'Girls' Offers More Life Lessons With 'Video Games'
This week’s episode of Girls, “Video Games,” offers a closer look at the inner turmoil behind Jessa’s (Jemima Kirke) “cool” façade as the characters explored the notion of support systems and where they found theirs – whether from their family, their best friends, or nobody at all. Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Jessa venture out of Brooklyn to visit Jessa’s aloof and eccentric father (Ben Mendelsohn) in the country. When they arrive at his unkempt farmhouse, they are greeted by his girlfriend Petula (Rosanna Arquette), an offbeat woman whom Jessa detests. It becomes clear that everyone in the household knows about Jessa’s failed marriage, and her dad tells her that maybe it wasn’t meant to be since Johanssons are “not like other people.” Petula and Hannah spend time together to allow Jessa and her dad to be alone, and Petula asserts her belief that the whole world is a video game – and not in a metaphorical sense. Hannah, perturbed by this notion, soon meet Petula’s bizarre son Frank and can’t decide whether he is “attractive in a loserly way or just a loser.”
Over a tense family dinner, Jessa and her father dredge up some of the past, and he tells her he made plans with Petula for that night despite having his daughter in town. As Jessa continually calls him out on, well, being a terrible father, he attempts to flip the blame back onto her.
Frank’s friend Tyler shows up, and with nothing else to do for the evening, Hannah and Jessa join the boys on an adolescent joyride through town. Hannah has incredibly awkward sex with Frank in the woods. She assumes that Jessa is doing the same with Tyler and is disgusted when she realizes that the goal of the evening was not to have a “sexcapade” after all, like she’d thought. Instead of hooking up with Tyler, Jessa vents to him over her losses and struggles.
That evening, Jessa is hurt over the way her visit has turned out. Hannah tries to offer support, but Jessa insists that she stop referring to their parents as if they are the same type of people. Hannah’s incredibly supportive, doting Midwestern parents are a far cry from what Jessa faces within her family.
The next day, in a great performance by Kirke, Jessa explodes at her father for treating her poorly and for being so unreliable. He again tries to redirect blame onto her and she breaks down, showing a much more vulnerable side of herself than usual.
Frank confronts Hannah and tells her he feels like she used him for sex, and then he alludes to what may or may not be a relationship he had with Tyler. When Jessa’s dad drops the girls off at the neighborhood store to pick up groceries, she announces that he won’t be coming back to pick them up because it’s “what he does,” and they walk the whole way back to his house.
When the girls are ready to head to the train station to return to the city, Hannah walks out of the bathroom to find no trace of Jessa in the room they share. Just like her father tends to do, Jessa has vanished, leaving nothing but a note. As Hannah waits for the train by herself, she calls her parents to thank them for supporting her and making her feel loved no matter what.
At the end of the day, no matter how their parents may behave, Hannah and Jessa realize that they still have each other to lean on. Or at least, Jessa has Hannah. Can Hannah rely on someone who would abandon her in the middle of the country? Something tells me that despite all the selfishness that surrounds their lives, Hannah and her friends would do anything for each other.
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