We are approaching the end—only one episode away from the last of the season—and appropriately this week was all about endings for the girls. The tension between Marnie and Hannah that has been building since the diary debacle finally combusts, and the question seems to be whether they have any common ground left. Meanwhile Jessa faces a ghost of mishaps past, and Shoshanna presses onwards seeking the end of her virginity. Below, our recaps by character.
Marnie has pulled out of her depression but is still a simmering pot of post-breakup rage. Her life isn’t the way she pictured yet, and Hannah’s absorption in her relationship leaves their dynamic strained. The fact that she is supporting Hannah financially makes it even easier for her to channel her anger in that direction. Marnie lets her frustration fester, until finally releasing it, right when Hannah’s self esteem is lowest. She has shown her bitchy side often but she outdoes herself during this fight, snarking about Hannah’s weight, and complaining about everything she does wrong from how she “pushes everyone” to how she always eats Marnie’s yoghurt Hannah notes that perhaps part of Marnie’s problem is that she wishes Hannah were more successful like Tally, giving Marnie something to brag about. She thinks Marnie’s life’s ambition is to have “a boyfriend with a luxury rental” and she isn’t that far off. Marnie doesn’t have direction herself, and thinks “being around people who know what they want” will lead to her knowing what she wants. She thinks she loves Hannah better than anyone but their priorities have grown so increasingly different that it is no surprise that they find themselves at an impasse. There wasn’t much to love about Marnie during this fight, and if we’re honest there hasn’t been much to love about her all season. The fight ends with the classic “GREAT!” – “FINE!” – “ALRIGHT THEN!” exchange, and Marnie gets what she thinks she wants, freedom from Hannah. The trouble is we aren’t sure if there is anyone else who will put up with her. Without a “weirdo” for a best friend Marnie may become the worst version of her uptight, priggish, social-climbing self.
Hannah has a nemesis: Tally Schifrin. Tally has done just about the worst thing a nemesis can—she beat Hannah to the punch by writing a book first, and she was lucky enough to have her boyfriend commit suicide giving her something to write about (
Ed's Note: These are Hannah’s thoughts, not ours!
). Not only that, the book is a success, with a launch party that Shoshanna deems “so SATC”. Tally and Hannah are fairly open with their mutual hate, Tally sniping about how unnatural writing seems to be for Hannah and inquiring whether she has a literary agent, and Hannah responding smugly that she doesn’t have an agent but she does have a boyfriend (who isn’t dead—ouch). We've spent the season watching Hannah working harder on getting a boyfriend than finishing her book, and the results are in. She has Adam but the fact that Tally has published before her puts her priorities in a new perspective. Their competitive grudge, and a run in with her favorite professor and mentor seems to jump start her writing ambitions, and she agrees to read at a literary gathering her former prof is hosting. She also needs money so she can start paying rent to Marnie, so has convinced Ray to give her a job at the coffee shop he manages. When she arrives for her first shift he castigates her outfit choice, scoffing at her white dress (for a coffee shop job? He has a point Hannah) and sends her home for a cute top and jeans with a “slim leg”. His dominance in their dynamic established, he is in position to cut Hannah down about her choice of story for the reading, challenging her to write about real things like “cultural criticism, years of neglected abuse, acid rain, the plight of the giant panda bear, racial profiling, urban sprawl, divorce, and the most fucking real thing of all, death.” Her confidence in scraps, Hannah writes a story about death on the train ride to the reading. Hannah’s mistake is that “real” only works if it is real to the person writing it. She hasn’t experienced any of the things Ray lists, and is too young and selfish to have any fears about mortality. Her story falls flat. Hannah’s biggest hurdle to success is her own self-doubt, and the fact that one snarky barista’s opinion sent her into such a tailspin shows why she isn’t yet successful. When she arrives home, the only person who has always unwaveringly believed in her has given up on her too. Marnie bought terrible Tally’s book and has the audacity to say that Tally is a good writer and the book made her cry (we are on Team Hannah all the way with this—friends do not root for their friends’ nemesis). They both say things they’ll regret later, but the final straw comes when Hannah tells Marnie she doesn’t care about being a good friend right now because she is more worried about what is going on in her own life. Hannah is self-centered and a navel gazer, but it may be the way she needs to be to meet her goals.
Jessa lost her job and needs change, and what better place to start than her (Shoshanna’s) apartment. During her bohemian rearranging she has a surprise visitor – Kathryn, her former boss and the wife of her would-be cheating partner Jeff. She says she has come because she and her girls need Jessa back, but it is clear that she is actually much more conflicted, having frankly horrifying dreams of killing and eating Jessa (topical!) and has come for closure, for both of them. Kathryn is hurt by her husband’s betrayal and confused about how to move forward, but she is an adult, so can see deeper into what happened. She says she wants to help Jessa and her advice is completely on the nose. Kathryn: “I bet you get into these dramas all the time like with Jeff and me. Where you cause all this trouble and you have no idea why. My opinion—you’re doing it to distract yourself from the person you’re meant to be.” Jessa: “Which is who?” Kathryn: “You tell me. She might not look like what you pictured when you were age 16. Her job might not be cool. Her hair might not be flowing like a mermaid. And she might really be serious about something. Or someone. And she might be a lot happier than you are right now.” Preach, sister. This is the second time that an adult has given Jessa an earful about growing up – the first being the threesome aspirant from last week’s episode. What is clear is that Jessa is at a crossroads. She has always fallen back on the rootless lifestyle that she can afford due to her wealthy, absent family. But what she has been seeking is for something to matter. Kathryn is exactly right that Jessa creates petty dramas to distract herself from her fearful loneliness, and even she knows it is time for a change.
Once again Shoshanna was criminally underused in this episode. In our brief glimpse, she was dipping a toe into online dating, inspired by her “so cool” nutrition teacher who met her boyfriend on Match.com - he is “super cute and totally perf and they’re the most happy together”. She has done her research and decided to sign up for ElectricHellos.com because it has the most expensive subscription and less ugly people join than on Match.com - no scrubs for Shosh! She is psyched for her “day date” with a (insanely boring sounding) man named Bryce - he is in product development (perfect since Shoshanna loves products) and he likes movies and food and is Jewish. We don’t think that she will end up with a “Bryce” as she is clearly a completely fabulous weirdo just waiting to meet someone named Ruffio who likes to paint in the nude, but at least she is getting out there. All we know is we’d happily watch a spin off show based entirely around Shosh’s online dating adventures.
The lines that we liked best:
Adam (about going to Hannah’s reading): “Sorry kid, readings are bullshit. I’ve never been to a reading where I didn’t want to strangle the person reading. Plus they have those stupid fucking little crackers that are supposed to be cookies but are supposed to be crackers. There’s no fucking meat. If they’d lay out fucking meat I would eat that shit but there’s nothing. Plus everyone’s drunk and act like what they have to say is still valid.” Hannah: “I actually totally agree with you.
Marnie: “You are so selfish—this is why you have no friends from preschool.” Hannah: “Um, I have a lot of friends from pre-school I’m just not speaking to them right now.”
Marnie: “I can’t take you anymore! You think that everyone in the world is out to humiliate you. You’re like a big ugly fucking wound.” Hannah: “Adam says that you are teetering on the edge of psychotic misery but you’re smiling so wide that no one can tell. You are the wound.” Marnie: “I am NOT the wound. YOU are the wound.” Hannah: “YOU’RE THE WOUND!” Marnie: “YOU’RE THE WOUND!” Hannah: “YOU’RE THE WOUND!” Marnie: “Stop saying that—I am not a wound. YOU are a 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!"