If we’ve all calmed down since last week and everyone’s not feeling too bitter after Valentine’s Day, let’s take a seat and discuss this week’s Girls like rational people. Shall we?
The last five minutes of “Cubbies” was hard to swallow. It was the moment that confirmed what we already knew: since Hannah moved to Iowa, the Earth continued to orbit the Sun, Wall Street stayed open, Jessa kept making solid life choices and eventually, Adam paired up with a new girlfriend. She’s played by Gillian Jacobs, and has a totally hatable name, Mimi-Rose Howard, or “a woman’s name and a man’s name with a flower in the middle of it,” according to Hannah. But this week we learn, for the most part, Mimi-Rose makes Adam a really happy guy.
For Girls fans, this—and, I’m struggling to find a better word here—sucked. Adam was a character whose 180-degree turn between Season Two and Three made him a mandatory cast member, a guy whose story we want to see as much as some of our original Girls—say, Jessa. Maybe Shosh.
No, I love Shosh more.
But Adam’s development was almost all for the positive: he went from a dirty-talking, milk-chugging, shirt-deficient brute, to a loving partner—a person who guided Hannah to some sense of normalcy through care and routine. He wasn’t perfect, but you sensed the love shared with Hannah was tremendous and real—which can’t be said for Marnie and Desi, Jessa and her husband, Marnie and Ray. It was hard enough to love the guy and now that I do, the relationship has reached its end point. It sucks. What’s more, Adam isn’t mindlessly content. He’s not just bumping weekend uglies with Mimi-Rose. He’s, according to multiple sources, “happy.” Jessa says he’s opening up in AA meetings.
Oh. Jessa introduced these two, the asshole.
I expected this episode to be a Horvath-thrown pity party, and the first half is pretty much that. Hannah barricades herself in her old bedroom with rescue attempts coming from Shosh, then Jessa, then Marnie. Meanwhile, she’s taking fake showers and judging herself against the accomplishments of this Mimi-Rose. The two renovated the place! Oh, the rando hussy has a studio!? Break-ups suck! As justified as Hannah is throwing a full-blown bummer bash, I don’t necessarily want to view my own friends’ emotional meltdowns for a full half-hour, let alone Ms. Horvath’s.
But the Girls writers did something more touching and—brace for it—mature. In “Sit-In,” we saw Hannah take a jumbo step toward adulthood. Oddly enough, she gets there with the help of Mimi-Rose Howard, whose TED talk-style speeches Hannah watches from her laptop and cellphone. The themes? Love and how it affects personal and professional development. Well isn’t that a delicious coincidence, reader?
After last week’s heavy-handed ending, the comic relief was heavy (and good) in “Sit-In.” I loved Hannah calling Jessa out when she exclaims “The heart wants what the heart wants,” to which Hannah replies, “you do know who you’re quoting, right?” We’re guessing Jessa’s inspiration was more Gomez than Dickinson—and maybe a sly nod to the last episode where Jessa essentially deemed herself unaffected by commercial radio songs. Then there’s Adam’s hilarious realization that Hannah’s going to barricade herself for a long time—“She’s stubborn as shit and likes to be in bed a lot.” Marnie’s bathroom break-in during Hannah’s fake shower.
I kind of love how Hannah’s realizations have unfolded this season. As sad as I am to see Adam and Hannah part, I’d be more upset to see Hannah give up writing because she moved to a new place and felt alienated. Watching Mimi-Rose on these videos, the gears are turning: not only does Hannah have something to go back to in Iowa (if she chooses to go back, which I hope she does), but she has to give Adam the space to figure out what’s right for him.
The events that got us here fit like a jigsaw: Hannah’s been eating cold plates of truth since she moved to Iowa. Hannah watches Mimi-Rose’s career-centric speeches online, which she mocks at first, but I hope I’m not being delusional thinking Hannah took some actual inspiration from the videos. It seemed like her repeat viewings were rooted more in reassurance than self-torture. Then there’s Marnie’s brief, direct talk. She’s oddly logical when confronting Desi-unrelated problems, and she tells Hannah to let Adam go or “he’s going to hate you forever.” And then there’s Shosh and Ray, whose situation we can’t really understand or put a label on quite yet. Really, they’re a physical reminder that breakups happen and people can find each other later. If not romantically, at least on a deeper friendship level. These elements are here not to make us feel good about the breakup, but to feel okay in our acceptance. These things happen, and people bounce back. That’s life.
But Girls just crushed me with the climax of this episode. The part where Hannah and Adam, alone in their old apartment, bury their relationship. She listens to some hard truths—Adam wasn’t happy, they were holding each other down—but most importantly, she’s listening. Hannah isn’t butting in, negating Adam’s statements. Adam is blunt, but not hurtful. Lena Dunham does such a great job showing Hannah’s version of bottling emotions through the thing, which is surprisingly physical. Her lip trembles through the talk, and she bolts out the door as the conversation ends. I sensed there were Hannah-esque questions on the tip of her tongue, probably. But the more-adult Hannah seems to be accepting the situation. She only squeaks out the one question that counts. “Do you love her?” And Adam doesn’t know. Crushing. When the scene shifts, Hannah’s staring at her old New York possessions in a fluorescent-lighted storage unit. As awful as that all was, we also trust that she’s headed toward a good place.
That’s the frustrating thing about reviewing Girls episodically. Hannah and co. can react so ridiculously to their environment, enough to border on caricatures of themselves. But more often than not, these near-adult breakthroughs appear when they count. We don’t realize why Jessa’s being a huge b-hole to Hannah in this season’s first episode. Three weeks later, the extent of her loneliness is revealed. Adam’s coldness at the beginning of the season isn’t resolved until the fifth episode. And after three seasons of self-interest, you sense that Hannah just carried out her first truly selfless act. Adam gets to figure out Adam, now. And Hannah—we’ll see. If I’ve got money on the situation, I expect (and hope for) a return to Iowa. But most importantly, this could represent a huge swing for Hannah. Will this newfound maturity apply to all of life, now? Or was it just applied when it came to letting go of this guy she loved? We’ll see next week.
Tyler is a writer at Paste. His only experience with Girls comes thanks to HBO. You can follow him on Twitter.