Girls: “Love Stories” Season 2 Episode 9 Review

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So how does Hannah start over? Girls has forced its chief characters to start over, or at least think they’re starting over (Marnie…), for a few seasons now. But “Love Stories” sees Hannah genuinely evolve after her big declarations in the last episode. She blows up her life, quitting her job and apologizing to her boss for flashing her vagina. Her future is suddenly wide open. But the first person she runs into is Tally (Jenny Slate returning from season one), someone she hates from college who found more success in writing than she ever did. Tally is socially deaf, so she thinks Hannah loves her and invites her out to coffee. Hannah, having nothing to do, reluctantly agrees. But with so much going on in Hannah’s life, a new friend ends up being exactly what she needs.

It was really weird to hear Hannah’s love life from season one to now laid out so plainly. We’ve watched it change over the years in really bizarre ways, some of which contributed to Girls‘ decline in quality. But hearing it stated this way, while Hannah couldn’t be more single, was incredibly relatable. The way Hannah thinks about her and Adam’s relationship now is a far cry from how she dealt with their breakup. Tally ends up being a perfect person to receive all this information. Having been absent for the last four seasons, she’s unaware of Hannah’s troubles, but also still cares enough to give her a much needed hug.

But Tally serves another major purpose for “Love Stories.” She has everything Hannah wanted back in season one and she’s still a mess. She Googles herself every day to read what people think about her, a menial task that I could easily see Hannah doing given Tally’s success. In this moment, they become equals. Two people just trying to figure their shit out like the rest of the 20 somethings who aren’t exactly where they want to be in life. They even briefly entertain having sex, which Girls smartly avoids to keep this new friendship firmly plutonic. But the most blissful moment comes when the two girls stumble down the stairs after smoking a ton of weed and run into Adam and Jessa. Sure, Hannah was high, but having her just hysterically laughing at two people who’ve caused her so much pain is the biggest victory Girls has given Hannah all season. It’s a beautiful moment that points to a more mature Hannah in the future.

Meanwhile, Elijah, Marnie, and Ray all blow up their love lives in some big ways. While it was a little too quick for Marnie to run to Ray, I buy this path Girls put them on a long time ago. Ray is mature and sees Marnie for not only who she is now, but the great person she could become. After her breakthrough in “The Panic in Central Park,” maybe she’s finally ready for something real.

Elijah, on the other hand, is crushed in what was supposed to be a moment of triumph. After so much preparation to ask Dill to be exclusive with him, Elijah’s new flame shuts him down. Andrew Rannells was terrific as he let himself go while Dill hugged him goodbye only to reel himself back in when Dill looked at him again. Now Elijah joins Hannah back at square one.

Had this episode included any statement on Jessa and Adam, with a side of Shosh, it very well could have been the season finale. I feel like Hannah and Marnie are particularly ready for whatever is coming for them in Girls‘ final season. This season has snuck up on me, honestly. A few bad episodes aside, Girls refound its groove many times this year. But can they stick the landing? Grade: A-

Some Other Notes:

  • Jenny Slate was absolutely brilliant this whole episode, bringing a character most people probably forgot about through a broad range of emotions and making it so believable. Not sure what she’s up to, but if Girls is looking for a new series regular, I’d love to keep watching Hannah and Tally readjust themselves after years of animosity in college.
  • “I had a sex dream about you once…you raped me.”
  • Adam doesn’t care when Hannah and Tally are laughing at them, but Jessa does. Is it that she doesn’t want to be easy to get over? Or is the spark gone now that Hannah doesn’t care as much?
  • Girls took its time setting up Marnie and Ray. It feels mostly earned, but I’m interested to see what their real relationship looks like.

By Matt Dougherty

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