Girls: “Incidentals” Season 3 Episode 8 Review

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This week’s Girls was a bit all over the place, but when it hit the mark it was a bullseye.

There was something a bit off about Adam getting on Broadway though. The only other time we saw him do any stage work was in the outstanding season one episode Weirdos Need Girlfriends Too. But that show was very clearly not Broadway. Since then, the ambiguity of Adam’s line of work has been sort of a punchline, considering he spent most of season two, uh, woodworking. Only recently has he been going on auditions. While the show’s timeline is a bit fuzzy (Hannah and co. are living through the nicest years of weather in NYC history), it’s hard to believe that Adam would jump from having nothing to being cast in a Broadway revival of Major Barbara based on talent alone. That’s not what it takes in 2014.

It’s a sharp contrast to Hannah’s career. She’s excited to interview Patti LuPone, but, with a forced product name-drop being weaved in, even that isn’t quite how she would ever imagine it going. Hannah’s career progression feels very natural, whereas this episode made Adam’s feel rushed.

That being said, the various outcomes that played out for their relationship were all on point. Being the significant other of an actor can be a bit scary, especially if your career is by comparison much more, let’s say subdued (not speaking from experience or anything…wink, wink). What if you’re not living an exciting enough life for them? What if they don’t want to come home to the quieter life style? Hannah’s insecurities were warranted and she handled it surprisingly well. That final bathtub scene (a familiar setting for many of the show’s more tender moments) where Hannah confessed her worries outright to Adam was brilliant. She seemed genuine in her happiness for Adam’s success, and Adam was able to temporarily calm her down. I’m not sure what Lena Dunham’s endgame is for their relationship, but I’m starting to put cynicism aside and really root for these two. After the way Hannah handled her bosses death and kicking Caroline out, it’s moments of maturity like this that keeps us guessing on whether they can make it.

Onto Marnie, who had her best episode of the season this week. Right off the bat, Ray breaks up with her, putting her down even farther than she’s been. Then, she runs into Booth Jonathan’s old assistant, who is opening her own art gallery in NoHo. Another success story Marnie isn’t in on.

She finally arrives at Adam’s celebration more of a mess than ever. Hannah follows her to the bathroom and the two share an incredible moment of friendship. When Marnie tells Hannah she can’t tell her why she’s upset, Hannah doesn’t ask questions and just hugs her friend. Such a mature episode for Hannah!

Marnie then gets to talk to Adam’s co-star, Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach), who compliments her singing voice. Whether this goes anywhere or not, Marnie deserved that pick-up after a half a season of torture culminating beforehand.

Then there was Jessa’s storyline. After the first two episodes of the season wonderfully dealt with her drug addiction, this episode tore it all down. When her rehab buddy Jasper shows up high, she collapses and falls back into it. This feels like such an unnecessary backtrack for the character. Even worse, when she shows up to Adam’s celebration clearly on something, Hannah just gets the throwaway line “Guess we shouldn’t haven taken her out of rehab.” That’s it. No one tries to stop Jessa or get her away from Jasper. Nothing.

Overall, Incidentals was the most disjointed episode of the season. It was Marnie’s best and Jessa’s worst. Meanwhile, Hannah’s career and relationship with Adam continue to be highlights, but Adam’s career took a giant leap in logic this week that I can’t ignore. However, I also can’t ignore the tremendous amount of emotion in Hannah and Marnie’s hug or the final bathtub scene. This was an episode that reinforces the fact that when Girls trips it doesn’t fall. Grade: B

By Matt Dougherty

 

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