All season long, we have admired Lena Dunham and “Girls” for taking big risks in its second season, and for not having an interest in just coming out and giving us the same show week after week. The last three episodes in particular have felt almost like mini-movies, in between Hannah’s attempt at the perfect life with a successful man (the strongest episode of the entire series in our mind) to the funny exploits of Adam and Ray last week.
Unfortunately, Sunday night’s “Video Games” may go down to us as the worst episode of the series thus far, and it is not for a lack of effort. It was a big risk to make an episode all about family and horrible people, and what we were left with was something that felt like one of Wes Anderson’s weaker films: everyone was trying too hard to be strange, and there was not enough normal mixed in to make anything really easy to connect with. The only moment we found particularly poignant was at the end, when Hannah stepped outsider of herself so much in a conversation with her mother that her mom thought she was speaking with an ulterior motive.
We have never been a huge fan of Jessa in comparison to Marnie, Ray, or Adam, so having a whole half-hour themed around her was tough. We learned that she does have an incredibly rough family, and it does in some ways explain quite a bit about her. However, there were a couple of things within this story that we just didn’t buy:
1. Hannah assuming that she and Jessa going out for a night with two guys meant that she was supposed to sleep with one of them. What? This was far too much of a stretch, even for Hannah, and especially when you considering that the “encounter” as it was happened in a cemetery. It was not funny or shocking; instead, it just reeked of desperation for both the show and its characters. (The line about Rihanna later was funny.)
2. Jessa doing to Hannah the same thing that Jessa’s father did to her, and only a matter of minutes apart. We know that parents rub off on their children, but this is just a horrible thing to do to someone, especially someone that did you a favor in joining you on a trip to begin with.
These two instances were rare examples of “Girls” asking us as a viewer to do too much, and thus we were left with an episode that did very little other than cause depression. We’re assuming based on the note Jessa left that she is gone for the season, and we do hope now that the remaining three installments focus more on the cast as a whole. There’s not much time to address Marnie, Adam, Shoshanna, or anyone else, and we don’t want to see them left hanging for another escapade at this point.
Overall, were you equally frustrated by this episode, especially after a pair of installments that were particularly strong? If you want to go back and watch a clip from this episode of “Girls,” you can do so over at the link here.