Girls Season 5 finale Episodes 9 and 10 recap

First things first:  My longing for Jenny Slate’s haircut. I wanted it when she first got it, snapped back to my senses, and this episode has renewed my love. Please know that I have forced my curly hair into submission for years and I cannot be allowed to do this. Title your emails “Duana, think it through” unless you think I should just do it for the summer because why not.

Like many shows, Girls takes place in perpetual summer because it’s convenient for the show’s production. But unlike other shows, it’s one where triumph and elation and the best things happen in the most sweltering days of summer. The things you figure out about yourself are inextricably attached to that never-really-fades heat that allows you to lie around naked, actually or metaphorically, and get real. I miss it.

I find myself more and more of a Marnie apologist, because I feel like she’s just operating in a world where nobody has told her any reason why she shouldn’t be Marnie, so…there we go? The problem, of course, is that she’s awful, and just turns up at Ray’s house and claims him—but to me, that’s balanced by her lecturing him on UTIs. Can’t you just imagine her bawling him out when he comes home with cranberry cocktail instead of proper cranberry juice? Actually, scratch that. Ray would know the difference. They’re perfect for each other.

But really, they are, because they both know what’s on offer. Ray will carry Marnie’s insufferable guitar case (and, I guess, leave the shop to Shosh and their boss?) and she’ll be demanding and he’ll love it, and that’s how the tour will go, and it will be great. It’s like a revision of the John Mayer classic St. Patrick’s Day—they’re safe until at least September 15th. As for Desi…he’s the worst, and we know he’s the worst, but was he uniquely the worst with Marnie? He was sobbing over her not wanting to go get a bagel, but he doesn’t go with Lisa Bonet to her father’s funeral? I get that his sentiment only extends as far as he doesn’t have a show and adoring fans and blowjobs, but it seems bad for his image.

I’m also not worried about Shoshanna, though I really wish I were. I loved her alternate reality in Japan and I wish she had more problems here than just general loose ends and sushi-restaurant arguments. There’s so much involved in being the kind of person who is relentlessly positive and dressed like Carmen Sandiego, and I don’t think any of it’s fake—I do think that’s who Shoshanna is—but I’d like to see it more. I’d like to see it cause her problems. I’d like to see her decide whether she’s going to stick to it.

And Elijah’s sweet, sad story is going to get short shrift in this epically long review, but the determination and the jacket and the tears! He’s also deciding who he wants to be, and unlike most of the girls, I don’t think he’ll regret leaving it all on the table. I think he’ll feel a sense of accomplishment, when he comes out of his inevitable bender that his beer with Hannah’s mother is just the beginning of.

Because deciding who you’re going to be is what this show has always been getting at, and what Hannah has been getting at, and, if you’ll forgive me the self-congratulation, what I’ve been saying all season. She knows what she’s like, and what people think of her, but she struggles between being authentic to the way she feels and struggling out of the suffocation that is everyone already knowing how she’s going to be.

That’s why these episodes were so satisfying. Hannah doesn’t freak out in a shame spiral that she’s not like Tally. (Best line: “If she f*cks with me at one more TedXWomen’s event…”) She’s straight up about ‘I’m not writing’. She’s so honest about all her failings, and she doesn’t make new problems just for the story of it—which is why she and Tally don’t, ultimately, have sex, marking maybe the first time Hannah was glad she didn’t do something instead of cringing that she did...or maybe the second, if you include not going on the road trip with Fran but conveniently omitting Ray’s terrible blowjob. It’s growth. It’s quiet. It’s weird.

That’s different from Adam.

I’m not writing about Jessa, because I think she’s a sociopath. I think she’s always been a sociopath, has never cared what people think of her, and has constructed this whole ‘Hannah’s my best friend’ narrative out of nowhere. She is never the best friend, except inasmuch as Hannah would listen to her. And knowing what we know about Hannah, that’s saying a lot. As opposed to Marnie, who actually picks up the phone.

But while I think she cares about Adam for real, her childishness and her selfishness, so aptly highlighted last episode, also belie her whole ‘I’m going to help people’ shtick, and I knew it. 

But Adam…Adam is different. Adam is successful. Adam knows how adult people behave. Adam is resentful of Hannah, sure, partly because he knows she’s immature and impossible and all the things we know too—but also because he misses her. Because she never went back to him, and he thought she would. That’s what all the rage is about. She stuck to her word, and is being ‘better’, even if nobody sees her being better. Even if nobody sees her fruit basket. 

But Adam, who if I’m understanding correctly is also feeling guilt at possibly having let Sample (!) go off with a still-coming-down Laird, has to deal with the rage and frustration of all his ‘success’ and ‘adulthood’ not letting him actually be real enough to face his feelings about Hannah. “We’re done with her!” he keeps screaming, but really, who was arguing that? Because it wasn’t Jessa. Jessa will stew over the Hannah thing but use it to needle and belittle Adam, all ‘I will never forgive you’.  What, Jessa, you have no free will? He kidnapped you?

That’s why Jessa is bullsh*t. I don’t believe anything that comes out of her mouth. But Adam has the misfortune not to be bullsh-t. When he’s this upset, he knows it’s his own screw-up.

Hannah, for the first time in a long time, is riding a series of successes. She’s made a few good decisions in a row (even quitting teaching!). She feels good. She is utterly ignorant of whatever’s bothering anyone who’s not her, and happy with how she is today.

Imagine if she could keep that going? 

What a great season.