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.
“I have some big choices to make,” Loreen Horvath says to Hannah as they drive towards a retreat for some well-needed ‘Spring Queening’. Turning 60, Hannah’s mother understandably doesn’t want to live her remaining years “sexless and alone” - even if the sex has apparently been better recently due to “less pressure”. Last week’s episode finished with sex very much on the table, and episode five seems intent to continue where that left off - even if Dill and Elijah are sadly absent from this very Hannah-centric episode.
Back in Japan, Shoshanna is working in a cat café - a job surely designed for her - somewhere Yoshi happily spends his lunch breaks. Work colleague Abigail (a welcome return for Aidy Bryant) has headed out to surprise her (read: try to bring her back home), but Shosh seems genuinely happy, having learnt a lot of the language and spending more time with Yoshi who, according to Abigail, is like “an Asiatic member of One Direction”. But Abigail isn’t 100% convinced, even if we really do think Shosh belongs in this cotton candy wonderland.
Shosh belongs in this cotton candy wonderland.
Back on earth, Hannah is struggling to separate herself from technology, repeatedly scolded for using her phone in a strictly no-phone-zone. As that famous saying goes, dropping our walls starts with “dropping our screens”, or something like that. Loreen and Hannah’s relationship has never been the most conventional, but we’re glad Loreen is using the downtime to tell her daughter things we’ve been shouting at the screen for months now. “You are incapable of loving someone who is kind to you,” she says as Hannah moans about kind, lovely Fran. But then she goes on to explain how she thinks her fractured marriage messed Hannah up, which mini Horvath strongly denies before saying goodnight to her mum: “don’t worry about snoring. I can sleep through anything, even sex”.
Talking of sex (again), Adam and Jessa seem to have moved well past last week’s awkward first carnal encounter. So well past it, in fact, that we find them roleplaying as high school students who may now have a baby on the way due to carelessness with their, err, technique. Free of actual baby worries, Jessa informs Adam that her sister is in town. And, in spontaneous Adam style, he decides to meet her.
“Honestly, I feel like I’m inside Katy Perry’s vagina!” No, not more sex: Abigail’s reaction when walking through the infectious, fluro-splashed Japanese streets with Shoshanna. The latter goes on to reflect exactly what we inferred earlier: “sometimes at night I think about Japan and I’m like, did I create this country in my mind?” She is just so relaxed (in a place where it’s still acceptable for teeny tiny fish to clean your feet, apparently). But we are very sad to report that Shosh isn’t actually happy on her Far Eastern adventure. Abigail - and we - may want to watch a reality show where “Yosh and Shosh take the city”, but a tearful Sho is “really fucking lonely… I swear, if one more person bows and says ‘I’m sorry’ I’m going to fucking cut someone”. So she does still need to go home, then.
We’re pretty sure the male attendant at Spring Queening would like to cut Hannah at this point, too, seeing how she continually refuses to put her phone to one side. Ever the blunt and immovable force, hey, Horvath? Much to Hannah’s delight, another retreat employee (Lena Hall) brushes him aside, encouraging her to open up. “I really hate being outside… I realise I’m more into being here and hating it than I am with spending time with my own boyfriend. That’s not a good sign.” No, Hannah, it’s not. Said female attendant provides the fuel for this week’s drama, something we and Loreen know Hannah can’t survive without. “You are way too luscious to be with the wrong guy”, she tells Hannah, “let’s get to the sauna and stretch you out”. I think we all know where this was headed, a yoga move turning into a quick kiss and then a lot more. Hannah is quick to confess that she has “never slept with a girl”, before the instructor reciprocates she’s “never slept with a student”. Well, that’s one way to forget about Fran.
Queen For Two Days is about contemplation and deciding what’s really important in the here and now.
While Hannah is busy being Hannah, Adam continues to prove why she was so wrong for him - even if Jessa is far from your average girl. Sister Minerva (Marianna Palka) is very keen to hug Adam, but it goes far further than that, Jessa pre-warning her “boyfriend” (boyfriend?) that the pair have a habit of sleeping with the same men. Apart from her father, that is, which apparently Minnie gets away with due to only being Jessa’s half-sister. (When are we going to see Ben Mendelsohn return, anyway?) A reserved Adam observes their meeting - a wonderful mix of English, Scottish and American accents - before Jessa gets to the crux of her situation. She needs money to continue her studies as a ‘foreign’ student. “Grandma cut me off after rehab… But she didn’t cut you off.” But Minnie doesn’t believe Jessa will see it through based on her previous track record: “I know you, Jessa”. But then, out of nowhere, in swoops Adam: “no, you don’t… She’s a beautiful fucking rainbow… And she’s going to be sublime… I’ll pay for your schooling… I made a fucktonne of money doing those commercials and it’s just sitting there… It should go to something good”. Wow. This may smell of danger, the kindling all too visible under the pair at this rather crazy proposition, but something tells us these two might just be in it for the long haul. And if not? Well, we better duck and cover.
Another pair designed for the long haul? Apparently Loreen and Tad Horvath. Let’s be honest, we couldn’t see them actually divorcing. But there’s still a season-and-a-half to go, so who knows what marital developments lay ahead. But for now, the retreat has led Loreen to the following: “I am going to stay with your father… I’ve thought about it a lot. And what am I going to do, date on the internet? I don’t even like talking to the people I like.” Like mother, like daughter. On hearing that her mother may have proceeded differently had she known 20 years ago? “I think you guys really did fuck me up.”
As Shoshanna drifts down the glowing night streets as the credits roll to David Bowie’s Life On Mars, we realise she truly is living on another planet. But it's a planet where she has had space to think, which is what Queen For Two Days is truly about: contemplation and deciding what’s really important in the here and now. For Adam? Jessa. For Shoshanna? New York. For Hannah? Who even knows. But it certainly isn’t Fran.