'Girls' Season 3 Episode 5 Recap: 'Only Child'

 @EllenKilloran
on February 02 2014 12:17 PM

This week's episode of “Girls” – which aired on Saturday to avoid competition with the Super Bowl – really doubled down on Hannah's pathological self-absorption, which is slowly but surely driving a wedge between her and Adam. And Adam's sister Caroline is accelerating that divide.

Adam and Hannah go to her editor David's funeral, where they are both surprised to meet his widow Annalise (Jennifer Westfeldt, a.k.a. the real-life Mrs. Don Draper). Everyone presumed David was gay, and for good reason – when we last saw him, he was trolling for a date on a gay hook-up app. Annalise is heartbroken and, at first, extremely gracious towards Hannah (although she appears to have mistaken Hannah for another one of David's authors). After the service, Hannah and Annalise talk briefly, and Annalise acknowledges the elephant in the room: That everyone thinks David was gay, because “he was sometimes.” When Annalise mentions that Mill Street is dropping all of David's projects, Hannah freaks out and asks her if she can recommend another publisher. Annalise agrees to, as long as Hannah gets “the f--k out of here.” In no time at all, Hannah lands a meeting with a new publisher, so Annalise must have kept up her end of the bargain.

Caroline and Adam are at each other's throats, and Hannah stages a comically inept intervention of sorts, casting herself as a therapist modeled after Dr. Phil. “You have no drive, no real goals, yet somehow tons of opinions,” Adam tells Caroline. Before long, the impromptu session devolves into mayhem, and Caroline accuses Adam of “internally battling a sexual desire” for her.

“It doesn't take a psychiatrist to correlate Adam's romantic interest in you with a repressed fantasy for me,” Caroline tells Hannah, and a moment later, Adam pins her down on the couch in anger, and the imagery is uncomfortably suggestive of Caroline's earlier claim. While Adam is still on top of his sister, Hannah convinces them to calm down and admit that they love each other.

Jessa has been staying at Shoshanna's since she came back, and is starting to wear out her welcome – Shoshanna is trying to buckle down on her studies after a brief period for slacking off. With Ray gone, Shoshanna seems to be directing her impatient and judgmental style of life coaching at her cousin, who claims she is trying to improve herself, primarily by trading regular cigarettes for e-cigarettes. “If you're serious about about improving yourself, you need to do more than smoke dork cigarettes,” Shoshanna tells Jessa.

Marnie shows up at Ray's and asks him to tell her what is wrong with her. Ray is up for it, and tells Marnie that she is judgmental, unbearably uptight, and uses people. “I think that more or less sums it up in a nutshell,” Ray says. “You're a huge f--king phony.” But Ray admits that even with all of that, he still likes her – because it's obvious that her issues stem from a deep well of insecurity, which allows her to be sympathetic. He offers to hug her, and they end up sleeping together. In the awkward aftermath, Ray suggests they keep when happened to them “on the down low.” Marnie tells him to f--k himself -- “like I would advertise this" – and storms off.

At Hannah's meeting with the new publisher, an editor tells Hannah that she's a big fan of the book, but that they need to identify what Hannah's “brand” is. Hannah jokes that her brand is Tombstone Pizza, given her Midwest upbringing and struggles with her weight. The editor then tells her that they don't do e-books and want to put it out “as an actual book, that you can hold.” Hannah is over the moon, until her father – who is recovering from a surgical procedure that Hannah completely dismisses – calls to tell her that her cousin Rudy, a lawyer, looked over her contract with Mill Street, and that it looks like the old publisher will retain the rights to her book for the next three years.

“Rudy is not even a real lawyer, he's a Subway franchise lawyer,” Hannah snaps. She tells her father he's insane and hangs up. But after looking over the contract herself, it turns out Rudy was right. “This is the worst thing that ever happened to me,” she whines to Caroline at her apartment. Caroline tries to console Hannah with a ridiculous story about the time she lost a part in “Born on the Fourth of July.” “I thought my acting career was over,” Caroline says. Hannah is furious. “You're acting career is over!” The girls get into an ugly argument and Hannah kicks Caroline out.

Adam comes home and asks where her sister is. Hannah tells him what she did, and claims it was because Caroline “was ruining our lives, and I thought it would make you happy.” But it seems pretty clear that Hannah doesn't quite believe this – she's talking to Adam while lying on the couch with her back towards him, looking forlorn. Indeed, Adam isn't happy about it at all. “She's my sister,” he says, “I'm supposed to be taking care of her.” He walks out the door, presumably to find Caroline.

Pathological self-involvement has been a running theme in season 3 of “Girls” so far; this week, projection and self-loathing have been added to the mix. Hannah may, on the surface, be in denial about how self-absorbed she really is, but it's pretty obvious that Caroline's irrelevant “Born on the Fourth of July” anecdote hit a nerve – that's exactly the kind of self-referential “advice” Hannah would dish out it if the situation were reversed.

Though Adam has protested against having Caroline stay in their apartment since the minute she arrived, it looks like he may have been counting on Hannah make sure he did the right thing by his sister. If he really didn't want to help her out, he didn't have to give in to Hannah's insistence that they should. And while Caroline's claim that Adam had incestuous feelings for her was over the top, she may have been on to something when she pointed out that Adam's interest in Hannah may somehow be connected to his relationship with her.

Until now, Adam was prioritized Hannah over his sister, but that changed when Hannah kicked her out. Hannah has alienated both Adam and Caroline, giving the siblings a common enemy to unite against – and now Caroline has all the fuel she needs to truly come between them. There was no mention of Adam and Caroline's presumably fictional cousin Margaret this week, but I'd be surprised if she doesn't surface again soon. If Adam realizes that Hannah stole that story from his sister – and Caroline will likely make sure of it, given the chance – I can't imagine he'll let Hannah's lie go unpunished.

 

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