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Monday, March 18, 2013

Girls Season Finale: Meltdowns and Misguided Love Everywhere

Posted By on Mon, Mar 18, 2013 at 1:40 PM

click to enlarge hannah_bed.jpg


On last night's season finale of Girls, we saw Adam run half-naked through the streets, onto the subway and all the way to Hannah's house, to scoop up his ex-girlfriend in his arms and emotionally rescue her in her time of OCD-induced need. It is the most romantic thing that's ever happened on Girls -- which is odd timing, given that Adam violated his current girlfriend, Natalia, so horribly during last week's episode.

We can't help but have mixed feelings about the long-awaited reunion, as a result. Especially since the grand romantic gesture with Hannah came after Adam had had yet more deeply uncomfortable sex with Natalia. During intercourse this week, he criticizes Natalia for whispering, then is entirely turned off when, after he attempts some dirty talk, she points out: "I can like your cock and not be a whore." This of course, is true. But it's a turn-off to Adam, who subsequently smashes up his apartment and returns to Hannah after she calls him in a crisis.

Hannah and Adam are supposed to be together. Their shared neuroses and unhealthy sexual tendencies make them a perfect match for each other and this season hasn't been the same Girls that we love, with them living apart from one another. Adam's tough-love approach with Hannah is one that ultimately makes her a better, less self-entitled human -- and that's not a bad thing.

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But Natalia comes off in this week's episode as a bit of a prude and a major buzzkill, simply for expressing her needs sexually, in the way that Adam has been doing freely from episode one. We expect more of Lena Dunham's writing, frankly, and the representation of Natalia this week comes off as a tad anti-feminist -- which is particularly surprising given the revolutionary, exceedingly pro-female perspective in last week's episode.

Throughout Season 2's finale, Hannah is seen reaching out to men for comfort. First her father, then her weird neighbor Laird (who she allows to cut her hair badly). Adam is the final point of reaching out and it is by far the most successful attempt. We are glad that Hannah also calls Jessa and yells at her absent friend's voicemail angrily, hurt by Jessa's apparent abandonment -- otherwise the lesson of the episode would be that a personal crisis can only be solved by the presence of a man. Which is something that simply doesn't line up with previous Girls lessons.

This fact is compounded by Marnie's return to Charlie. In Season 1, after a long relationship together, she had grown repulsed by him, referring to his touch as that of "a creepy uncle." Now that she's in crisis mode and singing terrible Kanye West covers in public places (as she did last week), she's Charlie-obsessed again. We understand why the character would yearn for familiarity in a sea of unknown circumstances, and we understand the increased allure of Charlie now that he's successful, but it's a little sad to see Marnie yearning for a man she lost interest in a long time ago.

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Interestingly, it is Shoshanna, the least experienced girl of the group, who is the only one taking control of her love life to the fullest extent, breaking up with Ray this week for his lack of motivation and ambition, despite him seeking out a promotion in order to keep her happy. "I love you so much," she says. "Like to the ends of the world and back -- so much. But sometimes I love you the way that, like, I feel sorry for a monkey. Like they need so much help and they're in such an ugly cage, okay?" It's harsh and horrible, but at least she's trying to figure out the world without relying on the nearest dude for help. "I can't be surrounded by your negativity while I'm trying to grow into a fully formed human," she says.

As we said, seeing Hannah and Adam back together all weird and romantic is great. But we're not so sure that the lessons of this finale are. We liked our Girls a lot more when they knew what they wanted.

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