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.
“Your relationship with the students is not the problem here.” Good to see Episode 7 is off to a positive start… Hannah is sat in the principal’s office, and it’s not because her students have been complaining. It’s because she’s been gossiping about the other teachers just like a student. A favourite to her pupils she may be, but Principal Toby’s hands are tied. So the episode kicks off in true Hannah style, opening her legs on the chair she's sat on to give him an easy decision.
“Showing your vagina to your boss is not an okay thing to do… we are not five, Hannah! How damaged is your thought process?” It seems that Fran is finally catching up with what we already knew about his girlfriend: she’s still a selfish little child. But kudos to the guy for suffering through this farcical relationship longer than we predicted. Scolding his eye-rolling, interrupting girlfriend like a teacher, he shouldn’t have to spell this out to her in such minute detail: “at the very least I would hope that you would know I would never want you to show your vagina to anyone but me”. Well, quite.
But onto a couple (‘couple’?) we actually like. Jessa and Adam are smoking during a rehearsal break for the latter’s new play: an interactive experience called 38 Neighbours which sees Driver’s real-life wife playing his fictional one. Jessa’s concern over Hannah’s attendance is worrying her, and with Hannah and Fran’s relationship purely revolving around passive aggression at this point (Fran: “Hannah wants to do something rude, disruptive and inappropriate? Plot twist!”), the play is the perfect stage for emotions to boil over. Though Jessa and Hannah aren’t currently talking, it’s hard to imagine it staying this way - how would Season 6 work if the pair don’t get to share any screen time?
With Fran making the correct decision of walking off and experiencing the immersive show by himself (“I. Do. Not. Make. Scenes. In. Public”, Jake Lacy is on top form this week), Hannah grabs Ray by the arm and the pair skulk off to watch the murder plot unravel. In waltzes Marnie, her and Hannah being their usual rude selves, talking over the acting (Marnie: “it’s not like the actors are doing anything interesting”), and with only their personal agendas in mind. Dragging Ray off for a chat, it’s easy to think Marnie wants him to act as a shoulder to cry on - but this could be about helping Charlie after last week’s curious instalment. We said it felt like a lone episode (à la the Patrick Wilson one), and it looks like we may have been right. Turns out she isn't interested in the Charlie drama and genuinely does just want Ray to act as a confidant. Poor old Ray. Marnie may allegedly want to know what he thinks about the divorce situation, but it looks like Ploshanksy’s becoming bored of her continuous dramas, heading back to the drama of the play instead.
Corey Stoll continues to be devilishly magnetic as Dill Harcourt.
Happiness is a rare emotion in Girls these days, but thankfully Elijah is having the time of his life (“I did poppers with the guy who invented boy butter! And then this lady in a corset asked if I was one of Ralph Lauren’s adopted male model sons!”) as Dill Harcourt’s arm candy. This pair appear attached at the hip and it’s nice to have these fleeting scenes of positivity amongst the girls’ pessimism. Corey Stoll continues to be devilishly magnetic as Harcourt, every line competing to be his best. But - and we’re very sorry to report this - we have a feeling that Elijah’s heart might get broken tonight. Rannells has made his character far more than the one-note bore he could have been since entering the show, but jealousy isn’t something we’ve seen from Elijah yet. Explaining to a random partygoer how Dill called him from Baghdad to see how his teeth cleaning went, he finds out he’s not the only man that Dill knows how to make feel like “the only girl in the room”. That’s his heart skewered, then.
But Elijah isn’t the only one set to suffer heartache during Hello Kitty. We’ve been building towards the inevitable Jessa/Hannah-off for some time now, and it’s the longing gazes Jessa and Adam cast across the block of apartments the play is set in that finally gives them away. There’s a Wes Anderson-y feel to this play-based realisation as the camera scans back and forth between the three parties, the screams of the woman at the centre of the play crying out in the background.
We then flip back to our other hurt series regular, Elijah, taking refuge in a bathroom. Dill hunts him down, trying to reassure him in the way only he can: “just because I’m a public figure, people feel they have a right to say what they want, think what they want. I don’t have any power to stop it”. But the seed of doubt is firmly planted, Elijah questioning what their “situation” is. Though Dill continues to be his charming self for the remainder of the conversation, he doesn’t ever answer Elijah’s question. He is oblique, opaque, and quite clearly not after anything serious. And with that realisation, Elijah dramatically exits with all of the miniatures from the bathroom. Quite right too. However a few hours later, Elijah lets a drunk Dill climb into bed with him - the latter falling asleep halfway through his drunken intimacies. We somehow can’t see him refusing Dill in the immediate future.
Another pair who can’t seem to stay away from each other are Marnie and her ex-husband, Desi crashing in on his former wife as she has a heart-to-heart with Hannah. Okay, it’s time to face the fact that this pair might actually deserve each other. A piece of their music is wanted for Grey’s Anatomy, and Desi is beside himself to say the least: “they say it’s for a huge fucking scene. Somebody fucking dies!” Their divorce is final, but their work is taking off. This is weird. And messy. And literally has Hannah climbing the walls as they sing together sweetly next to her. Girls’ music choices are always incredibly well thought through, but this week plays it perfectly, seemingly drawing a neat little parallel to its Grey’s reference.
As Hannah escapes the madness that lies within the apartment block, Fran hopes to end the bizarre state of limbo he finds himself in. But his timing couldn’t be worse, Adam and Jessa walking past after saying goodbye to some friends. Plucking up courage, Hannah extends her congratulations to Adam, but Jessa can’t quite muster more than a few words as the dagger forces itself further into Hannah’s heart. Jessa quite obviously feels terrible about what is going on (a point she continually raised with Adam before they finally got together) and Adam’s clearly not happy about the situation either. But Fran doesn’t quite get it (“I can see you’re stonewalling me here… I’d at least ask that you acknowledge you can hear me right now”), his clearly struggling girlfriend batting his hand away as he tries to glean some information from her.
Girls’ music choices are always incredibly well thought through, but this week plays it perfectly.
This would have been a perfect time and excuse for a big confrontation, but we’re not entirely convinced that Hannah wanted a face-off with Jessa here. In fact, it doesn’t look like anybody wanted that. Is this a mature decision from Hannah, or simply her not knowing what to say? Pleading her sorriness to Fran, she takes his hand and walks off. We are almost 100% certain that this is her needing a body tonight, not wanting to be alone after the realisation that her connection with Adam is well and truly severed. It’s an incredibly touching little scene that shows Dunham at her still, very reserved best as Hannah attempts to warn off an impending panic attack. Everyone seems to be in a mess except for Jessa and Adam this week. Who knew?