'Girls' Recap: On All Fours
Hannah’s downward shame spiral has now ventured into dangerous territory for her emotional and mental health. Last week, Hannah was beginning to show signs of a return to the OCD days that plagued her in her adolescence. Now she has fully submerged into its murky depths. In this episode, her OCD tics are in full swing including repeatedly picking her wedgie in the elevator until she reaches eight and blinking her eyes until that count is also eight, the number that makes her comfortable.
She is stressed and extremely anxious and has good reason to be. Her book is not received well by her editor. In fact, he says, in reference to the pages she sent him: “I have to admit I didn’t finish them and not because I didn’t have time, it’s because I didn’t want to.” Wow, talk about harsh.
He dismisses her draft’s theme of friendship because it doesn’t match up with her usual work about her sexual escapades. She then suggests writing about the sex she recently had with a teenager (in last week’s episode) and he is thrilled. If this scene didn’t scream Dunham’s thoughts about how males view female voices within the writing world, then maybe your TV wasn’t turned up loud enough.
Due to her lack of friends, her lack of a social life, her inability to control her OCD, and now what seems to be the failure of her book, it’s safe to say that Hannah is a few steps away from totally losing it. We are forced to watch, helplessly, as she, in the comfort of her lonely apartment, obsessively digs into her ear with a q-tip. She digs as far as she can possibly go, lodging the q-tip deep within her ear canal where it remains stuck.
Perhaps the most heartbreaking evidence of her mental illness is her request of the ER doctor to clean out her other ear because “it’s feeling a little uneven.” Then, after her dreadful ER visit, she runs into Adam, of all people, on her walk home. He is outside of a party that he is attending with his new girlfriend (his blind date from last week’s episode). They have an awkward exchange in which Adam admits to having a new girlfriend and Hannah admits to having just gone to the hospital.
Things are clearly not looking up for Hannah and I have to say, I’m really happy that Dunham didn’t play the mental illness card just to tuck it away again for a rainy day. Dunham understands that the validity of introducing Hannah’s OCD hinges on its accuracy. Realistically, Hannah would not have recovered by this week’s episode and I am grateful that Dunham consciously acknowledged that. But, what does this mean for Hannah now?
Will she lose her book deal and completely succumb to her mental illness? Will she continue to isolate herself from her friends? Will she maybe have to move back in with her parents until she is stable enough to be on her own? Next week’s finale could surely go any of those routes. According to IMDB, Judd Apatow co-wrote the finale with Dunham; so, I have nothing but the highest of hopes for the end of Season 2.
Speaking of other uncomfortable moments in this episode, can we all just take a moment to talk about the most disturbing scene I’ve ever witnessed on this show? Adam, in what seems to be an effort to self sabotage his relationship with Natalia before it ever really has a chance to be anything, orders her to get on all fours. He then tells her to crawl to his bedroom where he forces her to let him have sex with her from behind, even though she has previously told him that she is only comfortable in missionary positions.
Adam, knowing this, subjects her to a scenario he knows will make her feel vulnerable and will make him feel powerful, possibly to boost his ego after his sad exchange with Hannah or perhaps to mirror Hannah's own descent into mental calamity.
Natalia mildly protests as he climbs onto her and repeatedly, and with increasing volume, tells him no when he moves to finish on her chest. When he is done, she looks like she is about to cry. Adam immediately apologizes and she tells him, more than once, that she really did not like that. Adam, moments away from tears, asks if she is done with him now. Her silence lets us know that the end of their short-lived fling is here.
In an episode full of dark uncomfortable moments, there are some cringe worthy scenarios that are much more bearable and lighthearted. For example, Marnie’s decision to, without anyone’s request, sing a painfully slowed down version of Kanye West’s, “Stronger,” at Charlie’s office party, which he invited her to out of guilt. No one claps and it is obvious that she is pandering for attention during her new found journey of self discovery.
Shoshana awkwardly attempts to avoid Ray at the same party, even though he is her date. She is clearly feeling extremely guilty for cheating on him in last week’s episode. It’s funny to watch her attempt to avoid him and the problem, especially since he lives with her and even wears her hilariously girly robe covered in neon peace signs. Yeah, that happened.
I’d have to say, all in all, it’s another solid episode of Girls. While this season’s been a bit fragmented with Dunham trying to approach a multitude of issues including race (Donald Glover’s one episode stint as her black boyfriend), the struggles of coming to terms with parental relationships, pursuing purpose through marriage, questions of sexuality, and stints with recreational cocaine; I am proud that Dunham at least has something fresh to say. She refuses to lower her societal magnifying glass, not even for one moment of relief. We feel uncomfortable; but, maybe we should and that’s the point.