Hannah gets negative feedback from her publisher; Marnie, Shoshanna, and Ray attend Charlie's company party
Credit: Jessica Miglio/HBO
S2 E9
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Things aren’t going well for anyone on Girls lately, and this week, “On All Fours” saw most of the characters reverting to old, bad habits. Charlie sleeps with Marnie. Hannah uses a Q-tip a little too aggressively. And Adam decides to have a few drinks with his new girlfriend. Even though season 2 began as though our leads were moving on from their season 1 hangups, lately everyone has been stalling and backpedaling.

Charlie’s app company is doing better than ever, and Marnie hasn’t stopped trying to reinsert herself into his life. When Charlie forgets that he’d scheduled lunch with her, he empty-invites her to his company party. Once again, Marnie just takes the invitation at face value. Perhaps she does really think that everyone is delighted by her company, even after the Booth Jonathan fiasco.

At Charlie’s party, Marnie continues her “look at me” bid by taking over the music and singing Kanye West’s “Stronger” to the entire company. It’s awkward and it’s hard to tell whether Allison Williams was playing it for laughs or cringes. For someone who literally just decided that singing is her passion, she’s suddenly very comfortable belting out a tune to her ex-boyfriend and a room full of his employees. Charlie’s not amused, but still decides to have sex with her in his office. Who wants to bet that Marnie loses interest in him by the season finale?

Meanwhile, things aren’t going so well for Hannah. She’s halfway through her month-long contract to write the eBook of her lost generation (was anyone else surprised that it’s only been two weeks?), and she meets up with her publisher (John Cameron Mitchell) to get notes on the pages she’s submitted. He’s not happy. And possibly worse, he’s bored. He tells her that he couldn’t even make it through the pages she did turn in. Hannah’s given him Jane Austen when he wants Anaïs Nin.

You kind of feel for Hannah here. This is her first book, and John Cameron Mitchell might be the most unhelpful publisher/editor in the world. He’s either manic and aloof, or he just doesn’t care to spend any significant time on this project. I actually believe both. Anyway, she’s headed for a bit of a breakdown. Since Jessa left and she kicked Elijah out, Hannah’s been living alone with her own thoughts. Her OCD is back and, on top of everything, she sticks a Q-tip down her ear. This apparently happened to Dunham too.

In her moment of professional turmoil and loneliness, a pantsless Hannah runs into Adam on the street. It’s an uncharacteristically artificial plot device for a show steeped in realism. She doesn’t run away, or call the cops. She’s just happy to see him and comforted by the way he still calls her “kid.” But little does she know that this seemingly harmless interaction would trigger something in Adam.

NEXT: Adam breaks his sobriety…

Last week we met up with Adam at an AA meeting, where he confessed that he’s been tempted lately. Still, the episode ended on a high note for him when he met Natalia (Shiri Appleby) on a blind date, and we hoped that things were looking up for him, as if relationships could cure addiction. But Girls clearly had no intention of making the Adam/Natalia relationship complex or interesting, because uh oh, Natalia likes Sandra Bullock! She also has very specific rules for sex! She’s too conventional for Adam! Anyway, at an engagement party for a friend of Natalia’s, he decides to join her for a drink (immediately after seeing Hannah on the street, an uncharacteristically lazy coincidence). She is somehow totally cool with that despite the fact that her mother is also an alcoholic and she, more than anyone, would probably understand how big a deal it would be for Adam to have a drink.

And then, things just get terrible for them. Adam demands that she crawl to the bed on all fours, and he takes control of the sex. She’s not into it. It was extremely uncomfortable to watch and you almost wondered whether it was supposed to feel like a situation that could very easily turn into a rape. In a weird way, the way the scene was set up — with Adam running in to Hannah and then taking charge the way he would have with her — makes it read as though we’re supposed to empathize with Adam, or make us want Hannah and Adam together because they’re on the same page about sex.

Finally, things aren’t great for Ray and Shoshanna. She tells Ray that she “held hands with a doorman,” but it’s easy to see that she’s done with the relationship and just doesn’t know how to end it.

We have one episode to go in season 2, and so far, things have been kind of all over the place — tonally and narratively. How do you want them to close things out? Will Hannah have a breakdown, or will she pull through and write the book? Will Shoshanna have the guts to break up with Ray? Should she? And how are we going to leave Adam?

Quote of the Night:

“I’ve been known to dabble in the Macintosh Arts.”


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Four young ladies live in New York City, and it’s SO hard.
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