TV Questions: What comes next? Nobody knows

Colin Horgan on Girls and existential breakdown

How do you somehow realize what you’ve got to do?

There’s probably a lot to be said for the things that almost were. Marnie knows this better than anyone, probably, but after this week’s episode, the others are quickly catching up. But after a mostly disastrous and somewhat revealing dinner party at Hannah’s now-solo apartment (still fully furnished, thanks to George hating Elijah just as much as Hannah does now, and allowing her to keep all the stuff he bought, leaving Elijah with nothing except a hairbrush and a bottle of lube), Marnie ends up on the roof thinking about her life. Moments earlier, she finally had it out with Charlie’s new girlfriend, Audrey, who had confronted Marnie about her midnight visit to Charlie’s apartment. That the argument between the two of them emerged out of a conversation about butt plugs is neither here nor there – just mostly just a very amusing, er, entry point into an inevitable butting of heads. Sorry.

Anyway, Charlie abruptly follows her up there, and tries to explain that Audrey is just insecure. Marnie eventually responds to this, but on her way there, she divulges what we’ve known all along: she is having an existential breakdown. “I’m a hostess,” she tells the universe. Marnie continues, confessing to Charlie that she doesn’t know where her life is going. “I don’t even know what I want. Sometimes I just wish someone would just tell me, ‘This is how you should spend your days’ or, ‘This is how the rest of your life should look,’” she says. Don’t we all? If only there was a cosmic board of appeal somewhere we could simply turn to for even the slightest nod of approval at our current state of events – something to say things will probably turn out okay. But that validation is more important for Marnie than most. She desperately seeks approval for her list of accomplishments, whether they’re written on paper or across some metaphysical transom. But there is no cosmic board, so instead the rest of us externalize things elsewhere, normally toward the people around us. Marnie doesn’t have a lot of those.

Audrey, she concludes, couldn’t possibly be intimidated.

Charlie does his best to cheer her up, reminding her of her beauty and smarts and reminds her she knows him better than anyone else, which is something. There’s a beat, and then he does what he’s probably wanted to do since he saw Marnie making out with the cake boss at Jessa’s wedding. He lays one on her. But Marnie’s not having it.

“I’m seeing someone,” she says, explaining a moment later that someone is Booth Jonathan. “What? Oh. “That little Ewok in f–king capri pants?,” he asks. Yes, that one – the guy who built an isolation chamber for everyone else but him to enter. “He’s a brilliant artist of average height,” Marnie defends for some reason, and Charlie disappears back downstairs to find Audrey has fled the scene. Obviously.

Does anybody feel that way about you now?

Meanwhile, there’s been another revelation a few floors below, as it finally dawns on Shoshanna that Ray isn’t just her boyfriend, but her live-in boyfriend. By the time Charlie gets downstairs to find Audrey gone, Shoshanna is in full panic mode, and she suggests passive-aggressively to the room that Audrey might have left because she was feeling used. GET IT, RAY? A moment later, fully exposed, Ray admits that when he’s not at Shosh’s, he sleeps in his Mitsubishi.

A bit later, as they wait for the subway, he tries to explain. “I’m in between places, ok?” he offers, but that’s not the real issue. “You’re older than me; you should have your own place,” Shoshanna tells him. But that’s not it either. It’s not Ray’s age. It’s Ray. She scolds him (lightly – it’s Shoshanna) that he ought to have more interests and passions. “You get up every day and there’s nothing, unless you go to work,” she says before trailing off into another problem: that he can’t pay for anything. Ray admits to everything. “Just say it. I’m a loser. I’m a huge f–king loser. Say it,” he tells her. He didn’t admit to it because he didn’t feel like telling his 21-year-old girlfriend he’s a 33-year-old homeless guy with only a signed picture of Andy Kaufman to his name. “Like, what makes me worth dating? What makes me worth f–king anything?” he asks her. “I’m falling in love with you,” she replies.

Which is a bit heavy, and Ray tells her it’s too early to confess these kinds of things, before a moment later doing the same. “I love you so f–king much,” he tells her, which either clarifies the situation entirely, or makes it infinitely more confusing. If his only self-worth is reliant on Shosh being in love with him, things are likely worse for Ray than even he might know at this point. On the other hand, the truth of the matter might be very simple: That he has a lot more worth than he gives himself credit for, and needs someone to remind him of that from time to time. In which case, the question becomes whether Shosh is prepared for that responsibility. Or they just love each other and nothing else will matter. What comes next? Of course, nobody knows. As Marnie realized, nobody can.

Who is going to be the one that saves you, after all?

Nothing gets any easier across Brooklyn, where Jessa and Thomas-John are out for dinner with his parents – one stereotypically uptight wasp-y mother and her equally stereotypically uptight-but-a-loose-drunk, wasp-y husband. The latter likes Jessa, but Thomas-John’s mother bristles at Jessa’s dinnertime confessions – and there are a lot of them. Jessa reveals she doesn’t have a job and left college after only seven months to go into rehab for a heroin addiction. “I never shot it, I only snorted it. That’s important,” she informs the table. Then she says she doesn’t believe in God, which pretty quickly puts an awkward end to things.

As it turns out, Thomas-John’s mother is either really perceptive or just highly psychologically influential. At dinner, she describes Jessa and Thomas-John’s marriage as a “situation” and sure enough, when the two newlyweds get back to their apartment, there is a very real situation on hand. “I was telling them about my life,” Jessa defends as Thomas-John grumpily smokes a cigarette on the balcony. Jessa continues to complain that so many topics were preemptively deemed off limits (like how they’d returned the basket of puppies). “What was I supposed to do? Lie?”

Then they argue. Finally. It’s the inevitable meeting point between two misguided idiots who managed to sell each other on their respective surface-level attributes: one, a free-spirited waif with some sex appeal and a cool story; the other a city boy numskull with a pile of cash and the feeling that time was running out on his chance to finally do something spontaneous.

Jessa taunts him with as much as they fight, telling Thomas-John that she’s embarrassed to even walk down the street with him on account of his blandness. To his credit, Thomas-John evaluates it all and proclaims the marriage to be “the biggest mistake” he’s ever made. Then he rounds on Jessa. “You know why I like hookers?” he suddenly asks. “They respect me. They don’t say ‘Oh I like your apartment,’ and then mumble under their breath about it looking like the set of gay Entourage.” It’s altogether an ugly scene, and it ends with a predictably ugly deal. Thomas-John offers Jessa what he thinks she wants – money, which they haggle over before settling on $11,500 – and also gets what he clearly wanted, and perhaps what he considered Jessa to be all along: a prostitute.

Cheapened, homeless and distraught, Jessa goes to Hannah’s place to find her in the bath, lightly singing the lyrics to Oasis’ ‘Wonderwall,’ in an on-the-nose acknowledgement of the theme of the episode: “Cause all the roads we have to walk are winding, and all the lights that lead you there are blinding.” Jessa gets in the tub and has a short cry about what almost was. Then she blows her nose in her hand.


 




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