Girls breaks down and brings up an episode of parallel dramas

HBO

So previously, Hannah surfed and screwed and sat in silence, Marnie hooked up with Desi after asking Ray to leave, yeesh.

This episode was called “Hostage Situation,” and the direct thematic connection is quite clear. There are two primary plotlines and that’s really it. One is the “jaunt” of Hannah with the sort of reconciled Marnie/Desi disaster couple, and the other is the misadventures of Shosh and her various sort of friends.

It was a pretty funny episode of Girls overall, with most of the comedy coming from Elijah’s razor sharp delivery of a dozen great lines and one mouthed sexual proposition. This was a critical element to the drama, providing the perfect contrast to the harrowing emptiness of Shosh and her despair.

Hannah was shockingly the most mature in the entire episode; sure, she knocked over some plates and was a bit inappropriate with a shopkeeper, but she never failed to express her displeasure with Marnie’s self-lies or Desi’s manipulation, and she was sincerely grateful to the glamorous shopkeeper for the weird “psychic” gift of a tea set. Hannah also had some great lines too, including correctly identifying Marnie/Desi as part of a “psychosexual hamster wheel.” She was one of the hostages, more in the normal sense, being stuck in a charged, dangerous situation.

And yet, she helped talk Marnie off a ledge. Hannah was the damn hostage negotiator. I’m as surprised as you are. Perhaps she’s finally living her truth, and I’ll also be honest about this: her article about the weird cult looked pretty interesting.

Marnie had a fascinating episode, in which she basically fought against her own selfishness. Starting with self-awareness, in mid-coitus calling herself a monster, but buoyed by Desi’s simplistic “belief in her goodness,” she later let him off the hook for leering at a local girl, yet pushed him away when he tried to have sex in public.

The finale was funny and traumatizing and hopeful. Desi’s addiction to painkillers made perfect sense, and his fall into violence unfortunately also so. The bizarre horror movie aspect of Desi’s attack on the house made it all surreal, and this made the final realizations more poignant. Hannah and Marnie’s realization that they are still friends was great, and Hannah had such a fantastic point: When you’re thinking only about yourself, you don’t notice anyone else’s problems.

And she’s finally self-aware enough to realize she doesn’t know anything except that she’s been selfish. Marnie was a hostage in a cage made by her own actions, but she seems to have escaped. On the other side though…

HBO

Shosh’s entire plotline was amazing. We don’t see Elijah and Jess or Elijah and Shosh often, and I loved seeing the differing dichotomies. Whether it was confusing Justin Trudeau or Justin Theroux, or just the way Elijah silently reacted to everything, it was so well done. Sure, Shosh’s old college friends are clearly awful, but although Elijah thought he was the hostage in an awkward party, Shosh felt her whole life since Jess was a hostage situation she hasn’t been able to get out of.

When she sees a glimpse of a life she cannot touch anymore, even if that life is vapid, simple, and hateful, it still stings and hurts. Shosh still doesn’t know who she is; she still hasn’t grown up in a way she wants to grow up. Sure, the “Transwomen? We don’t know, okay?” is awful, but Shosh doesn’t perceive the shallow idiocy, she sees the success.

The two plotlines were edited together very well, with parallel build ups and falls in pair, culminated with the classic Joni Mitchell song with the lyrics like this:

“I was a free man in Paris
I felt unfettered and alive
There was nobody calling me up for favors
And no one’s future to decide
You know I’d go back there tomorrow
But for the work I’ve taken on”

So the song expresses a transition and change, a kind of escape that isn’t an escape, a hostage escaping but staying inside a different cage. These characters aren’t out yet, and perhaps they never will be. It’s sort of the human condition, but every step closer to freedom is a step made well.

Next time, Matthew Rhys shows up?! Man. Sold.

What did you think of this episode? Tell us in the comments below!

 

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