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Girls Review: "Only Child"

Maddie Crichton ‘17/ Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Lena Dunham in the Girls episode "Only Child." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Lena Dunham in the Girls episode “Only Child.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

HBO’s Girls, known for dealing with the often-shallow problems of twenty-somethings living in New York, has recently taken a turn from its usual plot. Last episode, Hannah (Lena Dunham) learned that her editor had passed on, and the audience watched as Hannah tried to be emotional about her loss, but could not. This week’s episode, “Only Child,” continued looking at Hannah’s emotional state.

Upon Hannah’s arrival to her editor’s funeral, we learn that Hannah’s first loss did not really change her, like it would most people.  Her main goal in attending the funeral is to find a new editor to pick up her book.  Hannah is still the emotionally guarded and somewhat selfish girl we have always seen. Putting her in what would typically be a heartbreaking situation proved this. The most impressive thing is that show is able to accomplish this without making her look like a bad person.  She is still relatable, the audience understands her concerns, and most importantly, it is still funny. Dunham’s character is the perfect symbol for what we often think, but never dare say, in these unfortunate situations.

Meanwhile, it looks as if a new door could be opening for Jessa (Jemima Kirke).  When she realizes that one of her childhood friends faked her own death just to get away from her, Jessa becomes more aware of her actions and how they hurt everyone she knows.  So far, it looks as though she has no intentions of stopping her reckless behavior, but her eyes are starting to open, and she is becoming more aware.  In the near future, it looks as though Jessa could have a full turn-around.

Jessa’s relationship with Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) is only showcased briefly in the episode, but it is one of the best parts. As Jessa is complaining to Shoshanna while Shoshanna is trying to study, Shoshanna reveals that her grades are slipping and that this could ruin her “fifteen year plan.” The concept of this fifteen-year plan was funny, bold, and smart, because as ridiculous as it sounds, it’s very true. Most people her age have their life mapped out for them to some degree, and they will do anything they can to make sure their life goes along according to it.

Hannah’s journey does not end after her editor’s funeral. After the audience is stunned by how blunt she is, they are finally feeling happy for her. She meets with new publishers, who want not only to take on her memoir, but to publish it as a real book. These new co-workers are finally likable, unlike many of the ones we have seen in the past. They see Hannah for all of the good traits she possesses. They find her to be funny, smart, and completely original.  It seems as though she is finally going to catch a break from all the stress in her life and have something genuinely exciting happen to her–not to mention a potentially stable income so she can pay rent.

Lena Dunham in the Girls episode "Only Child." Photo Courtesy of HBO.
Lena Dunham and Zosia Mamet in the Girls episode “Only Child.” Photo Courtesy of HBO.

Marnie (Allison Williams) is trying to make some upward movement in her life, too, but in a completely different way than Hannah.  Hannah’s character development is happening behind closed doors, but Marnie is very obvious about hers. In an attempt to become a better person, she knocks on Ray’s (Alex Karpovsky) door and asks him to list everything wrong with her. In doing so, her biggest flaw is revealed: her low self-esteem that she tries so hard to mask.

The second Ray opens his mouth, she looks like she wants to cry. Ray coats it with a compliment, but the damage has been done. His interaction with Marnie reminds us why we care about her, even though she is so easy to hate. Then, after emotional tension builds between the two, they end up sleeping together. This worked well in the episode for a couple of reasons. One, it’s not an episode of Girls if there are no hook-ups. Two, both Marnie and Ray are dealing with heartbreak from their recent break-ups. Since the two are known for usually having a somewhat cold relationship, this showed how completely desperate they are.

While everyone is happy with Hannah for a brief moment, her problems only escalate. Adam’s (Adam Driver) sister Caroline (Gaby Hoffmann) has proven to be too difficult to handle. Hannah gives herself the opportunity to be center of attention yet again as she tries to mediate between the siblings. This only proves that as crazy as Adam tends to be, his sister is even crazier.

As for Hannah’s job, a painful phone call between Hannah and her father tells us that there may be no real book deal after all.  The rights to her memoir have been sold. Hannah’s hopes are lost, and the audience’s hearts drop right with her.  We see how angry Hannah can really get when she kicks Caroline out of the apartment and onto the streets of Brooklyn.

The episode closes with the best version of Adam: protective Adam. The second he realizes that Caroline is gone, he goes out to find her again, even though he continuously has been claiming that she is ruining is his life. This opens a new can of worms for an argument between Adam and Hannah in the next episode.

This episode of Girls redeemed a lot of the characters. It set up a great opportunity for us to see more Jessa and Shoshanna, and hopefully a fair way to see less of Caroline.

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