'Girls' Talk: "She Did"

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Welcome to our biggest installment of 'Girls' Talk ever! We’re joined by four critics to discuss the finale of the hit HBO series ‘Girls,’ created by and starring Lena Dunham.

ScreenCrush.com editor Britt Hayes is joined by Kate Erbland, Allison Loring, Meredith Borders, and Gwen Reyes to discuss this week’s episode, titled “She Did.” Kate is the Associate Editor at Film School Rejects and a contributing writer for MSN Movies and Box Office Magazine. You can tweet her @katerbland. Allison is a contributor for Film School Rejects and Reel Vixen. You can tweet her @allisonloring. Meredith is the Managing Editor for Badass DigestAlamo Drafthouse, and Fantastic Fest. You can tweet her @xymarla. Gwen is the publisher of Reel Vixen and you can tweet her @ReelVixen.

Britt: Hey ladies! Thanks for making this final installment of ‘Girls’ Talk the best EVER!

First things first, Jessa invites everyone to a surprise party that turns out to be her wedding to Thomas John, Chris O'Dowd's venture capitalist character from a couple weeks ago. I think at first it seems like typical, ill-conceived and impetuous Jessa behavior, but a closer look tells me that this is Jessa taking the advice from Mrs. Lavoyt in her own way. Jessa sees Thomas as an adult, as someone who has it together, and maybe his ridiculous attitude is just something that comes with the territory. This is definitely going to bite her in the ass because getting married isn't the magic key to making her a grown-up. What say you, ladies? Is this more of the same for Jessa, or is this a real effort in her mind to grow?

Meredith: I think it's a real effort on Jessa's part, but it's made in her usual unreflecting way. She's imagining marriage will be like those first two weeks, the period during which you can't get enough of each other, you want to spend every moment together in bed and your love is unburdened by responsibility, bills, boredom and external influences like in-laws and disapproving friends. But there's a good chance Jessa and Thomas John will be happy together. It's just weird enough that it could work.

Kate: There are two possibilities when it comes to Jessa and Thomas John. The first (and most likely) is that Thomas John showed up at her door (and how the heck did he find out where she lived ANY WAY?) just after Mrs. Lavoyt gave her that somewhat heartwarming and potentially insane mini pep talk, and seeing him there (as Britt says, seeing someone who appears to be an adult) snapped Jessa into believing that he was the key to her growing up. Which is, of course, nuts -- mainly because Jessa looking to someone else for her own growth is just plain stupid (and I say this as someone who likes Jessa quite a bit). The second possibility is that they are actually in love. Snort giggle snort.

I think, yes, this is a real effort for Jessa in her mind to grow, but it's clearly a bad decision that, though perhaps undertaken with a very positive spirit, cannot possibly end well.

Britt: I feel like that's been a continuing theme this season, with all of these women looking to other people and things to help them grow. Shoshanna looks to anyone who will take her virginity, Marnie looks to relationships with men, Hannah looks to Adam and her friends' advice and any situation that can happen to her to inspire her writing, and now Jessa looks to Thomas John.

Kate: And, also, I think she's looking to his awesome rug.

Britt: It could totally tie the room of her life together.

Allison: I agree, it's certainly possible that these two are madly in love and their marriage will work, but after only two weeks (and what we saw of their first encounter together) I also have serious doubts that will end up being the case. I would also love to know at what point Thomas John, Venture Capitalist showed up at Jessa's door, but regardless of when, Jessa seems to have jumped head first into what she thinks should be the next step in her life (a very Jessa thing to do.)

I also thought she was doing the surprise wedding just for shock value at first, but after her talk with Hannah in the bathroom, it seems that she truly thinks she is in love and this is her trying to grow up and move forward with her life. It did actually scare me when Hannah asked her if she felt "grown up" now that she was married and Jessa confirmed that she did.

And it bugged me they didn't exchange rings. I know that's not everyone's bag, but I feel two people like them need visual cues to others (and potentially themselves) that they are taken.

Gwen: I also think it's her attempt at thinking this is what growing up means. That she wants to be an adult, in the way that children idolizing growing up. Think back to when you were 16 and bored and all you wanted to do was run away and "grow up" already. Jessa actually did do that and now she thinks it's time to try this whole "maturity" thing out. But really is it any different than before?

Britt: It's not. It's Jessa's horribly misguided way of taking advice, but again, that's something we've seen all season from these women. They get advice -- some good, most bad -- and they take it and process it in their own way, like many of us do. But advice from a friend is just your friend telling you how they would do something in your situation, and that's not always right for your specific experience. And it depends on how you take that advice and apply it. In Jessa's case, it's taking that impetuous energy and redirecting it.

Gwen: I just have a problem imagining them in love because we NEVER SAW IT. This part of the episode is so much "Tell me, don't show me" which is just annoying. The last we saw of them was her being utterly bored and him whining. It's hard to imagine they fell in love because we didn't get that episode to watch it happen.

And we can't blame that on Hannah's perspective, because she wasn't there for the threesome either. So we know Dunham's team is fine with showing stories outside of Hannah's POV.

Kate: I don't really take issue with not seeing Thomas John and Jessa "falling in love" because, honestly, I don't want to.

Meredith: I think ‘Girls’ was going for shock value with springing Thomas John and Jessa on us, and that's why we didn't see any of their romance. It's a little bit of a cheap trick, but it's also what Jessa pulled on her friends, so I think it works. We're as shocked and confused as Marnie, Shosh and Hannah.

Britt: I agree with Kate. I think Dunham & Co. tend to skip over the more formulaic bits to get to the meatier stuff. Hannah gets a job, but we never see her looking for one outside of that one horrible interview. We don't see Hannah write, but do we really need a montage of her furiously trying to write something? I think she does write, but we don't see it because, well, it would be boring.

Gwen: It kind of reminds me of all the times my mom tells me something, and I ignore it. But then when someone else tells me I'm all "Hey, did you hear blah blah blah."

Britt: Oh my god, I do that with people. They tell me things and I don't pay attention, and then I find out on my own and go back to them with this amazing information and they're like, "YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME."

Kate: Also, can you imagine if you were actually friends with Jessa but perhaps didn't get invited to the mystery party, but saw pictures of it on Facebook afterwards? You'd have to think "Oh, that is sooooo Jessa."

Britt: I was actually thinking Jessa is the new Raven. That's So Jessa.

Meredith: And poor Shosh. Girlfriend dreads a faux pas more than any other human alive, and she was stuck wearing white to a wedding because her cousin didn't bother to clue her in beforehand.

Kate: Ray might think she's "the strangest person," but man, do I love her.

Gwen: I felt so much for Shoshanna when she realized she wore white to a wedding. I would have been mortified too...

Enough to f--- Ray.

Britt: Meredith brings us to our next topic: Shoshanna and her continued quest to lose her virginity. The moment when she freaks out over wearing white is done so well because we know that it's not really about that. Her friends are all having these sex/relationship adventures, and she's -- as I said in my review -- sort of this emotional gymnast. She's an adult in so many ways, but in this one particular area, her growth has been stunted. I'm glad Ray is going to be her sex instructor, and it's good to see a softer side of him.

Gwen: I just love Shosh and Ray, and there is nothing that makes me happier with this show than watching their connection blossom. And watching Ray calm down and Shoshanna find someone who is attracted to who she is. Love it

Meredith: I love Ray and Shoshanna together; they actually make so much sense. "Just stay out of my emotional way." "I don't know if I deserve that much power...but I probably do." These guys are such wonderful weirdos, and I think they have the kind of weird that just fits.

Shoshanna had this portentous feeling about the day, and I like to think that she was actually foretelling her own loss of virginity.

Kate: I fully support Shosh and Ray, and I love that the episode ended with Ray deciding he was worthy and just doing it -- Dunham could certainly have ended the episode right before Ray went for it, and I'm happy that we got a final answer on what would happen with those two before the episode closed out.

Britt: That "but I probably do" line is so fantastic. I love how the show captures intimate moments in ways that are so genuine and easy to identify with, and it's stuff like that moment between Ray and Shosh that makes me feel so much more comfortable watching it because it's so close to the way we interact in relationships. Not everything has to be this huge conflict or event. Relationships are mostly made up of these little parts, every single day.

Meredith: I thought the exchange between Marnie and Charlie about having sex in the bathroom was so perfect for that reason, because that's the way people have sex in movies and on television and almost never in real life. Contrasted to all of the unnervingly realistic sex scenes on ‘Girls,’ it was pretty great to remember that most shows don't get it right.

Gwen: Yes, ‘Girls’ succeeds at nailing down realistic sex scenes... Please hand them a Peabody.

Britt: I dunno, how often have you stolen $100 while some dude masturbated in front of you? Or had some dude talk about how chubby you were as a five year old while having sex with you?

Gwen: Okay, but do you think she'll stay with Ray or do you think this will open her up to new sexy time adventures? Since Marnie isn't quite ready to be the adventurous sex person...

Britt: That's a good question. Out of all the characters, Shoshanna is the least predictable. I'd like to see a sex-hungry Shosh, but I'd also like to see her just content in a relationship.

Gwen: I like to think she'll become a crazy sexy lady with Ray -- that they will be all weird in public and then freaky in bed. God, I hope that happens. It would be too funny.

Kate: I think, as they are both total loons, they'll be willing to get into to some crazy, kinky stuff together. At least, I hope.

Meredith: Well, Hannah and Adam have a very specifically kinky sexy life that I imagine some people can relate to.

I think Shosh is so ceaselessly positive that being able to check the "lose virginity" box off her life plan will suit her just fine, and then she'll move on to her next goal. I don't think she's intending to be in a relationship with Ray; I think that's what she meant by "Stay out of my emotional way." I mean, we already know she's totally not an attached bleeder. But he could charm her into it.

Allison: I honestly think Shoshana's reaction to her "sexual awakening" could go either way -- she could become emotionally attached to Ray or it could open the floodgates to her sexual experimentation now that the scarlet V is off her chest. And I love that uncertainty about her character.

Britt: Circling back to Marnie -- I think she's in a very familiar boat this week, and though it doesn’t automatically read this way, I think she’s upset that Jessa is getting married when it feels so unearned and Marnie spent years of her life with Charlie. She copes, as ya do, by guzzling champagne and crushing on Bobby Moynihan. First, I'd like to commend her for not having sex with Charlie and knowing that it wasn't right. Second, I really hope this thing with Moynihan goes somewhere, even if it's only brief. I would have expected Marnie to go right for the Booth Jonathan types post-Charlie, and I was amazed that they flipped that and sent her straight to a goofy, pudgy guy. This show celebrates goofy weirdo men and I love it.

Kate: Though I mourn the loss of Booth Jonathan, I am happy to see Marnie taking control of her sex life in a way that is both bonkers and totally healthy. Bathroom boot-knocking with Charlie would have been bad news.

Meredith: I didn't really get the impression that she was upset; she was immediately grinning and celebrating as soon as she realized what was going on. I think Marnie's in a good place right now, and I think she got tipsy and hit on Bobby Moynihan because she just wanted to have some fun, and she was embracing her freedom. I'm proud of her. I also liked the unpredictability of her rejecting Charlie (nicely) and flirting with the goofball.

Allison: I agree with Meredith, I think Marnie may actually be letting go and seeing where that takes her. And thank god she didn't give into bathroom sex with Charlie -- talk about backsliding.
Gwen: Not going to lie, I'd drop cake down my bra for a chance with Bobby. I get you, Marnie.

Britt: WHASSUP, MARNIE?

Kate: While I would not personally get it on with Bobby M., I'm happy to see Marnie expanding, ahem, her range.

Gwen: He was so sweet, I just loved it. But then again, Marnie doesn't seem to like sweet guys...

Britt: That was probably the only thing that threw me a little. It just seemed like she'd go for someone so opposite of Charlie, but I guess she learned her lesson from Thomas John.

Allison: I think Marnie, much like Jessa, is trying to move forward. She apologized to Elijah, turned down Charlie, seemed genuinely happy for Jessa and when a maybe not her "typical" kind of guy showed some interest in her, she went for it.

Gwen: I LOVED Elijah's face when Marnie wanted to put everything behind them. It was like he was saying "Wait, you don't get to be the bigger person!"

Meredith: This was a really great episode for Marnie; I hope she and Hannah can mend things so she can move forward unimpeded by past drama. They need each other. I miss the best friendship of those two that we glimpsed in the first few episodes. Where's the bath cupcake eating and Robyn dancing?

Britt: I'll have you know that the bathtub cupcake eating and the Robyn dancing lives in my apartment, on a weekly basis.

Allison: You’re doing your part!

Meredith: And Elijah! I am so glad he comes back from time to time. I really hope he and Hannah becomes roommates. I loved their exchange this week.

Gwen: I also love the idea of him and Hannah living together -- although Adam's reaction to it broke. my. heart.

Kate: I'm excited about Elijah possibly being Hannah's roomie, too. Whatever gives us more Elijah. I guess my heart is just torn because I wanted Adam to move in with Hannah, though some part of me thought it was too soon and it wouldn't feel right for the show just yet.

So can we talk about Adam now?

Gwen: I second! More Adam talk!

Britt: YES. I always love to save Adam for last because we spend such an absurd amount of time talking about him. But also because we have to save the best for last or Vanessa Williams’ career died in vain.

I choked up so hard when he told Hannah he loved her, and their big argument tore me into pieces. He's right about Hannah, and I think her flawed view of herself is very age-appropriate, but also a product of Hannah the writer. She's so self-involved and acquainted with her flaws in a way that she thinks no one else could be, and they certainly couldn't love her because of them. At the same time, there's a sense of entitlement there in that she feels like Adam should be her boyfriend and he should care and he should love her, but she doesn't feel as though she deserves it. Interested to hear what all of you think about this because, to me, it's the most important part of the entire episode, and maybe the whole season.

Meredith: I thought their argument was so true to life, and true to both characters. Adam's committed now, and he warned her that once he's in, he's in. But Hannah, as ever, isn't sure what she wants. She thinks she gets to be the most scared person in the world, and Adam doesn't think she has that right. He was scared, and he got over it in order to commit to her, and now she's using that fear as an excuse to hold him at arm's length? It isn't fair, but you're right, Britt. As a writer and a privileged woman in her early 20s, she's accustomed to her issues and her fears and her self-esteem being central to every conversation and every dynamic.

Kate: Going back just a bit, when Adam told Hannah he loved her and she gave him the speech about attaining other things that are bigger than just a romantic relationship (Hannah's perspective), it immediately smacked of last week when she told Marnie she didn't have the time to be a good friend. What, pray tell, does Hannah have time for? If she continues on the path of pushing away people who love her because she's convinced that it's better for her work, she's not going to have anyone there to support her and celebrate her, and guess what, Horvath? your work will suffer right along with your personal life. What a crushing way to think, and how much did I just want to shake her.

That said, Adam hit the nail on the head -- or multiple nails, all on multiple heads. He gets Hannah, and he also gets that she has no basis for her fear. And while it's admirable that Hannah finally vocalized that, I still think she's lost Adam (at least for now).

Britt: I also wonder a couple of things: Is Hannah expressing disbelief that someone could love her just more posturing? And with Hannah hitting the self-destruct button with Marnie and Adam, is this just more of Hannah creating situations to write about?

Kate: I think that she maybe unconsciously creating drama (in a way, like Jessa), but I also think she that she is convinced that she is, in some ways, unlovable.

Allison: Adam really seemed to come full circle for me in this episode and his view of Hannah and their relationship -- everything from his proposing they possibly move in together to getting upset after not immediately getting into the party to being taken aback by how pretty Hannah looked to his admission that he loves her. But I think all this totally took Hannah by surprise and without taking time to process it or talk to him about it all, she made a knee-jerk move to get Elijah as a new roommate and Adam's reaction totally broadsided her.

I think Hannah may subconsciously be sabotaging herself, not doing it on purpose for a story. But I think that all stems from years of her viewing herself as unlovable and now it's starting to affect her relationships and making what she's always predicted about herself a possible reality.

Gwen: I have to agree with Kate. I think Hannah just wants to suffer, because suffering yields great art (gag me). I don't think it has anything to do with thinking she doesn't deserve Adam, but more that she wants to self-sabotage because that would make her more in tune with her feelings. Adam nailed it on the head for me when he called her a monster.

She is a monster of her own making; one who likes the chase but doesn't like the consequences it yields.

It could also be that she watches too many movies/ reads too many devastating books and likes to have chaos around her all the time.

I know nothing of this syndrome... (Oh, but I do...)

Allison: I'm not sure I believed she was doing all this for the greater story -- I think she's immature when it comes to relationships and views relationships as "things" or just a status (which she ironically accused Marnie of) and was just getting settled in hers while Adam is sure of things and that disconnect between them is what hurt him so badly (and then actually got him PHYSICALLY hurt).

Meredith: I also think it's unconscious on Hannah's part. That doesn't make it less selfish, but I do not believe she deliberately, at the top of her mind, wants to suffer. It's sort of a writer's instinct, to push away everything that is healthy for us because we worry that being healthy will make us less interesting and dramatic.

Britt: BOOM. Meredith nails it. This is why I identify with Hannah so strongly. I think her fears are valid, and I think she's mostly scared of something too normal and "right." How could she ever write if everything is going so well for her? It's something so eerily familiar to me, and I think that's why this scene, and Hannah's arc this season, has shaken me so much.

So where do we think ‘Girls’ is headed next season?

Kate: I think all of our girls just need to grow up and reevaluate their relationships, good and bad. I expect we'll see Hannah living with Elijah, Adam gone but not even remotely forgotten, Marnie fully unleashing her sexuality, Shosh being as strange and wonderful as ever, and Jessa realizing what a tremendous mistake she's made.

Meredith: I loved the way the season ended -- Hannah unsure where she is, barefoot and eating cake on the beach in silence. As much as I love Adam, and as much as I love Adam and Little Face together, I'd like to see Hannah in some other romantic entanglements in the second season. And I definitely want to see her and Elijah living as roomies! I want to see Marnie and Hannah getting back into that best friendship world that made me fall in love with this show in the first place. I wouldn't be surprised if we see Jessa already divorced by the premiere, and above all else, I want MORE SHOSH.

Gwen: I think Jessa and Shoshanna will be in some weirdly cohesive relationships when we see them next. I hope Marnie is in a new place and maybe with new friends. And that Hannah is dead in a ditch... Okay, that's harsh. I hope that maybe Hannah is finishing her book. She's got no more distractions, right? She could be the next Tally.

Allison: I almost hope we don't skip forward and see where everyone is in three months or something -- I think the finale left things off at such an interesting place for each of the girls that I would feel a bit cheated if we were told rather than shown what happens next right from where we left off. I hope Elijah and his perspective on things is brought in with the potential of him moving in with Hannah and I hope that all the girls start doing what Hannah did -- stepping back, taking a moment and reevaluating rather than just running around doing all the time or talking to each other about what they think rather than making their own decisions and really figure out what THEY want and how they plan on getting that. They are all clearly a support system, dysfunctional as they may be, but now they need to be able to stand on their own and see where that takes them and I think we are starting to see shades of that potential.

Britt: I'm rooting for Hannah and Adam to get back together, for Shoshanna to continue her sexual exploration, for Jessa to learn some things through this horribly conceived marriage, and for Marnie to be a little more laid back, like she was in this episode. But yes, always, more Shoshanna. There is never enough Shosh!

What were your favorite moments and/or lines this week? My personal favorites: the Adam and Hannah argument, and the final scene with Hannah on the beach which -- while so quiet and simple -- was incredibly poignant to me. I'm still married so hard to "Whassup, Marnie?" but also, "She wears floral capris like her hymen's still intact."

Meredith: My favorite line was probably "Just stay out of my emotional way," and also "I love you. You're so f---ing gross, lying on the bathroom floor." My favorite moment was the last scene with Hannah on the beach, or Marnie laying one on the worst wedding emcee in the history of matrimony.

Kate: My favorite moment was Ray's confession to Shosh about how he hasn't stopped thinking about her -- that whole "you are the strangest person" speech. I also watched the episode twice in a row, and with the knowledge that Ray is going to make a move on Shosh, it's much more obvious just how much time Ray spends hanging around her and looking at her before ‘fessing up.

Allison: My most shocking moment was Adam getting hit by the car, I literally gasped at that. As much as it killed me, the big blow up between Adam and Hannah leading up to that moment was my favorite. "Whassup, Marnie?" was still my favorite line.

Gwen: Favorite moment: Elijah's face when Marnie said she was sorry, Ray in bed with Shoshanna -- being sweet, but not too sweet to go through with it. That was such a respectful moment, especially since Shoshanna had been burned by that other guy who wouldn't have sex with her. And Adam being the voice of the audience and telling Hannah that she doesn't get to be the only special person in the world. Her shrug was also a great character detail.

Filed Under: Girls, HBO, Lena Dunham
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