The third episode of Lena Dunham’s Girls sees the fourth season truly get underway. We get the life updates on Hannah’s friends back in NYC that were absent last episode and the catalyst for the episode is brutal honesty, which makes for some interesting plot developments. From Hannah’s astronomically awkward character assassination of her classmates in Iowa, to Marnie finally coming clean and telling Desi that she doesn’t want to be his ‘mistress’, there’s a lot for the viewer to get their teeth into.
For the first time Marnie comes across as a strong character, choosing to tell Desi that she’s not okay with their arrangement anymore. Even though Desi is right – technically he never promised to leave his girlfriend Clementine for Marnie – she makes sure he knows it isn’t right to continue being physical with someone who doesn’t want to make her his girlfriend. Admittedly, Marnie’s revelation didn’t come from within. Convinced by Ray that she shouldn’t be pursuing someone whose main character flaw is that he hasn’t chosen her, she straddles him and kisses him to voice her gratitude for his heart-warming pep talk. Having seen what Marnie and Ray’s involvement did to Shoshanna last season, it seems likely that there will be some further tension as a result of the trio’s history.
Shoshanna also exhibits some brutal honesty after being practically handed a job on a plate at the Ann Taylor Loft, she tells the interviewer it was just a “trial interview” and that was exactly the sort of feedback that she wanted but that she isn’t interested in the job. Someone needs to tell Shoshanna that she’s potentially overlooked a huge opportunity, wrapped up in the idea that she can have a trial run before hitting her adult life running. Suck it up, Shosh, and just get on with it like the rest of us.
“Nobody likes what they do. Do you think Dakota Fanning wants to be Dakota Fanning?”
Hannah’s one class a week has left her with a lot of free time but she seems to be struggling with the bane that is writer’s block. Telling Jessa over Skype that she’s “sort of in the pre-writing stage” leaves anyone who is creative feeling pity for our floundering protagonist – especially when she’s treated to the site of Jessa’s tan-lines over Skype and a lack of information about Adam.
With Jessa seemingly preoccupied with walking about half naked and fraternising with young crack addicts, it’s down to Elijah to talk some sense into Hannah. Forget being a professional dancer, it seems that Hannah’s gay best friend has missed his calling as a life coach. In a harrowing reality check he tells Hannah:
“You’re uncomfortable in your own skin and you think it’s everybody else’s problem”
To make Hannah’s situation even worse, it becomes apparent that Adam is seeing someone called “whatsherface” and that Jessa has chosen not to tell Hannah for reasons yet unknown. In fact, Jessa and Adam’s common understanding about sobriety and ‘clean birthdays’ means that the viewer is on tenterhooks waiting to see if in fact they’ll find comfort in one another in a physical way.
Adam and Jessa seem to be getting on like a house on fire until Jessa urinates in the street and the duo end up in a police cell together. In typical Jessa fashion, she can’t just accept a $50 fine and move along: she has to put up a fight, even if that means dragging Hannah’s boyfriend down with her. An expensive mistake, the viewer is reminded, as Ray bails them out at the end of the episode and tells them they owe him three grand.
Finally free, it dawns on Adam that he isn’t a fan of Jessa’s habit of making light of serious situations. He tells her that he doesn’t want to be her friend. There’s a poignant moment as Jessa concedes that it’s her who is in fact the one in need of a friend. Although we don’t see anything other than Adam turning around to listen to Jessa’s admission, it’s certainly a turning point for the duo in terms of their innate stubborn and selfishness.
“I just realized that I got so good at taking selfies that I wasn’t feeling challenged anymore. Then I thought what would happen if I turned the camera around.”
As well as some nitty-gritty honest and unlikely alliances, this episode has a few amusing moments – the highlight being Elijah’s declaration that his new-found passion for photography stems from wanting to branch out from taking selfies. Also, it seems no matter how big a lock Hannah uses to lock her bike, she’s the sole statistic when it comes to Iowa bike theft. And who can forget her awkward escape after she rips into her classmates; over the back of the sofa with a builder’s bum on display which means that she’s branded as the “Lindsay Lohan” of the group.
It seems things just aren’t going right for Hannah at the moment. Nor are they going write.
Girls airs on HBO on Sunday at 9pm.
Words by Beth Kirkbride