Cruel To Be Kind
Girls Season 5 Episode 4 recap
The Girls of five years ago would have set this weeks’ relationships on fire and walked away. Their patience in the face of things not being easy (and really, when are things ever easy in a relationship?) is due to…maturity? Increased patience? Increased experience?
…The feeling that any bad relationship is better than being alone?
I’m not saying that’s for sure, but the show sure hints at it, where Marnie outright tells Hannah not to break up with Fran because she’ll have to ‘start all over again’. This is where Marnie at her most infuriating is also potentially positive, since she gets over her own histrionics (for my money, the fit thrown in the bedroom is top 5 worst Marnie ever) and decides to take care of Desi and his own self-hatred. Is it fair to give her credit for that? Does she know, somehow, that this idea is going to go bad, so she tries to protect him from himself and his box-set shelves? Is this the truth of a couple, that you’re sometimes cruel to be kind?
This is sort of the Jessa maneuver, and while I never waste love on Jessa, I sort of feel her consternation over worrying over doing something allegedly sh*tty to a friend, so then just being sh*tty to the friend instead. She’s so obsessed with doing the right thing, conventionally, in a way that she never has been before. She’s spending time in women’s AA groups (and while I know Jessa has always gone to meetings, we haven’t seen her in them so consistently, something I find really great—normalizing AA as backdrop), she’s studying all the time, she’s trying her best to be a good person—which is making her a bad friend. She finally gives in to her feelings, totally sober and in her right mind and not hormone-drunk, at least not in the moment, and she and Adam are happy. That first kiss is about connection, not lust.
And she’s rewarded with bad sex.
Elijah, on the other hand, has one of those electric connections (and did I just never notice how sexy Corey Stoll was because I was too focused on his House of Cards demise? He looks like my husband, too.) Everything falls into place and you’re doing things you thought you’d never do, like kiss in the middle of Times Square and not even be weird about it, and then…
Bad sex, and then gazing out at Manhattan, whether to say ‘Is this all there is?’ or ‘How important is sex when I still have tingles from what he said at dinner?’, or something else. When you’re trying to weigh the goods and bads in a new relationship, you have no idea how much weight you should give any particular quirk. It’s frustrating.
Does this mean anything? Is there any luck-versus-skill in who you choose, in what happens afterward? Hannah and Fran get into a fight because they both care so much about their students and what they learn, and lord help me if they’re not both right. Yeah she’s inappropriate as hell at school but the bigger point here is that they both care about the same thing, and that’s a good thing. It speaks to long-term compatibility, even if they come at it the wrong way.
Or maybe it’s not that at all. My friend Andrea always talks about how you need someone who is ‘your own brand of crazy’, acknowledging that there’s total nonsense in every relationship but that some of it rings as more palatable to you (and your partner) personally. Maybe Marnie and Desi are actually the ones who are perfectly well-suited because neither of them sees anything wrong with going through the five stages of grief over a wall in a studio apartment. Maybe the problem is if someone—like Fran?—doesn’t see a problem.
I just hope we’re not being set up for a situation where Hannah becomes single and starts to gaze back at Adam, because it’s beneath both of them to go back there. Having said that, if I gauge them both as being about 27 or so by this point, one last go-around that they both know better than is probably right on schedule.
And speaking of schedules: what was with the ‘previouslies’ this week? I had a delightful time last week with “Shoshanna in Shibuya”. The previouslies promised me much more of the same, and yet…nothing? Less than nothing. Why did they set me up that way? I am forlorn.