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BYT is recapping Girls Season Three for your reading pleasure. Rather than a straight review, we’re doing it “he said/she said” style with recappers Svetlana Legetic and Alan Zilberman. They will both feel a lot of feelings, and A LOT of those feelings will be disparate. Enjoy!


Alan: If “Dead Inside” ends with incontrovertible evidence that Hannah is mentally ill, then “Only Child” is all about how her illness hurts others. Remember when we first meet Caroline, and Adam says, “She doesn’t have the decency to implode privately. She has to bring everyone down with her”? That’s sort of what’s happening here, except everyone uses Hannah’s muted sense of decorum against her.

The first big scene is David’s funeral, where we learn he was married to a woman(!), and she’s played by Jennifer Westfeldt(!). Westfeldt is a naturally warm actress, yet she knows how to play up a scene’s tension so it’s prickly in just the right way. At first, David’s wife mistakes Hannah for another prodigy, a moment that’s played for laughs, but sets up a later scene where Hannah, again, goads David’s ex-wife about getting a book deal. Her acknowledgment of Hannah’s ugliness and the way she dispatches her is my favorite moment of the episode.
But the real narrative thrust here is Hannah’s realization that she no longer owns her life stories, and that David’s company is holding onto the rights. What do you think of the latter half of the episode, Svetlana? Is this the kind of explosion you were expecting from Hannah all along?
Svetlana:  First off-I love Jennifer Westfeldt, and I loved that little posthumous character development for David. LOVED IT. But yes, the funeral scene is essentially a social interaction equivalent of Chinese water torture for the viewer, in my opinion. OOOOh, it’s awkward. OOOOOH, it is about to get awkwarder. OOOOOOOOH, she really, really made is the awkwardest. Because, in the end, of course it is all about Hannah knowing how to care only about Hannah. A real human, no matter how effed up their ulterior motives are, would have used that interaction to make a friend, create a support system, forge alliances – Hannah, on the other hand, is just so clueless and afraid and freaking out internally ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO HER, that she can’t even wait to be opportunistic AFTER the memorial drinks.
Alan:  Unsurprisingly, my favorite sub-plot involved Ray’s scene with Marnie at his apartment. In an effort to understand why she rubs people the wrong way, she knocks on Ray’s door then asks what’s wrong with her. Ray is a little surprised, yet he’s happy to unload some brutal honesty. He goes a little too far – he calls her a phony – then pulls back a little to say she’s still basically a good person. It’s a funny scene because Marnie seems to become a little more self-aware, while Ray reverts back into man-child mode. Because they find each other at the middle, there’s a moment of mutual attraction and they have sex.

I want to pause here and consider the implications of this hasty hook-up. Ray sleeps with Marnie, who is both the good friend of his ex-girlfriend (Shoshana) and the ex-girlfriend of his best friend (Charlie). Ray tries to avoid any awkwardness in a sad-sack plea to Marnie that she not tell anyway, and she quickly takes the control of the situation with the episode’s funniest line of dialogue. Charlie has left the show, Svetlana, but do you think Ray and/or Marnie will experience any blow back over this transgression? One probably I have with Girls is how Dunham sometimes lets subplots happen in a vacuum, so I’m curious to see just how disastrous that could be for both of them.
The other major sub-plot has Hannah’s hands all over it: the fighting between Adam and Caroline has come to a head. They know how to push each other’s buttons – Adam is quickly dismissive of Caroline’s free spirit nature, while she needles him with Freudian psycho-babble – yet Hannah has the patience to establish an uneasy pace. Of course, Hannah does not have the decency to implode by herself, so she kicks out Caroline when she tries to offer some solace over the lost book deal. Everything comes full circle when Adam repudiates Hannah for acting unilaterally. He repeats, “She’s my sister,” more than once, and clearly Hannah does not understand the boundaries she oversteps. Coupled with simmering narcissism, the selfishness of an only child leads truly thoughtless, mean decisions.
Svetlana, what did you think of the arguments between Adam and Caroline? To me, anyway, they had an air of plausibility because both Adam and Caroline would bring back past events that would act like an argumentative curve ball.
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Svetlana:  I do think that there will be SOME consequence to the Marnie/Ray hook-up but I do hope that Dunham deals with it in some slightly-more-creative-than-just-a-potential-Shosh-blowout way. You sense that both Allison Williams and Zosia Mamet have some great comedic chops that don’t get shown off enough on this show so I would love for there to a be an over-the-top fight, then make-up, then LYLAS style bonding session.

As for Adam and Caroline, as someone with a sibling of the opposite sex, I can say that the dynamics between the two can be pretty fucked up at all times, but inevitably, there is a bond that cannot be overthrown by anything. Brothers are naturally protective of sisters even when it seems they outwardly HATE THEM, and I think Adam just couldn’t deal with Hannah causing Caroline harm in any way. She is his sister AND ONLY HE can do that, the rest of the world better act nice. I know this because that is exactly how my brother would act (though we’d never have THAT kind of fight).

Having said that – I will miss  Gabby Hoffman dearly.

Alan: Compared to the other characters on the show, Gaby Hoffman is a powder keg with a short fuse. She’s too intense and weird, forcing the hand of characters who’d rather be morose than have a confrontation. While I enjoyed her presence on the show, it was bound to be short-lived. Now we must much onward, where we witness the nasty repercussions of Hannah’s sad narcissism, Marnie’s gnawing doubt, and Adam’s dwindling patience.

Despite all that’s happened over the past two episodes, I think something can knock Hannah out of her rut. A spiritual kick to the head, maybe, or even a literal one. Either way, she’s going to descent deeper before she makes the choice to, you know, join humanity.