibrate on a very strange frequency. “
Shoshanna; “Are you punking me?”
Ray: “It’s very confusing for me too. I want to go home with you. Tonight.”
Shoshanna: “Fine. Just stay out of my emotional way”
GIRLS recap, Episode 9: “YOU are the wound.”
GIRLS recap, Episode 8: “I’ve never been this miserable in my life.”
GIRLS recap, Episode 7: “I can just tell when someone thinks that it’s spelled with a ‘c’.”
GIRLS recap, Episode 6: ”I have been dating someone who treats my heart like it’s monkey meat.”
GIRLS recap, Episode 5: “I’ve got a boyfriend. You know what? Adults try things. That’s what I’ve learned.”
GIRLS recap, Episode 4: ““I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I’m the best person in the world.”
GIRLS recap, Episode 3: “How often do you think a guy is looking at you with love eyes, then realize he’s special ed/traveling with a caretaker.”
GIRLS recap, Episode 2: “Obvi! We’re the ladies!”
GIRLS recap, Episode 1: “It doesn’t taste like Twix!”