Girls Season Two, Episode Five: They're Calling It the Worst Episode Ever, But ...
I wanted to hate last night's episode of Girls, which begins with Hannah and Ray discussing the origins of the word "sexit," defined by Hannah as two people leaving a party to have sex. After following Joshua (Patrick Wilson) -- a customer who complained about the coffee shop Ray and Hannah work at putting their trash in his bins -- back to his brownstone, she confesses she was the one who did it, that it is her "vice." He invites her in. She judges his very appealing physical appearance, and reasons that Ted Bundy didn't live in a brownstone, and therefore makes her exit from the real world.
"I feel like I'm in a Nancy Meyers movie," Hannah says, looking around Joshua's place, and you can feel the anxiety rising. She and Joshua have sexual sex, not the awkward sex we've grown accustomed to in the show. He makes her a steak. They read the paper together. They play ping pong -- Hannah topless, of course -- because Joshua is the kind of man who makes steaks and has a ping-pong table. He is also a doctor who calls in sick the next day, so he can spend more time with her in his amazing house that also has a grand piano and a futuristic steam shower.
But this is still about the power play between a 42-year-old recently separated man who seems lonely and a 24-year-old woman who is driven by ego. Case in point: Joshua asks her to get him off, then Hannah interrupts their foreplay and says, "No, make me come."
Previously on Girls:
- Girls, the Season 2 Premiere: Hannah is Still Very Naked and Very Confused
- Girls, Season 2/Episode 2: Nothing is Happening, Save for Hannah's Haplessness
- Girls, Season Two/Episode Three: Cocaine is a Hell of a Drug
- Girls Season 2, Episode 4: Butt Plugs, Bundt Cake and (More) Boobs
And then the inevitable. After fainting in the futuristic steam shower and being rescued by Joshua, amplifying the dreamlike state of the episode, Hannah finally has her I-just-want-to-be-happy breakdown, questioning why she is at Joshua's house, while he makes a few futile efforts to redirect the conversation. Throughout the 30 minutes we're in this dream, we don't find out much about Joshua, but we do hear about Hannah's neuroses about her future and her willingness to be content. She admits "something is broken inside of me," then follows that up with the left hook: "You think I'm the crazy girl?" The episode ends with Hannah, in her own clothes again, struggling to find the exit. She had found someone to perform for, but they are done playing house.
There's been a lot of chatter as to whether this was the worst episode yet of Girls. After sleeping on it, I don't think so. I think it took us out of the show's relationship cycle, and the interaction between Hannah and Joshua was meant to illustrate how the domestic fantasy is just that. I have to agree with Girls fan Bret Easton Ellis on this one: Of course people will immediately say Hannah could never be with someone like Joshua for more than a couple days, and in that way it flips the script on TV's romantic subplot malaise.
And speaking of Ellis, I couldn't help but think of a line from Jean-Paul Sartre's play No Exit, in regards to Hannah's Closing Monologue of Existential Dread: "As for me, I am mean: that means that I need the suffering of others to exist. A flame. A flame in their hearts. When I am all alone, I am extinguished."