Mar 15, 2014

TV Recap: Girls - "Role-Play"

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.


Much to my dismay, it may seem like the big arc coming towards the end of Girls season three isn't about the rise of communication, but the decline. This whole season, we have watched as the series has highlighted the benefits of open-ended conversations that give revelations to tough pasts. However, in the case of Adam (Adam Driver) and Hannah's (Lena Dunham) relationship, it may appear that things are starting to wane again. All of the good will that has started at the beginning of the season is starting to turn by the end of the episode. However, is it possible that the inseparable lovers are now facing a conflict that is likely to ruin their relationship for good? Even if this happened in season one, anything still seems possible, especially now that Adam has gained confidence and self-control.
The episode opens with Hannah out on the town with Joe (Michael Zegen) and his friends. She is drinking and calling up Adam to come join her. This quickly turns south when she vomits and ends up in Joe's tub, being washed off. She is thrown into a bed with a hangover the following morning. The one benefit is that she is in nice clean clothes and presentable to the general public.
Marnie (Allison Williams) is checking out Soojin's (Greta Lee) work-in-progress of an art gallery. When she approaches her about a job, Soojin ends up talking about her big dreams, which includes focusing specifically on art, as taking on too many responsibilities is problematic. She also tells Marnie that if she hires her, it will be as an assistant, which sort of gets under her skin. Later on, Marnie is seen hanging out with Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) discussing music. Desi is checking out lyrics that Marnie wrote, presumably on Ambien, and enjoying the darkness in them. She wants Marnie to let loose and give some raw energy, though she clearly is still intimidated.
Left to righ: Zosia Mamet,
Richard E. Grant, Jemima Kirke,
and Felicity Jones
Jessa (Jemima Kirke) still has Jasper (Richard E. Grant) living with her at Shoshanna's (Zosia Mamet) place. Shoshanna isn't all that happy about it. They end up going to a dinner with Jasper's daughter Dot (Felicity Jones) that doesn't go well. Dot is still convinced that Jasper is a junkie, even if she is using Jessa as proof that he is somehow a better person. Shoshanna even gets defensive, calling Jessa a great person. As the conversation falls apart, Jessa goes outside to smoke, where she confesses to Shoshanna that she is still an addict. 
Meanwhile, after Hannah seeks advice on her relationship from Elijah (Andrew Rannels), she decides to spice up her relationship by doing role-playing. This is instigated after Adam refuses free sexual favors before attending rehearsal. At a bar that night, Hannah becomes an alternate person with blonde hair named Jardaniels, who is bored from her husband's absence. After a few drinks and some thrown together conversation, they begin to have some fun. Hannah runs out when Adam grabs her breasts, causing a scene in the streets outside the bar. This confuses patrons, who try to help her, causing the whole routine to fall apart.
Back at the apartment, Adam is growing confused by the scenario. He recognizes the place and is starting to lose interest. As Hannah undresses into erotic lingerie, they begin to have sex. However, Hannah has lost the plot to her character, which distracts Adam. It causes them to stop having sex and instead have a discussion about their stale relationship. Adam's involvement in the process was spontaneous, where this felt like it was too thought out. It causes them to feel a rift that essentially grows as Adam admits that his recent gig has caused him to feel potential and doesn't want to be bogged down with nonsense. He says that he is going to stay at Ray's until rehearsals are over.


Rating: 4 out of 5

Ebon Moss-Bachrach
Just like that, my big question of where the season's last two upcoming episodes go are possibly answered. In a way, it does feel like a rehash of season one on the grounds that Hannah talks to Elijah which leads to an argument with Adam. The causes are different, but the concept is the same. Except this time Adam is a productive member of society and may be making a name for himself. Meanwhile, Hannah is doing well, but clearly has issues with drinking and finding fire in their romance. She almost feels worried that Adam is leaving her as he gets more popular. At least, with assistance from Elijah, that is what the episode feels like.
I do feel like there is going to be a big arc for the last few episodes. This is notably because that is how things went last season. Admittedly, the show has never been one to follow conventions. However, consider the possibility that with the season having an overall theme of communication, it is quite possible that it will bring it to a bitter end. Adam has been quite the gentlemen this season and while Hannah has become more of a stand-up model, maybe the advice her mother gave her last week is going to foreshadow something bigger. Of course, it is possible that this is another blip in their relationship, especially since this would be the third time that they argued, separated, and got back together. I cannot claim to know what the overall appeal of Adam is week-to-week on whether he is likable or not, but this season has definitely made him sympathetic.
With that said, this episode has an oddly tragic comedy to it. It is a call to more innocent times when they had sex full of creative abuse. Hannah longs for that stimulation. The season has been all about the changes, and it seems like with Hannah's creative writing career not taking off, she is looking for satisfaction in other places. In the guise of somebody else, she finds it, even if she isn't the best performer. It is funny, but we also sense the desperation necessary to make it work. From the erotic lingerie to that brilliant final conversation, there is so much addressing the issue of Adam and Hannah that it makes sense. Sex is as intimate as they get and when that fails, where else is there to go? Surely Adam cannot go back to having sex with other women.
Meanwhile, there is a sense that Marnie is going to have to have some humble eye opening by the end of the season. She hasn't done anything for most of the season, but here she manages to move forward gradually. She may be working for Soojin and getting back into the art world. She may even get a singing career off the ground. As it stands, the singing career is a plot point that came around last season and has been waning between nonexistent and occasionally mentioned. At least with Desi and his connections to professional performing, there is a sense that maybe something will come of it. Either that, or Marnie is using him and things will go south. Either way, she is living in the past by trying to have an art job, though it isn't the worst thing to live in the past for. Still, Soojin's desire to be perceived as young and hip doesn't help the situation, especially since she seems to be something of a dunce.
It is also hard to really determine if Ray's initial perception of Shoshanna should be trusted. We have seen her go through some dumb things this season, specifically a bad boyfriend. She has been a little off the rails, but she seems to be focused on graduating and improving her place in life. This is evident about how she reacts when Jasper makes noise in her apartment. In a way, Shoshanna has become subtly one of the most admirable characters on the show. Even hearing Jessa confess that she is still an addict seems refreshing, considering that it feels like Shoshanna sees that path and doesn't want to go down it.
I do hope that of all things that come true, Shoshanna gets to graduate from college. It feels like the only thing certain at this point. Marnie's singing career doesn't need to take off, but should be getting there. Jessa should probably admit to needing to go back to rehab and losing connections to Jasper. However, she is a flake of a character and could easily persuade her way out. Also, Jasper is an aggressive, persuasive figure that could make things difficult. Nothing is certain about these characters because they have been proven to not always do the right thing, but one that is easiest. However, if following the arc of the season, Shoshanna has been busy trying to pass school the entire time. We should give her credit.
Also, I do have some worries that Elijah is going to lead to some downfall with Hannah. Even if they are friends from way back, it seems like Elijah's biggest success in the show has been upsetting Adam. Whether it was moving in as Hannah's roommate or causing her to do dumb things to revitalize their romance, he has been somewhat disastrous, though well-meaning. 
I do worry that this will mean that Adam becomes minimal in Hannah's life, though it isn't that far fetched if considering the rise of Adam Driver the actor, whose resume included great films like LincolnFrances Ha, and Inside Llewyn Davis in the past two years. With gossip that he may be major in the upcoming Star Wars sequel, this may be a sneaky way of writing his part to its lowest requirement in order to potentially avoid conflicts in the next season. It is unknown if they will break up, but if real life consequences indicate anything, it isn't too far off.

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