‘Girls’ Talk: “Two Plane Rides”
Welcome back to another edition of ‘Girls‘ Talk, in which we at ScreenCrush are joined by a critic each week to discuss the latest episode. This week, we’re discussing the season 3 finale, in which Hannah receives some potentially life-changing (and relationship-changing) news. Meanwhile, Marnie comes clean to Shoshanna and promptly steps into a whole other mess, and Jessa discovers why Beadie really hired her.
ScreenCrush editor Britt Hayes is joined this week by Kate Erbland to discuss the ‘Girls’ season 3 finale, “Two Plane Rides” (full review). Kate is a contributor for ScreenCrush, Film School Rejects and New York Daily News, and you can tweet her @katerbland. You can tweet Britt @missbritthayes.
Britt: One of the things I hit on in my review of the finale is the many shades of selfishness, and how it’s all very subjective. For instance, Adam views his space as good-selfish, but it’s bad in Hannah’s eyes. And it seemed pretty inevitable that Hannah would be put in a position to turn the tables and do something that she viewed as the good kind of selfish (going to Iowa), testing Adam’s ability to return the favor. And, well, here we are with his reaction, which is just supremely heartbreaking and frustrating and insanely immature. “Can’t one thing just ever be easy with you?” That, along with his previous dig at her about how her life is just too much drama for him to focus on his work, or how he said that her work wasn’t as important as his — maybe a break-up isn’t a bad idea. Maybe — sigh — Hannah’s mom was right.
Kate: Although my ability to remain even mildly empathetic towards Hannah has waned over the past few episodes, I still can’t deny how heartbreaking it must have been for her for Adam to move out — even temporarily!! — just because he needs his space to work. Sure, Adam is a weirdo who marches to his own drummer, but the idea that he could just move out on her for his own aims is awful and very sad. In Adam’s eyes, it was a good move, it was the right move, the correct one, but to Hannah and everyone else, it was a selfish and ominous idea. Likewise, Hannah busting into Adam’s dressing room to chirp about the Iowa news right before his Broadway debut is clearly a bad idea, but it makes sense in Hannah’s eyes.
The real issue here, I think, is that these two still don’t know how to relate to each other the way the other needs and requires. Hannah can’t give Adam his space — she can’t even get why he needs it — but Adam also can’t accept Hannah’s love for blurting things out as they suit her. They’re a bad match.
Britt: I think Hannah had good intentions (as she seemingly usually does) in telling Adam about Iowa before he went on stage. In her mind, it was good news, and it wasn’t much different from what he was doing. If anyone would understand and be supportive, her creative other half would, right? And he seemed to be on board with it! The way she shakily delivered that clearly rehearsed speech about how they’ll figure it out and be two artists living in separate rooms was an indicator that she’s still trying to convince herself, via convincing those closest to her, that this is going to work. As hard as it’s been to empathize with her recently, I found it incredibly easy (a bit too easy, sadly) when Adam was lashing out at her post-show, making her a victim of his own insecurity. But I guess we’re going to Iowa now?
Kate: I guess we’re going to Iowa now! And, although I still see the selfishness on Hannah’s part here, there’s little question she does care about Adam and his work — just look at how her little face lights up while he performs! The speech may have been rehearsed, but I think the sentiment is true.
Britt: Exactly! Now, about other selfishness: Marnie. Another theme I picked up on this week was existential validation, which Marnie uses as an excuse for why she slept with Ray. It really annoys me that she so quickly retreats, making it clear that he was just there to fill a void and nothing more. It’s an insult to Shoshanna, a kick when she’s already down. Not only did she sleep with her friend’s ex-boyfriend, but then Marnie says she only did so out of pathetic desperation, as if Ray isn’t a valid romantic option. That’s horrendous.
Kate: Marnie’s lack of self-respect has some horrible ripple effects — like her terrible track record of getting it on with other people’s ex-boyfriends and actual boyfriends — and her own brand of selfishness is so profound as to appear to be almost delusional. Marnie is so convinced that this stuff is all going to work out (for her) that she doesn’t care who gets hurt along with way, from Ray to Shosh to Clementine. Hannah may think she’s got some unique talents, but Marnie seems to be convinced that she is actually special enough that the rules don’t apply to her.
Britt: It’s really difficult to watch her making out with Desi (ugh, I do not like him) right after she declares, half-heartedly, that she knows she needs to respect the emotional property of other women. For her, the real moment of existential validation comes as she watches Desi and Clementine fight while hiding around the corner. Marnie just wants to know that she’s important enough to cause a rift between two people, to destroy their love — that she’s important enough for a guy to throw away his girlfriend for her. But what comes next? What happens when she actually has him? While I understand that Desi is supportive of Marnie in ways her friends are not, that doesn’t mean they are romantically compatible, and I think the thrill of the chase, the challenge, and the desire to have herself validated is what is driving Marnie here — it has little to do with Desi as a person. As much as I dislike him, he’s just another victim of Marnie’s selfish behavior.
Kate: I think that Desi probably also has a track record of bad behavior, which makes him an easy mark for Marnie. I don’t think she’s the first girl he’s “made a record” with.
Britt: When it comes to Jessa, I like the idea of her being faced with a selfless act that is very difficult. Suicide is the most selfish of acts, and Beadie asking Jessa to assist in that is pretty complex. Beadie nails it, though, even if it is a guilt trip: Jessa has never done a selfless thing in her life. But it raises questions like, if Jessa says no, is she still being selfish, or is she saving a life? By trying to keep Beadie from killing herself, is she being selfish or actually selflessly trying to help someone remain alive? This situation is, by far, the most brilliant one they could’ve placed Jessa in, and I love, love, love Louise Lasser and everything she adds to the conversation.
Kate: Oh, man, I really loved where they took Jessa in this episode. And what great misdirection there! At first it seems as if Beadie needs drugs to soothe her pain, not to fully end it, and Jessa’s reluctance to help seems a bit strange and unexpected, but then the reveal that she actually wants to die resets everything. Brilliant. Just wonderful.
And, yes, it’s the best thing they could have done with Jessa — so strangely rewarding, weird, wonderful, and with a cliffhanger that carries real stakes. What a treat.
Britt: That moment when Jessa picks up the phone to dial 911, and you just see her brain at work — what do I say? How do I explain this to save her life but also make sure I don’t end up in prison? For once, she was just trying to do something good for someone else and it might end up biting her in the ass. I love it.
Also, I feel like this episode is super melancholy bummer city, but we should at least acknowledge the brightness Elijah continues to bring, which was much needed this week. From his creeping up on the cast photo (his own bit of existential validation!) to his bit about being intuitive. He gives us the only real laugh-out-loud moments this week, I think.
Kate: Can we talk about that glorious moment when Elijah sat down during intermission and it was revealed that he was wearing FORMAL SHORTS? Only Elijah. I also genuinely had to pause the show when he did his photo creep, it was too good and perfect and wonderful, I just needed to bask in it a bit longer.
Elijah should have his own show, there’s no doubt about it. Just Andrew Rannells walking around NYC, just saying stuff and talking to people, even that would work. The man is a gem and his character is pure sunshine.
Britt: I was saying last week, with his spot-on impression of needy Marnie, that I hope that by the end of the series, Elijah has a one-man off-Broadway show that involves him doing impressions of all of his friends.
Before we go, we should also address Caroline, or I will regret it forever! I was so happy to see her again, and it makes so much sense that she would be with Laird … and pregnant … and they have an ice tea shelf. What the what?
Kate: I fell on the floor. It’s so Caroline, just a big combo of mistakes both Hannah and Jessa have made before, but somehow even more deranged and over the top. What a trip. Going upstate to get healthy! Garage sales! A BABY. It’s inevitable that someone would get knocked up, but that it’s Caroline? Glorious. Cherry-on-top stuff.
Britt: As it’s the finale, I have to ask: what are your hopes for next season? Personally, I am looking forward to more Elijah, and I hope he moves to Iowa with Hannah. I also hope that Shoshanna gets to be more of a person next season, and that the Beadie experience is the wake-up call that pushes Jessa forward, even just a smidgen. And I do sincerely hope we have not seen the last of Adam. Maybe he will move back in with Ray and they can have more adorable male-boding bathroom moments.
Kate: I feel like we’re on the same page with our wishes. I always want more Elijah, and I think that the Shosh-heavy nature of this episode means that our beloved little flunkie is finally getting more stuff to do, because this season was previously weirdly disinterested in her. I look forward to Jessa changing for the better, if even for a bit. I am sure we’ll get more heartbroken Marnie. Ray and Adam need to work on their bromance. Hannah can stay in Iowa forever.
Britt: Well, on that note! I’d like to thank Kate for participating in our final ‘Girls’ Talk of the season, and we’ll be back next year to dissect all of our feelings when ‘Girls’ returns for season 4!