January 28, 2014 by NowhereButPop
Deaths are always unexpected. Even when you know someone’s time is up, no one’s ever really ready for it; there’s just no way to brace yourself for that kind of a loss. Sometimes, but all too often at the same time, death really does come out of nowhere, and we’re left with nothing more than reactionary feelings. Those reactionary feelings to an untimely death are exactly the focal point for this week’s episode of Girls.
The episode revolves around the various reactions to the unexpected and pseudo-unresolved death of David, Hannah’s editor, and the man who gave her the e-book deal in season two. What we learn from this episode is that it is the boys who seem to be more emotional than the girls are. Drug addict Laird, who never even met David, expresses sympathy and grief towards Hannah, while Ray, who was beaten up by David, tells Hannah that even he is a little saddened to hear the news. Despite all of this, Hannah is not shaken up or the least bit downtrodden to hear the news. In fact, all she is concerned about is whether or not this jeopardizes her e-book now that her editor is dead. As a result she spends the entire episode trying to feel something, besides sheer indifference towards the death of a supporter, if not a fringe friend.
In response to the death, Hannah tries to synthesize fake feelings in an attempt to draw attention to herself. That’s why she tells Jessa and Shoshana, and that’s the exact reason why she feels the need to go on paparazzi websites to read David’s obituary. She thinks that by doing these thing, it will somehow include her into a closer more important literary circle. Any remorse that she does feel is self-centered as she is only doing so to have the attention brought to her, she’s merely using David’s death as a vehicle.
Adam, who only met David in passing, was more shook up than Hannah was, but more than that he was dismayed at Hannah’s lack of emotion. He’s someone who appears to understand the enormity of death, and this comes from his emotional depth, as Hannah describes it to Adam’s sister, Caroline. Adam can’t believe that Hannah could be thinking about herself in such a situation and it leads him to questioning her emotional maturity and sincerity. Their reaction to David’s death illustrates an emotional stratification between the two that has only been implied throughout the first two seasons. Hannah would be “very sad” if Adam died, but Adam’s world would blur, to the point that he would no longer recognize a tree in the event of Hannah’s death.
Caroline’s test that she gives Hannah, a test that Hannah ultimately fails, goes further to highlight the emotional chasm between Adam and Hannah. Even though Caroline fabricated this story about a dying cousin to whom Adam was devoted, Hannah still did not seem particularly moved or saddened by the story even though Laird, who’d never met Caroline could not help but weep. When Caroline called her own bluff and revealed she was lying, she couldn’t help but point out Hannah’s lack of empathy, to which she followed up by saying that she liked Hannah. For a maniac like Caroline, why would Hannah’s non reaction be amusing?
Even though they are of the same ilk, Adam and Caroline are opposite sides of the same coin, as the older sister/younger brother dynamic tends to lend itself to. Adam is very sensitive and emotional despite his aloofness and rough demeanor. Caroline knows this, and knows that if Hannah fails to reciprocate his feelings with equally intensive feelings, it will drive him crazy. And in all honesty, every sister likes seeing her brother go at least a little crazy from time to time. But it was Hannah’s failure to fully reciprocate Adam’s affections at the end of season one that led to their first breakup. Caroline knows her brother very well, and by testing Hannah with a made up story designed to stir emotions of sadness, she’s successfully revealed the biggest problem in Adam and Hannah’s relationship. Caroline is pure chaos, and slowly but surely she is injecting her chaos into the life of her brother.
The depth of Hannah’s immaturity and selfishness comes at the very end of the episode wherein she takes Caroline’s made up story and tells it to Adam in an attempt to make herself seem compassionate and empathic. She took a made up story about a dying cousin just so she could put herself on a pedestal and not be the insincere and emotionally shallow person that Adam accused her of being. By doing so, it reveals her immaturity and insincerity to its fullest degree, because it brings us back to the very beginning of the episode where she was fabricating emotions just to draw attention to herself. In light of David’s death, she wanted the attention on her, and when all eyes were on her they saw just how immature and emotionally hollow Hannah could be. If even the death of a friend couldn’t stir up the slightest bit of grief or sorrow, then Hannah may truly be dead inside.