SPOILER ALERT, so proceed with caution, Girls fanatics…
Season Three, Episode Nine: “Flo”
Written by Bruce Eric Kaplan; Directed by Richard Shepard
The more isolated, single-character-centric episodes of Girls have been not only some of the best of this season, but the best of the entire series. Naturally, this week’s offering, “Flo,” is no exception. Hannah heads upstate to visit her dying grandmother (a delectable June Squibb), of course resulting in spirited sparring with her mother, her aunts, and her brilliantly abrasive cousin Rebecca (played by Sarah Steele).
The most important aspect of this episode is, perhaps, Adam’s touching lie to Hannah’s ailing grandmother (Flo) that he and Hannah are planning to marry. Earlier in the episode, Hannah’s mother suggests this lie as a way to ease the pain of Flo’s quickly deteriorating health. This proclamation, though technically a lie, raises some important if not profound questions for both Hannah and Adam. Hannah almost seems more hesitant at the prospect of marriage (theoretical or otherwise), while Adam is his usual passive — but subtly both enthused and cautiously realistic — self.
Elsewhere, Hannah alarmingly texts “CAR CRASH” to Adam, following a texting-while-driving accident involving Rebecca and Hannah. Adam is, at first, annoyed that she texted such an alarming and vague message; however, in a dash of Adamesque heroism, he did rush to her side following that text. This is worth noting, especially since Hannah’s mother — despite Adam’s obvious dedication to Hannah as not only a boyfriend but a partner in every sense of the term — is less than pleased by his position in life. She categorizes him as an “odd man,” and opens up to Hannah about the difficulties of marrying an odd man.
Whereas earlier Girls episodes seemed to imply that friendships grow while romantic relationships fade, this season has seemed to prove the opposite. Given the group of friends still-scattered dynamic throughout season three, it would be easy to assume this new implication will hold true for this season’s remaining episodes. However, “Flo” seemed to imply something a bit deeper — nothing is permanent except family, for better and for worse.
Even though Hannah’s mom is the only character to which we’ve been previously introduced, this episode handles the introduction of several new characters with remarkably effortless aplomb. Such an overload of fresh faces can often feel like the forced arrival of necessary backstory, but these characters seem right at home — all natural, nothing forced. The usual dynamic of Girls, interestingly, is somewhat inverted in this episode. Instead of witnessing Hannah as the chief narcissist and self-involved posterchild for millennial implosion, we are treated to a vision of Hannah as the sanest and — often — the most mature person in the room.
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
“Writers, are like, this ridiculous class of people who just make everything about themselves, and they tend to have really strange, bizarre eating habits.” — Rebecca, on writers
“Someday, you will look at him, hating him with every fiber of your being, wishing that he would die the most violent death possible. It will pass.” — Grandma Flo, on marriage
“It’s not easy being married to an odd man.” — Hannah’s mother, on the idea of marrying Adam
“I feel like a bar is the right place to go with a person like you.” — Rebecca to Hannah
“I thought you were more progressive!” — Hannah to her mother, upon her insistence that she tell Flo that she and Adam are set to marry
“It’s like enchilada night at my parents’ house.” — Adam, summing up the hospital family vibe
“I ate one cheese sandwich, and I’d like another.” — Flo