Season Three, Episode Five: “Only Child”
Written by Murray Miller; Directed by Tricia Brock
The disappointing but inevitable turning point initiated by last week’s episode continues with resilience in “Only Child,” pitting Hannah and Caroline against each other in what essentially is a battle of selves — Caroline, of course, serving as a reflection of Hannah’s own behavior and faults, to which Hannah’s reaction is predictably drastic if not necessarily so.
Funerals are a tough room, so to speak. For Hannah and Adam (mainly Hannah), though, a funeral (David’s, respectively) provides an unmatched atmosphere seemingly rife with potential brouhahas. The audience is gifted with two comparably bewildering revelations here: David had a wife and, to the existential chagrin of Hannah, the publishing house has dropped all of David’s projects in the wake of his death. “So, my book is dead?” opines Hannah to David’s distraught wife (who, upon their meeting, initially mistakes Hannah for “Paige,” an reportedly obese and tourettes-prone client of David’s), immediately banishing thoughts of grief or condolence. David’s wife begrudgingly recommends Hannah to a new publisher, paired with the insistence that she “get the fuck out.”
Back at home, Hannah decides to put on her Dr. Phil hat and attempt a truce between Adam and his sister Caroline, who is still crashing indefinitely at Hannah and Adam’s apartment. This scene provides some of the funniest yet saddest moments of the episode, specifically Caroline’s sudden proclamation that Adam possesses some sort of repressed sexual desire toward her (prompting Adam’s “I don’t wanna fuck my sister!” interjection). It’s become quite clear, at this point in Girls, that Caroline is more or less a reflection of both Adam and Hannah’s worst qualities, which prompts them both to respond with a harsh and unrelenting decisiveness.
Jessa and Shoshanna take the backseat for this episode, merely showing up to bicker briefly about Jessa’s continual interruption of Shoshanna’s “15 year success plan” and Jessa’s sudden desire to find a new line of work with a touch of innocence (a desire that prompts Shoshanna to remind her of her very storied criminal record). Marnie, however, leaps forward from the backseat and into the thick of it all by showing up at Ray’s door, demanding that he psychologically dissect. “I want you to tell me what’s wrong with me,” she says, patently aloof to her very transparent character traits. Ray does just that, which clearly saddens Marnie, yet leads to the two of them sleeping together. Classically, Marnie leaves by telling Ray that she would never “advertise this” and that he should “fuck off.”
Hannah’s funeral-born publisher recommendation pays off quite well. In fact, the new publisher wants to abandon the e-book format and, instead, wants Hannah’s book on actual shelves. The publishers humorously but very flatteringly compare Hannah to both Mindy Kaling and Joan Didion. Hannah’s excitement about this news is profoundly short-lived, however, as a phonecall from her father reveals that her original contract with David’s publishing house will prevent her newly revived book from being “let go” for up to three years. Hannah seems to take this frustration out on Caroline when, following an explosive argument, she kicks her out of the apartment. This angers Adam, who leaves Hannah alone to pout ostensibly on the couch.
“Only Child” is the final kick in the throat for anyone who thought that Hannah had tackled her demons. The groundwork for deterioration laid by last week’s episode gives way to a foundation of future follies, to both the chagrin and delight of loyal viewers.
Now for some random thoughts and my favorite moments of the night…
“Calm down, kid. It’s a funeral.” — Adam to Hannah at David’s funeral
“Adam, will you join us at the listening table?” — Hannah to Adam
“Just get a normal job and an apartment like everyone else and stop bloodsucking.” — Adam to Caroline
“I don’t wanna fuck my sister!” — Adam
“Rudy represents sandwiches. Not art.” – Hannah to her father