Like the previous season’s premiere, this season’s premiere is a step forward. Unlike last season, this isn’t just Hannah moving forward, this is all the girls going forward. We saw glimmers of this momentum at the end of last season with everyone getting started in a job and/or love they like, but before we see that again we get to check in with the crew and see where their marriage is at. Luckily, they’re having a good spell. This is a stark contrast to the “Beach House” fight, which was the last time we saw them together for a lengthy period of time. There they ended in a break-up; here they end in a joyous run into their hopeful future.
We start with the crew on a more solid footing; Shosh has kind of figured out her career, Hannah kind of has a job and boyfriend, Jessa is figuring out her career, and Marnie is at the conclusion of a traditional romance-marriage. The traditional marriage is on the periphery though and the crew’s marriage is in focus. In a traditional wedding episode of T.V. the emotional climax of the episode is the kiss. In Girls this is a proverbial kiss between Hannah and Marnie.
After the botched make-up job and the rain, the straw has broken the bridezilla’s back, and Marnie runs to the bathroom to cry. Hannah tentatively barges in to be the good best-friend. Then Marnie tells Hannah that she needs her support, Hannah makes a Hannah sized sacrifice (i.e small) and holds back what she really thinks of the situation, and affirms Marnie by telling her she doesn’t think she’s making a mistake. In this moment Hannah is sincere, but we know that she thinks it’s a mistake. What’s sincere is that she’s is going to stand by Marnie no matter what she thinks. This is exactly what makes Hannah frustrating and endearing. She is at once completely self-absorbed, but completely in love with her friends. Here in this moment we see the sacrifice that love requires. At least the type of love that Ray inspires into the husband-to-be, in the last major boys scene before the ceremony. The moment comes when Desi attempts to swim away from the marriage but the grumpy philosopher, Ray, jumps in and gives him the most beautiful line about love.
“Love is about sacrifice and destiny, and making a sacrifice for the one you love that allows them to find their destiny.”
This is what Girls is about. It’s not only about the grand friendship of four girls (”a friendship between girls is grander and more dramatic than any romance”-Hannah), but about the journey to the realization that to love you must sacrifice, even if it’s against your character, as it’s the only way to find their destiny. Which isn’t easy for these characters who run, and hide from sacrifice. This makes for a frustratingly hopeless, and meandering series, but if Girls is about the near impossible journey to sacrifice for love, than this episode is about the hope that this is possible.
While we started the episode with everyone emotionally isolated, we end with a montage of Jessa sacrificing her aloof nature and taking control of the bridesmaids, joining them together in holy friend-trimony. As the crew joyously suits up, Lord Huron’s “Fool For Love,” plays. Which I am currently obsessed with, and one line sticks out, “I’m dangerous/I’m a fool for love.” This brings me to the dangerous nature of this series. From S1E1, Lena Dunham and her crew have been relentlessly picked apart by critics and the pop-culture vultures. Yet they haven’t wavered, they put on her raincoat and worked through the rain. For four seasons Lena and her crew have written consistently solid episodes about these girls grand adventure to, and through, love in all it’s forms. This elegant narrative has started a new era of television. They’re fools for love, and they have proved dangerous to the patriarchy. This is why I keep watching. It’s why I can’t wait see how they finish these last two seasons. I can’t wait to see them throw off their raincoats as they run into the gorgeous light of the new era.