Girls: “Sit-In” Season 4 Episode 5 Review

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After a meandering few episodes of Hannah in Iowa, Girls needed to deliver a showstopper. Luckily, “Sit-In” is a masterpiece, a perfect illustration of Girls at its best.

If the show was going to give up on Hannah’s creative journey in Iowa, it needed to do something huge when she returned to New York. Mimi-Rose showing up at the end “Cubbies” was a clear indication of what was coming. It may have only been a month since Hannah left, but that was long enough for Adam to move on and find someone else. He and Hannah are officially done, and it’s time for Hannah to move on.

“Sit-In” is a bottle episode set almost entirely in Hannah and Adam’s apartment. When Hannah locks herself in her old room, Adam calls everyone he can think of to get her out of this funk. From there, she gets visitors that perfectly pair up with the five stages of grief.

Denial and Isolation – Shoshanna: Shosh is the first to arrive once Hannah is locked away. At this point, there’s nothing she can do to comfort Hannah. She just wants to be alone, but Shosh insists on looking up Mimi-Rose to find all the reasons she’s terrible for Adam. What they find are speeches she gave in college about giving up love for creative pursuits, the exact constraints Hannah tried to put on Adam’s acting career last season. Shoshanna so blindly believes in true love that she can’t see the ways Hannah and Adam might not have worked. At this point, neither can Hannah, so she pulls the covers back over her head and rolls over.

Anger – Jessa: As Shosh leaves Hannah’s room, Jessa walks out of the bathroom. Jessa was almost infuriatingly rude to Hannah before she left in “Iowa”, and besides a botched phone conversation, that was the last time they spoke. Jessa is the last person that should be talking to Hannah right now. We learn she practically set Adam up with Mimi-Rose, which, while perfectly logical (“you were supposed to be gone two years,” she tells Hannah), is simply not cool. Jessa is going to have to show a little more compassion for Hannah to forgive her. Her pain is partially Jessa’s fault, and Jessa acts insufferably over the course of their conversation. There’s a chance Jessa will come out the other side of this better friends with Adam than Hannah, especially with how hostile they leave things.

Bargaining – Caroline and Laird: Next up are two characters we haven’t seen yet this season: Adam’s sister and Hannah’s recovering drug-addict neighbor. Caroline and Laird are together now, with Caroline expecting a child. They’re letting Adam and Mimi-Rose stay at their place for the night. Caroline tells Hannah all the ways in which she thinks she was better for her brother than Mimi-Rose is. Hannah gets a chance to agree with all the reasons Caroline thinks she’s better. Who better to bargain with than Adam’s own flesh and blood?

Depression – Ray: Whose more depressing than Ray? Even through Hannah’s depression, he manages to find a way to complain about the noise pollution by his apartment. Yet, Ray is able to be there for Hannah in a way that none of the others have been so far. Being that he’s almost ten years older than Hannah, he has a lot more experience in heartbreak. He knows that Hannah just needs to ride out the storm. This is also Hannah at her lowest in the episode, as she stupidly burns herself while flipping bacon. Here, Hannah also gets to acknowledge she’s not okay and is allowing herself to just feel depressed.

Acceptance – Marnie: “Hannah, you can come out, it’s just me. I brought food.” Marnie’s voice has never inspired such a sense of relief. Hannah’s enveloped in Mimi-Rose’s speeches to the point where she hides in the bathroom pretending to take a shower. Marnie of course knows its fake, and walks into the bathroom, where the pair tend to have their most rewarding conversations. As Hannah’s best friend, Marnie can say things that most can’t get away with. She tells Hannah that she needs to let go of Adam and that maybe they were never meant to be a happy-ever-after couple. Hannah wanted them to be artistic soulmates, to which Marnie replies that maybe she and Hannah are instead (cue sobbing). In the beginning, Girls was entirely about friendship and the lengths you go to maintain it as you grow. As viewers, we knew Hannah and Adam were never going to work out, as much as we rooted for them. But Hannah and Marnie’s journey together has seen even more wrinkles. The difference is that these friends always wind up there for each other. I’m not sure how many seasons Girls has left, but this moment the two share in Hannah’s darkest moments takes the show back to its roots, illustrating the larger point about friendship the show has been aiming to make since the pilot. Girls isn’t about whether Hannah and Adam will end up together, it’s about how Hannah and Marnie navigate friendship through the most tumultuous years of their lives. This is their love story, and that’s the most beautiful thing Girls has shown us in a long time.

Adam returns to the apartment just as Hannah is ready to leave. He sees the makeshift cast Ray made her for the burn and demonstrates one last time how great of a boyfriend he was for Hannah. But great doesn’t always mean right, and they are finally prepared to acknowledge that. It’s really sad to hear Adam’s side of how f*cked up their relationship was from the beginning. Mostly because it’s all true. In a rare moment of maturity, Hannah leaves the apartment with some grace to sleep on the couch in the storage unit Adam paid for. It’s a lonely end to a lonely episode. Hannah’s life has never felt like more of a mess.

“Sit-In” is a masterful bit of storytelling. Showing us almost every major relationship Hannah has on the show in realistic and consistently in-character ways (a rare feat for Girls), this is one of the finest half-hours this crew has ever produced. If you go through all of television history for the best examinations of losing in love, “Sit-In” likely sits pretty close to the top. It may not happen as often as it used to, but here’s proof that Girls has still got it. Grade: A

By Matt Dougherty

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