We’ve got just one more episode of Girls to enjoy this season (and, from the looks of this review, it’s going to be a doozy), but this week’s penultimate season four episode functioned, surprisingly enough, like its own ending. Sure, we want to see the, ahem, charms of “Home Birth,” but if this season of Girls closed with “Daddy Issues,” we wouldn’t complain. After all, the episode featured plenty of weird revelry, Hannah (Lena Dunham) finally being told to invest in some goddamn personal boundaries goddammit, a cake with Alex Karpovsky’s face on it, and a confession that just might change things…forever.
“Daddy Issues” inevitably follows the repercussions of Hannah’s dad (Peter Scolari) coming out of the closet, and promptly coming to visit Hannah in the big city. Although Hannah attempts to play it off, the drama has clearly taken its toll, and by the time she calls her cool teen friend Chloe a bitch – a bitch! Hannah is a substitute teacher! what kind of world is this? – on school property in full earshot of the principal, it seems like things are about to get worse. Don’t worry, though, they’re not, Hannah just gets a talking-to (basically, “get some boundaries goddammit all”), because no one in Girls has to wrestle with real consequences. Meanwhile, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Adam (Adam Driver) finally get hip to their gross significant others, Marnie (Allison Williams) shows off her ill-begotten ring, and Shosh (Zosia Mamet) serves pizza at a political event.
As ever, your own Rob Hunter and I are here to wonder just what the hell we’re watching.
Kate: “You’re a child, basically.” THANK YOU, HANNAH’S DAD. THANK YOU ALSO, HANNAH’S PRINCIPAL WHO SHOULD HAVE FIRED HER. There was a lot to this episode – including, points to us, a lot of stuff that we previously predicted – but that was certainly my favorite Hannah-centric takeaway. When is that lesson going to stick? Will it ever?
Rob: Yeah, Tad nailed it calling her out on her childish behavior, and the transition right into her having a verbal throwdown with a teenager in the school hallway was just one more example of it. I’m of the belief that the lesson will never stick. Dunham’s a good actress, but Hannah is more often than not a one-note character, and that note is self-centered hypocrite. Her attempt to turn the “boundaries” argument around onto Elijah and her dad showed that yet again. This is Hannah, period.
Kate: It’s also funny how Hannah screams about not being a child after last week, when she actually yelled “WE’RE CHILDREN!” to that catcalling construction guy. Hannah vacillates between believing she’s seen some real shit and being wholly unable to process adult life. Tad’s coming out may be a big thing for him, but it’s likely even bigger for Hannah, who has seen nothing, knows nothing, and learned nothing. She needs a shake up, and it’s just a pity that needs to come care of her own father, who is struggling in his own way.
Rob: Tad’s revelation – to everyone but Elijah, obviously – is only an issue for Hannah in her desire to somehow make it about her. She’s struggling to do so as those around her tell her alternately to keep it to herself or that it’s actually not a big deal at all. Tad is struggling, but I expect he’ll be okay. More than that, I expect he’ll go back to being a minor part of the show appearing only for funny bits as he double dates with Hannah and Elijah.
As much as Hannah tried to make it all about her though, I think she owes a tip of the hat to the master of the craft – Marnie, who swoops in to a party in honor of someone who just won an election and steps onstage to redirect the spotlights towards her big news. And she does it right after he’s made an impassioned speech aimed directly at her! The balls on that woman are immense.
Kate: I love how right you were about Elijah showing Tad the ropes, I only wish we saw more of that in this episode. Listen, I understand that Hannah feels like her life is somehow in disarray now and that perhaps she also feels like part of her self-identity has been a lie (her mother sure as shootin’ feels that way), but as her principal told her, she needs to keep this stuff to herself. Of course any parental upheaval will impact their children, but that’s not what’s important here, which is Tad’s new life. That’s the key of Hannah’s poisonous personality, she’s never learned to prioritize and rate issues and then keep unimportant stuff to herself. That’s what needs to change. That’s also what will never change.
Can we talk about how I almost fell off my couch during Ray’s speech? God, what a scene. Marnie’s slow realization of what was going on, as Desi hangs off her like a moron and Shosh quietly moons on the sidelines, might be one of my favorite bits from the entire series, and certainly this season. The passion from that man! Towards Marnie, who, honestly, might be kind of evil. Is Marnie evil?
Rob: Agreed on that speech, and it once again shows how the guys get all the best moments on this show called Girls.
Marnie’s reaction fascinates me – from the dawning realization that Ray’s intense kindness is meant for her to jumping on stage to announce her engagement to Dezzzzzi – I see evil there, but is it intentional? I think she’s destructive towards others but, like Hannah, I think her self-centered actions leave her oblivious towards the feelings of other people. I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than being intentionally cruel.
Kate: She’s certainly oblivious to others – what was with that whole “let’s not tell anyone!” thing that moved almost immediately into “let’s tell Ray!” within mere moments? – even as that applies to her own fiancé. Is this a Ray-specific thing, do you think? Did Marnie already know how Ray felt and wanted to, I don’t know, ease him into the idea of her engagement? Because, if so, kudos to her, because their relationship has never made ANY sense to me. Go for Shosh, Ray, go for Shosh.
Rob: I am curious if they’ll bring Shosh around to liking and wanting Ray again. They’ve teased the possibility in a few of her looks and exchanges, but it’s unclear.
As for Ray’s attraction to Marnie… I do get it? He likes her physically, but his belief that she was out of his league took a beating when she came to him last season clearly in need of him. It’s tough for him to look at that as an aberration, and both he and the audience know that if something happens with Desi, she’ll come knocking at Ray’s door for comfort. The storyline is reminiscent of the depressing ’80s classic The Last American Virgin, and the only thing missing is an unplanned pregnancy and abortion for Marnie. Fingers crossed for season five!
Kate: On one hand, I enjoy seeing Ray and Shosh have a functional and supportive friendship – contrast that one with Jessa and Adam, and it’s enough to make your head spin – but I also think it would be nice to see that transition back into a relationship, one that actually has the kind of base to support it. You know, like a real, adult relationship. Wild!
Of course, that’s not going to happen while Ray keeps pining over Marnie, and I think Shosh’s competitive spirit doesn’t extend far enough to do battle with Ms. Michaels. But does this mean we’re in for Ray breaking up a wedding and getting crushed in the process?
Rob: Well, I recently called for some grand gestures on this show, and Ray’s speech comes pretty damn close. Hopefully that’s the last one he’ll make towards Marnie, though – although I’m still expecting her to come crawling to him for solace at some point – because if he makes another, especially at a wedding, then any hope of him getting back with Shosh would be crushed. They could get together, but it would unavoidably marred by the knowledge that she’s his second choice.
As for Jessa and Adam, this is the second time I thought the show was about to bring the two together romantically. It obviously wouldn’t last, but I keep expecting the them to have a quick fling of some sort to commiserate over their similar situations. I am happy that we’re done with Ace and Mimi Rose, though – no fault of the performers, but neither of them feel real anymore (if they ever did).<
Kate: You did! You nailed it! We’ve really been, ahem, acing our predictions lately.
I also expected the two of them to get together at some point this season, but while I think Jessa is more than capable of that, maybe Adam isn’t? So let’s talk Ace and Mimi Rose and Jessa and Adam. I know we talk a lot about how much we hate Jessa, but her standing up and walking the eff out when Ace and Mimi Rose got all weird and non-human was an amazing moment that truly felt satisfying to me. Maybe only Jessa has the balls to do something like that, but for a moment, I almost loved her again.
Rob: Yeah, that was definitely nice to see although, like Adam, I think she’s been wrestling with the understanding that her relationship was highly unstable. I was happy to see her drag Adam out of there too, but I think he went one step better just a few minutes later. He knows he wants to see Hannah, but he also knows that’s a bad idea. Everyone else seems content realizing their mistake after they’ve made it, but this may be the show’s first real example of actual forward thinking.
Kate: A little forward thinking is a rarity on this show, especially from Adam, but I am curious to see just how far this can take him. What’s in the cards for he and Hannah? Please don’t say “they get back together.”
Rob: They get back together. I kid. While that would work for Hannah, I just don’t see her being a good fit anymore for him. He’s grown and changed! She’s still the same! Maybe if this substitute teaching thing turns into a full-time gig (God forbid) they can meet again on equal terms, but for now she’s still an unstable, yet highly predictable presence. But does that mean we’ll simply see less of Adam, or will he find another young woman with issues…
Kate: With one episode left, what do we predict for our girls and boys? We’ve already got the Tad visit and the Ray election win out of the way, is it too much to assume we might get another wedding, too? I shudder.
Rob: I can’t imagine we’d jump so quickly to Marnie and Desi’s wedding, but stranger things have happened, I guess. My prediction is that something will happen before, then leading her to come wanting to knock boots with Ray… and that he’ll have the willpower to say no, leave the room and go find Shosh. Boom!
Jessa and Adam will be mostly absent.
Hannah, meanwhile, will find a new student mentee (?) in a fourth-grader named Nemo, but she’ll be fired when she’s caught telling the child about her heavy period flow.
Kate: Girls loves to toss big surprises at its audience when it’s finale time, so I’ll just guess it’s something that…uh…involves…um…Shosh! Sure! Okay! Shosh is moving! That’s my guess.
Rob: I’ve actually been waiting for Adam to move, seeing as Adam Driver has an actual movie career and all…
Kate: We’ve nailed it: Adam and Shosh move away together. The end.
Related Topics: Girls