Every week, our editors Connie Wang, Annie Georgia Greenberg, and Nathan Reese break down the latest episode of Girls. Check back each Sunday at 10:00 p.m. to read our recaps.
Nathan: "So this week, the spotlight is entirely on Hannah."
Connie: "You mean Hannah and PATRICK WILSON. Hubba hubba."
Annie: "Totally. Has the focus ever been on one character like this?"
Nathan: "Not really. And definitely not this intimately."
Annie: "It sure was A LOT of Hannah to take in, but after last week's focus on multiple relationships, I guess it made sense to get back to the show's real star."
Connie: "To be honest, I was actually a little thrown off that last week's episode didn't really deal with Hannah's relationships at all. But since her entire M.O. seems so hinged on developing and destroying relationships, it makes sense that they saved it all for one episode. We saw Hannah's full destructive emotional range compacted into one neat 30-minute package."
Nathan: "The structure was basically a "bottle episode" format..."
Connie: "Film nerd, explain. Bottle episode?"
Nathan: Traditionally, shows would use the a single set and a small cast structure because of budgetary restrictions. In this case though, they pulled in a guest star and put the focus on a single cast member. Patrick Wilson was basically there to act as a mirror for her. This sort of nice guy, who is just there for Hannah to bounce off of herself.
Annie: "Well, we don't even really know if he is a nice guy... We don't know much about him at all — just like Hannah says, right?"
Connie: "All things considered, though, he appeared to be entirely decent to Hannah. Even when she has her inevitable meltdown at the end. He never reacts the way Hannah expects him to, like kicking her out or getting angry. I thought — and correct me if i'm wrong — but in the spectrum of men Hannah's dated, he seems to sit on the genuinely good-person end. His flaws are just situational from what we can tell. Like, he’s 40 and married, but he can’t change those things about himself."
Nathan: "It was interesting to watch Hannah go through her entire narcissistic cycle in such a short timeframe. Infatuation, self-doubt, feeling acceptance, feeling bad for herself again, blaming him for the situation, and then leaving...it felt like going through therapy. When she starts crying and talks about how she wants to have a normal life, didn't you want to jump in and tell her to knock it off?"
Annie: "I was like "DOOOOOOON'T." Just. Don't. But of course she did, anyway. Maybe she can't hear me through the TV screen?"
Nathan: "When Hannah gets self-pitying, though, and talks about how she wants everything that anybody else wants, it's almost like she's actually trying to alienate the guy...especially when she starts attacking him for not sharing more about himself. It's good for her to see that it doesn't work on everyone. I mean, he's definitely weirded out, but he doesn't ask her to leave."
Annie: "I think it has a lot to do with her just being a such a narcissistic person, though. Anyone that expresses an interest in her, she takes it in as validation — even Laird (bless him!). And she discards people the same way. And the part where HE acts nice IS sort of infuriating. Because when you're up against "nice" and "normal," anything counter to that is going to make you feel like a crazy person. And then it's all downhill from there. Maybe that's why Hannah has her meltdown."
Connie: "Or maybe she thinks it's charming to bare her soul? Like, when two emotionally developing 20-somethings share their insecurities it's supposed to be cathartic. There are entire movies about this: Before Sunrise, etc. It's that "You do that?! ME TOO!" thing, where you want someone to empathise with and admit that they are damaged in the same way."
Nathan: "Right. It's not crazy, but it seems really naive when you spill your quarter-life crisis to a 42-year-old man in the middle of a divorce. He's experienced this whole range of what love is and what loss is, and any response he gives you is going to seem patronizing. I mean, haven't you been in relationships (or encounters) where you were both just in a completely different place emotionally? I haven't dated someone 20 years older, but I've certainly had relationships where there might as well have well been 20 years between us or where our emotional EQs were just way off. And I guess, what I've learned is, there are moments when you should bare your soul to someone, and moments when you should just be happy that you got to hang out in a cool, gigantic brownstone for a day and have sex on the ping-pong table."
Annie: "I haven't dated someone 20 years older either, but I have dated someone a few years older with this guy's same apparent emotional apathy. We had some great times together, don't get me wrong, but when it came time to cut the funny business and get down to the emotional #werk he totally clammed up. I think he thought if he didn't acknowledge what I was saying in a real way then it wasn't really happening? I'm not sure. But this guy, it felt like he empathized with her, at least to a point..."
Nathan: "He did, but in the end, he was clearly exhausted by her. Also, tonally, I think it's the least funny episode of Girls, ever. It's more like a one-act dramatic play. Lena is going for 'serious writer' here. As far as the progression of the show, this was an important episode for her. Like, it's the sort of episode that could win an Emmy. I can imagine Lena finishing it, and then, Judd Apatow saying: 'This is your Emmy episode, Lena' and then they hug for a long time. But overall, I think she did pull it off pretty well."
Connie: "The sex scenes, especially, weren’t for comedic relief for once. There were intensely intimate moments during the episode that I think she captured in a way that she hadn't before."
Nathan: "Yeah, that sex scene was definitely the most intimate...and long."
Connie: "So long. My roommate had to leave the room because she got embarrassed."
Nathan: "'Intimate' is definitely the right word."
Connie: "This is sort of a tangent, but she kept saying that she was "trying things out" and she's upset because she feels like she's experiencing emotions so she can write about them after. 'Beg me to stay. Make ME come.' She's always the center of attention, and she's still just using this guy for her own experiment."
Annie: But then after she finally reveals herself, to start playacting again as soon as he leaves in the morning! It's like she basically forgot everything she had said the night. She had this moment of clarity, and she basically just threw it all away."
Connie: "Just like the garbage."
Nathan: "Well, if anything, it's clear that Lena Dunham understands her metaphors. "
Thoughts? Concerns? Bets on the Emmy potential for this ep? Love poems to Patrick Wilson? Share 'em all in the comments.