This week episode of Girls left New York City and followed Jessa and Hannah to the countryside in Video Games. Jessa is fascinating and definitely a favourite of mine on the show. However, she’s also the most unemotional and the most mysterious. Jessa is independent, liberal, unpredictable and even a little crazy at times. Up until a couple weeks ago, it seemed like nothing fazed her – not even an unplanned pregnancy. Jessa’s breakdown after her fight with Thomas John was a rare moment of vulnerability. Fortunately, this week dived in further and the audience got to see more of her soft side, as well as some insight into how she’s become the woman that she is.
Jessa and Hannah arrive at the train station, where Jessa’s father is late. Very, very late. He eventually arrives taking them to his home which he shares with his girlfriend Petula (who he met in rehab) and her son, Frank. They eat rabbit every night (“a rabbit a day will keep the doctor away!”), the house is an absolute mess and Petula believes that life is a video game. Not metaphorically a video game, but actually a video game. Jessa’s father and his bizarre lifestyle are comical but underneath that is a case of Daddy Issues 101. Her dad has never made her a priority or given her what she needed in terms of affection or support. He’s flaky and flighty, and while his hippie lifestyle may seem exaggerated, their relationship (or lack of) is all too believable. Jessa is an independent adult woman, but around her father she turns into a little gurl begging for affection. She has this hope that things might be different this time, and both Hannah and everyone watching know that this simply isn’t true and it’s heartbreaking to watch.
It’s glaringly obvious that Jessa’s relationship with her dad has greatly influenced her. She’s too is flaky and unreliable – something that her father points out. Jessa ends up having a really honest conversation with her father where she confronts him about his behaviour. She tells him that he can’t “do one single thing [he] says he’s going to do” and that even though she’s not always reliable, “she’s the child.” Her father makes an attempt at fixing things, asking her to take the later train so they can “just have a big old family meal.” He drops her and Hannah off at the grocery store to get food…and then he pulls a Hansel and Gretel and never comes back. Jessa isn’t phased, stating that “this is what he does.” While it’s sad that her father fails her yet again, I would have been more annoyed if the 2 of them had started to work things out. A lifetime of issues can’t be fixed by 1 conversation.
The surprise of the episode comes when Jessa leaves without Hannah, simply leaving a note that states “see you around my love, x.” Jessa, in her efforts to escape her father, is in turn becoming him. I hope that she has only temporarily disappeared, as Jemima Kirke is such an asset to the cast and she would be leaving such a gaping hole if she left permanently.
The episode finishes with Hannah calling her parents and thanking them for being so supportive. She usually acts like she has it worse than everybody else, but after seeing Jessa with her father I think she’s realized that her family isn’t all that bad. I’m not saying people should compare their lives and problems to others, but I think it’s really good for Hannah to take a moment to be grateful for the positive things in her life. Her mother doesn’t exactly respond well (she assumes Hannah has ulterior motives and starts yelling at her) but still, it’s a bit of a breakthrough for Hannah.
Sometimes Girls is laugh out loud funny and sometimes it even has heartwarming moments. Video Games wasn’t one of those episodes – it was rather depressing to be quite honest. But as a fan who loves character backstories, and who appreciates watching honest portrayals of family dynamics, this just might be one of my favourite episodes of Season 2.
What did you think of this week’s Girls? Share your thoughts in the comments below!