After a week spent mostly in Hannah-land (a.k.a. Iowa, for the time being) the rest of the girls are back. Jessa (stupidly) is taking on the police; Marnie (awesomely, as discussed in the video below) is taking on Desi’s crap; Shoshanna (also stupidly) is taking on her potential employer; and Hannah (drunkenly) is taking on her fellow MFA students. Dubious judgement calls abound—not that that’s necessarily surprising.
Let’s begin with the mess that is Jessa Johansson. We first see Jessa this episode being her usual blasé self—hey, there’s her butt—during a video chat with Hannah. Hannah, naturally, is curious as to whether she’s heard anything from Adam. Jessa says she hasn’t really been talking to him, but it turns out she’s been spending quite a lot of time with Adam at AA meetings, and they are in fact quite chummy. Adam even complains to her about the status of his relationship with Hannah. He asks if he can throw out Hannah’s refrigerator magnets. (“This whole thing is why I hate relationships between white people,” Jessa responds.) Adam and Jessa’s relationship is so close that they even have inside references, too. Jessa asks him about how his nights have been with “whatsherface.” Adam, somewhat sheepishly, replies that it’s good. Who is “whatsherface”?
Even though Jessa is now sober—her sober birthday is coming up—she still sees herself as a rule-flouting free-spirit. When she and Adam are walking down the street, she needs to pee, so she proceeds to go in the street, mocking the idea of “stepping into a restaurant” to do her business. Adam tries to alert her to the fact that a cop car is pulling up, but she doesn’t notice in time. The cops write her up, but Jessa sees this as her f–k-the-police moment, and she rips up the summons. She gets arrested, as does Adam, who leaps to her defense.
Look, if you’re going to rebel against authority, maybe be more justified in your unlawful actions. Peeing in the street is peeing in the street. It’s gross and not a legitimate reason to stand up to the man. Her arrest also isn’t “stop and frisk,” as Jessa, reaching an entirely new level of cultural cluelessness, tells Ray, who is summoned to help get her and Adam out of jail. Jessa thinks she has Adam on her side as she talks about how she hates cops, but he’s not buying her crap. “Grow up, you’re a bad influence,” he tells her.
He says he doesn’t need any more friends, and starts to walk away. “Adam, I do. Please. Adam, I really need you to be my friend,” she says, allowing herself to be vulnerable for once. I’m interested in the furthering of this pairing of Adam and Jessa, as a way to explore their shared addiction storyline, which has always been underdeveloped.
Marnie is at an impasse with Desi, who is treating her like his girlfriend—(he puts his hand on her butt at Starbucks)—without actually letting her be his girlfriend. She’s complaining about this to Ray, as he untangles wires. Do Marnie and Ray just hang out now? Apparently. And he’s being the supportive friend, telling her that Desi is a “Svengali.” Marnie asks if Desi’s decision not to commit is “cosmic retribution” for what she and Ray did to Shoshanna. Ray does not like the injection of “witchcraft” into the conversation, but says no. (We can talk about my undying love for “old-man Ray” at another time.) Marnie, meanwhile, has one of her self-centered moments saying, “yeah, you’re right, I’m way more upset than she ever was.” But after some truly very sweet words from Ray about how Desi’s “massive character flaw” is that he hasn’t chosen Marnie, she mounts Ray and kisses him. She asks if it’s okay, and he responds yes.
But despite continuing whatever she has going on with Ray. Marnie is still moony over Desi, and this comes to a breaking point during a meeting about their music. Desi plays with her hair and gazes upon her, while they listen to their music. They like it. But when one of the people in the room asks how long they’ve been together, it gets icy fast. Desi explicitly explains that he has a girlfriend, even mentioning her name and profession. Marnie, freaking out, asks for a cigarette.
Outside, however, Marnie finally gives it to Desi. She tells him she can’t do what they are doing anymore, and asks him, “We’re building a future together, a musical future together, so why the f–k do you still have a girlfriend who isn’t me?” Desi, who looks more and more pathetic every time we see him, lamely tries to justify his actions, and encourages her to explore and figure out what she wants. “The problem with your plan is that I already know what I want. You are not offering it to me.”
The job search at first seems to be going splendidly for Shoshanna, who is doing some Carrie Bradshaw madness with her necklaces as she interviews at Ann Taylor Loft. She and her potential boss gab about how much fun they had during their interview. “I feel like we’re just totally grabbing drinks, like we were best friends and we were talking about boys,” Shoshanna sputters. The boss offers her the job, and Shosh looks thrilled. But when the boss says she’ll be seeing Shosh soon, Shosh’s face crumples. “Actually, I don’t know if you will,” Shosh says. She just considered this a practice interview to “hone [her] skills, test the firmness of [her] handshake and the walkability of these heels.” The employer, rightfully, is livid. Bad move, Shosh.
Hannah is back to her old habits of procrastinating about writing instead of actually writing, while Elijah is actually the more engaged member of the Iowa community. He in fact can’t watch The Torkelsons with Hannah because he’s helping someone with a chapbook. The two do reunite at a poet party, where Hannah is the outsider, and Elijah is the resident photographer, calling out to a girl “show me those diminutive little nips.” (His reason for taking up photography? “I just realized I got so good at taking selfies I wasn’t feeling challenged anymore. And then I thought, what would happen if I turned the camera around?”) Hannah is aimless in the place where she finally shouldn’t be aimless, but instead of writing all she wants to do is “Google the one month when Woody Harrelson and Glenn Close were a couple.” (Side note: I’ve always been intrigued by the Ted Danson-Whoopi Goldberg coupling and am excited to become fascinated with this tidbit about a Cheers alum.) Perhaps Hannah is wavering in her determination to make it as a writer, however. When she asks Elijah what it was like when he gave up dancing he says it was “the biggest relief in the world.”
Hannah is also not making any friends in her program, but this time she makes some sense. At the party the fellow fiction writers lambast blogs that get turned into books and The Fault in Our Stars. “You guys sound so old, and I don’t get why we’re so judge-y about popular writing. I write one story with a blow job, and suddenly I’m Fifty Shades of Grey girl,” Hannah, blue drink in hand, says. That prompts some more put-downs from her classmates, including one from Jeffrey (Peter Mark Kendall), who says that some stories about blow jobs have “literary merit.” D. August proceeds to list works from male writers, and Hannah calls him out. She further lays into him after he calls her “hysterical,” pointing out how gendered that term is.
Hannah then proceeds to systematically attack each of her fellow writers, pointing out how they too can be pigeonholed. She calls Jeffrey a “rich, whiny, white guy;” she calls Chester (who is wearing a Beyoncé-esque SURFBOARD sweatshirt) a “tragically hip gaysian, who is writing manic pixie dream girl pseudo Weetzie Bat bullshit;” she says Chandra was “blessed with an exotic name,” so she gets to be “the first and foremost authority on third world issues here in Iowa.” It goes on. “I don’t want to be the only one that’s honest. I want us to be honest together,” she says. Her speech is followed by silence and she exits the situation by trying to flip over the couch.
When she exits the party she finds her bike, which she excessively locked up, has been stolen. Again. She gets a ride home from a Mennonite in a horse-drawn buggy.
– Note the woman lying prostrate on the bed in the poet party.
– “Being Dakota Fanning is amazing you get so many free boots,” according to Hannah.
– Marnie wrote like half of Hannah’s papers in college.
– Ray does work to “The Oogum Boogum Song.” I love Ray.