Mar 27, 2015

TV Recap: Girls - "Home Birth"

Left to right: Adam Driver and Lena Dunham
Welcome back to another round of Girls TV Recap. Following the amazing third season, this series will focus on season four and the perils that Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her friends face as she goes to Iowa. What new experiences will she face? What will everyone else do while they wait for her inevitable return? Come back every Friday for the latest recap including thoughts and predictions for each episode. Will it remain one of the best comedies on TV? You'll have to read to find out.

Here we are at the end of the fourth season of Girls. With the show now a seasoned veteran, it is important to note the things that we are willing to put up with its characters. It has been an odd one full of what seems like more irresponsible and out there behavior than in the past. There have also been more monotonous moments that don't exactly feel progressing of the plot. However, in the season finale, it manages to serve not only as one of the series' best, but a reminder that the show could still work when it gives all of its characters something to do.
Upon teaching a class, Hannah has a panic attack. Fran (Jake Lacy) goes out to console her and she opens up to him about all of her problems. This is the first step in a long line of events throughout the episode. From here, Hannah goes to Caroline (Gaby Hoffman) and Laird's (Jon Glaser) apartment where they are experiencing a home birth. It goes fine, but nobody seems to agree with their method of doing it themselves, especially because they don't seem to be doing too well. Adam (Adam Driver) and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) show up to help. However, they eventually decide that they need to take the pregnant Caroline to the hospital, to which they walk her yelling, cursing pregnant down the street.
Meanwhile Marnie (Allison Williams) and Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) are about to perform a high profile show for Marcos (Spike Jonze). However, after Desi talks to Ray (Alex Karpovsky), he becomes intimidated when he finds out that Ray thinks that he undermines Marnie and is a bad person. He is a douche compared to Imagine Dragons instead of the opposite, which is what Desi thinks. Ray eventually convinces her to perform when he states that Desi wasn't right for her. The show goes very well and is the first time that her performing hasn't ended horribly.
Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) becomes conflicted when she finds out that she can get a new job position. The issue is that she would have to move to Tokyo, Japan. She consults Hermie (Colin Quinn) for advice. He claims that if Scott (Jason Ritter) truly loves her, he will be waiting when he comes back. She decides to take the job on these grounds. During her moment of revelation, Jessa reveals that she wants to be a psychiatrist, especially since she helped Laird through the traumatic parenting moment.
As the baby is born, Hannah and Adam are enjoying some alone time in the hospital. Adam confesses about Mimi-Rose and that he was personally confused. He pleads for her to take him back. It doesn't go over so well and Hannah rejects him. This isn't out of anger, but personal belief that she has outgrown him. Things don't work out. However, with a new baby born, everyone is happy and Hannah shares the news with her parents (Peter Scolari and Becky Ann Baker). She is told that she shouldn't be held down by one man. Six months later, she is happily dating Fran.


Rating: 5 out of 5

Left to right: Driver, Dunham and Jemima Kirke
And with that, season four of Girls comes to an end. Overall, I am proud to say that I was right on one front. The whole theme of the season was about the disconnection between the past and the future. However, where I saw it going more blatantly as everyone breaking up, it was only in small chunks, specifically the ones that mattered the most. As a new life is brought onto the show, it feels like an old one is being put to rest. Hannah and Adam will go onto their separate lives for good with this cathartic moment. Unlike in the past, such as season one or midway through season two, where they have temporary lapses, this one feels honest notably because Hannah isn't the same person that she was when those first few moments happened. She had no identity other than to be a voice of a generation who skidded by from job to job without any real idea of what she wanted. Her life was full of mistakes and errors that played for comedic gold. 
Though it is interesting to think of where the show can go, especially since they presume that Fran is going to be the new boyfriend figure. The question is going to be if it is long term or simply on par with the Donald Glover cameo in which he existed more as an expository piece for two episodes. Still, it is odd to see the show quickly run through two Community stars as lovers for a few episodes. Frankly, Gillian Jacobs was a lot more interesting, if just because her work in "Ask Me My Name" is rather stark and honest in a different way. Still, is Fran going to put up with Hannah? It does seem like there's something to the six months later tag that ends the episode. The most notable of which is that Hannah looks genuinely happy. However, let's not forget how Fran has seen Hannah for most of the season, which is kind of irresponsible. Maybe there was something to those moments.
Most of all, it is cathartic to see that Hannah has finally "grown up." It is tough really to say because she hasn't done it gracefully. She had a student get her tongue pierced and hasn't necessarily displayed the brightest of behaviors. However, her precocious attitudes are beginning to seem more assured as she watches people who still need to grow as people, specifically the new parents of Caroline and Laird, whose choice to home birth remains a rather ridiculous predicament to everyone but them. It is a moment that seems to call out the absurdity of finding an identity that doesn't have any productive sense. Same could be said for Desi, whose financial woes have plagues the season and have caused Marnie's story to suffer greatly.
However, the one odd thing is that Jessa finally had something of value to do this week as she figures out that she wants to be a psychiatrist. This is fine and she plays to authority with ease. Still, with her track record of being associated with bad events in the past, such as the elderly woman whom she accidentally overdoses on pills, it is nice to see her finally have something that isn't detrimental to the story. It isn't that Jessa is inherently an awful character. There's something admirable about showing a recovering addict character, but she has been dragging along more ridiculously than normal this season and thankfully has been put in her place for it. I am glad that has gotten something to do this time.
It may be important to note that Marnie has been a decent singer for awhile now, but has never had the right outlet. She sang drunkenly at her ex-boyfriend's celebration party. She performed with a man who would undermine her input. This performance, with a great cameo by Spike Jonze, is cathartic to those who have been waiting for the music career to seem like more than a joke for Marnie in which she suffers. More than anything, this is the cathartic moment for her and hopefully one that won't lead to more monotonous and self-destructive behavior. It is also great to see Ray spreading advice to his friends in a bit of rage that pays off in profound ways. I miss the Ray that confidently told people off. It is great to see him back and I wish him luck as a politician.
Overall, I am satisfied by where the season ended up and I think that almost all of the characters were effectively used. There was even a packed house with guest stars. It was ridiculous. However, the Girls universe has expanded and I feel like it gets a little tricky at times to remember that Girls is plural and not just about Hannah. That has been an issue, especially with some weeks feeling rather inconsequential for at least half of its characters. They are growing up, but we don't need to see them not doing it. While we get one last moment of self-defeat from Hannah's mother before the credits roll, it is a reminder that some things are unpredictable and that we need to cherish our youth instead of being with someone we don't love. I think that Lena Dunham knew this all along and while I feel like she could have done a better job on some fronts, she did manage to dovetail everything together nicely.

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