Girls Season 3 Episode 10 recap

Unlike the last couple of episodes, which I hope weren’t aberrations, I don’t have as much to rhapsodize on this episode. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t bad – in fact some parts were really affecting – but it didn’t feel like it was as comfortably saying something new as the previous two weeks’ episodes.

Maybe it was because of all the leadup. “Ooh, some serious kink this week.” Yes, but in kind of the safest way. Which is fine, I don’t need to feel horror along with the character discomfort. But the stuff about the sex was only marginally about the sex. This, I think, is part of the good stuff about this episode. For a while, in your 20s, sex is about sex. Purely. The having of it, the lack thereof, the utter weirdness with each new partner who has the audacity to be too similar or too different relative to your last one. 

But when you get into a more engrossing relationship – one where you worry together about your respective careers and people’s mothers’ opinions and your friends, sex is still important, but sometimes it becomes more about utility than creativity.  

Which is, of course, the source of much strife for most relationships. “We’re not doing it as much as we used to.” “I wish we did it more.” “I’m too tired for the amount of sex we’re having” or in this case “It’s not exciting anymore.”

Hannah will kick herself in minutes for messing with something that was fine – even good – just for the sake of it being exciting. Adam was focused on work, not her, and that she couldn’t leave that alone long enough not to cause a speedbump in her relationship is incredibly realistic and yet maddening. That’s not to say that her reaction was unwarranted – his coatwearing tunnel-vision was distressing at best (and I have to say, I didn’t realize what a big deal the play was until I saw the poster outside the theatre, and then I got a little intimidated on Hannah or Adam’s behalf), but she doesn’t have any resources that let her feel secure in his affection, so she goes looking for the all-consuming sex they used to have.

I didn’t have an issue with the particular roleplay or fetish, and in fact the sequence outside the restaurant where the passerby thinks she’s in trouble struck me as kind of cute, which is, in itself, a bit of an issue. She and Adam were having fun. The fact that he used to sleep with older women to keep from drinking, while a bit of new information, reminds us (albeit too little too late) that he used to be a lot less stable and happy than he is now. Hannah’s messing with that is more than just causing herself problems – it’s forcing Adam to look at where he’s come from, not allowing him to focus on his success. That’s why it sucks. That’s why he left.

I wonder, thinking back, if Marnie ever had success to focus on. It seems like the show is playing out a “Marnie struggling at the bottom” kind of storyline but when I think back, I’m not sure she was ever really successful, was she? She was a gallery assistant and then…she focused on Charlie’s success. She’d never admit it, if confronted, but an assistant to a gallery owner is kind of where she’s at, even if said gallery owner is almost poisonous with probable ineptitude and the fact that she’s going to say she’s 22.      

The interaction with Desi was very real in its fakeness, chiefly because we got to see the contrast between Marnie when she’s being honest, say with Ray, and Marnie when she’s trying to be alluring and sing. The less time spent on the dudewank exercise “sing whatever you feel” the better, but I thought it was positive that Marnie so clearly sees this dude is bullshit, even if she isn’t yet ready to dislike him as a result, the cracks in what’s considered cool enough are beginning to show.

I live in Toronto, so in the past year I’ve heard every “crack” pun there is, but I’m still not going to make one with regard to Jessa. Because I still struggle the most with Jessa. I struggle with her addiction feeling real – because there’s no desperation to it, really – and I struggle with Shoshanna being the policeman of it, for about six different reasons, not limited to the fact that she’s not got anything else to do. The problem with Shosh this season is that she exists only as a reflection of the others – her interactions with Ray are only interesting because we know he’s sleeping with Marnie, and the brief nods toward her boy bender have been incidental. Okay, fine, so Jessa’s an addict (I guess) but what does that mean for Shoshanna? Is this building to go somewhere for her, or is she just a Jessa sounding board? Because the reality is that for all the noises Hannah or Marnie make, Jessa doesn’t matter to them on a week-to-week basis. This has to come to a head somehow, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was with Jessa’s death. Callous? Sorry. But we can’t care if she keeps just going back to ones as though nothing was wrong.

I still find the show more engrossing than I ever have. Certain smug friends are smug about this but I can’t shake the feeling that it’s because Lena Dunham isn’t writing and directing every episode in addition to starring in them. That’s not implying she’s not just as involved, or that the show isn’t her creation, but it’s impossible to sustain the three largest roles in a series for more than a short shoot and not expect something to crack. I’m thrilled that the Girls team figured it out. I humbly submit they’re now making the show they imagined it being.

Attached – Lena Dunham’s bumper photos from SNL.