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‘Girls’ Talk: “I Saw You”

Girls Talk I Saw You
HBO

Welcome to another edition of ‘Girls‘ Talk, where we here at ScreenCrush are joined by critics each week to discuss the latest episode. This week, Hannah has Elijah accompany her to complete an assignment, Marnie makes her singing debut (officially), and Jessa decides to quit drugs and get a job (again). 

ScreenCrush editor Britt Hayes is joined this week by Allison Loring to discuss the latest episode, titled “I Saw You” (full review). Allison is a contributor for Film School Rejects and Fan Voice, and you can tweet her @allisonloring. You can tweet Britt @missbritthayes.

Britt: I don’t think we can start talking about this episode without just addressing the ending first: and whoa my god, that ending made me laugh until my body hurt. The way Adam says “No” when Hannah asks if he knew about Ray and Marnie hooking up, and the way Hannah tells Marnie she can never judge Hannah for anything ever again, all capped off with Salt ‘N’ Pepa’s “None of Your Business” — so perfect. But here’s the big question: did Hannah know it was Marnie in that room with Ray? What makes it okay for her to open the bedroom door like that? A friend of mine suggested it was a little “too Hannah,” even for Hannah, but I think she knew it was Marnie in there, and maybe also didn’t fully believe Ray could have a lady over.

Allie: The tone in Adam’s voice when he told Hannah “no” absolutely killed me. Poor Adam thought staying with Ray would keep him AWAY from all the girl’s drama — boy was he wrong!

I agree with your friend that Hannah’s “everything is my business” reasoning for going and opening Ray’s bedroom door was a bit too Hannah for even Hannah, but I also agree that I think she had a suspicion it was Marnie in there. As best friends, and ones that once lived together, I think there was something about Marnie’s moans that seemed to catch Hannah’s attention and made her think she knew who they were coming from, but she had to find out for sure. I think she thought it was funny Ray had a girl over, but once she started listening to the moans, she went from giggling about it to hightailing it down that hall to see if who she thought was in there with him, really was.

Britt: I know that the stuff between Hannah and Adam is complex right now, but I do think Adam is being a bit unfair. Every time Hannah tries to ask him what his longterm intentions are, he deflects. Adam clearly doesn’t know what his plans are, and they seem to be ever-shifting, especially now that he’s getting a taste of the single life with Ray and enjoying his (now very nice and cleaned-up) old apartment again, and Ray talking about his own perspective is certainly coloring Adam’s own.

I did enjoy their moment in the bathroom together, which was a nice callback to Hannah and Marnie’s intimate bathroom moment in season one, and was appropriate given that Adam and Ray are Hannah and Marnie’s guys — also, it was just super cute to see two dudes sharing a bathroom space in such an open way. But I do fear for Hannah, who thinks she’s losing Adam in “slow-motion,” and the tricky thing about these situations is that she might incite the very incident she fears by continuing to act needy and neurotic, but really it’s kind of his own fault in some way by not being more forthcoming and honest. It’s so complicated!

Allie: It is SO complicated! I completely understand where Hannah is coming from and Adam is definitely not helping things by being so vague. Plus it is just plain rude to have sex with your girlfriend, who you LOVE, finish, rip off the condom, and just leave! I get that Adam needs to stay in this very specific “head space” right now, but that was incredibly harsh. I know Hannah is turning up the needy nozzle right now, but you can lay in silence post-coital for a bit before just up and running out of there like you just banged a hooker you don’t even know. Adam is saying everything is fine and will continue to be so, but his actions are saying the complete opposite. I cringed when Hannah showed up at Adam and Ray’s apartment after that, but I also didn’t blame her one bit.

Britt: I’ve been the Hannah in this situation, so I empathize with her, and I admire her for her restraint in a lot of this. The way she tells Adam “I’m going to be really good” just breaks my heart because she wants to be the cool, good girlfriend, but the fact that she feels the need to say she’ll be a “good girlfriend” like she has to play by his rules in order to keep him around just bums me out. It feels very unbalanced right now, and I don’t like the way Adam is positioning himself with his needs and work being more valuable or important than Hannah’s own.

That said, it’s even more cringe-worthy watching Hannah press the self-destruct button on her job, and while she’s wholly to blame for that situation, there was some influence: the way Adam acts as though he work is not as important or meaningful, and of course that hilariously nightmarish visit with Patti LuPone and her husband, which reminded Hannah of what might happen if she compromises her dreams for someone — anyone — else, even herself.

Allie: Hannah and Adam have definitely gone through a lot of ups and downs throughout their relationship, but I really loved how in sync the two seemed at the beginning of this season and while we all suspected it wouldn’t last, it makes seeing how unbalanced things have gotten again all the more heartbreaking. The moment when Hannah realizes this behavior may NOT end after opening night really struck me because I think I was also hoping against hope that Adam would go back to being Hannah’s equal once his opening night jitters were over, but it looks like Adam The Actor isn’t going away any time soon.

I had a feeling Hannah would eventually do something to sabotage her job, but I didn’t think it would be THAT blatant! Hannah has clearly been struggling with this career path since day one and I do respect that even though she has free snacks and a healthy paycheck, she has never been sure this was the kind of “writer” she wants to be. But man — way to burn some bridges on your way out the door.

Britt: I am really going to miss her working there! I liked mean Kevin and nice Joe and Karen!

Anyway, we have to talk about other things because there are other people in this episode. Like Marnie, who is actually pretty good at singing, although she does need to keep working on it a bit. And hey, Desi’s girlfriend actually does exist and is quite nice. I did also like the scenes at the gallery with Beadie, and her comment about how she doesn’t like watching old women on TV because they’re all shells and it’s painful being a shell, which is some seriously deep commentary on the limited space for older women in both the real and fictional worlds — pretty surprising moment for a show about young women, but Marnie herself has been a self-imposed shell of a woman and I think she can relate.

Allie: I had a feeling Marnie would surprise her friends at the open mic night since what we’ve seen of her practicing with Desi has actually been really promising. I know that she’s mainly listening to his advice because he’s good looking and she likes the attention, but he has started to turn her into a real, genuine artist. I absolutely loved Shosh and Elijah’s reactions when they realized this, and while it was mean, I also laughed at Shosh immediately turning to Hannah to see if this new side of the actually talented and artistic Marnie was freaking her out. And while I am glad to see Clementine really exists, her comment that Marnie didn’t seem as nervous as Desi said she would be (after Desi had reassured Marnie before going on stage that she has no reason to be nervous) makes me wonder what his angle with Marnie truly is. He’s helped her become a better singer and turned her into a songwriter, but I still can’t quite put a finger on his motivations for working with her, especially now that he knows she thinks there’s something more brewing between them.

Beadie’s comment on how older women are portrayed on TV totally struck me and while that kind of deep wisdom about aging could seem a bit out of left field on a show like this, I agree with you that it was something that actually applies to Marnie who has been living in a shell of her own. Plus it seemed to speak to the bigger theme of this episode about embracing who you are and refusing to let other people define you. Each girl is struggling with this (as we all do) and it has becoming incredibly interesting to watch each try and deal with it in their own ways with very different results.

Britt: There’s been so much serious talk, and I have to say that this week’s episode is definitely firing on all cylinders: it made me cry, cringe, and gasp, but it also made me laugh so, so hard, and that’s mostly thanks to Elijah, who was incredibly hilarious from start to finish. His reaction faces, the way he called Hannah “ma’am” at Marnie’s show, and most importantly, his impression of Marnie — I kind of hope that Elijah ends up doing a one man show off Broadway by the end of the series where he’s doing impressions of all of his friends. I would totally watch that.

Allie: As would I! This week’s episode was definitely one of the show’s strongest yet and I love that Elijah is back in the mix doing what he does best — injecting needed humor into everything. Getting directly involved in the girls’ lives as a roommate and Marnie’s five second lover was a mess, but commenting about their lives from the outside is what he has always shined at doing and I am definitely glad to see him back in this role.

But back to the gallery and Beadie for a minute — Jessa wandering in and interrupting Marnie’s conversation with Beadie to then get HIRED by Beadie kind of made me realize why Marnie may have a chip on her shoulder when it comes to Jessa. Things seem to come a bit too easily to Jessa and for buttoned up, planner Marnie who cannot seem to catch a break lately, that is clearly infuriating. Life certainly isn’t fair, but I get that Marnie doesn’t love being reminded of how unfair it can be in the face of someone like Jessa who was just pulled out of rehab and now has a job Marnie would clearly kill for.

Britt: It all seemed a bit too serendipitous, as does everything in Jessa’s life. She just dusts herself off and walks outside, and the world falls into place for her because she offers her opinion and people find it refreshing and charming! Meanwhile, Marnie tries to do the right thing and check all the boxes and live her life within the lines, and nothing ever seems to work out as planned. You’re right — throwing Jessa into the gallery at that moment definitely helps us understand Marnie’s problems with her. But I do like the idea of Jessa, who fashions herself quite wise beyond her years when she is not, working for an older woman with real wisdom. That should be an interesting pairing.

Any additional thoughts on this week’s episode?

Allie: While I totally understand Marnie’s shocked/appalled/confused/jealous reaction to Beadie offering Jessa that job, I cannot wait to see Jessa paired up with someone who actually has the years to back up her wisdom.

My only other thought on this week’s episode was the moment between Shosh and Jessa in Shosh’s apartment with Jessa dancing without abandon and Shosh pretty much ignoring her to Jessa crumpling to the floor in tears. What is going on there? Is Shosh officially done trying to help her cousin? Is Jessa really struggling with some serious demons? The whole thing seemed a bit out of the blue and then totally glossed over when we then see a cleaned up Jessa saunter into the gallery saying she’s looking for a job that won’t objectify her (while showing off some serious leg in that high slit dress).

Britt: I loved that scene! I think the point of that scene is that Jessa is, as she wails on the floor, bored, and without drugs she’s looking for a way to expend her energy and keep herself distracted while also trying to deal with all of her feelings. She’s not a writer like Hannah or a talker like Shosh or a self-analyst like Marnie. She doesn’t know what to do with all of these emotions, so she’s just trying to let it out in some way that’s therapeutic for her, and I found it pretty amazing to watch, especially with her Wu-Tang Clan t-shirt. And it’s clear that Shosh does care because she does comment that it’s nice to have Jessa back off the drugs and that it must be nice for her to be around people who care about her so much, or something to that effect. Shosh is just trying to treat Jessa like a normal person, which is how Jessa wants to be treated.

Allie: That is a good point — I’m sure Shosh has learned by now that acting normal around Jessa is the best thing for her. Hopefully working for Beadie will give Jessa some “big picture” perspective on things and maybe even lead her down a creative path she never considered before?

Britt: Maybe!

I’d like to thank Allie for joining me this week, and be sure to check back here next week for another edition of ‘Girls’ Talk when we discuss the season finale, “Two Plane Rides.”

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