The next level of Girls: A recap of "Boys" and "Video Games"

By Caroline Nelson ‘16Film Columnist

The most recent episodes of “Girls” are some of the most interesting; they force the characters to confront many of their own aspirations and delusions in brand new ways. On a side note I will be assuming some familiarity with this show and its characters since it is approaching the end of its second season. Also spoilers will abound, but since “Girls” is unlikely to feature any surprising deaths or sudden reveals of previously secret identities I do not feel that this is a serious offense. These last couple of episodes have been some of the strongest all season in the way that the characters develop in contrast and in conflict to each other and because they leave the viewer eager to see how everyone will proceed in the next few episodes.

The title “Boys” refers to Adam and Ray, the show’s two most prominent male characters who have a misadventure to Staten Island to return a dog that Adam (in a typical fit of insanity) had stolen. Though I am not thrilled by the prospect of Adam’s return—I find him him more irritating than amusing—he was entertaining enough in this episode. At first he and Ray seem to be getting along, but this is mainly because they are pretending not to be bothered by the things that are really worrying them. Adam claims that he doesn’t care about Hannah and Ray blows off his younger girlfriend Shoshana’s worries that he hasn’t done anything with this life. Of course there is only so much time they can keep this up and the situation explodes when Adam basically admits that he is still in love with Hannah (who seems to have moved on). Ray is left looking out at the city with a stolen dog admitting that he is a loser.

A similar dynamic is played out with two of the eponymous girls. Hannah has just gotten a book deal and Marnie has just reached what she thought was a milestone in what she thought was her relationship. But Hannah runs up against something that the whole series has been hinting at: that she can’t actually write. Whether she ever realizes this fully will remain to be seen. Ultimately she and Marnie are unable to admit to these setbacks and instead have a long poignant moment on the telephone where they pretend everything is okay despite the fact that they want to tell each other that it isn’t. Caught between these two competing desires both women simply stay on the line and say nothing.

In “Video Games,” Jessa’s attempt to understand her relationship with her father bring Hannah to a rare moment of clarity regarding her own parents. The two go to the country for the weekend in one of Jessa’s many attempts to make some sense of her life. Getting an idea of Jessa’s upbringing and home life, Hannah calls up her parents and tries to tell them how she appreciates their support and dependability. Of course her typical inability to articulate (Once again, how does this girl think she can be a writer when she can’t tell her parents something as simple as thank you?) means that her mother gets the wrong impression, so the whole moment goes hilariously wrong. The scene with Jessa and her father on the other hand lacks the emotional weight it needs to carry. This is partially because the message is so frustratingly simple, “he messed Jessa up”, and partially because I don’t feel like Jemina Kirk is up to it. In fact she might be the weakest of the four actresses. But the episode is mainly about bringing Hannah to one of her rare moments of clarity that suggest she might (eventually) grow up.