Girls wonders about being alone with a singular shot of epic sadness

HBO

HBO

The latest episode of Girls, called “Queen for Two Days,” focuses on three parallel storylines of rising tragedy. Unlike other weeks, this time none of the storylines intersect, leaving room for expansion of each character without anyone else of the main cast, neatly lining up with the concept of the episode.

The Adam and Jessa storyline is the latest tragedy, which is why it’s also the most nerve wracking. When we see Jessa’s Scottish half-sister Minnie (Marianna Palka), with sexual hang-ups of her own, refuse to pay Jessa’s college loans, it’s understandable. It’s true that Jessa has not really followed through with things in the past, and we can’t be sure this time will stick either. But people grow and mature and change. Adam claims to really know Jessa and thinks her dream is amazing.

His utterance of “No … you don’t” was alarmingly deep, and I wasn’t entirely surprised he offered to pay Jessa’s way. Her look of pure joy and relief was both heartwarming and alarming, because it seems perhaps too good to be true. There’s something to the ending too, but let me pause a moment. The weird sexual role play about pretending to lack control was at first off-putting and then suddenly hilarious with the line “What am I gonna tell coach?” Suddenly Girls was almost a comedy again.

But the ending was a girl in tears, Jessa crying in happiness. Those tears become a common thread for a few other characters, tears of loneliness. So that is why I am concerned for Jessa and Adam’s new relationship.

Hannah and her mother Loreen’s journey to the spa for “Spring Queening” was classic Hannah awkwardness, combined with the common themes we expect from her by now. She’s gullible and self-loathing and self-confident all at once. She keeps repeating that Fran is nice, despite his little pet peeves about her, and when the unnamed lesbian worker (Lena Hall) says that niceness is a veneer for being an asshole, Hannah jumps on that.

It’s no wonder she gets into the idea of hooking up so readily, yet what is her realization? Is it that she’s not attracted to women? Is it that she doesn’t want to cheat on Fran? Unclear, it could be all of those things, because she merely complained of the “heat.” Mmhmm. Of course, the unnamed spa worker instead manages to take herself to completion and burst into tears. Following with the theme and the typical irony of the show, I assume she’s horribly lonely and that her mask of being an asshole is a veneer for a very damaged person.

But she has no name, so I doubt it will matter in the long run.

Loreen has her own fascinating arc, deciding that her sort of loneliness is an acceptable compromise. She’s willing to accept staying together with a gay man and even being intimate with him because she knows him. After hearing the horror stories from the other spa goers, she’s just as influenced as Hannah was earlier.

The storyline is an interesting one, because it pairs a lot of the sort of “non-standard body type” humor Lena Dunham loves to use for Hannah with a combination of sexual awkwardness, conversational awkwardness, and legitimate pathos. The fact that it all worked together is a pretty good sign for quality. I was happy with it, leading to another realization from Hannah that perhaps she was indeed screwed up by her parents and their take on hiding truth.

The Shoshanna storyline was kind of heartbreaking and full-on tragic. It becomes readily apparent that her veneer is more slippery and dangerous than most we’ve seen this episode. Her ever present smile is a mask for her hidden depths of loneliness and homesickness. It is the appearances of her old boss Abigail (Aidy Bryant, killing it) that is the trigger to remind her of home. Despite Shoshanna’s insistence that it’s like she created Tokyo out of her head, note that what she describes is all visual.

Her lack of connection is inside her head.

The episode tricks us, making us think she was happy and content, but it was all a mask to hide us from the truth. To end the episode with a horrible, beautiful shot of a lonely Shosh walking through Tokyo at night hammers home the theme. The focus worked, the episode came together well.

Girls is unsubtle as ever, but this time the emotions ran deep.

By the way, I also would totally watch “Yosh and Shosh Take the City” as a spinoff. Make it happen, Lena Dunham!

What did you think of this week’s show? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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