Did you think that Lena Dunham‘s Girls was going to split up its various leading ladies and gents after yet another episode that tossed them together for maximum fun, drama, and dancing? Well, yeah, we did, too — fortunately enough, though, this week’s “Incidentals” rehashes some of the magic of “Beach House,” moving most of the main characters of the series into a limited space for a limited amount of time. This time around, the group takes up residence at the swanky Gramercy Park Hotel, where Hannah (Dunham) has been tasked with spending just one night in the hotel in order to write a listicle or something for her GQ gig.
It’s nice timing, too, because Adam (Adam Driver) has just locked his first big Broadway role, and they have something to celebrate! That doesn’t quite explain why Hannah took it upon herself to invite the entire crew, including Shosh, Elijah, Marnie, and Jessa, but we’ll just go with it, because these bonkers weirdos are great together. Also in the mix? Jessa’s old rehab pal Jasper and Adam’s new co-star Desi. It’s like one big shaken cocktail of volatile personalities, and your own Rob Hunter and myself are here to sip deep.
Kate: As has been the case with two of this season’s other great episodes, “Incidentals” involves at least partially smushing everyone in one space for a short period of time. In this case, it’s not a birthday party or a beach house, it’s a swanky hotel room that Hannah is tasked with writing about for her GQ job. Friends come and go, and relationships seem to be the central motivation behind the episode’s action, which makes me wonder – is “Girls” at its best when everyone comes together?
Rob: Oh, Kate. My dear sweet Kate. If you’re still wondering that at this point then, well, I’d never say you were a slow learner exactly, but I’d find some way to imply it jokingly all the same. The show is most definitely at its best when the characters are interacting or at least sharing screen time, but I’d add the caveat that by characters I mean all of them… the girls and the boys. My stance on the girls of Girls remains the same, and the first few minutes of this ep confirms that when we see Adam’s response to getting the acting gig. It’s honest and joyous and far more sincere than anything the girls have said recently.
Kate: I’ll take this as a good entry point into Adam. ADAM HAS A JOB! AND A DREAM! AND A FRIEND! The joy I felt when he hopped on the back of Desi’s bike was palatable – ADAM WITH A FRIEND. I may have yelled it in the safety of my living room. Adam has always had a lot going on internally, and the exposure of some of that stuff — acting desires, his ability to interact with a former One Tree Hill star, no less — lately has really been wonderful. But is it actually going to drive he and Hannah apart?
Rob: Ha, I didn’t yell it but I smiled and thought it! Between that, his reaction to getting the part, and his stifled screams of joy in the bathroom, I’m really happy for him. But that also makes me suspect something bad is coming too, either in the form of his new friend Desi snaking some part from him or from Hannah reacting poorly to it all.
We touched on this before, the idea that if he begins to find success it may be enough to distract him from Hannah. But I hadn’t considered the possibility of Hannah reacting poorly to his success and having that be what pushes him away. If she’s this jealous and concerned before he’s even had his first rehearsal just imagine what happens when she meets his female co-stars or discovers he has a kissing scene.
Kate: I think the show is very much setting up that there are going to be issues with Adam’s Broadway debut and Hannah’s happiness with it, though there’s some misdirection at play here — is Adam really going to cheat on Hannah and that will be the problem? Not likely. Will Adam get recognition and fulfillment while Hannah continues to struggle with pocketing a fat paycheck while writing trash? Far more possible.
There’s also the issue that Hannah doesn’t seem to be actually good at her job — her showing up at Patti Lupone’s recording session and SCREAMING her name was quite possibly the most unprofessional thing she’s ever done, and that’s saying something. She also has no idea how long an interview takes to transcribe, and I’m wondering if anyone will chastise her for throwing a party in her swanky hotel room.
Rob: Agreed on the upcoming Hannah and Adam debacle, but whatever arises it will definitely be instigated from her side of the relationship. I can easily see either him flat-out leaving her or him feeling pushed to the point where he cheats simply because she believes he already has anyway. It’s not really in Adam’s nature up to this point though.
And Hannah is most definitely not good at the parts of her job we see, but we’re asked to assume her writing is incredible and worth the trouble caused by the rest of her antics. But do we think she’s doing her personal writing on the side like she planned? The last time we saw her try she passed out asleep on the couch instead.
Kate: I would not be shocked if Adam does something drastic because Hannah has already convinced herself he’s done it, and made him pay like hell for it. Total Hannah move.
There’s no way Hannah is keeping up with her personal writing, and that hefty paycheck is not going to help matters at all.
Meanwhile, as both Hannah and Adam appear to be finding some kind of fulfillment when it comes to their careers, Jessa appears to be drowning in her boredom at her day job. Perhaps Jessa needs her own dream? Because it’s certainly not a good thing when Jessa gets bored…
Rob: Jessa and Shosh continue to lack anything resembling depth, but both continue to bring the laughs.Did anyone expect Jessa to find fulfillment in a retail job? There’s no way, and while I find it highly doubtful that any store owner/manager would trust her alone with their store we’re witness to the result of that misguided faith. It spells bad news for Jessa’s burgeoning career, but on the bright side we get another visit with Jasper. Like Elijah, he brings a lot of energy and fun to the show whenever he appears.
Kate: Energy = cocaine.
Did you expect to see Jasper again? I didn’t, and I don’t think Jessa did either. Her reaction to him sauntering into the store said it all — she knew it was bad news and she knew she couldn’t avoid it. But is Jessa doomed? Is this one backslide or the start of a descent back in decadence?
Rob: Well, Hannah does show a rare moment of lucidity when she says to no one in particular that maybe they shouldn’t have checked Jessa out of rehab, so I wonder if that’s a throwaway line or foreshadowing that Jessa’s heading for serious trouble.
And while I didn’t expect more Jasper I’m always pleased when past characters of note return. That’s in direct contrast to the brief return of Soo-jin who brings little in the way of character, she’s more caricature really, but who acts as an interesting catalyst for Marnie’s crappy day. Her attempt at a goodbye/congrats hug with the completely uninterested Soo-jin is the funniest and saddest thing I’ve seen in a while.
Kate: Jessa’s problem has never been drugs per se — she’s addicted to life, remember? — but I don’t think this is a good thing for her, and I worry there might be some actual consequences here. If even Hannah is hip to it, you know it’s bad.
Soo-jin is like Shosh on crack, and she injected some great, if mystifying energy into Marnie’s world. I’m a little bummed we won’t see them working together in some deranged gallery somewhere, but points to Marnie for even trying.
Marnie. Marnie and Ray. Why can’t this work?
Rob: True, Jessa’s addiction was less to drugs than to an outrageous life, but it’s the cocaine she’s snorting now and that may land her in a hospital. The show hasn’t had an overdose has it? Seems like something that would touch someone in the world of Girls.
Speaking of coke, Jasper’s assumption that Shosh was high on the white stuff was great.
The Marnie/Ray break-up was a bit odd. We haven’t really seen much of them together but are left to assume what…that they’ve been meeting for sex and holing-up in Ray’s apartment every night? Either way, her reaction to it was priceless and typical Marnie. “I don’t even like you,” she says, if only to have the final word and appear to be on top and in control. Following that with the moment she shares with Hannah in the bathroom makes it clear. She’s hurt, sad, and unable to tell anyone.
Good thing there’s a dude with a guitar in the other room.
Kate: Well, Shosh did have that bad reaction to crack, but no, the show hasn’t yet given us a full overdose. Something to look forward to! (And how bad would it be if Jessa did overdose at the hotel?)
Even I briefly wondered if Shosh had done some coke — but no, she’d just finally found someone who could keep pace with her linguistic athletics. A great moment.
Will Marnie fess up to Hannah? I vote yes, but I think Shosh will stay in the dark on this one. Marnie is clearly in pain, and she needs Hannah. She’s going to spill. I can’t even imagine Hannah’s reaction, though I can guess it won’t be good.
But, Rob, he has a “Clementine” at home…and also Marnie’s email address in his phone.
Rob: Someone has to find out about the Marnie/Ray canoodling, but I wonder if it will be Ray who spills the beans instead of Marnie. He’s less invested in keeping it secret after all.
Another great Marnie reaction there with her thinking his comment were lyrics to a folk song. I’m still not convinced she knows he has a girlfriend waiting for him at home. But beyond being another possible love interest, does his interest in her music mean her dream of pop stardom aren’t as dead as we all expected?
Kate: I’ve never quite let go of my dreams of Marnie singing, and she clearly hasn’t either. She has a whole Dropbox of new material? This ship has not sailed, my friend.
Rob: I get the sense that a guy complimenting her singing translates into two facts for her. First, she’s incredibly talented. And B, that he wants to sleep with her. I see neither of those things being true, but I hope it all proceeds without Marnie being hurt yet again. The girl really just needs to take a break from the dating scene and maybe find a group hobby that keeps her from feeling lonely.
Kate: GIRL SINGING GROUP? NEW SPICE GIRLS?
Rob: Two birds, one stone. I like it.
Kate: We already know she has the moves.
Rob: Do we, though? Do we?
And jokes aside, I don’t know as the show would try and push two burgeoning artistic careers on us simultaneously. Adam starting an acting career just as Marnie starts a singing career?
Kate: You make a fair point – we already have a lot of PERFORMANCE in our future as is. How about just getting Marnie a job? Any job?
Rob: Well, she did try to get a job with Soo-jin…
We’re talking about some big possibilities here, but there are only two episodes left this season right? Is that enough time for Adam and Hannah to feel the strain of his success and break up? Or for Jessa to end up in the hospital for an overdose? Or for Ray to find a girlfriend? Or for Marnie to get a recording contract? Or for Elijah to find real happiness? Or for Shosh to take a breath?
Kate: I mean, it’s definitely enough time for Jessa to OD. But it’s also enough time to set up all of those other situations for one hell of a new season.