Girls Review: “Role-Play” (Season 3, Episode 10)

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Girls - Role-Play

This is all very uncomfortably reminiscent of the old Adam, and seems to validate Hannah’s going out on a limb with her seemingly ridiculous stunt. She makes a major miscalculation, though, when she calls him a weirdo. Whether he was on the fence with the whole thing to begin with is a little ambiguous, but his reaction to being called a weirdo was entirely unambiguous: he did not care for it. The whole thing ends then and there, in a pretty big way. Adam tells Hannah that he is going to move in with Ray until rehearsals are over, so he doesn’t have to deal with the drama of their relationship.

“What drama?” Hannah asks. “This is just me.”

“Exactly,” Adam responds.

Ouch. There’s no denying that Adam has a point there, but it stings nonetheless. We’ve been watching Adam and Hannah’s relationship building toward a conflict for the majority of the season now. In the last few episodes in particular there was an air of inevitability about that conflict. Now it has occurred, and while we don’t yet know how bad the fallout will be, chances are good it will be pretty bad.

The other main conflict we’ve seen play out over the course of the season is Jessa backsliding into drug addiction, and that conflict comes to a head in this episode as well. Whereas at the beginning of the season Shoshanna seemed entirely oblivious to the fact that Jessa has a real, potentially life-threatening problem, she has since shed her naivete. We saw the beginning of this back in “Beach House,” when an inebriated Shoshanna called Jessa and Hannah out very succinctly for everything she saw as being wrong with them. Since then, she has only grown more wary of Jessa’s downward spiral, and now she has finally taken action.

That action comes in the form of her reuniting Shosanna’s friend/enabler Jasper with his estranged daughter Dot. The reunion forces Jasper to consider the ramifications of his continued bad behavior as his daughter pleads with him to change. She knows what his full potential is, and she reminds him of it. It’s a very touching scene, and Shoshanna’s role in it makes her downright likeable. While she has been woefully underused as a character this season, her role as the wild card of the group has once again paid off in one of the show’s strongest scenes.

Marnie gets a touching scene of her own as her newfound friendship with Adam’s actor pal Desi has finally provides her with something to be happy about after a seemingly unending string of disappointments kicked off by her breakup with Charlie. Desi encourages her in her singing and songwriting, and that encouragement was sorely needed. Unfortunately, Desi is still in a relationship with Clementine (who apparently makes a mean paella), so Marnie’s hopes for a romantic entanglement are dashed and she is left in an emotionally uncertain place.

I was pretty hard on last week’s episode, mostly because I felt like the show had been engaging in some blatant wheel-spinning. “Role-Play” is a complete return to form, though, offering the sort of emotional richness that was missing in “Flo,” which seemed oddly flat for an episode about a loved one dying. All of the series regulars were well-used in this episode, with Shoshanna being the biggest surprise. There was a lot to digest, and there is a clear sense of the season moving toward its ultimate conclusion, which is only a couple of episodes away now. While I questioned for a while if this would end up being as good as the second season of Girls, there is a very real possibility that it will surpass it, as long as the writers can stick the landing.

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