Feb 28, 2014

TV Recap: Girls - "Incidentals"

Lena Dunham
Welcome back to the TV Recap column for the Golden Globe-winning HBO series Girls. Join me as I capture the exploits of the Lena Dunham-penned series as it ventures through another season of scandal, accidents, and life in general. Will it be another great season for the Tiny Furniture director and her growing cast of friends? Tune back every Friday to find out more.

What is strange is that with the amazing first half of the season, Girls managed to produce some of its best episodes to date. With an assured sensibility, it managed to explore how communication breaks up as people follow their own paths. Even in the problematic "Beach House," it managed to explore the themes with some clarity and ingenious concepts. However, despite being a story within the realm of the show's "continuity," this particular episode felt more like a building block. It feels like part one to a bigger story, which with four episodes to go, could go either way. However, let's hope that more happens in those episodes than this one.
The episode begins with Hannah (Lena Dunham) waiting around for an interview with Patti LuPone at a local diner. Adam (Adam Driver) is at a callback for his audition and is nervous that he won't get the part because everyone in the waiting room looks like better versions of himself. During this time, Adam meets Desi (Richard Moss-Bachrach), who is also auditioning for the same stage revival. When Adam gets the good news, he discovers that Desi has also been accepted and quickly befriends him.
Upon discovering that LuPone cancelled on her, Hannah decides to track her down where she is practicing for a show with her piano player. Hannah interviews her for an interview about osteoporosis, which LuPone does not have but flubs her way through the interview just to meet the criteria. Adam calls her to state the good news during this time. However, when Hannah shares the news with LuPone, she jumps into a tirade about the potential for Adam to be promiscuous and sleep with anyone that wants him. After all, the elephant man had a lot of sex. 
Meanwhile, Jessa (Jemima Kirke) is really bored with her job selling baby clothing. She tries to flag down the delivery guy for a conversation, but fails to, thus growing more aggravated. Suddenly, Jasper (Richard E. Grant) shows up after tracking her down. She tries to ignore her former rehab friend's desire to abandon ship and go live life. However, the two end up enjoying each other's company and they are soon having at it with their old familiar conversations.
Marnie (Allison Williams) meets Soojin (Greta Lee) at a yogurt shop. She has been doing well since she was last seen. Feeling free, she is deciding to open up her own art gallery. Marnie wants to interfere and help get the thing running. Things are going well between them. However, when she meets up with Ray (Alex Karpovsky), she decides to break up with him when he wants to move their relationship forward. This sends her into a manic spiral and leaves Ray confused, as all he wanted was commitment from somebody who never gave him it.
Upon receiving a check for her work at GQ, Hannah is pleased to see that she has gotten a sufficient amount of money that she can spend on whatever she wants. With the help of Elijah (Andrew Rannells), she finds a fancy hotel room in which she invites everyone over to celebrate Adam's success. Elijah and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) are really into Desi and want to get closer to him, especially as he begins singing songs and pulling everyone in with his bohemian drifter ways.
Elijah talks to Adam about his jealousy for Adam's success. He wishes that he could go on Broadway and have all of those experiences. Adam doesn't care. Jessa shows up with Jasper, who is so manic that he eventually pulls Shoshanna into another room to have a conversation about her schooling. This only results in Jessa demanding that they go score some cocaine, which she had stashed back at her workplace. Marnie shows up a little distraught about everything that has happened, but eventually moves on by joining in the fun.
The episode ends with Hannah and Adam in a bath together talking about the upcoming months. Adam claims that he will be loyal and not hurt her in any way. This is followed by him reciting his lines in an authoritative accent.

Rating: 3 out of 5

Left to right: Adam Driver, Allison Williams,
Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Zosia Mamet
All I can say is that it is great to see Adam finally have some story where he isn't just a creep. It has taken him two seasons to get to a level of success and to see him reach something above almost every other character's current state is phenomenal. There is something fascinating about the motivational tactics of Adam, and we know from "Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too" that he is an actor with potential. It is also great that we are introduced even further into the artist world with Desi, who could be an interesting counterpoint for Adam in the season going forward.
The only question is what will likely happen with Adam's upcoming venture? We have seen that he is impossible to be compatible with too many other people. At best, he will end up having them come back to yell at him. I do worry that Adam is essentially going to be the character who ruins his own good fortune. It could just be the mark that every other character has received on the series and it is now his turn. However, if his skill and passion prior to this episode is any indication, he'll stand some chance. However, it all comes down to whether or not he is willing to collaborate, which is a very weak section for him.
I do wonder what that means for Hannah however, as that will mean that she is paranoid about Adam cheating on her. Could she end up growing paranoid and with a writing schedule that doesn't look to be going all that well, can she cope with not ventilating her ideas properly? She has also come into power of a higher paycheck and can do damage with it. She may be supportive, but much like this episode suggests, she is also capable of being very paranoid.
More than anything, this is an episode about setting up. I do feel that it serves similar purpose to that of "Females Only." It has ideas that it wants to convey, but it doesn't really work without a secondary component. We are introduced to Desi, who seems nice enough, but we don't yet know if he is going to end up being on the good or bad side. He is almost more melancholy than optimistic, and that is fine for the time being. His vague appearance here serves as the gateway to a world of uncertain future.
On another uncertain future end, how soon until Jessa ends up back in rehab? At first, I found Jasper to be a charming character who was wanting someone to talk to. Then he becomes this pervert who wants to have sex with her and demands all this attention. He is even at risk of sabotaging her job with this whole cocaine snafu. I do feel like Jasper is manipulating Shoshanna as well and that is only to murk her success trajectory. I do feel like Shoshanna's biggest problems at the moment regard her not really having a voice of reason and instead seeking it from people who aren't giving her any respect.
At best, I can say that Marnie is finally getting some story. On the bright side, the ridiculous relationship with Ray is over. I don't feel like even the writers accepted that it was a reasonable goal. It was ridiculous and contrived. Luckily she now at least has some things going for her with the return to the art gallery world. Even if it doesn't work out, it will at least give her something to do besides complain for most of the episodes. She is probably the most far behind of every character on the show. Here's hoping she actually makes up for lost time by the end of the season.
I do admit that it is hard for me to outright hate an episode of Girls. This one is probably the weakest of the season, though even then it is a chance for Adam to be more human and have a triumphant moment. I do hope that the series hasn't taken a turn and this is going to be the chance to a weaker final act. If season two revealed anything, it is that the unexpected is always bound to happen on this show. Will Hannah lose her job? Is Adam going to get too big for his britches? And will everyone else end up on drugs? Oh, how this season remains fascinating and I cannot wait to get answers.

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