UK VOD TV review: Girls Season 4, Episode 5
End of an era9
There’s nothing in our eye. IT’S ALLERGIES!9
Jo Bromilow | On 16, Feb 2015Reading time: 3 mins
Ah, finally. There it is. Both the very worst day of Hannah’s life (that was on the cards since the end of Season 3) and, paradoxically, the very best episode of Girls so far this season. Thanks, Lena Dunham – we knew you had it in you.
The crushing final scene of the previous episode sets this up to be the hour in which all of the characters get to take the stage and offer their own solution to Hannah’s painful problem – of the emotional variety, unlike some of her previous problems – resulting in an episode in which each of the cast is distilled into their most basic essence. From a straightforward Shoshanna and a confusingly cruel Jessa (if you have a friend this destructive, we are in awe that you’ve kept their number, although given this episode sees her deliver one of the most languid yet cutting insults, we understand she’s great for comic purposes) to the Marnie we all knew was in there somewhere, Hannah’s friends descend in turn on the Brooklyn den – like a smaller, grungier version of Monica’s apartment in Friends but with worse food, even more insecurity and way kookier décor. Said den has been a centre of drama for the four girls over the last three seasons. How will the new series of events affect their relationship to this location, which has, like many shows about New York, been pivotal to the show’s identity?
Before we get into the second half of the season, we have a fair bit to get through before we can close this door. It’s fair to say Hannah’s life has come crashing down quite spectacularly around her; struggling to find her feet in Iowa, she flees back to the one place she felt she could call home to find that that it has been invaded and her friends have done something crueler than desert her: they have dared to have lives without her.
It’s an untold challenge of later adulthood, that one day you’ll grow out of your friends. “What did you think was going to happen,” shouts Jessa at Hannah, “when you left for two years?” She makes an excellent point, not just about the group, but about the series as a whole. Girls has, for so long, pivoted around the four friends in New York, with their dynamic at times being the only thing that alleviates the strain of their individual, grating personalities. Now that Hannah has voluntarily taken herself out of the equation, the balance of the show has shifted, leaving the four girls having to fend more for themselves. When we graduate and either move away from our university cities or stay behind in them, the first few painful years trying to maintain the old friendships can be the hardest, yet we cling to them like comfort blankets. When Hannah left for Iowa, she never let go.
But it looks like, since someone important has made that decision for her, she now has to. After a season largely bereft of the quiet but expansive presence of Adam, he and Hannah finally share one of the most poignant scenes the show has ever produced (for the recently dumped or easily upset, either avoid or have ice cream and a best friend handy). While their relationship has gone through numerous ups and downs, and our feelings towards Hannah’s lanky lothario have boomeranged from being creeped out to wanting one of our own, this scene, where we should be wanting to knock his head into a wall, just helps cement him firmer in our hearts. How will Hannah survive this complete destabilisation of her world? The second act is soon to begin.
Girls Season 4 is on Sky Atlantic at 10pm. Not got Sky? You can stream it live – or catch up on-demand on NOW TV, as part of £7.99 monthly subscription, no contract. Seasons 1 to 3 are also available until the end of January 2015.
Photo: ©Girls SM, under licence from Home Box Office, Inc.