Part of the frustration of watching Girls stems from the innate desire to see people, fictional or otherwise, do right. After six years with little progress, the optimist in me wanted to see some change — a movement, a brief flash of empathy, something other than abject selfishness. That would be the easy way out, a neat ending to a show that’s been anything but. Last week’s game changer reveal is a bit of real life action, one that you’d think would make Hannah reconsider the way she’s been living her life, but true to form, her selfishness takes center stage.
Hannah’s still pregnant and even worse, she’s considering keeping the baby, if the list of reasons why not to have a child is any consideration. There are some pretty good reasons on that list, for what it’s worth, but knowing Hannah, those reasons are more motivations to keep the kid and forge on in the face of adversity more than anything else. If you thought Hannah was going to do anything else, you haven’t been paying attention.
With uncertainty swirling about whether or not she’ll keep the baby, she tests out the waters by telling her mom, Lorraine, who’s visiting. Lorraine handles it well enough, but that could be because of the pot gummies she ate in the cab on the way over. Despite the fact that her only child could be classified as a Grade A fuckup, she seems supportive of her daughter’s decision. But never forget that Hannah is her own worst enemy, wedded deeply to the idea that being alone indicates some sort of irreversible damage, an unlovability that is less choice and more the last resort. This much is clear from their conversation in the laundromat.
Perhaps in an attempt to cope with the fact that her only child is pregnant and intends to keep the baby despite it being the worst idea in the world, Lorraine is really going to town on those edibles. “I’m just glad that you really, really thought this through,” her mother tells her. “You make these choices when you’re young and you have no idea how they’ll play out.” Hannah’s version of single motherhood is shaped by naiveté and an innate sense of selfishness that she will never be able to shake: she assume she’ll have help and she assumes that her kid will have the same kind of life she did, all grandparents and coddling and trips to Colonial Williamsburg.
Lorraine paints a very different picture. She’s alone. Her kid is gone, her husband left her for a man, and as a single woman of a certain age her relevance is fading. Hannah’s sunny optimism that her mother will find someone, even when she’s not looking for it is the kind of hogwash that she’s bought into, out of self-preservation, foolishness or both. Lorraine’s been around the block. She’s seen it both ways. She knows what her life looks like now and she’s not having it. So, she storms off.
Hannah, incensed and pregnant, gets to her house only to find a pile of her mother’s stuff on the doorstep, as if she’d shed her skin and dissolved. Enlisting Elijah, they embark on a romp across Williamsburg looking for Lorraine, who is eating egg rolls somewhere, really, really stoned. Finally, they find her, tucking into a giant feast for one and drinking lots of water. She toasts to Hannah’s unborn child — in front of Elijah, mind you — and just like that, the cat’s out of the bag.
Fuming, Elijah storms off, into the kitchen of the Chinese restaurant for an epic, painful, but very necessary fight. He couldn’t care less about how Hannah got pregnant, because he thinks it’s the worst idea out of a string of very bad, impulsive decisions she’s made over the course of her life. Furthermore, he doesn’t want to live with a single mother. This is a purely selfish act. Hannah bristles, but her response lays bare the motivation. She didn’t think she was going to do this alone. She wanted to raise the baby with Elijah, “together,” and can’t for the life of her see why that would be construed as selfish.
“I’m going to say this to your face,” Elijah says. “You’re going to be a terrible mother.”
Though it is probably the meanest thing that anyone has ever said to her, it’s certainly very, very true.
Hmm, what else is afoot? The brilliantly-conceived vanity project that is Jessa and Adam’s movie about Adam and Hannah and Jessa is underway, with an actress playing Hannah that is perfectly cast — like a Lifetime movie version of Hannah Horvath. Watching Faux-Hannah tumble around with the real Adam makes Jessa more than uncomfortable though. Her relationship with Adam is supposed to be the real one — messy, animalistic, sexually-charged. Their relationship is the ideal, not Hannah and Adam’s, but allowing herself the space to see it for what it was is causing her to think about what the hell she’s actually doing.
Ray is still mourning Hermie while trying to break up with the national nightmare that is Marnie Michaels. And to cap all this off, Hannah comes home to see Faux-Hannah smoking a cigarette on her front stoop, on a break from filming. Casually asking what she’s doing and what movie she’s working on, Hannah lets slip that she’s pregnant — lest you think that this was a mistake, she knows exactly what she’s doing.
Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/HBO.