Hannah wonders if Fran is actually a 'good guy' while Jessa and Elijah take some risks.
Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO
S5 E4
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Are any of these characters closer to “finally piecing it together” as the season’s tagline suggests? Definitely maybe. This week’s episode finds several characters taking meaningful steps forward in their relationships while the strength of others is put to the test when the males make very inconsiderate decisions.

Continuing last week’s deconstruction of Fran as the nice guy, “Old Loves” opens with Hannah and Fran arguing about their different teaching styles. For a recent assignment, Hannah told her students not to worry about grammar, but Fran objects to this approach and starts correcting the errors on one of her student’s papers. It feels very male privilege-y that Fran would think that’s okay, but then again, who are we and Hannah to judge when she deleted those nude photos off of his phone? This leads to them to fighting over the paper and eventually ripping it.

This little disagreement follows Hannah and Fran to work the next day when the student in question asks Hannah what happened to her paper. And, in a very Hannah-like move, Hannah drags the girl to Fran’s classroom and interrupts his class to argue about the assignment again; however, this time she’s using her student as a prop. It’s a whole mess of inappropriateness going on that naturally ends with the student running off in tears.

Things aren’t going smoothly for any of the shows other couples (save Elijah and Dill, which we’ll get to soon). First, there’s Jessa and Adam. Jessa has been avoiding Adam since last week, so he decides to show up at her all-women’s AA meeting. Again, Jessa tries to shut him down because of Hannah, which angers him, and he points out that if Hannah were in her spot, she would take whatever she wants. Basically, Jessa is less scared about hurting Hannah’s feelings and is more scared about what getting into this relationship means because these aren’t the healthiest people in the world.

Meanwhile, Marnie returns home after spending time with her mother and is greeted with a middle finger by one of her neighbors, who is basically a surrogate for the us, the viewers. In fact, all of her neighbors kind of hate her right now, and she finds out why when she enters her apartment and sees that Desi has started building a wall in the middle of their apartment — you know, that normal thing people do without asking the person they live with. Marnie said she wanted more space, but Desi took that to mean she wanted more privacy to like browse through podcasts, hence the wall. It’s actually a similar dynamic to Hannah’s conflict with Fran and shakes Marnie out of the illusion she had just minutes ago when she annoyingly corrected one of her neighbors (played by Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s Vella Lovell) that Desi is actually her husband now.

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Needing to escape from the men in their lives, both Marnie and Hannah show up at Jessa’s apartment. Jessa makes it clear she doesn’t have time for them since she’s studying, but neither of them care since they’re taken up in their old problems. As Marnie browses the Old Loves Tumblr — a blog dedicated to reminding you about celebrity couples you may have forgotten about, like Cher and Val Kilmer — Hannah wonders if all relationships have finite life span, like Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson.

“I don’t even know what’s going on with you and Fran, but I’m assuming he’s right,” Marnie says, in a great moment in an episode filled of superb writing.

But Hannah fights back and says that Fran is only seemingly a good guy (which reminds me of Netflix’s Love). “The worst thing about Fran is that he has this prescribed idea about how I should act in a given situation, and when I don’t fulfill his expectations, he judges me,” Hannah explains to her girls. (This also feels like a meta jab at some of Girls‘ detractors.) Unfortunately, Marnie learns the wrong lesson from this and starts believing this is what she’s been doing to Desi, when, in fact, it’s what he does to her.

NEXT: Jessa and Elijah learn to stop denying themselves

So, Marnie runs home to apologize to Desi. “You are a brilliant, creative genius,” she says to him. “If I have ever made you feel otherwise, that is on me.” It’s an infuriating exchange but, honestly, very in character for Marnie. And, so they have make-up sex as they call each other perfect and Desi struggles to remove his Ryan Atwood costume (white tank top).

Without Marnie there, Jessa and Hannah’s friendship starts to implode. In her attempt to mind Hannah’s feelings by not entering into a relationship with Adam, Jessa ends up being meaner than usual and hurting her feelings. While they’re out for ice pudding, Jessa lets Hannah know she’s annoyed that she had to stop studying to comfort Hannah through this latest crisis. Obviously, Jessa’s problems run much deeper than this and she hates having to care so much about Hannah’s feelings at all, especially when it comes to Adam. In classic Girls fashion, Hannah takes this argument to a place it doesn’t need to go and suggests that maybe they shouldn’t be friends anymore before storming off.

Meanwhile, Elijah goes on a date with the Anderson Cooper-like Dill (Corey Stoll). Their dinner is rather adorable, and we find out cute things about Dill, like how the last time he was nervous was when he was in second grade. Dill notices that Elijah keeps looking at the door, and Elijah admits he thought he would be meeting some of Dill’s friends that night but says he’s okay if that’s not what this kind of relationship is. “You shouldn’t be,” Dill tells him as his friends actually do show up. It’s kind of like Elijah is learning to want more from a relationship than he has before.

Cue a very romantic and un-Girls like montage of Dill and Elijah in Times Square together. As the camera moves around them, Elijah allows himself to start falling for Dill. At several points, Dill invites Elijah to join him as he takes selfies with his adoring fans, indicating that, at least right now, Dill wants Elijah to be part of his life.

Following her argument with Hannah, Jessa heads to Adam’s apartment in tears and declares “I’ve wanted this for a long time.” Like Elijah, she’s deciding to not hold herself back, throw all caution to the wind, and dive into this romantic pit with Adam. The show draws some parallels between Jessa and Adam and Elijah and Dill by jumping in between both couples having not-perfect sex despite how much emotion there is. Even after Jessa and Adam have objectively bad sex, it’s clear, as she rests her head on his chest, Jessa is going to buy into whatever this is becoming.

These scenes of couples coming together are juxtaposed with Hannah and Fran, who are sitting working at home with their backs to each other and in complete silence.


“Since when are you ever in f—— Tribeca? The only reason to come here is to pickpocket a yuppie.” —Adam, wondering why Jessa went to this all-women’s AA meeting in Tribeca

“You need eat?” —an example of the kind of texts Adam sends Jessa

“Spiritually, how am I supposed negotiate with a society that rewards those shaggy-haired dickholes? Tell me, ’cause I can’t. I don’t know how to.” —Ray, complaining about Helvetica again

“Listen Fran, proper English is a joke. In 10 years we’re all going to be robots who speak Chinese.” —Hannah, explaining to Fran why he’s wrong for carrying on about her student’s poor grammar

Marnie: People who work on things stay together. Otherwise, you’re gonna end up alone like Cher.

Hannah: Can’t I end up alone but not like Cher?

Jessa: You’re already like Cher.

Hannah: I’m going to choose to take that as a compliment.

“You’re going to wake up one day and realize you’ve wasted your entire life on dumb websites.” —Jessa, responding to Hannah complaining that she couldn’t look at another website.

Episode Recaps

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