GIRLS, “Incidentals” Episode Recap
After an episode as great as last week’s “Beach House,” it’s easy to expect Girls to take a step backwards, and by simple unfair comparison, “Incidentals” doesn’t live up to the expectations brought on by its predecessor, but the episode builds upon the positive strides the show made last week to give us fresh outlook on the back-half of the season with major happenings shaking things up for everyone (except Shoshanna, but does she even count as this point?).
Hannah is settled in at her new job and, in addition to showing surprising initiative in tracking down down Patti LuPone for her interview, is settling in and starting to enjoy the perks of having a steady job, like the larger-than-expected paycheck (“This is much more than my rent!”). But the biggest change in Hannah’s life is Adam landing a role in a broadway play. (It’s a bit of stretch to think that Adam could accomplish this, but I’m willing to go there with them because Adam is such an eccentric, out-there dude that I can imagine him immersing himself so much in acting that he could pull out some brilliance somewhere.) Everyone Hannah comes across, from Patti LuPone to her boss to Shosh, is worried that the new lifestyle is going to change Adam and cause a riff in their relationship, which starts to get in her head a bit.
What’s refreshing here is that Hannah’s fears are rational and, for a change, relatable. The old Hannah would have certainly found a way to be jealous of Adam, that he’s getting a chance to live his dream (one that he’s had for a very short amount of time, mind you) while she’s still trying to figure things out creatively. But instead Hannah is genuinely happy for Adam but only fears that she might eventually grow distant from him. Through my prospective at least, there was never much of a threat of Adam falling into these feared archetypes of broadway actors since he’s showed time and again to be undyingly honest and loyal to Hannah, but it’s still a nice moment in the bathtub when the two talk it out and realize that their relationship is as strong as ever.
Jessa, meanwhile, isn’t doing so well. Her foray into normal-personhood is boring her to tears, so much so that when her old rehab buddy Jasper tracks her down at her store, it takes her very little convincing to relapse. It was an inevitable turn for Jessa, who seemingly has nothing to do these days when she’s not causing trouble (which is a shame, because in her brief opportunities in this episode and this season, Jemima Kirk has been incredibly charming and oftentimes laugh-out-loud funny, reminding me why she was my favorite character in Season 1). Her friends’ complete nonchalance about her relapse is a bit alarming, and her breaking into the store to steal money to buy more cocaine was kind of heartbreaking (if slightly out of character), but the ensuing fallout should make for some compelling stories late in the season.
As for Marnie, I’ve commiserated with her struggles way more than I’d like to admit of late. Some might call her out for being bitchy during the breakup scene with Ray, but she very clearly settled on Ray for safety purposes to avoid this very situation, and even though she knew it was never going to go anywhere, it’s still hard for her to get let down again, especially in a scenario where she thought it was impossible to get let down. When she stops by the hotel room later and Hannah, being a good friend for a change, tries to comfort her in the bathroom by asking what’s wrong, Marnie, defeated, simply says, “I can’t tell.” It’s a vulnerable moment for a character that hasn’t allowed herself many. Marnie’s issues can be easily dismissed as “first-world problems,” but they are real issues to her and shouldn’t be trivialized, especially when they start building up so fast that she’s become overwhelmed and can’t even isolate the problem. She has her flaws, of course, but Marnie is the rare Girls character that has gained my sympathy.
“Incidentals” may have lacked the “wow” moments that last week’s episode brought, but the show is clearly getting better at showcasing the smaller, more human exchanges and is starting to move some interesting pieces for the home stretch.
– Adam’s move of shoving a paper towel in his mouth to mute his euphoric scream, amazing.
– “Blue Crush was such an important movie for women.”
– Poor Ray just wants a girlfriend, something deep, sincere, challenging, and scary. Is that so hard to ask? Also, on his breaking up with Marnie, “I know this doesn’t make sense biologically.”
– Adam’s new cast-mate Desi is like a too-good-to-be-true drifter type, equipped with rustic mountain stories and Dylan songs on his guitar, and he’s the accidental author of everyone’s favorite new folk lyric, “Gotta hit the trail, my Clementine’s making paella tonight.”
– Adam doesn’t really want to be apart of the Broadway scene, much to the chagrin of Elijah: “Don’t come crying to me when Kristin Chenoweth passes out because you forgot to feed her!”