All Ugly Everything

By Megan Buerger
Girls has never been a comfortable show to watch, but last night's episode "On All Fours" reached a new level of squeamishness. One by one, all of the characters slipped rapidly into complete turmoil and it was, in a word, ugly.

Adam's downfall was particularly quick and devastating. Things seem to be going blissfully well with Natalia until he runs into Hannah outside of a bar. He's there with Natalia -- as her boyfriend -- to celebrate her friend's engagement. It's a typically humiliating moment for Hannah, who (let's just say it) has never looked worse. Between her bloodshot eyes, unwashed hair and heinously oversized tee-shirt, she's in the sort of state that would have caused anyone else to bolt. But not Hannah, whose own deteriorating mental state is evidenced by her obliviousness to her own condition. More on her in a minute.

Seeing Hannah triggers something in Adam. He goes back inside the bar and orders a drink but swears to Natalia that he can handle it. When they finally make it back to his place, things unravel quickly. Natalia is clearly unsettled by Adam's apartment, which is dungeon-y and dark and in total disarray. But he seems more anxious about it than she does. Gradually, we get the sense that he's beginning to wonder if she's too good for him. It's no fault of Natalia's, who has emphasized her interest in him in several ways (by prompting him to have sex, calling him her boyfriend, and introducing him to her friends). It's Adam's insecurity coming through, and seeing Hannah clearly didn't help things. Instead it reminds him of the way they were and how she let him treat her during sex. Compared to Natalia, Hannah was low-maintenance: she had him beat on insecurity and so she let him do whatever he wanted. He makes the poor decision to reveal this other side of himself to Natalia -- getting aggressive, demanding and borderline scary in his bedroom --- and she hates every second of it. I'd be shocked if this wasn't the end of them.

Meanwhile Marnie, ever-desperate this season, shows up at Charlie's office, this time for lunch. But neither character has really adjusted to their new roles. Charlie has forgotten about lunch because he's been busy (his app hit 20,000 active users that day) while Marnie has probably thought about it all week. Out of guilt, he invites her to their company party that evening and she agrees to come on the condition that he'll be there. This is the part where I get confused. What happened to the calm, confident new Charlie who had no time for Marnie's bullshit? Was last week's episode just a fluke? Something tells me the invite isn't purely out of pity.

Of course, Marnie can't just be cool and come to the party. Armed with a delusional sense of her own talents and a new passion for singing, she swaps out the DJ's iPod with her own and sings Kanye West's "Stronger" for the entire room of wincing twentysomethings. When she finishes, Charlie pulls her into a back office and (sort of) lets her have it.

"Dude you've got to get your shit together, you're flailing," he says "I've never seen you like this before.... it's like your manic."

It doesn't seem to register with Marnie that people didn't enjoy her singing, since she's too busy rallying against Charlie being in charge.

"I'm on a journey," she replies. "And please don't pity me."

Then they have sex. Another tally in the book of Charlie and Marnie's stupid choices.

At the party, the tension between Ray and Shoshanna builds. For whatever reason, this is a couple I take a lot of emotional stock in -- they both have their faults, but they're the only pair in the series that seems to be capable of genuine, semi-selfless companionship. But after Shoshanna's escapades with the doorman last week, it makes sense that a storm is brewing. She spends most of Charlie's party not-so-subtly avoiding Ray and shoving his shortcomings in his face. When they walk into Charlie's office, Shosh fawns over how grown-up it is. Ray, the anti-corporation man, thinks the whole thing is "bougie" and materialistic, and he has a point. But material things are important to Shoshanna, who romances adulthood the same way girls in junior high take "Sex and the City" very much without a grain of salt. She's clearly struggling with the fact that she and Ray have different priorities.

When he finally confronts her about why she's been acting strangely, she doesn't really come clean. "I did something bad," she confesses. "I'm really sorry and it didn't mean anything but I held the doorman's hand."

The lie fools Ray, who finds her confession adorable. And while a part of me hopes this blows over, they're probably doomed. After all, Shoshanna is channeling Carrie Bradshaw (another character with some seriously questionable hair moves, come to think of it) and it took Carrie seven seasons to find her way.

Elsewhere in Brooklyn, Hannah has gone off the deep end. She doesn't interact with any of the other characters outside of her accidental run-in with Adam, and her publisher rejected her new essays. In miniature fits of OCD, she spends the episode crawling around on the floor, getting splinters in her ass and shoving Q-tips so far into her ears that she ends up in the emergency room. The episode ends with her perched on the bathtub trying to convince herself to spare the other eardrum. She tosses her head back and forth, eight times on one side, and then eight times on the other before shakily holding the Q-tip up to her head. This moment, while disturbing, is pivotal. It signals Hannah's total loss of control and foray into what we can only assume is an emotional free-fall. But as Adam well knows, free-falls can be positive. They can force you to hit rock bottom and face your problems, and ultimately, return to reality. I have my doubts that there's resolution in Hannah's near future, but I wouldn't mind seeing her and Adam reconnect. It might do her some good (although that's a big might).

How do you predict the season will end? Will Hannah wake up and assume responsibility for herself? Or will Adam send her even further into an emotional pit?

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