The Shoshanna-goes-to-Japan episode has long been awaited, ever since the very idea was teased in last year’s season finale, which shipped her off to work in the overseas office of a start-up. Here is Shoshanna, a girl who talks fast, thinks slow, and, to borrow characterization from Jessa, was already a walking cartoon before she arrived in the very animated nation. How would a spoiled upper-crust sorority girl like Shoshanna fare in Japan — and on her own, no less?
Pretty damn perfectly, as it turns out. Shoshanna’s life in Japan is a manic pixie dream, grounded with adroit adjustment to a world of futuristic showers, alarm clocks with facial expressions, and apartments decorated with the kind of colors you only see in a Crayola 120-count box. She commutes with ease, has her favorite food hot spots, and flounces around her office with social aplomb as if she’s been there for years. If there were a puzzle piece missing from Shoshanna’s aimless life in New York, she’s not only found in Japan, but she’s started a whole new puzzle entirely. It’s all going great for Shoshanna, and why shouldn’t it? She’s not near her toxic non-friends anymore.
She even has a crush: her very attractive coworker Yoshi, who lightly flirts with her through endearing English — “Did you have pleasure on this weekend?” At the company bathhouse (?), Shoshanna’s friends tell her Yoshi likes her. Yoshi’s friends tell him the opposite, reasoning that if she had any feelings for him, their hook-up would have already happened by now since “American chicks don’t hold back.” (On a related note, I’d love the inevitable Etsy shirt that says “F— F— Konichiwa,” if anyone can please make that happen.) Yoshi respects that Shoshanna has a boyfriend back home… but she’s curiously declined to show any pictures of him, leaving his existence up to the imagination.
But Shoshanna’s honeymoon in Japan comes crashing down rather abruptly when her U.S.-based boss Abigail (Aidy Bryant) FaceTimes in to fire her with literally the worst termination phrases ever: “There’s fewer jobs, and now it means fewer of you.” “We’re managing you out.” “It’s like a very light ending of a relationship and a business partnership and like a salary.” It’s absolutely hilarious but heartbreaking, since Shoshanna has no desire to go back to America — partly because of the great life she’s built here, and partly because of the insignificant one she escaped there.
Shoshanna laments the sudden lay-off with her friends, who assume she’s happy to return home to her future husband Scott (remember him? The soup salesman who Shosh actively didn’t want to see during Marnie’s wedding lest she rock the boat of a long-distance status quo). Shoshanna reveals the exact opposite feeling and takes the opportunity to unspool some of the lies she’s told her friends (like how her parents aren’t wealthy and how she DOESN’T actually know Ashley Tisdale).
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Shosh calls Scott, who answers with a “Well hello, kitty,” and Shoshanna’s reaction suggests that Scott has done this for months and still thinks it’s the funniest thing in the world. (I’m sure he alternates between that and some kind of belabored Pikachu reference.) Scott is, of course, delighted to hear she’s coming back, and he’s a perfectly supportive boyfriend when it comes to empathizing with her layoff. He selfishly suggests she get on a plane immediately: “Come back to me and I will take such good care of you and we’ll just move forward,” he coos. It’s a great thing to hear from a boyfriend if you love him. Except, Shoshanna doesn’t.
She texts Yoshi a “what are you doing?” and they go to a concert, a club, a weird kinky sex house called the Trump Room — all of which lend themselves to Shoshanna finally getting very own version of Hannah’s Icona Pop “I Love It” club night in season 2. After Yoshi defends her from his friends’ ribbing and escorts her outside, the two kiss, making good on a promising relationship that tragically has to end.
The next morning, Shoshanna’s packing her suitcase, ostensibly still forced to leave. She listens to a voicemail from Scott, who can’t wait to see her home. She ascends onto her balcony, contemplating life on a candy-colored horizon — and then, we cut to Scott, waiting at the airport, throwing flowers into the trash when Shoshanna doesn’t show up. Sorry, Ross — this Rachel did not get off the plane. In fact, she didn’t even get on it.
NEXT: One relationship blossoms, while another gets demolished