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.
Finally, the episode we’ve been waiting for: Shoshanna in Japan. And it certainly doesn’t disappoint, effortlessly switching between America and Japan as the girls deal with the men in their lives, whilst ensuring there are still some massive laugh out loud moments amidst the usual drama. The vivid, non-stop opening is Shosh to a tee (where is her alarm clock from, please?): Hello Kitty headphones, multicoloured hair and gossiping in Japanese, little Shosh finally seems to have found the place where she belongs. We even get the titles in Japanese.
Snap to Hannah and Fran (we’ve got the hang of this name thing now) who bring us crashing back down to reality with the latest instalment of Which Event Will Finally Make Them Break Up. This week? It’s Fran’s phone. Naked photos of his previous girlfriends, to be more precise. Hannah can’t understand why Fran isn’t simply happy watching porn, which he sees as degrading. Cue a conversation about masturbating and Fran telling Hannah he’s “Not really going to get off” to the goofy pics she sends him. Ouch.
We give Fran another three episodes. Tops.
To say where it goes next is a surprise is an understatement, but there aren’t many things that have the power to surprise on this show anymore. “Paint me like one of your French girls, Ray.” Yep, a sprawled out Hannah is posing for nude photographs, Ray behind the camera, Elijah directing in the way only he can. But serious question, when did Ray get to a point where he was comfortable doing this for his friends?
“Did you have pleasure this weekend?” Meet Yoshi. “Yes, I did have pleasure,” replies Shoshanna coyly. It didn’t take her long to form a reciprocated crush. Whilst Shosh and her new gal pals chat in one swimming pool (“I literally never heard that” when they tell her she talks too fast), Yoshi and his friends chat in another. Yoshi is a little bit head over heels for Shoshanna, you see - so it doesn’t really help when his friends start talking about how all American girls sleep around.
Talking of American girls who will no longer be able to sleep around, Marnie did make it down the aisle. The honeymoon is obviously going well, but the hippie earth mother-type was all a bit for show pre-marriage, so is this Marnie finally rallying against convention or just going through another phase? Either way, her blissful honeymoon is interrupted by a fraught Hannah, who is struggling to deal with the phoneography issue (“How is this different to killing someone and keeping their shrunken head as a trophy?”). Marnie tries to convince her friend to stay calm: “He is the nicest person you have ever dated by like a planet distance”. But that’s the point, isn’t it. Hannah doesn’t do ‘nice’. ‘Nice’ is boring. ‘Nice’ is for later. ‘Nice’ doesn’t guarantee drama. We give Fran another three episodes. Tops.
No sooner have we fallen in love with Shoshanna in Japan, her perfect little bubble is well and truly popped when she gets made redundant. At least, that’s what she thinks is happening as her superior managesplains redundancy to her during a brilliant little scene: “It’s like a very light ending of a relationship and a business partnership and a salary”. So she’s been nicely fired, then. Answering the phone “Well Hello Kitty” doesn’t do Scott (Jason Ritter 100% back in action as Shoshanna’s US-based boyfriend, you guys) any favours, but all is forgiven as he consoles his devastated girlfriend. However, considering the next thing Shosh does after hanging up is text Yoshi, we think it’s about to be ‘Jason Ritter 100% not in action as Shoshanna’s US-based boyfriend, you guys’.
Hunting down her Japanese crush, she heads to a club in a state of emotional instability. After Yoshi’s warning about ‘loose’ American girls it’s natural to predict this ending in unnecessarily dramatic fashion, but this is thankfully avoided (after a very bizarre bondage club encounter that sees Shosh dressing up in a latex nurse outfit and whipping one of Yoshi’s friends) and the pair share a rather sweet little kiss in the street - though we’re not yet sure if it went any further.
If you’re concerned for Scott (which we doubt applies to many...), take a moment to consider poor old Fran who has to deal with another stellar bout of Horvath passive aggression mid-coitus after telling her he loves her: “You shouldn’t need me to tell you I love you, all of those pictures of your ex-girlfriends can tell you that they love you.” We echo his “Really?” entirely. The clearly mismatched pair slept in the same bed so things can’t have ended all that catastrophically. But then Hannah beelines for Fran’s phone and deletes the incriminating photos before replacing his lock screen with one of Ray’s photos. We can’t wait for next week’s blowout.
As Shosh pines over the country she cannot bear to leave, Ray continues to pine over Marnie (“Don’t be thirsty, Ray” - Andrew Rannells continuing to knock those one-liners out of the park). Enter Hannah with a rather neat little speech about body image and the Fran situ: “I worked very, very hard to overcome the challenges of my non-traditional body type and accept myself for who I am. I’m not going to be edged out of my own life by girls who don’t even have any interesting fat deposits on them. Until this happened I was basically Kate Upton to myself.” Applause all round. Until Elijah pipes up and undermines it all in the most glorious fashion, that is: “Hannah, you’re still hot. To Fran.” Amazing.
But what of Adam and Jessa’s continual pas de deux? This episode sees Adam’s career continue to gather steam, landing himself a role (opposite guest star Lucy Liu) in a fictional cop show. After Jessa initially laughs at Adam’s appearance (he’s a very glamorous tramp), she turns to him post-scene full of praise. “You were amazing... You were tough and grimy and streety, but you were totally vulnerable! You played into that pain so well!” Will the pair just get married already?
There’s only one couple worth rooting for at this point.
It’s fair to say that there’s only one couple worth rooting for at this point. The days of Hannah and Adam are long gone and Marnie and Desi are borderline insufferable (to the show’s credit). So when “Grandpa” Ray heads to bed and leaves Adam and Jessa alone in the apartment, you naturally shift to the edge of your seat. Jessa is still dogged in her “We’re just friends... I’m not doing this ‘will they won’t they’ shit”, leaving a slightly embarrassed Adam in his kitchen, mock-obliterating himself with bullets before dropping to the floor. With Scott stood up at the airport, Hannah and Fran on thin ice, Jessa and Adam still in limbo (at least according to one of them), and Marnie and Desi happy for now, hopefully next week will see a big change in direction for most of the gang - mainly because we just really like it when the show gets ridiculously intense.