“Free Snacks,” episode 6 of “Girls” Season 3, felt in some ways oddly distanced from last week's episode, which ended on a very bad note for Adam and Hannah. There was no mention of Adam's troubled sister Caroline, whom Adam went to look for after Hannah kicked her out of their apartment. Instead, Adam and Hannah are moving on with their lives and focusing on furthering their careers. But it ends on a bad note again, and the final scene finds Hannah similarly curled up on the couch, putting her own needs ahead of Adam's, per usual.
Hannah has started a new job at GQ magazine – but she's not a “real” GQ writer. Instead, she's working for the advertorial department, tasked with writing “A Field Guide To the Urban Male,” which is sponsored by Nieman Marcus. Her first day is promising, though she's a bit overzealous with the complimentary snacks and a little aggressive in her first pitch meeting – alienating one of the other writers, Kevin, right off the bat. But the other two writers on her team are friendly and welcoming, especially Joe: At first it looked like he might have been a potential romantic rival, until he confessed to having a crush on the other female writer.
Hannah's temporary, self-important triumph is short-lived: Initially believing that she was a far more serious and established writer than her co-workers, Hannah is brought back down to earth when she learns that all three of them had promising literary careers before they started this job; careers that have fallen by the wayside in favor of the financial benefits and perks of working at an established magazine, even if they are considered second-tier. In a moment of crisis, Hannah tells her editor Janice (Jenna Lyons) that she doesn't want to be an advertorial writer in the long term.”There are a lot of other people who would love to have your job,” Janice tells her, effectively telling Hannah that it's up to her. (Another editor might have fired her on the spot.) Hannah decides to stay, vowing to work on her own writing on nights and weekends.
Shoshanna has taken a renewed interest in Ray, prompted by his recent success – he's running his own coffee shop now, and Time Out New York gave it a good review. As Shoshanna is pretty emotionally stunted – and getting weirder and weirder each episode – she doesn't approach Ray directly; instead we see her walking past the coffee shop and his regular basketball court, but Ray doesn't appear to think much of it. Instead, he's pursuing Marnie. He calls her at home and then shows up uninvited with muffins. Marnie is at first unimpressed: “Muffins from the place you run, what an extravagant gesture,” she says, before inviting him to watch reality TV with her – which leads to awkward sex. When they later go out for a walk, they panic when they see a couple they initially believe are Hannah and Adam. But it's only their doppelgangers, a word that Marnie apparently doesn't understand.
It's unclear if Ray is truly interested in Marnie or is growing attached to her because she's in such a bad spot in her life. Now that he's started to find his own footing, maybe he feels like he has something to offer; or maybe he just recognizes that Marnie is so lonely and messed up that she won't be able to reject him the way Shoshanna did. It's only a matter of time before someone in the group finds out what's going on between them, but there's no telling whether Shoshanna will admit to feeling betrayed – after all, she left him, and in Marnie's defense, she doesn't know that Shoshanna is having second thoughts. (Not that it would stop her.)
Adam has been going on acting auditions, and although he initially insists he's not taking it seriously – “I don't smile on command” -- he's thrilled when he gets a callback. Hannah shows some momentary enthusiasm but cuts Adam off when he tries to tell her more, claiming that she needs to get three hours of writing in every weeknight. Adam keeps talking, but within minutes, Hannah has fallen asleep on the couch. So much for sticking to her schedule.
“Free Snacks” was an oddly paced episode, and it's frustrating to wonder if and how Adam and Hannah are working through their simmering problems – all stemming Hannah's self-involvement – behind the scenes. It was an odd choice to leave Caroline's absence unmentioned, unless the writers omitted it to illustrate the way that Hannah and Adam are sweeping their issues under the rug. There's something to be said for building tension, but we're more than halfway through Season 3 now, and there are too many pink elephants in every room.