When Hannah found out Jessa and Adam were together, she was upset, sure. But there was also probably a little part of her that was thrilled with the news because it meant she could turn this pain into a piece of writing. And that’s what she did: She wrote an essay titled “Losing My Best Friend to My Ex-Boyfriend” (sample line: “I did not warn her of his oral herpes”) that ended up getting published as a New York Times Modern Love column. Jessa might have her ex-boyfriend to keep her warm at night; Hannah’s got a stack full of papers with her name on them — which, to her, is probably just as good as a guy.
The episode begins with everyone in her life reacting to the piece. Her parents look pleased; Ray points out a typo and calls it “sloppy.” Shoshanna judgmentally says something isn’t “very ladylike” while Marnie squeals about how Hannah’s in print while she’s reading the paper on the toilet. Adam’s reading it, too, biting his nails while Jessa stares at him. She doesn’t want to read it.
If Jessa’s silence about it bothers Hannah, she doesn’t show it here: She’s soon meeting with a hyper-cool editor (played by Chelsea Peretti) who wants Hannah to head to the Hamptons and write about the “bored rich ladies” at surf camp. Hannah’s in — mostly because she wants to give her vagina some vitamin D, Shailene Woodley-style. (Her editor’s less interested in this possibility, but that doesn’t stop Hannah from later sliding her bathing suit bottoms over while she’s alone on a balcony in Montauk. When you live in the northeast, you gotta get that sun when you can.)
Meanwhile, Marnie’s overly enthusiastic toilet reading is explained when she talks about her online therapist to Ray, who’s been crashing at her place for months. She’s ready for him to leave so they can, presumably, have a healthier relationship that doesn’t involve him lounging in her bed all day reading A Little Life. He proposes he move in with Shoshanna, an idea Marnie shoots down because Shoshanna’s “manic energy is not welcome here.” Zen Marnie is also Honest Marnie, apparently. She points out that Ray technically has a home, Adam’s place, but Ray protests that “it’s one of the most repulsive places you’ve ever seen,” citing the constant smell of fish as an example. Oh, and by the way, basically every sentence in this conversation is punctuated with “baby.” Couples are so fun!
But Adam’s is where Marnie wants him to go, so Ray goes. There, he’s greeted by a naked Jessa eating yogurt on the couch, and soon discovers she and Adam pushed all his stuff into one corner because, as Adam explains, they needed “to clear a space for sex reasons.” Maybe the smell Ray was referencing earlier wasn’t from takeout…?
Anyway, Ray quickly decides this isn’t going to work out and heads to Shoshanna’s, a place where he can shoot the s— about Paul Krugman with his (fully clothed) ex-girlfriend. The dream! Marnie shows up to bring him Starbucks coffee — which he rejects, because, you know, corporations are evil, man — and sees how well the two are getting along, something that probably doesn’t help her resist Desi’s affection when she and him later discuss how they’re splitting up everything in the divorce. The two end up making out after he tells her he saw her as an artist before he saw her as a woman, a line that Marnie, of course, finds irresistible. I, too, would swoon if a guy told me he saw me as a TV recapper before he saw me as a woman.
NEXT: Hannah has a meet-awkward with Riz Ahmed’s Paul-Louis
While Marnie’s getting seduced by her soon-to-be-ex-husband, Hannah’s… not getting seduced by the ocean. She’s prepared to hate surfing, and she does, even before she gets in the water. The whole trip starts off on the wrong foot: Her sunscreen spills in her suitcase, she has to lube up her body with hotel conditioner to get a wetsuit on, and then that wetsuit turns out to be someone else’s wetsuit. Oh, and she didn’t realize you are supposed to wear a bathing suit under a wetsuit, so when she realizes it’s not hers, she strips it off to reveal her fully naked body in front of the hot surf instructor, Paul-Louis (The Night Of‘s Riz Ahmed).
“You’re supposed to have a bikini on under that,” Paul-Louis says.
“Well, f— me,” Hannah responds, foreshadowing what will very soon happen. “I did not get that information.”
She then ends up falling on her arm during the surf lesson and heads to the nurse for an excuse out of it. The nurse fails to give her one, so she just goes to the bar and sips on a potentially lethal blue cocktail. Paul-Louis finds her there, and after some banter, she offers to buy him a drink on her magazine’s credit card. He’s down to party. Like, super down: Cut to probably a few hours later when the two are dancing in the dark bar while Hannah spills a new cocktail — this one’s Hawaiian Punch red — all over herself. She also at one point seems to attempt to mimic Teyana Taylor’s “Fade” routine, because when in Montauk.
They’re into each other, and it reaches a climax when Paul-Louis stands up at the DJ booth to rap Twista’s “Slow Jamz” verse. “I’m gonna f— him!” Hannah screams from the audience. She’s a woman of her word: The two eventually end up having sex on his bunk bed, and she wakes up the next morning by throwing up the aforementioned red drink.
Paul-Louis is Very Chill about this and suggests he skip out on surf instructing for the day to show her around. She hesitantly takes him up on it, and together, the two have a picturesque day walking around and have a realistically messy time making out on the beach. It’s great (except for the sand)! It’s fun! It’s laid-back! Hannah’s ready to rent an Airbnb and stay here for a bit to soak up the good vibes and leave her New York pessimism behind!
And then… Paul-Louis casually drops that he has a girlfriend who’s visiting next week. They’re in an open relationship, so she’ll be totally cool with this all. That doesn’t help Hannah, who seems to have genuinely been falling for Paul-Louis and his ability to be super dreamy even when he says things like, “It’s cool because I can drink a lot and not be an alcoholic.” So she pouts a bit, he apologizes, and she puts on a face to say, “Why get mad at fun, right?” Right. Sure. Why get mad at fun? And more importantly, why get mad at Paul-Louis when you still have a little time left to bask in his Paul-Louis charm? (Note: She does not look like she believes what she’s saying… at all. But good on you for trying, Hannah!)
By the end of the episode, the two are sitting at a bonfire on the beach, soaking up their temporary togetherness. Hannah looks happy. She also looks a little worried, a little too aware that she’s going to go back to her life and her friends and her ex-friends, leaving Paul-Louis and his less-than-ideal attachments behind. Maybe it was naïve of her to think their two days of hooking up could turn into something more substantial — or maybe it was just hopeful, a realization that she’s not all anxious pessimism, that she knows a better life (and relationship) is possible for her. Paul-Louis probably isn’t going to be her next Adam, but this experience could be the key to helping her heal the wounds he left behind.
Most Hannah moment: “I give zero f—s about anything, yet I have a strong opinion about everything — even topics I’m not informed on!”
Best stoner wisdom from Paul-Louis: “If you look down, you’re gonna fall down. That’s what I always say. Just like life.”
Best general wisdom from Adam: “Do you need any yogurt?” he asks Ray. “Keeps the brain in your gut happy.”