Sometimes it’s hard to go home again.
In this week’s episode of Girls, Hannah accompanies Jessa on a trip upstate to see her father. Jessa has been in a major funk ever since her marriage dissolved, so like any normal child, she’s seeking a little solace from a parent. But her relationship with her dad is far from normal. It’s clear that Jessa’s trip home will bring on a slew of emotions, but solace probably won’t be one of them.
A few juicy themes surface in the episode. First: Hannah and Jessa’s relationship. Is it abusive?
This friendship is starting to feel a bit one-sided. Hannah has been a loyal friend to Jessa since the break up — putting Jessa up in her apartment, tolerating bathtub snot rockets and depression-induced insults, and enduring Jessa’s dad’s filthy country home (not to mention his tiny bath towels) — all in the name of loyal friendship. But instead of showing gratitude, Jessa keeps lashing out at Hannah. It’s almost like she’s unleashing pent-up anger on her.
It starts just seconds into the episode, when Hannah crosses the tracks to pee and asks Jessa if anyone’s coming. Jessa says no, but really, an elderly couple is standing in full view of Hannah’s bare tush. Minutes later, when Hanna points out that Jessa’s dad is really late, Jessa says, “It’s really lame that that bothers you” in a condescending way.
The tension continues at dinner, when Hannah says she’d rather not eat the rabbit that she was “petting in a loving way this morning.” (Totally reasonable). Jessa shoots back at her: “Hannah, grow up! It’s fucking food. And it’s fantastic.”
From the minute Jessa sees her dad, she abandons Hannah completely. First it’s figurative; she recites every inside joke ever with her dad, leaving Hannah out. Later, she literally abandons her, leaving a note on the bed that says: “See you around my love.” Hannah is left to her own devices to get back to the city.
Why does Jessa treat Hannah this way? It started when Hannah got her book deal, which suggests jealousy. Hannah’s life is coming together (kind of, sort of, maybe?) just when Jessa’s is falling apart. For the first time, Hannah is not the hottest mess in the room and maybe Jessa doesn’t like it.
Second: Why, why, WHY must Lena Dunham awkwardly shove Hannah’s sex life into this episode?
I get it. Hannah has weird sex with random strangers. And it’s impressive how much action she gets for a not-that-hot girl. But what did that awful sex scene with Frank add to this episode, other than make viewers dislike Hannah a little bit more? Still trying to figure that out.
Third: Do most 20-somethings have an “it’s complicated” relationship status with their parents?
I think yes. And this episode shows just how it can be complicated in two great, emotional scenes at the end.
Jessa finally opens up to her father on the swings. Her anger gives way to sadness as she questions why he hasn’t been there for her, why he can’t even hold a conversation with her. He asks if he can rely on her and she cries, “You shouldn’t have to. I’m the child!”
Hannah, shaken up by her weekend in the House of Dysfunction, calls her parents to thank them for supporting her (emotionally anyway). She does this, of course, while squatting to pee by the train station to relieve her painful UTI. First flattered then insulted, her mom doesn’t even know how to respond.
Episode Rating: 8.5 out of 10
There’s always been something different about Jessa. Glad we finally got to see why.