Girls: Incidentals

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February 27, 2014 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

Off the heels of what was the best episode of the season thus far, from the previews alone, it was obvious that this week’s episode of Girls would be lacking.  And it was.  The episode seemed rushed, as if writers Lena Dunham and Sarah Heyward wanted to cramp as many plotlines into the story for the sake of screen time.

Individual storylines that had been gestating for weeks were either abruptly ended or rescinded without any sense of casualty.  Ray ends his and Marnie’s tryst in his only scene this week with a clichéd excuse and no motivation or conviction.  Something as outrageous and out-of-leftfield as Ray and Marnie seeing each other should have been developed more so that way, when they inevitably do break up, there’s a bigger payoff and the audience can actually study the breakdown of the relationship, instead of just walking into it as Marnie had.  For a relationship that never made sense in the first place, to drop it as quickly as it sprang up made me feel a bit jaded.

Speaking of jaded endings and rushed consequences, Jessa, who has been uncharacteristically quiet all season long had now relapsed back into drug abuse.  From out of nowhere, Jasper-a friend from rehab, appears and instead of letting the tension simmer over a week or so, not ten minutes later is Jessa shown to be under the influence of drugs.  Although she was once intrigued by his sage-like wisdom, she eventually saw the pathetic addict beneath that façade, and to see her succumb to her own demons because of Jasper, not only jilts any sort of character development, but takes away from the audience’s investment in her own struggles.  Jessa’s relapse and her relationship with Jasper are all potentially dynamic plot points, they just should have been more developed and focused.

It’d be hard to tell with the entire main cast involved in this week’s episode, but the main trajectory of “Incidentals” followed Adam as he has just been cast for Major Barbara, and Hannah’s fear that he will forget about her.  The fallout of Adam’s success as well as Hannah’s insecurities about losing him should have been front and center, but with all the jumbled storylines intersecting in this week’s installment, the most we get is a three minute closing scene of them two in the bath tub together.  Apparently it was more important to flesh out Desi, a walking cliché who will only stick around for about three more episodes.

For the most part, this week’s episode was all about regression; and not purposeful regression, as Hannah’s OCD was symbolic of last season.  It genuinely felt like all the progress Marnie made in trying to get her life together, Jessa trying to maintain sobriety, and Hannah working to become a fully functional adult was undone by the writers.  The girls still interact as if the blow up, which has been the climax of the season thus far, that occurred last week never had occurred.  Something as revelatory as that fight, which had been brewing since season one, deserved to have been revisited and expanded upon.  How did they all react to hearing what the others had to say about them?  How was it resolved?  Are there any feelings of ill will still being harbored?  These are all important questions that have gone unanswered just to give the main cast more screen time together.  Unfortunately, the episode suffers as a whole for this mistimed and congested installment.

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