‘Girls’ Review: “Sit-In”
At one point during this week’s episode of Girls, Hannah off-handedly describes the only way to solve a Rubik’s Cube: by taking the stickers off and re-sticking them in the proper arrangement. It’s such a casual comment, but one that easily defines the way Hannah — and her friends, and so many of us coming of age in our 20s — approaches problem-solving: by forcing things into the shape she’d like rather than doing the imperative work and navigation.
I won’t fault Hannah for her behavior in “Sit-In,” no matter how cringe-inducing it may be because this week’s episode is like a crash-course in difficult break-ups, cleverly containing the entire spectrum of reactions and emotions in Hannah’s apartment with Adam and Mimi-Rose. It’s something of an emotional protest, sure, but it’s also a perfect display of the willful refusal to accept when someone breaks your heart, and all the confusion that comes along with it. “We were in love and nothing has changed,” says Hannah of Adam’s sudden commitment to someone else, and it’s understandably difficult for her to grasp just how and why this happened in her absence.
Each of her friends (even Caroline and Laird) stop by as if taking turns tending to a grieving widow, Hannah’s own version of sitting Shiva, suggested further by the gifts of food Ray and Marnie bring. Shosh scoffs at Mimi-Rose and Adam and tries to get Hannah to go home with her, but only succeeds in helping Hannah begin the detrimental process of post-break-up Googling. Jessa almost eerily channels the flippant attitude of her father, revealing that she’s responsible for pairing Adam with Mimi-Rose, and showing little empathy for Hannah’s broken heart. She was going away for two years. What did she expect would happen?
Each visit with a friend is punctuated by some hurtful physical act, from Hannah shoving Shosh with her feet to punching Jessa in the arm and burning herself with bacon grease during Ray’s appearance. It’s only with Ray that Hannah begins to really get the empathy she’s seeking, with the simple kindness of “You don’t deserve this.” And she doesn’t. She doesn’t deserve her boyfriend beginning a relationship with someone else without having the maturity and decency to tell her about it. She doesn’t deserve to come home to find her boyfriend’s new girlfriend living in her apartment. She doesn’t deserve to discover that they’ve symbolically torn down her bedroom wall, creating more space together as Hannah and Adam always said they would. As if to kick her when she’s already down, Adam explains that he’s placed Hannah’s stuff in a storage unit that he’s paying for, as if she should be grateful that she’s been unceremoniously evicted from her apartment, but at least Adam was generous enough to keep her belongings safe.
“Sit-In” navigates the tricky pairing of raw emotion coupled with logical reactions, which makes Hannah’s Rubik’s Cube metaphor all the more salient. She has every right to be upset about this entire situation, and her irrational reaction — though futile — is a crushing elaboration on the difficulty and denial of a break-up. Hannah remains in her apartment, in her room, in Adam’s bed as if she can just wait this whole situation out and force Adam to take her back.
And although it seems like Marnie might be the worst person to give advice in this situation, she’s surprisingly the most reasonable, proving kindness and tough love in equal measure. “Letting go doesn’t come easily to me,” Hannah says, as if she’s the only person in the world who has difficulty accepting a break-up. As ill-advised and weird as Marnie’s own relationship is right now, that doesn’t make her sensible and heartfelt advice any less meaningful. Hannah wanted a chance to see where her relationship with Adam would go, and as Marnie points out, this is her answer.
But it’s the final conversation between Hannah and Adam that really clinches it and hurts the most. Adam has never been particularly forthcoming about his emotions, instead choosing to lash out in awkward, irrational bursts. Now he becomes painfully honest, explaining the weird sense of relief once Hannah was gone, and his need to see where this new relationship might go. At least he offers to give Hannah her apartment back. How kind.
“Sit-In” ends with Hannah climbing into the mess of her belongings stuffed in a tiny storage unit, seeking comfort in what still belongs to her, effectively homeless for the time being. And although Hannah refers to this as probably the worst moment of her life, this break-up feels like it has so much potential to be one of the best things that’s ever happened to Hannah Horvath.
- “No thank you, Mimi-Rose.” This is pretty much how I feel about Mimi-Rose. Judging by the You-Tube video of her keynote address, she seems very kind and intelligent, and her speech about not letting romance hinder your creative development and drive is actually — strangely enough — one of those things Hannah really needed to hear. At the very least, it’s a good reason to give people when they wonder why she and Adam broke up.
- “That’s just a woman’s name and a man’s name with a flower stuck in the middle.”
- “She’s stubborn as f--- and likes to be in bed a lot.” Same.
- “Are you here on furlough?” Jemima Kirke’s delivery of this line is essential Jessa: it’s naively curious while also sort of judgmental.
- “Does Adam have a first aid kit in his workshop, or is it all watch springs and doll heads?” Old Man Ray speaks truth to power, every time.
- Marnie’s with a “Mumford or Son” now. Again, Ray is impressively accurate.