Girls: “Only Child” Season 3 Episode 5 Review

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Here’s the thing about being an only child, no matter how hard you try, you will never fully understand the complex concept of the sibling relationship. Hannah just isn’t self-aware enough to realize this.

Speaking from experience as an only child, you never get involved in a sibling fight. Poor Hannah is too self-centered to realize she can’t help Adam and Caroline because she’s only been around for a short time while this relationship has taken decades to get where it is.

The funny thing about when Hannah whispered to Adam she would ultimately choose his side is that Adam may not be able to say the same thing if push came to shove.

Not only is Hannah unable to fix her boyfriend’s family problems, her career is put through the ringer as well. After getting an enthusiastic response to another publisher, in light of David’s death, Hannah is all set to get her book back on track. But then she finds out that her contract with David’s company doesn’t expire for three years, meaning the book is their’s even though they aren’t publishing it. So when Hannah comes home to Caroline attempting to help her, she finally flips out and kicks her to the curb.

In the best and final scene of the episode, Adam comes home to Hannah moping on the couch. She expects a shoulder to cry on and for him to be relieved that his sister is gone. But then Adam starts yelling because no one besides him can kick his daughter to the curb. It’s hard not to feel bad for Hannah. She’s an only child. She just doesn’t know any better. Murray Miller, who penned this episode, must be taking from some experience. He captured the naiveness that comes with being siblingless flawlessly.

On the other hand, Marnie’s story was a bit all over the place. Arriving at Ray’s and asking him to tell her everything wrong with her, Ray essentially lays out what Lena Dunham may have drawn out when creating the character of Marnie. It’s almost a bit too self-aware.

Then, because I assume Marnie feels connected because Ray truly knows her, they have sex. Not too sure what Ray was thinking here though. After dating Shoshanna, it was hard to find his motivation in sleeping with one of her best friends. Marnie is hardly being kind or at all accessible. It doesn’t seem Marnie and Ray will become a thing, the show is smarter than that, but I wonder how necessary it was to force a sex scene between the two.

But it hardly takes away from what was ultimately one of Hannah’s best character episodes. Girls‘ critics claim the characters have little to complain about, but she certainly does now. Throw in some excellent comparisons between growing up with siblings and being an only child and you have one of the show’s most real episodes. Hannah may not be able to afford her Williamsburg apartment in real life, but the interactions she has with Adam and Caroline were spot on, which is where Girls has gotten its realism from since the beginning, how people of different backgrounds clash and relate. Grade: A-

By Matt Dougherty


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