Well, for those of you who had “two episodes” in your office poll of “How long will Hannah last in Iowa?”—Congratulations. You won!
In episode 4 titled “Cubbies,” Hannah is faced with every writer’s dilemma: Choosing to stay and work at one of the most prestigious writing institutions in the United States or go back to her whiney friends in Williamsburg. But before we get to the big reveal at the end, let’s check in with Shoshanna and “the Real World.”
In the opening scene, Shoshanna is in an interview at the same place that hired Chelsea Clinton! But unfortunately, McKinsey & Company wants to make Shoshanna Hillary in 2008—out. They don’t think she’s a right fit.
“I always fit in very subtlely,” says Shoshanna, which is an interesting statement considering she’s never actually fit in with the group of Girls. “You don’t see me here because I’m not here—yet!”
The McKinsey interviewer dismisses Shosh and goes back to scrolling on her phone, raising her eyebrows when she discovers the Chelsea-wannabe hasn’t left yet. Shosh just comes out and asks it: What’s wrong with her? She’s prepared for any answer, and the interviewer gives her one. Shosh views things in too simplistic a manner, she has an off-putting leadership style, and it’s problematic that she lacks certain sensitivity (this comes right before Shosh insults the woman’s style of necklace). Not a good day for Shosh. She should have taken the job at Ann Taylor Loft.
Meanwhile, you think Shosh is having a rough time? Poor Jessa. Marnie is playing her music over a phone at a bar. Eventually, Shosh walks in and starts bitching about her interviews, to which Jessa offers sound advice: “Interviews are bullshit. Even on talk shows.”
Jessa suggests that Shosh sells her organs before Marnie plays more of her music (might we suggest eardrums, Shosh?). Shosh listens to a short snippet of it and then describes it as something you hate upon hearing and then love it once it’s forced down your throats. This isn’t what Marnie wants to hear. After soliciting this piece of unhelpful feedback, Marnie states that she misses Hannah.
Red Ross? Red Ray?
Back at school, Hannah is attempting to write in bed. . .and on the toilet. She bemoans to Elijah her struggle to write a story about buying thin mints from a Girl Scout. Meanwhile, Elijah is writing an article about fat kids growing up as ugly adults, using photos without getting releases. “It’s Iowa,” he says. “They don’t have fuckin’ releases.” (I must say that the Iowa jokes are getting pretty old. Sure, Iowa isn’t New York City, but that isn’t always a bad thing.) Good news, though. Hannah’s dad is coming to town to visit (hopefully, he won’t be as bitchy about the state as Elijah).
Even though Elijah seems to complain about the area’s quaintness, Ray has his own complaints about New York City, specifically that his neighborhood has become a cesspool of noise. After attempting to call and voice a complaint, Ray freaks out and goes outside to talk to the people on his street, laying on their horns.
“This incessant sound is doing irreparable damage. . .irreparably!”
In this moment, Ray appears to be going down the same path as Ross Gellar, post-break-up with Emily, when he had to go through anger management classes after his sandwich was stolen. Shosh happens upon Ray having his Red Ross moment (she was just in the neighborhood. . .which wasn’t her neighborhood) and asks to hang with Ray since her life is meaningless since she’s unemployed. After his vocal exercises with random drivers, he’s going to run errands, which involves no bullshit or window shopping.
Ray wants to go to Forest Hills to shop, but Shosh puts her foot down. Unfortunately, that costs Ray money: $70 for a f**king t-shirt, when he just wants a six-pack of cotton boxers. According to Shosh, a t-shirt says who you are to the world, and based on his clothing, she watched him become a loser. Ray claims she made that happen.
Finally, Shosh admits she’s been following him around all day for a reason. Not just because she’s unemployed. “I’m the reason why our relationship ended,” she confesses. And then the most superficial of Girls characters delivers one of the most meaningful lines ever written on the show: “I like knowing I did love you because it makes me think I might be capable of something else great someday.”
Way to go, Shosh. Unemployment is great character development for you! Shosh and Ray end up talking through their issues (Shosh’s insecurity about her failed job interviews/Ray’s looming mental breakdown with every honk) and rekindle their friendship.
Should I Stay or Should I Go?
After her bitchfest at a party in episode 3, Hannah decides to issue a formal apology to her workshop group. She wants to start anew. However, the group isn’t feeling it. Logan feels very offended. Jeffrey even workshops the apology (“It’s a run-on sentence. . .”). It’s their fault she can’t write. Plus, the cubbies are sacred spaces meant for sharing art (gag). Hannah crumples up the apology and throws it at Jeffrey, who feels really uncomfortable about the “hate letter.”
The professor asks her to stay after class.
“I can’t believe I’m being punished for a simple apology letter,” says Hannah.
The prof thinks she seems very unhappy, that academia life may not be for her (“I thrive on the streets. I always have”). Hannah asks if she’s going to be kicked out, but the professor says she’d have to be extremely violent with another student in order to be removed. But that’s not what Hannah wants to hear.
“For a second I thought I was getting kicked out and was extremely happy.”
Later, at dinner with her father, Hannah discusses her age-old Clash dilemma: Should she stay or should she go? Her father, who was pretty stoked for her to get into U of I to begin with, seems to just want his daughter to be happy.
“Sometimes the stupidest f***ing decision in the world is the right decision for you.” Strangely enough, when Peter Scolari recites this line, it’s very reminiscent of something Adam would say, which makes it even weirder later when her father asks her to run away with him—yes, that happens—when he drops her off at her house. He knows she’ll make the right decision.
Before we get to what that decision is, there’s finally some movement with Marnie and Desi. Desi shows up at Marnie’s apartment in tears. He broke up with Clementine. He f***ing did it, and it was the most difficult thing he’s ever done. Through little-girl sobs, Desi tells Marnie that Clementine told him she was thinking about another guy sexually and that he thinks she already has hooked up with him. This is not what Marnie wants to hear. While Desi has made it sound like he dumped Clementine, really—Clementine dumped him. Marnie is just an afterthought. Until he starts going down on her. Then, the whole Clementine thing becomes an afterthought to Marnie.
Finally, Hannah gets reunited with NYC. She’s in a cab, letting the fresh air blow through her face like a puppy dog. But when she opens her apartment door, she meets Mimi Rose (Gillian Jacobs)—and yes, that’s how she introduces herself: “Mimi Rose.” Wondering who she is, Hannah is suspicious, especially when she walks in and discovers her couch is gone. And her television. She spots Adam and goes to embrace him, but he gives her the cold shoulder.
“Is this your roommate?” Hannah says.
“No,” says Adam. And then Patsy Cline’s somber “She’s Got You” starts playing.
Were Adam and Hannah ever really in a long-distance relationship? There are a lot of questions for next week’s episode, but post yours in the comments. What did you think of “Cubbies”? Are you sad that Hannah’s back in NYC? And what will become of Elijah in Iowa (spin-off?)?