When last we saw our heroines, Hannah and Fran were a new a couple, Shosh had decided to accept a job offer in Japan, Marnie and Desi were on the outs, and Jessa was contemplating a career shift toward becoming a therapist. As of the first episode of season 5, at least three of those four things seem to still be the case. But the one that's not — Marnie and Desi's status — is definitely a major game changer. The premiere, straight-forwardly titled "Wedding Day," reveals the behind-the-scenes goings on of the day that the on-and-off couple are tying the knot. Marnie is all worked up, standing at the window a pair of sexless, nude-colored Spanx while fretting about the weather. "It's going to rain," she says in the kick-off phrase of the series' second-to-last season. Shosh is flitting around in the background, steaming bridesmaids dresses, while Hannah stumbles downstairs looking sleepy. Marnie is obviously annoyed with Hannah's lack of general enthusiasm and hiding it poorly; Jessa joins the tense crew, coming in from outside and looking like a wood nymph, which is to say both whimsically and a little unrealistically ethereal. Shosh and Jessa seem to be the only ones in a good mood — that is, until Fran (Jake Lacy) arrives and improves Hannah's mood considerably. He's early and obviously intruding on the ladies' bonding time, but Hannah doesn't seem to take the hint. Marnie tells Shosh to tell Fran that he has to leave, but then pretends like it was Shosh's idea in the first place. This will be a general theme in most of the episode: Marnie pretending to be totally chill and normal, when the truth is that she's itching to micromanage everything. (Side note: Marnie is sort of in bridezilla mode throughout most of this episode. But to be fair, Hannah is being — not for the first time — super self-centered and unsupportive. Couldn't she just give Marnie this one day of full attention?)
Hannah escorts Fran to the guys' cabin, confessing that she thinks all this wedding stuff is nonsense. Fran, who may be the best behaved boyfriend ever, tells Hannah that he thinks there is such a thing as an enjoyably chill wedding. But Hannah barely lets him get a word in, revealing that the real source of her lack of enthusiasm is the fact that she doesn't actually know Desi. How can Marnie marry someone that she, Hannah, doesn't know? When Hannah and Fran get to the cabin where all the guys are getting ready, Ray is chilling in a leather club chair and Desi is nowhere to be seen. But Fran and Hannah do cross paths with Adam (who, it must be said, looks damned dapper in a suit). It's a weird moment — and not just in the awkward sense: The script intentionally veers into a sputtering series of nonsense noises between the dudes, who at no point manage to muster even a simple, "Hey, man." Ray is the one who interrupts the exchange, at which point Hannah leaves. Then, Desi walks in with Elijah and another bud named Wolf in tow. They've been meditating and are radiating some seriously performative Zen energy. Fran offers everyone the beers he brought with, but the only person who accepts is Ray. Meanwhile, the gals are explaining their desired looks to the makeup artist, Bebe (that's "bee-bee," not "bay-bay," which was how Marnie pronounced it the first time). It's clear from Bebe's personal aesthetic that she might not be the right person to do hair and makeup for this particular event and becomes even more evident so when Marnie starts to describe what she's going for. She wants a look that's "artistic," a cross between Ralph Lauren and Joni Mitchell, Marnie explains, adding that there should be a nod to her "cultural heritage, which is white Christian woman." This might be the most preposterous — and best — line of the entire episode. (And honestly, it seemed just mocking enough to make us wonder if Girls is finally learning to takes itself a little less seriously. If that's the case, then we're especially psyched for the rest of the season!) Bebe gets it wrong, interpreting Marnie's wording to mean a Selena-Gomez-meets-Jesus look. All the while, Marnie continues to insist that she's totally relaxed and chill, and that Bebe can do whatever she thinks is the right vibe so long as she signs off with the bride before setting the look with hairspray. While all this is happening inside, Jessa is sneaking a cigarette outside. Adam joins her and they end up making out for a hot minute. It looks like ill-fated romance for these two, but it's also their only scene together in this episode, so we'll just have to wait and see.
Hannah — who stormed out of the house during the hair-and-makeup discussion — has retreated to Fran's car. They've just finished having sex in the front seat when Fran reveals to her that while he was in the guy's cabin he found out that Desi has been engaged seven times before and that Marnie's engagement ring was actually meant for Desi's ex, Clementine. Hannah wants to immediately go tell Marnie (Anything to ruin the wedding!), but Fran is miffed because he doesn't want to have been the one to spill the beans. As they talk about it, rain begins to pour. At this point, Desi has already had a total meltdown about getting married. His version of cold feet is to take a half-clothed swim in a nearby pond. He's floating there when Ray comes to find him and talk him into getting married. (Ray, by the way, is super surly all day and makes plain that he wishes he had the guts to object to the wedding.) They have a bizarre conversation about destiny in the pond, at the end of which Desi decides that it was Marnie's destiny to marry him. So he swims to the edge of the water and climbs out to go get married, while Ray treads water, still in the pond. As all this is happening, Marnie is putting on her wedding dress solo upstairs. We see her from behind and everything looks lovely, but the first time the camera lands on her face, viewers can see that Bebe didn't manage to achieve the Ralph Lauren vibe: Marnie is heavily made up, clownish even.
She's downstairs sitting at the vanity, talking over the makeup and hair with Bebe (Who tries to convince her that the shellacking is great, saying, "Your dress is light, so we've gotta weigh it down in the face.") when Hannah and Jessa walk in and reflexively react to the insane makeup. Bebe gets mad and stomps out; Marnie gets mad and flees to the upstairs bathroom. It's definitely the emotional peak of the episode — and the one that finally shocks Hannah into behaving like a friend. Hannah heads upstairs to check on Marnie and they have a heart-to-heart about how Marnie feels like Hannah hasn't really been there for her — not on the wedding day and really not for years. Then, Marnie has another gem of a line: "The very least you could do right now is to pretend that I'm doing the right thing." Hannah chooses not to bring up Desi's prior engagements. Instead, she wraps Marnie in a big hug. Both women are assuring one another that everything is going to be great, but their faces — hidden from one another — tell a different story.
After that, all that's left to do is to get married: The guys walk out of the cabin and into the field, where guests are waiting and the rain has cleared up. The girls parade out of the house, bedecked in yellow rain jackets with hoods. Hannah pauses on deck, trailing a ways behind the others before finally hurrying to join them. Then, off they all go into whatever comes next.