After all the teasers, trailers, Instagram posts and behind the scenes featurettes, Girls season five is here and episode one shows promise for the season and has opened a few doors for some interesting themes and story lines to develop.
The episode takes place entirely at the venue for Marnie’s wedding, which is not in New York City but out in the countryside somewhere in a country house. This alone shows signs that the season is maturing and changing in that the first episode has taken all the characters away from their ordinary lives and plunged them into a different kind of experience. Hannah even proclaims at one point how scary it is that Marnie is getting married, they are all growing up and this is one of the most grown up things they have ever done together.
The episode is split, in the most traditional way, between the boys and the girls. The girls are in a beautiful ornate room in the country house and the boys are in some kind of outhouse. Each one of the girls takes on a role for the wedding as Hannah, Jessa and Marnie are all bridesmaids and Marnie’s mother and make-up artist are neurotically clouding the day. Hannah, as always, is instantly being an incredibly unsupportive friend to Marnie by grumping about when Marnie is trying to get her involved and to get her to do what she needs her to do. It’s only until Hannah learns that Desi has been engaged eight times before marrying Marnie that she attempts to be a good friend. Perhaps there is some jealousy there or perhaps Hannah just can’t handle a day that isn’t all about her, either way, the rekindling of their friendship in the later scenes of the episode are really heart-warming and lovely – something Girls has always managed to do well. Shoshanna is being the perfect bridesmaid; steaming the dresses, supporting hairstyle choices and asking Fran to leave the girls area as Hannah absent-mindedly invites him in. She is masking any contempt that she has for Marnie and is supporting her. She seems really together and really happy after spending the last few months in Japan and we learn that she is in a long distance relationship…who could that be? After bathing in a stream and drying herself by running through a field, Jessa arrives. Again, much like Shoshanna, Jessa is there to support Marnie. She doesn’t really have anything to do with Hannah in this episode, nor Shoshanna but this is an episode all about Marnie so I’m sure that will change.
Meanwhile, the boys are over in the outhouse. Ray, Adam, Elijah, Fran and of course, Desi are all trying to prepare for the day ahead. Ray is heartbroken that Marnie is getting married, Elijah is just waiting on taking some MDMA so he can start to have some fun, Adam and Fran have a hilariously awkward encounter resulting in neither of them being able to speak in coherent sentences and Desi completely freaks out about getting married and dramatically exits the hut and plunges himself into a large pond.
It’s a bit of a ‘will they, won’t they’ episode as Desi has his explosive reaction to his impending nuptials, Marnie’s doubts are expressed much more subtly, so subtle that you may not even notice them. The big blow was when her gaze fixes onto Hannah’s and she asks Hannah if she thinks she is doing the right thing. Hannah, swallowing her new knowledge of Desi’s engagement history, nods, says yes and embraces Marnie. This moment of compassion between the two friends is something that has been missing for a long time, Marnie says so herself, however it is very clear that the two of them are different now and have grown apart but that doesn’t always mean they love each other any less. Hannah seemed to only be interested in being a good friend once she learned something that could potentially ruin the entire wedding day and Hannah has been quite vocal about how she doesn’t want to be there and that she thinks marriage is ridiculous so one would only assume she wants to tell Marnie about Desi’s former indiscretions so that the wedding is called off, but instead she decides to be a good friend and be there for Marnie for once.
I can’t believe I have gotten this far into this piece without mentioning….JESSA AND ADAM. It happened! A huge smile spread across my face when they kissed because I think they would make a really great couple and I thought the same thing in season four. It makes a lot of sense to me for them to try to be together. There is an obvious issue here, which is Hannah. I will be interested to see how this plays out, if it does at all. Hannah hasn’t exactly been the best friend in the world, neither was she a very good girlfriend to Adam but there is no doubt that this will hurt her in some way. Even though she is in a committed relationship with Fran, her narcissism will surface eventually and I think that could spell trouble for a potential relationship to blossom between Jessa and Adam. I can’t decide if I think Jessa is being a terrible friend to Hannah, she knew full well after kissing Adam that she had done a bad thing but she deserves a happy ending and I think Adam could be great for her. They are both the most likeable characters on the show, so I can’t help but root for them.
The episode, symbolized by the changing weather, plays out beautifully. Things start out a little rocky and uncertain at the beginning while it looks like it might rain. Desi freaks out, Hannah finds out about all of his engagements and Marnie’s makeup goes horribly wrong when the heavens open and rain drenches the day. The wedding begins, the rain subsides and in the final moment of the episode, the rain stops, the girls throw off their rain coats and run across the field together, where the guests are patiently waiting for them to arrive. It’s a solid start to the season and demonstrates a maturity in the writing and in the characters. Hopefully the rest of the episodes will follow suit and that frustrating feeling that each episode is just a series of annoying situations will be over. Despite the misgivings of our main characters in season’s three and four and the horrible selfishness of all of them, perhaps we can chalk it up to ‘growing up’. Most people will admit that during their early twenties they were a little self-obsessed and made a few poor decisions, but they grew out of it, grew up and starting taking some meaningful steps forward towards their thirties. Maybe Hannah, Marnie, Shosh and Jessa are no different to the rest of us after all.
Here’s a preview for episode 2: