“Girls is so funny this season!” is what I’ve been telling everyone who has stopped watching Girls. And it is! Even a couple weeks later, the memory of Desi screaming “bitches and c–ts!” through a broken window makes me laugh. This episode, the season’s fourth, had its funny moments, too — Marnie’s attempt to act her way through sex with Ray, for example — but, by its end, was overwhelmingly sad. Not even I’m-in-so-much-pain-from-my-two-hour-massages sad (hey, Marnie), the kind we’re used to seeing on Girls. No, this was pure I’m-going-to-deal-with-this-by-eating-a-handful-of-chocolate-chips (hey, me) sad.
So let’s start from the beginning. Ray’s having a tough time. He doesn’t know about Marnie’s affair with Desi, but he can probably guess that something is up, both by her lack of enthusiasm during sex and by the weird thing she says while he’s still inside her: “I wanna die inside the mouth of a lion with you. That way we can be together forever, even in the moment of our own death. Your death, and my death. Right?” When he doesn’t respond, she’s upset, claiming she would literally die for someone to say something like that to her. Judging by her attachment to it, she probably scribbled it in her journal one night as a potential song lyric or something and thought, “Ah, yes. This is what I’ll reward Ray with the next time he comes!”
But the only reward Ray wants (well, aside from sex, I guess) is going out with Marnie. He wants to grab dumplings and beer and just talk with her, and she keeps flaking. He wants a relationship; she seemingly wants to be out of one. It’s relatively easy for her to pretend that everything’s okay when he’s f—ing her from behind. Sitting across from him at a crowded restaurant, though? That’s when things get scary. That’s when she has to face what’s really going on.
She lies and says the whole dumplings-and-beer thing is her “ideal plan” before claiming she has plans that night. Then she goes on and on about should she take an Uber or the train as Ray zones out, probably because he’s realizing, What the hell am I doing? He likes her and he loves her and she… is spending the evening in couple’s therapy with her ex-husband.
You know, I don’t want to be the person who says Marnie is the worst. Yeah, she’s not someone I’d want to be in any sort of relationship with, but I think dismissing her as the worst isn’t giving the character enough credit. Even in this Ray situation, I can kind of defend her — maybe she does love him and that’s why she’s not letting go despite her very obvious desire to not be with him, a complicated feeling that’s even more complicated to take outside of your head and address. Then she meets up with Desi for a counseling session, and I’m suddenly Team Marnie Is the Worst.
She tells Desi he needs to get back to work, and he thinks she’s enabling his addiction, that she’s ignoring his need for recovery. She’s making the entire session and his entire addiction all about her in every way but the way it should be: He partly blames her for his problems, and she says he can’t do that, even though she can blame him for stress that is so crushing she has to get hours-long massages just to deal with it. What. An. A–hole. The counselor then calls her a narcissist, because, well, she is.
Over at the coffee shop, Ray’s still in a fog, basically pushing out a customer, Bobby, who’s trying to tell him a story. Seconds later, Bobby’s dead on the sidewalk outside and Ray’s left contemplating life. Hermie (Colin Quinn) is there, too, getting real about how Ray needs to listen to people and stop wasting his potential. “I’m worried about you,” he says. “You’re smart. You’ve always been smart. But your priorities are cuckoo bananas.”
Ray hits back by reminding Hermie he hates his wife, he hates his job, and the only thing he likes doing is collecting soda cans to recycle. He’s mad at Hermie now and goes to Shosh’s, where he rants about the audacity of Hermie to say stuff like that to him. Shosh points out that Hermie probably just wants Ray to be a better version of himself, something that Ray agrees with. He’s going to go apologize to Hermie. And now that he’s newly motivated to improve his life, he’s going to maybe do something “that people will remember,” too (and no, it’s not suicide — Shosh makes sure of that).
Ray heads to Hermie’s, but he doesn’t answer his door. He makes his way inside and finds Hermie on the couch. He’s dead. “Wake up, you motherf—er, wake up!” Ray screams, shaking his friend. It’s too late. Goddamn.
When people talk about this episode, they’re likely going to talk about the Hannah reveal. It’s a big one — and a good one. This story line shouldn’t be ignored, though, even if Hermie isn’t a major character, even if Ray’s reaction to it is harder to stomach than the death itself. Ray’s always been a strong, if underused, character, and this episode spotlights that. He’s pessimistic and jaded and fickle, but he’s also caring and thoughtful and passionate. And he just learned a huge f—ing lesson: that nothing is permanent, that nothing — including your grumpy boss who just wants the best for you — should be taken for granted.
On that note, let’s talk Hannah’s reveal: She’s pregnant. There’s really no good way to find out you’re pregnant when you’re a single 20-something, but the way Hannah finds out will go down as one of the less ideal situations. She goes to the ER to get medicine for a UTI (she found blood in her pee, which she showed her mom via FaceTime because what else are moms good for?) and is greeted there by “One Man’s Trash” guy, who is her doctor. Haha. Hahahahaha. Hahahahaha.
First, he gives her the typical spiel about how you need to pee after sex if you want to avoid UTIs. That’s awkward enough — awkward in the funny way that you’ll tell your friends about later, laughing about how tiny New York is, blah blah. Then he mentions her tests came back positive for pregnancy, something he figured she knew already. She didn’t. He hugs her, she pulls back, and he offers to drive her to get an abortion. She’s not sure what she’s going to do, though, and she rushes out of the hospital without her UTI antibiotics. Another goddamn.
To make this day even better, she arrives home to find Jessa and Adam waiting for her. See, he walked off a movie set earlier, and then Jessa suggested they just make their own movie — and why don’t they make it about their relationship with Hannah? People don’t make movies about people anymore, she says, ignoring the many recent movies about people, and this will be human and exciting, etc. Adam’s in. They’re crazy about the idea. Crazy enough to ambush Hannah with the idea at her apartment, where she patiently hears out their hyperactive pitch before telling them to do whatever they want. She’s got bigger problems now.
Elijah’s on the couch eating pizza when she gets inside the apartment, and she neglects to tell him about the encounter she just had and the pregnancy. Instead, she rests her head on his lap. He gently strokes her head, comforting her through what he thinks is simply pain from a UTI.
S— is getting real for Hannah — for everyone. She’s pregnant with the hot surf instructor’s baby. Ray just lost someone. Marnie’s cheating on her boyfriend with a drug addict she used to be married to. Shosh is plain lost. Jessa and Adam are about to find out that making something is a lot harder than it sounds. Maybe everyone is doomed. Or maybe things just have to get cuckoo bananas before they get better. (RIP, Hermie.)