Girls raises Elijah while it dumps Marnie

HBO

Previously on Girls, Hannah explained her decision, Elijah had a great acting gig, and Marnie was left alone.

This episode was called “The Bounce” and I’m not sure how pervasive that concept really is in the episode.

Elijah has always been the caustic/sarcastic comic relief of Girls and also not so secretly the comic juggernaut. Essentially any scene he can make funny, regardless of how heavy or intense it may be. But we’ve only had one character building arc for him, which is his problematic relationship with famous anchor Dill. That said, it seems like Shosh is in the show less than anyone else, so why not build stories of other characters?

The trick here is to create real empathy with Elijah despite his cruelty, vanity, and overall disdain for others. The episode attempts this by giving him a bit of a backstory of humiliation, mild self-awareness and a capacity of self-destructive behavior, and an empathetic connection with a new person. That person is Athena Dante, another person trying out for the delightfully stupid sounding Broadway version of White Men Can’t Jump.

Despite the stupidity of that concept, it is hardly outside the realm of possibility. After all, they’re making a musical version of Groundhog Day and Mean Girls, which I am sure will be poor imitations of the originals. Let’s put that on hold for a second.

Marnie’s story this episode was a mild sort of regressive growth, a realization that her mother won’t be there for her except in selfish ways, yet at the very least, she’ll have a place to go back home to. This is meaningful, and shows that even Marnie’s awful mother isn’t entirely without empathy. Whether or not she’ll “bounce” back from this to something better soon remains to be seen. But she’s clearly better off with the damaged Desi and without her one-sided relationship with Ray, which was never going to end well.

HBO

In comparison, Hannah is trying to do things right, in a manner of speaking. She gives Paul-Louis every out to have no responsibility or care for their unborn child, and he takes it. She remains a good friend by helping support Elijah against Dill’s potential manipulations, and it’s no coincidence that Dill was involved in a “white baby” scandal the same time Hannah is pregnant. Mirrored themes.

So back to Elijah, the episode shows a world that rewards effort and skill, despite a few bumps along the way. He’s funny throughout, and a talented singer, although I’m not sure I’m really that interested in another story about a guy involved in theater. We already had Adam’s whole arc. NO time for that, so maybe it’ll be in the background. There aren’t that many episodes left.

Overall, the episode worked well, giving a side character a chance to shine while furthering some other plotlines. But man, I’m still hoping for more of what I want to see: Something great.

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

 

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