Reversion to the Mean
Girls Season 4 Episode 5 recap
Oh man. After the breezy openness that is Iowa, this episode is claustrophobic, empty of any oxygen, and kind of frantic and immobile at the same time. Every time Hannah opens the door someone else is there in her space – it feels like a Sartre play.
I felt awful watching this entire episode. I know the feeling of being in a waking nightmare and hoping desperately that someone will tell you it didn’t happen. You’re looking at each new person who passes you by like they’re going to be the one who says something that will get you out of your head, and they never do, and it’s always so painfully obvious that they know they cannot provide what you want, and that they’re thrilled not to be where you are. I don’t think I’ve ever felt more nauseous for someone else living inside their head than when Ray manically spat the word “malignant”.
The magic of this episode is that I was infuriated with Adam from the moment Hannah walked in the door. Livid, even. How dare he? They weren’t broken up, the fact that Hannah was ‘leaving’ was supposed to be fine. I find myself anxiety-ridden and doubting this on my own behalf, trying to retrace my viewings of the show to see what was said and what was promised. That’s how powerful this feeling of revisionist history was. I remember him being annoyed at the dinner with her parents, but how can you be annoyed at something that’s so good for someone?
It came crashing down for me when I heard Jessa say “You were going to be gone for two years”. That’s what she heard – that’s what Adam heard? Maybe they hear things the same way, instead of what I heard, which was ‘long distance sucks but it’s only 11 weeks until Christmas and less until Thanksgiving’. Maybe that’s why we saw Adam and Jessa together at AA, so we could understand seeing things the same way. And then she introduced him to Mimi-Rose.
Incidentally, if you’re looking for my vitriol re Mimi-Rose, you won’t find any. Firstly because I find Gillian Jacobs to be ridiculously winning and endearing, and secondly and more importantly, because I don’t believe in the concept of ‘the other woman’. He’s the one who has the responsibility to the relationship, if there is any. Not her. It maybe doesn’t show judgment to get into a relationship with someone who’s occupied, but if he says “Let’s put my ex’s stuff in storage”, how should she know any differently? I do not blame her.
I do, however, blame Jessa. In fact, my worry is that all the discussion about Adam, and with Adam, will distract from the fact that Jessa is an asshole. Hannah spends a hell of a lot of time this episode being mad at Marnie, and she should be mad at Marnie, but because Marnie says things like “woodshedding”. Ugh. But Jessa is the one who’s busy being a terrible friend and isn’t that concerned about it. Hannah sort of calls her on it, but kind of faintly. She expects a lot less of Jessa.
And she expects a lot less of Adam, I guess. Because if I were in this situation I would have yelled and screamed and tried to reverse the situation, and probably that would have been ineffective and dumb, but welcome to my head. And yet Hannah just looks at him, vulnerable and literally burned, and he sort of makes it feel better but not really.
This is where I felt even more like I was inhabiting Hannah’s mind. Because you look at Adam – and Adam Driver’s face is gorgeous and honest and open… How the hell did the slimeball from season one become this guy, the earnest beautiful one you’re not able to dislike even though you really want to? He’s so straightforward that he takes any argument out of her. I hate people like that.
I hated watching this episode but I think it was one of the best they’ve ever done.