Monday, March 28, 2016

Girls recap: Season 5 Episode 6: "The Panic in Central Park"












Last night's installment of Girls continues this season's run of eventful, emotionally revealing episodes, in which one or two of the main characters zigzag toward some kind of self-awareness, often while exploring an unfamiliar environment. The settings feel like a significant part of that awakening, since Hannah (Lena Dunham) and her friends spent the great majority of the first four seasons either indoors or on dark city streets at night. These artificially lit, often cramped or crowded locations functioned as a series of cocoons in which the characters hung out almost exclusively with people more or less like themselves. But the girls are breaking out of gentrified Brooklyn more than ever this season, exploring environments like a sun-drenched Coney Island, cat caf├ęs and communal hot tubs in Tokyo, or that spa where Hannah and her mom went to last week.

“The Panic in Central Park” belongs to Marnie (Allison Williams), who breaks the seal on the superficially successful but spiritually unfulfilling life she's clung to up until now. The least self-aware of the show's main characters, Marnie generally can't be counted on for much of anything but loyalty to Hannah, as she ricochets from one man to the next, unable to maintain respect for anyone foolish enough to fall in love with her. The last time we saw her, she was trying out a new, nurturing persona, assuring hubby Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) that he only felt bad about himself because she'd been “picking at” him. This episode opens with Marnie back in her customary ice-queen mode, giving Desi the silent treatment and then scoffing, when he says her “cruelty” makes him want to kill himself, “You don't want to kill yourself. You are far too narcissistic to kill yourself.” But she's knocked out of that familiar groove when she runs into Charlie (Christopher Abbott), the old beau she fell desperately in love with only after he gave up on her and moved on.

Read the rest in Slant Magazine

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