Sunday, April 17, 2016
Girls recap: Season 5 Episode 10: "I Love You Baby"
Several characters make significant psychological progress in tonight's season finale of Girls, which begins and ends with Hannah (Lena Dunham) jogging. The first instance is played for laughs, as she plows doggedly up and down her block, in workout clothes that couldn't be less flattering, while her parents (Becky Ann Baker and Peter Scolari), camped out on her stoop, try to get her to acknowledge them. The second is played straight, with a determined Hannah running toward the camera in the great outfit her mom bought for her reading at the Moth's creative writing slam. But whether it's presented as comedy or drama, the jogging is another sign that Hannah is learning how to take care of herself.
That reading is another important milestone for Hannah, partly because it's been so long since she's written anything, but mostly because of what she says. Summing up the feelings she's been working through about Adam (Adam Driver) and Jessa's (Jemima Kirke) relationship, Hannah is funny, honest, and emotionally mature in a way that's new for her. “No matter whether I start a new nuclear missile crisis with my emotions or just sit back and chill and give someone a fruit basket,” she says, “I can only control the mayhem that I create around me.”
It was also nice to see Hannah looking so good—“a Moth 9,” as Elijah (Andrew Rannells) puts it. Girls's commitment to showing Hannah's body in all its pear-shaped, non-beauty-standard-conforming glory is one of the show's most commented-on qualities for a reason: The constant barrage of messages dictating how girls and women “should” and “shouldn't” look calls for an equally in-your-face response from those of us who refuse to hate our own bodies, and Dunham's nudity is an important part of a pushback that's still new enough to feel noteworthy and brave. At the same time, Hannah's clothes are often so comically unflattering that they feel like a form of self-sabotage. Wearing clothes and makeup that suit her better at the reading feels like an organic part of the more self-aware side she exhibits there, as she learns to think more about how her actions affect other people.
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