Colin Horgan recaps Girls, complete with spoilers and analysis. Some followup questions from Episode 3:
Is today the greatest day?
By the time someone burst into the back room of the bar where Hannah was celebrating her 25th birthday to announce news of a fight (really, it was her editor throwing Ray into a table), it was clear she wasn’t going to finish singing “Take Me or Leave Me” with Marnie. They’d performed the song at Hannah’s 21st birthday and Marnie was, despite Hannah’s resistance, set to do so again, solidifying herself as this season’s most depressing Girls character (though she has competition).
More than her nostalgic yearning, the saddest thing about Marnie is her consistent lack of objectivity. In her first scene in this week’s episode, for instance, she was on the phone, presumably to Google or YouTube, begging them to take down a video she’d made with Charlie — a weird, auto-tuned version of Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ 1988 hit “What I Am.”
It’s the kind of thing that should have made her think twice before dragging Hannah on stage. But Marnie lacks the perspective to draw the correlation, focusing instead on her opportunity to bounce back from a bad song with one she can nail. It makes one wonder about the true beneficiary of the party. Did Marnie host it because she loves Hannah and wanted to mark her silver jubilee? Or did she do so because she wanted something in life that she could control, complete with Instagram proof — just in case Charlie was wondering? One suspects it’s the latter. Why recreate the past if not in some vain pursuit of control, even if after the fact? That’s what makes nostalgia so enjoyable; it’s often an exercise in retroactively attributing order to events that may not have been orderly at the time.
Meanwhile, Ray is brooding. He and Shoshanna haven’t spoken since their breakup, and he seems set to prove he’s become the man she wanted him to be.
“The new Grumpy’s opened,” he says. “It’s doing really really well, better than expected … We’ve got eight new employees, which I hired directly – one of my many responsibilities as manager.” But then it all falls apart. “If things go really well, in a few months we might install a, uh,” Ray falters and sighs, bored by the chore of saving face.
“I’m sorry I can’t, uh, I just don’t, um, I’m sorry, I don’t think I want to be friends with you,” he says.
“Um, okay,” Shoshanna blurts out.
“I just don’t, I don’t want to be polite with you,” Ray explains. “I don’t want to have small talk with you.”
He leaves her with what would probably make for a great slogan for a beer: “Enjoy your evening, enjoy your life.”
Back in the bar, Ray is alone, head-banging to his DJ request, Smashing Pumpkins’ “Today,” when the song drops out to make way for LMFAO’s “I Work Out.” It turns out the new song was a request of Hannah’s editor, David, who dances up a storm while intermittently checking his Grindr profile. Ray attempts to explain the DJ request system to David. “My song plays first, because I asked first. Your song plays after that because you did not ask first. Okay?” David hardly cares. LMFAO plays on. Ray continues, ending up where he wanted to be when he was talking to Shosh. “Songs should never ever ever ever end in the middle. Okay?,” he explains. “It’s not fair to end things in the middle, do you understand?”
A moment later, things take a physical turn. By the time David has danced his way through the altercation, Ray is on his back, bleeding from the face.
How much can we control?
Elsewhere in the bar, we lose track of Adam’s sister Caroline after she bites Ray on the arm for refusing to dance. Caroline is a hurricane force of instability that blew into Hannah and Adam’s apartment after she was apparently dumped by the highway by her boyfriend. How much of that story is true, we’ll never know. Caroline is fraught with some form of mental disability and has probably also been physically abused recently, given the bruises on her leg.
Still, her arrival gives us a new window into Adam and Hannah’s relationship. Perhaps we now know more about why Adam was the most willing to come to Hannah’s aid during her obsessive-compulsive episode. It raises questions, too, though, given how much he now can’t stand his sister. Throughout the episode, Adam lists instances in which Caroline was unreasonably affected by her disorder, hinting that the cumulative effect was enough for Adam to give up on her. Would the same thing happen were Hannah to relapse? What’s Adam’s breaking point?
Hannah finds Caroline back at the apartment, half naked in the bathroom with crazed hair and holding a glass, which she breaks apart with her bare hand. Even for a show that went through Hannah’s dark days, this is a new kind of destabilizing agent. And we can understand Adam’s reluctance to have Caroline around. Where he had answers to Hannah’s disorder, he has none for Caroline. She is beyond his control, so instead of facing her any longer, he avoids her entirely. No doubt it’s more comfortable that way.