Girls Recap: Cringe and Bear It


Hannah’s Q-Tip/ear trauma, Marnie’s impromptu performance of a Kanye West cover, and the icky realism of Adam hate-fucking a sweet girl he barely knows all made up one of the most uncomfortable episodes of Girls yet—like a big-ass splinter. Or a big ass splinter. (Both of which were also in this episode.)

At first, I thought this whole Marnie-chasing-her-dream-of-being-a-singer thing would be a real bummer, but it’s actually perfectly hilarious.

The rest of “On All Fours” was much darker, though. It opened with Adam and Natalia, the new girl he’s seeing, about to make love for the first time. I say “make love” because we learn that not only does Natalia like romantic comedies, but she also finds them more romantic than comical, and notes that she did not appreciate the toilet humor in the Sandra Bullock movie they saw, even though it made Adam laugh. And here is when we start to pick up on how these two aren’t compatible: Despite a great first date, they aren’t meant to be as a couple. This becomes even more obvious when Natalia announces, “I’m ready to have sex now.”

She goes into detail over what she likes and doesn’t like and substitutes her lack of passion with a lot of unsexy talk about boundaries — and that’s totally fine! But we know that Adam is on another level, sexually. His particular kink involves adventuring into indignity and a complete abandon for respect — sometimes for himself and sometimes for his partner — which seems antithetical to a girl who doesn’t like to be “taken out of the moment.”

But that first sexual encounter went well enough for her to bring him to her friend’s engagement party at a bar. Feeling kind of awkward and out of place, Adam stepped outside, where he ran into Hannah, who was on her way home from having a Q-Tip extracted from her ear. (In a scene on par with some Lucio Fulci-style horror, she jams a Q-Tip so far into her ear that she hears it “pop” and air hisses out.)

Although she had been trying to avoid Adam, it seemed like Hannah was pleased to see him. And even though he had previously been desperate to get in touch with her, when she was right in front of him, he was clearly upset. Seeing Hannah allowed all of his resentments to bubble to the surface, and that led him right back into the bar and off the wagon. Which felt so real and so sad. What didn’t seem realistic at all was that Natalia, whose mother is in recovery, was totally cool with Adam fully relapsing right in front of her face. And she participated!

Adam and Natalia returned to Adam’s apartment and shit got weird. Adam started trying to engage Natalia in one of his sexual games — the kind that we’d witnessed him do with Hannah. But this time, it didn’t seem like he was playing. And it didn’t seem fun for anyone. Unlike Hannah, Natalia didn’t know how to participate in her own degradation, and didn’t like it, either. But she seemed so stunned by Adam’s personality change that she didn’t even realize how horrible it all was until it was all over.

“I don’t think I liked that,” she said, as she quickly covered herself up after he came on her chest.

It was interesting, because Adam — with his dark apartment and his woodworking tools and his weirdness — always bordered on “scary” and that “danger” was sexy to someone like Hannah. But his sobriety provided safety for, and from, him. With that gone, he went from “scary” to scary.

Adam and Hannah have both succumbed to their illnesses. And “On All Fours” indicates that they will go crawling back to each other. Maybe it will help them both get well — but their relationship was plagued by problems when they didn’t actually have real problems.

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