Girls recap – 1×09: ‘Leave Me Alone’

Courtesy of HBO

It was the penultimate episode of Girls, and boys were not invited…well, Adam (Adam Driver) was – for maybe a minute. Katherine (Kathryn Hahn) came back to chat with Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and offer her some life advice, while Hannah (Lena Dunham) had a pretty crappy week. Her arch nemesis in University published a book and she had a complete blowout with Marnie (Allison Williams). It was girl-on-girl action as our little show that could examined the bonds between women….or girls.

Let’s take a look…

After the fallout with Jeff (James LeGros), it was nice to see Katherine (the delicious Hahn, just off her amazing guest stint on Parks and Rec). I’m not sure that Jessa felt the same way, though. Visiting Jessa to ask her to come back to work might have seemed like a good idea in retrospect, but they both knew it wasn’t going to happen. With that said, their conversation was probably one of the most interesting interactions this show has had and both actresses played it beautifully. The writing, as well, was pitch perfect – even that especially crazy dream about cutting Jessa up into tiny pieces only to eat her and shit her out in front of her family (now that’s some bullsh*t right there!)

I have to say that for a character that I really didn’t enjoy four episodes ago, Jessa is quickly becoming my favorite. She seems to be the only one growing. I loved how Jessa was quick to challenge Kathryn’s mothering instinct, only to have it followed by Kathryn’s somewhat astute observations about Jessa’s life. Such a brilliant moment! I also enjoyed that although Kathryn knew she couldn’t necessarily blame Jessa for the flirtation with her husband, she couldn’t help but feel uneasy about her. We’ll see where this leaves Jessa in next week’s season finale.

Meanwhile, Hannah was having her own mini-drama over her arch nemesis from university who recently published a memoir about her life and relationship with a boyfriend who killed himself. Naturally since this is Hannah, that seemed like the greatest stroke of luck. Total boyfriend jackpot for sure!! She greeted her old frenemy with hardy congratulations and pitch perfect back-handed compliments. The scene between her and Tally (Jenny Slate – love her!) was hilarious and really showed that Hannah had bite!

Luckily for Hannah, her old writing professor, Powell (Michael Imperioli, of The Sopranos fame) was there to remind her that she was indeed the better writer, which Hannah obviously already knew. He invited Hannah to do her own reading but instead of reading her essay about a relationship with a hoarder, she listened to Ray (Alex Karpovsky) and his challenge to write about something less trivial, like cultural criticism or the ice caps or death. This inspired Hannah to – naturally – invent a story about a fake boyfriend who died (le sigh). Unfortunately Ray forgot to mention that a writer should ponder death and have something to say on the subject..something meaningful perhaps? Instead Hannah assumes that death in itself will wow the crowd.

This whole episode was a great showcase for Dunham who has a way of showing Hannah as both pathetic and naive about life. I am sure we have all been there in those moments when someone we know that we feel might be our intellectual inferior is recognized. Dunham captured those feelings of envy, disdain and sadness perfectly, even if it was horribly uncomfortable.

Courtesy of HBO

The read-through was, as expected, a complete flop and Hannah rushed home to complain all about her shitty evening to Marnie, but Marnie just wanted a night off. This lead to what we saw coming from episode one: a complete blow-out between Hannah and Marnie. The relationship between these two has been strained at best for the duration of the show and while there is obviously history there, the feelings of love and support have been buried by years of pent-up anger over the other’s complete and utter selfish complaining. To be fair, Marnie had been paying all the bills and letting Adam stay there on and off (which in itself deserves a medal of recognition). But when Hannah was helping with the bills, Charlie (Christopher Abbott) was there pretty much 24/7 and Hannah did have to listen to Marnie constantly complain about Charlie. So that makes it even, right?

In the end, these two pretty much deserve each other. They are both self-involved complainers who like to wallow in their misery and heap it on their friends, but are unable to return the favor. Too harsh? Maybe, but I am old and cranky and recognize my 20 year old self waaay too much in these two. I do hope that they can grow from this and rediscover what it was that made them best friends, but only time, or one final episode, will tell. Stay tuned for the season finale next week where all shall be answered…or at least addressed.

What did you think? Are you Team Hannah or Team Marnie? Are the bonds of the ya-ya sisterhood enough to keep these two together? Do they really deserve each other? Did you love the scene between Jessa and Katherine as much as I did?  And is Zosia Mamet even a supporting actress on this show? Answer: No.

Girls airs Sundays at 10:30pm EST on HBO. FYI: Since Veep aired it’s season finale this week, the season finale of Girls will air at 10pm and repeat at 10:30pm this week.

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