Girls: Season 5, Episode 2 - Good Man Review

Image for Girls: Season 5, Episode 2 - Good Man
★★★★★

Be warned, the following review has spoilers strewn about like New York fire hydrants. So if you haven't seen the episode, try not to trip over them.


“Home invasion.” And so starts episode two. A startled Hannah’s fear isn’t quite right, so it’s no wonder her sleeping, vanilla boyfriend whose-name-nobody-could-remember-last-week (Frank, right?) is less than reluctant to rise from his slumber. But her fears aren’t completely unfounded either. Why? Because her boyfriend Finn appears to share his apartment with a man who enjoys turning the place into a living art space.

We’re not sure we have the emotional space for new characters prior to the girls saying goodbye next season, so luckily not spending much time with roomie Jacob (Christian Capozzoli) isn’t something we’re going to lose any sleep over: even if he’s “a slow-motion Incredible Hulk [who’s] going to fucking Hulk out!” after Hannah calls him crazy during an uncomfortable exchange about her “bush” that sees Hannah popping out a breast in protest. Bad move, Horvath.

After the face off in his apartment, Flynn decides to move in with his girlfriend. Only problem (not that we see it being the only foreseeable one)? Hannah and Elijah, who we really didn’t see enough of last week, “have a very specific relationship. We have to be able to express ourselves.” Let’s just hope that passionate kiss in front of Fritz is as far as that specific relationship goes these days.

Talking of awkward situations, Adam is trying to avoid domestic issues (and physical contact with his baby niece) at Chez Sackler-Schlesinger, with sister Caroline (Gaby Hoffman) and baby daddy Laird (Jon Glaser) being their usual volatile selfs. Ray and Elijah also have their own problems: neighbouring coffee shop Helvetica’s (“What kind of douchebag names their store after a font?”) lackadaisical attitude to cup lids giving Ray an opportunity to pull out his beloved soapbox. Only, he unexpectedly finds himself faced with a very one-sided argument about identity and gender fluidity with younger baristas (Grace Dunham and Yassir Lester) in a city that he’s always been slightly out of step with. Long may this coffee turf war continue, even if just so we can witness Elijah wearing a different bandana each week.

With eight episodes to go we still don’t know just quite how explosive - or uncharacteristically neat - the upcoming finale will be.

Speaking of the workplace, Hannah’s done something miraculous. She has held down a job for a considerable length of time - even if it’s not necessarily the one she’s been best-suited to during the show’s run (jazzhate.com, anyone?). We get the feeling she won’t be holding onto this teaching position for much longer, though, with both students and Principal Toby (Douglas McGrath) questioning her choice to include Philip Roth’s controversial Goodbye, Columbus in the syllabus. Luckily, her imminent firing (“Just because kids understand the words doesn’t mean they’re ready for the concepts”) is interrupted by her hysterical father (Peter Scolari) who is having a crisis of conscience after heading to New York to hook up with a man he met after typing ‘gay’ into Google. But this isn’t quite why he requires Hannah’s services, the pair reversing roles after he accidentally left his wallet at the source of the steamy setup. Such a Hannah thing to do…

We said earlier that there’s no room for emotional attachment to new characters this season. But we’d like to take that back on meeting Mr Horvath’s hookup, please. As Hannah semi-despairingly says, “You seem like a really nice man, Keith” (Ethan Phillips). And we totally agree with her about this softly-spoken, dog-loving fine boot dealer (a role made for Bob Balaban had he not already popped up as Dr. Rice). We just can’t quite see Tad Horvath making the leap of leaving his wife, even if she is currently hell-bent on getting “a fucking divorce”.

Elijah makes the wise choice of beelining to a bar in favour of helping Hannah with her non-condom using father (“I haven’t had to think about it in a really long time!”). If he hadn’t gone to that specific bar, he wouldn’t have caught the eye of local celebrity Dill Harcourt (a guest-starring Corey Stoll), who wouldn’t have sent a drink over to him, which wouldn’t have put little Elijah into a state of mental giddiness, which wouldn’t have given us one of the very best Girls couplings of all time. Guest star or not, this “I’m going Uptown/I’m going Downtown” scenario begs to be explored. Actually, HBO, can we please make a special request that you put these two in your upcoming Looking film? That would make us very, very happy. Those two programmes were always begging for a crossover, let's be honest.

But on to the two people we really want to talk about. Adam and Jessa. After a trip to the same AA meeting, Jessa seems intent on keeping her distance from Adam post-kiss. “Nothing can ever happen… Because Hannah. I’m done being shitty. Shitty is old news,” she says. So they decide to spend the day together as friends. After a failed kiss attempt from Adam, Jessa tells it how it is: “You know as well as I do that even if we could be together, even if Hannah didn’t exist, that I would destroy you. And you would destroy me”. Adam’s subsequent “Can we be together and not touch each other?” pitch then works wonders, as five minutes later they’re masturbating together from either end of a sofa. ‘Friends’ indeed. There can’t be many people not rooting for this pair to finally find some stability - especially having now been witness to their wonderfully unorthodox way of eating sandwiches together.

Good Man is a filler episode serving to put the final puzzle pieces in place, so it’s lucky that Girls rarely leaves you feeling shortchanged when not a lot happens (we don’t even know if Marnie and Desi made it down the aisle…). But episode two gives us a lot to potentially feel quite positive about: stable-ish relationships for Adam, Jessa, Tad, and Elijah. Alright, maybe not so much the latter two. There’s no Marnie, Desi or Shoshanna this episode (you hardly notice their absence), and with eight episodes to go we still don’t know just quite how explosive - or uncharacteristically neat - the upcoming finale will be. And that’s pretty exciting.