'Girls' recap, 'On All Fours'

Lena Dunham as Hannah (left) and Adam Driver as Adam in "Girls."
Lena Dunham as Hannah (left) and Adam Driver as Adam in "Girls." (HBO)

In which we watch everything start to unravel.

Adam and Natalia's relationship is going swimmingly. They have a lovely, tender first first-time-in-the-bedroom conversation wherein they are open and communicative and sweet.

"I like how clear you are with me," he says as they kiss. Her reply: "What other way is there?"

Hannah, meanwhile, is still in the throes of her severe OCD relapse. It's not clear whether she's taking her meds or not, but from all appearances she's no better than she looked last week.


She meets with David, the editor of her book-in-progress. He unapologetically tells her he is not pleased with her work. He encourages her to stop writing about her "Jane Austen" friendships and to get back to writing about her "sexual failures." Could Ms. Dunham be cheekily using this David character to put a voice to her own critics? This viewer thinks so.

Shoshonna's infidelity with the Doorman last week weighs on her heavily, and she overcompensates by being cloyingly complaisant.

"What's with all the geisha s--t?" Ray asks bluntly. I must note, with joy, that he's draped in Shosh's peace-sign emblazoned Snuggie at this point. She dodges his apologies and questions. Ray trudges off to help Marnie "lay down a track" on her new quest to follow her "American Idol" singing dreams.

Charlie stands Marnie up for lunch, but attempts to make amends by inviting her to his office party that night, as employees are celebrating that his app hit 20,000 "MAU's" (monthly average users). Ray and Shosh also attend. Ray digs into Charlie, commenting on the s----y beer and asking if the women there are prostitutes. He is not taking too well to his best bud's newfound success.


Marnie shows up and replaces the DJ's iPod with hers. She has a  "special treat" for Charlie and his employees. Unfortunately, that special treat is a piano-driven ballad version of Kanye West's "Stronger" that she warbles out in front of the stunned office.

It is excruciating to watch. Marnie is not entirely terrible — it has some charming moments — but the fact that everyone is witnessing it with dropped jaws and snarky smirks on their faces makes the whole thing fall terribly, awkwardly flat. Ray is the only one who claps at the end. Charlie grabs Marnie and pulls her aside to berate her. They fight and within seconds have sex on his desk. Because of course they do.

Ray presses Shoshonna to tell him why she's acting so weird, and she admits that she "held hands" with the Doorman. While we don't know exactly how far things went with them, we do know that it was definitely more than hand-holding. Ray laughs it off and hugs her, leaving her more distraught.

Hannah, holed up in her apartment attempting to write, manages to puncture her eardrum by too vigorously Q-tipping. It's horrific to watch. She screams in pain and calls her parents, who instruct her to get medical attention. Hannah goes to the hospital and the doctor tells her know she's OK. Hannah tellingly asks him if he could clean her other ear out, "just because it's feeling a little uneven." She's still clearly way way down the OCD rabbit hole and needs more help than this general practitioner can give.

Natalia's high school friend hosts an engagement party, so Natalia asks Adam to accompany her. Adam isn't comfortable with her girlfriends and steps outside for a breather, when he spies Hannah walking down the street, ambling home from the hospital. He shirks when she approaches and is quick to declare he's out with his girlfriend. Hannah blinks tellingly.

It all seemed OK — awkward, but OK — until Adam (several years sober) comes back to the bar and orders a Jack and Ginger. Natalia looks surprised and he claims that he "just wants to be able to have a nice time with" her. We all collectively groan. This can't be good. Dancing and drunken sloppy bar kisses lead to them coming back to Adam's place for the first time.

Natalia is a bit taken aback by his weird workshop/living space but cheerfully offers that he just needs someone to help him organize. Adam's dark, broody, kinky side comes out (or back?) and he directs Nat into a forceful, cold sex act (hence the episode's title).

"I don't think I liked that," Natalia says, stunned, as she gets dressed afterwards. "Are you done with me?" Adam asks. They sit in silence.

Hannah sits on the edge of her tub, twitching uneasily. She anxiously begins to forcefully take a Q-Tip to her other ear, so I can only assume so that she can even herself out.

This episode was rough. No, I don't want a sugar saccharine happy ending bow tie around the season, but I'd love it if maybe, just maybe, one of the characters could see a faint shimmering glimmer of hope for his or her future. I look forward to next week's season finale, to see if anyone does.

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