Girls Season 2, Episode 10 ‘Together’
Directed by Lena Dunham
Written by Judd Apatow & Lena Dunham
Season finale – returns for season 3 in 2014
(Note: Randy usually covers Girls over at his site, Processed Media – but he’s back again this week to discuss the season finale.)
Thinking about the second season of Girls as a whole, I can’t shake the feeling that the show’s become something completely different in its sophomore year.’Together’, the last episode of Girls in 2013, seems to affirm this notion, an episode that delves further into romanticism, turning four women on a journey into four women on a journey for men – a very distinct change in philosophy, if that’s the case. And in making this change, it appears to undermine many of its characters, reducing their complexities down to this fantastical notion that love is the end-all, be-all of happiness.
Take Marnie for example. Last season, she dumped Charlie because she felt smothered by him. He loved her to death, overcompensating for her withdrawn ways. But as soon as she breaks up with him, she wants him back, attempting to sabotage his new relationship, and entering this season on a quest to “find herself”, which summed up to a lot of her whining and sleeping with Booth and Charlie. After having sex in the office after her painful solo performance in ‘On All Fours’, Charlie and Marnie realize they love each other, and that they should be together.
Forget the fact that she shit all over Charlie, only reappearing when she saw him in a successful light. The only thing that Marnie’s accomplished since getting fired from her job is some demeaning sex with Booth and a hostess job – hardly a journey worthy of the big emotional moment it garners outside the pizza parlor, after she causes a nasty scene in front of everyone. There’s so much evidence to suggest Charlie should run away from her – but in this new world of Girls, love means throwing caution and logic to the wind, and they embrace, ready to start their lives as “old foagies” together.
This season never establishes Charlie as someone interested in Marnie – only showing attraction to her when she’s at her absolute ugliest, like he finds train wrecks erotic. There’s no logic to his decisions – he thinks with his heart and his dick, blind to the reality staring him in the face: love doesn’t solve any problems, especially in a rekindled relationship that’s been proven time and time again to be unhealthy. But this doesn’t stop them – and it doesn’t stop Adam from returning to Hannah, the episode’s emotional foundation.
Hannah’s downward spiral hits its low point in this episode, as she misses her final writing deadline, instead deciding to eat Cool Whip and cry to any man that will listen about her ear pain, and how she’s caused herself to be alone. She whines in every scene she’s in, even after Laird points out what a self-involved person she is (after she makes some comment to the effect of “please don’t rape me, I can’t fight you off this time”)… and somehow, she ends up with Adam in the end.
Does she deserve Adam? The show doesn’t really give Adam a choice – his two week relationship with Natalya seemingly comes to end because she doesn’t want to be called a whore in bed, and asks him not to just pound away at her during sex. And when he sees Hannah in an unstable state, it’s obvious that he’s going to go to her – we know Adam is part asshole, but he’s not a bad person, per se. But does their reunion have to be so sappily romantic?
The whole time, all I could think about was how Hannah’s behavior drove everyone away – and the only thing bringing anyone back to her is their concern over her mental state. She doesn’t win Adam’s heart back by being a more mature, less selfish person – no, she’s absolved of having to grow as a human because she’s OCDC (as Adam calls it), and he comes running, despite her treating him like shit for so long. Topping it off is her immaturity – everyone points out logical reasons why she should be getting her shit together, but instead, she allows herself to burrow further and further into her issues, resistant to anything involving effort on her part (even the threat of being sued doesn’t spurn her; instead she goes to Daddy to ask to pay for it). Again, I ask: does she deserve Adam?
At some point, Girls walked away from realism and embraced this very surface concept of love solving everything – it doesn’t. As much as Hannah and Adam might love each other, him returning to her should not represent this magical coming together of two souls. It’s emotionally manipulative to have Adam’s feelings triggered by Hannah’s mental state; as drawn as he is to her, it doesn’t feel like it’s coming from an honest place. He’s doing the right thing by taking care of her, despite the clear signs and history suggesting these two should be far away from each other.
But love heals all wounds – except we all know that isn’t true. Getting back together with an ex – even if it happens in the most romantic fashion – more often than not leads to a lot more pain. Throwing away logic for a lingering attraction is a dangerous endeavor – and it doesn’t seem like a responsible, thought out decision coming from Marnie or Hannah. Hannah reaches out because she’s off her rocker, and Marnie does it because her long-term memory about Charlie was erased in Booth’s weird hypnosis TV-laden art piece (I’m assuming… it doesn’t really make sense any other way).
If there’s one part of the episode it handles well, it’s the one break up. Unfortunately, Shoshanna’s feelings are undermined by her own actions in previous episodes, and although a lot of what she says could be viewed as legitimate issues with Ray, it’s all coated with “she’s guilty for sleeping around, and wants an easy escape out”… which kind of sucks, because outside of the context of the season’s events, it’s a powerful scene, easily the highlight of Zosia Mamet’s tenure on the show. Ray’s negativity is getting in the way of her ‘journey’, and although I don’t care for the way she chooses to express it (let’s get whore-y!!!!), the suffocating feeling of dating someone older and more jaded than her rings truer than “I want to break up so I can have my sexy adventures, you depressing, sorry man”.
I didn’t think it would be possible, but the second season of Girls is even more divisive than the first. It certainly has its highs and lows – Donald Glover’s character was a joke (as was Jessa’s presence at any point except at her home), but episodes like “It’s a Shame About Ray’ and ‘One Man’s Trash’ showed the ambition and raw emotion that drew me to the show in the first place. But there are too many times in the season – and this finale, in particular – where moments rang false, and the presumed growth of character amounted to nothing but a few contrivances, forgiving characters for their own delusions.
Despite these big flaws, there are still things I like about Girls. Ray attempting to grow and mature (and being punished for it…. why do the immature characters get what they want?) was a great arc this season, as was Adam’s material, up until the last ten minutes of this episode at least (except for “SIRI… OPERATE!!!”, that was great). But for the four girls at the heart of the show, it felt choppy and rushed, reaching for conclusions and loosening its grip on reality to the point that it almost becomes distracting. A flawed season, but still one with plenty of interesting moments and hilarious scenes.
– the only way the final scene works is if the romantic tropes are being used to accentuate a horrific ending. That’s how I view their reconciliation I’m not so confident in the show sharing the same view.
– Natalia’s a little boring and not submissive sexually… which means she’s gotta go?
– nothing says “It’s over” like when you remove your Andy Kaufman cutout from her bedroom.
– Ray’s got a boss who might have cancer – a weird curveball that’s thrown in for good measure.
– Shoshanna screams, then sits down quickly and composes herself like she stepped out of the 1880’s. Loved it.
– Shoshanna breaks up with Ray without ever telling him the truth, which honestly makes me think less of her character, which is a shame.