Girls: “Homeward Bound” Season 5 Episode 8 Review

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“Homeward Bound” was just an out and out mess. Out of sync with the tone Girls initially set and slowly but surely overblown, this episode was like a test run to see just how far they can take it. Have any of the titular four ever been more insufferable? Have they ever been less self aware? The show has made progress in righting the ship with their arcs, but this entry really pushes them back way too far.

Girls never quite figure out what the Hannah/Fran relationship was supposed to be. In season four’s finale, he seemed like he was her answer to the messy relationship with Adam. But now Hannah randomly decides she doesn’t like it. Sure, they’ve been having issues for a few weeks now, but most of them have been caused by Hannah. At no point has Fran seemed harshly out of line (besides when he started grading her papers). The scene that starts “Homeward Bound” pits Hannah against him right as they hit the road for a summer long trip in a camper. There’s an awkward time jump that skips the resolution to last week’s fight, but it doesn’t justify Hannah even agreeing to this trip in the first place. So the writers just kind of blow the whole thing up. Hannah runs away from him into the woods after they breakup and refuses to let him drive her back to the city. At least her extreme reaction to her breakup with Adam felt earned last season. The extremity of this one comes out of nowhere and makes Hannah out to be a child when the show has actually done some solid work on her growth this season. Nope, let’s blow it all up!

Speaking of blowing, one Ray picks her up in his hilariously painted coffee truck, she tries to give him road head. Sure, breakups can make people excessively horny, but Ray doesn’t fight it very hard and then closes his eyes on the road. Ray is the responsible one in the group. The writers just needed the truck to crash, so they made him temporarily irresponsible. If you wanted intelligent, faithful writing on Girls this week, you might just want to skip this one.

To top it off, Hannah jumps in some random guy’s car. He has a gun. So Hannah calls Marnie and discretely explains that she needs help. Marnie can’t give it because she’s recording her album. Turns out though that the gun was the guy’s ex-girlfriend’s, which he took from her when she pointed it at him. Now he’s starting over in New York. I like the moment where Hannah realizes what New York is to people from all backgrounds. It’s a humbling reminder of the sheer diversity of the city Girls calls home. How it connects to Hannah’s overall story in this specific episode, aside from her needing to start over, is anyone’s guess. But hey, maybe the writers wanted to blow everyone up one last time before starting down a more focused path for its main character.

Meanwhile, Caroline has disappeared and Laird asks Adam to take care of their child for an unspecified amount of time. He gets Jessa involved, who suddenly can’t handle being around a baby. Remember, this is the same Jessa who babysat children in season one and really had no issue being around them. But the writers needed to find a way to put a wedge between Jessa and Adam, so she can’t handle baby vomit this week. This whole piece of the episode was pretty off-putting except for the fact that Adam Driver does some of his best work on this show when his character is in crisis mode.

Also, Shoshanna is finally back in the US after the show has been torturing us with that prospect for weeks. But after seeming so miserable in Japan, she seems even more miserable in New York. She sets up a meeting with her ex-boyfriend without his consent and really just complains about how miserable she is. He tells her she’s entitled and a brat, which she’s heard before, but I guess it didn’t sink in.

All around, “Homeward Bound” was a pretty poor episode of Girls. It may even be the worst, but then there’s probably some forgettable season four episode that has thankfully escaped my brain. Man, I can’t remember a more uneven season of a show that still has so much promise. Grade: C-

Some Other Notes:

  • The episode’s one saving grace: Lisa Bonet. I’ve had a crush on her since watching Cosby Show reruns as a kid. If Girls wants to keep her around, but remove Desi, the show can only improve.
  • Jake Lacy did a wonderful job on the breakup scene. Maybe it’s because he was reacting to randomly getting written off the show after he really didn’t get to do anything. I’d be pretty pissed to.
  • Gabby Hoffman’s character on Transparent is insurmountably better than Caroline, so please, she can take all the time she needs away from Girls to continue making that astounding series.

By Matt Dougherty

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