Girls Review: “Dead Inside” (Season 3, Episode 4)


On last week’s episode of Girls, Hannah’s editor David made an unexpected appearance at her birthday party, clearly out of his mind on drugs. It was a bit odd. Here was a character who had really been marginal at best so far, mostly there for the purposes of complicating Hannah’s life with uncomfortably personal writing assignments that exploited her emotional nakedness. All of a sudden, here he was acting way out of character and putting himself front and center in a way that raised the obvious question, “OK, so what’s going on here?”

To put it mildly, he had some issues going on, and as I said in last week’s review, “the chances that those issues won’t impact Hannah more in future episodes are probably pretty slim.” (Yeah, I’m quoting myself. Deal with it.) Well, that came true much sooner than I thought it would, because by the start of this week’s episode he has turned up face down in the Hudson river (according to Gawker, at least).

How does Hannah deal with the death of her boss? By worrying about how it will affect her book deal. She doesn’t show an ounce of emotion otherwise. None of the classic five stages of grief are here, unless maybe she is just seriously and permanently stuck on denial. This vexes Adam, who doesn’t seem to want to have a sociopath for a girlfriend. He’s not the only one who is put off by her callousness, either. It is a recurring theme in her interactions with other characters throughout the episode.

Ray puts it succinctly and gets in the best line of the episode. “Hannah,” he says, “why don’t you place just one crumb of compassion on this fat-free muffin of sociopathic detachment and see how it tastes?”

Even when Hannah is off screen, the theme of death reverberates throughout the episode. Jessa and Shoshanna discuss friends of theirs who have died in the past, with Shoshanna falling more on the Hannah end of the sociopathy spectrum. She tells Hanna how her friend’s untimely demise in a car accident  ended up being a net positive for her because she got to assume the dead friend’s place in their social circle. Jessa is more of an emotional raw nerve, and is moved to try to walk down memory lane.

Only, at the end of memory lane is a pretty nice apartment in which resides the friend she thought was dead. It turns out this friend had never actually died, but only faked her own death as a way to ensure that Jessa would never come calling again. That’s a pretty extreme way to cut someone out of your life, and it speaks to the sheer destructive nature of Jessa’s presence that someone would go to such lengths.

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