News__ GIRLS: SEASON 2 FINALE
It's ok if the Girls finale made you cry. Several times.
After last week's tense and uncomfortable episode, it felt like anything could happen in the Girls season two finale. This season was emotionally taxing and went to some pretty dark places. In five hours, Lena Dunham put her characters through the ringer. Episode ten, "Together," lives up to its name. In some way or another, the characters find closure to their problems and partners to reconcile with. Most of them don't achieve actual togetherness, but they recognize that they need each other. Sometimes knowing your problem is half the battle.
This structure, a fall from glory and rise to transformation, is classic Judd Apatow. He didn't invent the narrative but he's perfected it. He knows how to drag the audience through the dirt and then at the very last moment, he gives us what we want. We wanted Adam to save Hannah. Maybe we didn't know that's what we wanted, but Apatow and Dunham knew when they wrote this episode. There's something about that damsel in distress plot line. On the screen, it's cathartic. It's an emotional fantasy.
In her book, Mindy Kaling wrote, "I simply regard romantic comedies as a subgenre of sci-fi, in which the world created therein has different rules than my regular human world." The ending of "Together" was one of the first times Girls ventures away from gritty realism and into the territory of sci-fi. It was a movie ending that my heart loved but my brain wasn't that psyched on.
The damsel in distress storyline is a difficult one. When Adam says, "I was always here," I literally tear up. Like, I just watched it again to make sure I got the wording right and I'm writing this with tears in my eyes. Ok, back under control. Remember how anxious "On All Fours" made you? That emotional manipulation leads up to this moment because we can finally let go and trust that Hannah's going to be okay.
Hannah's not a great person--but none of us are, really. In her podcast interview with Alec Baldwin, she says that Hannah is the worst version of herself, who she has the potential to become. Mindy Kaling expressed a similar sentiment about her character Kelly Kapoor in The Office. When you can play with the less desirable part of yourself, it takes the shame out of your game. Laird tells Hannah that she's "the most self-involved, presumptuous person [he's] ever met," but he still comes over to help her out and compliment her bod. We feel the same way--she's no hero, but we still want her to win.
Does she really win when Adam cradles her like a child? Earlier in the episode she told Laird, "You know when you're young and you drop a glass and your dad says, like, 'Get out of the way,' so you can be safe while he cleans it up? Well, no one really cares if I clean it up myself. No one really cares if I cut myself with glass, and if I break something, no one says, 'Let me take care of that.' You know?"
Love is totally amazing, friends. There's a special tier of friends, family and lovers that can help you ride out some tough storms. You have to put in work, though. You can't let someone do all the heavy lifting while you damsel in distress your way out of the situation. It's a socialized behavior that's specific to women. We're taught to let our hair down when we're in trouble and wait until someone comes climbing up to save us. This is not okay. This myth is a tool of oppression. It's keeps you down! You're in charge of your life and happiness. There's fine line between being helped and being saved.
To be fair, Hannah's dealing with a serious mental health issue. In those cases, when we're ill, saving needs to be done. Did she need someone to clean up her broken self or does she need to learn to clean up her own messes and take care of herself? I'm still thinking about that.
Marnie is a mess. It's interesting how Charlie is more attracted to her when she's being a wiener. The less cool Marnie acts, the more Charlie digs her. I really thought he'd go casual and dick her around, but he lays out it pretty clearly after they storm out of the restaurant. That entire scene was pieced together strangely. When he followed her, it was disjointed and out of the blue. Who is Charlie? I have no idea. Some dude with a beard and a weakness for inappropriate public announcements. Does Marnie really want Charlie back? Who knows. These two are exhausting. They deserve each other.
The Shoshanna/Ray split was inevitable. I hope Shosh goes hard in season three. I want the Shoshanna experimental lesbian phase, the Shoshanna overly planned threesome, the Shoshanna professor hookup--maybe at the same time. Ray's going to make something of himself next season. This breakup will do him some good. I like Ray. Go Ray.
It's too bad Jessa didn't make an appearance. Hannah's voicemail summed up the situation pretty well. She'll breeze in when everything's back to normal and get away with not being there during the bad times. Hannah was there for Jessa when Jessa was a mess, but homegirl is not returning the favor. Marnie's mailing it in too. She did a brief skim before taking a candle holder. Hannah has been a support system for those girls and now that she needs it, no one is there.
That's the part I found the most tragic. I didn't want Adam to save her. I wanted her friends to come together and help her through it. I love my girls that I can call when I'm pretty sure the world is ending and they remind me that it's not. Maybe that's the true tragedy of the damsel in distress, there's no unity of damsels helping each other out of distresses. The title "Together" is misleading. They're together, with other people, but not together-together. Bring it on, season three. I'm beyond ready.
Read last week's recap of Girls here.