Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Girls Season 6, Episode 6: "Full Disclosure" - You do not know a hundred babies.

After that stretch of fever delirium, I sprained my ankle. "Bad things come in threes" is not a superstition that dogs me particularly, but for safe measure, I am going to appraise my catastrophic inability to allow myself to recover from those things as the third bad thing, because I'm worse for that than either respective and completely usual misfortunes.

This may have been my favorite episode of Girls, if only because it uses everything that came before it in such a gratifying way.

Girls Season Six, Episode Fifty-Eight, "Full Disclosure"

Girls speaks its subtext with a scene that fully exposes Hannah and Marnie's relationship. When Hannah asks for Marnie's opinion on the salad dressing, Marnie weighs in on Hannah's ability to dress the salad. Then she presumes her news will upstage Hannah's news when she shares the fact that Ray broke up with her: "Ray was supposed to break the cycle" of her cycles of broken relationships, Marnie says. "And besides, he was just supposed to be grateful that I even wanted to talk to him." This brought to mind immediately the MC at Jessa's wedding to Thomas-John, the schlubby guy making dad jokes in front of whom Marnie rage-eats cake in order to seduce him after a run-in with Charlie, who she was still not over at the time. Ray served no different a purpose for Marnie than that MC. Consider how far Hannah is from where she was in the first season compared to how Marnie is virtually unchanged, minus a few of the stabilizing forces (her day job, Hannah's love) she had back then.

Hannah asserts to Marnie exactly what happened: she was a horrible cunt to him, so as sad as she wants to be, there's a good reason she and Ray are not together. Back in the first season, Hannah could only articulate to her diary about how Marnie's unhappiness with Charlie was warping their relationship. Now she can be straightforward with Marnie about it. And before she can take any blowback from it, Hannah tells Marnie she's pregnant. And Marnie immediately shames her: "You decided just to not use any birth control whatsoever?" She shames her for wanting to keep it, but Hannah stands by her decision. The whole arc of Hannah on Girls has been her working toward listening to herself, prioritizing her goals, and standing by her decisions instead of internalizing the whims of others and entertaining any recommendation or correction leveled at her because she assumed that anyone who wasn't her knew better. Now she knows better. And guess what? Marnie yields. "I'm into it," she laughs, and Hannah's response is precise: "I can't believe how supportive you're being. This is a shock. It kind of makes me want to do it less!" Hannah has learned the ultimate lesson Girls has to impart, which is that Marnie's instincts are not to be trusted.

Marnie continues to bring her own damage to bear on their conversation, of course, when Hannah scandalizes her with the fact that she doesn't want the baby's biological father, Paul-Louis, involved. Marnie can't imagine life without jockeying for male approval. Hannah lets her have it, underlining heavily one more time that she knows what Marnie is doing and what it calls for: "I knew that you were gonna try to be controlling and control the entire way that I brought my child into this world. And I probably shouldn't have even told you until I was in labor."

Hannah's dad Tad is now seeing the man with the darling dog from season five's "Good Man," who admits to Hannah when she visits them that he donated sperm to a pair of friends before and regretted being unable to be part of the child's life. Tad is on Hannah's side, though, when it comes to her choice to not tell Paul-Louis she's pregnant, and Elijah is in her corner, too. He apologizes for saying Hannah was going to be a bad mother and admits it was comforting to be with someone who had nothing more going on to boast about than he did. When Elijah calls it "our kid," Hannah is overcome with happiness in a rare way. Following this exchange, he rises to the occasion to run lines with his coworker at Henri Bendel and knocks her out with the poignancy and precision of his acting.

As much as Hannah wants and is happy to have Elijah's support, Hannah wants nothing to do with Adam or his frequent phone calls. Adam ambushes her outside her apartment and demands she watch the movie he and Jessa made about his and Hannah's relationship, reading her resistance as urgency, desperate to know if they felt the same things and if they perceived things the same way. Hannah has no doubt about her perception of events, and she stopped wondering, probably after Adam came back to her after seeing her wobble home from the hospital: he likes to make her feel better and feel taken care of, and having met his sister Caroline, Hannah knows that that's probably a safe role in which he is comfortable. Adam told his ex-girlfriend Mimi-Rose he needs to be needed and he's insecure about being wanted. In Jessa, he probably does get the ideal mix of want and need. But when Hannah tells Adam she's pregnant—and runs away from him after confirming the baby is not Fran's—that brings a lot crashing down on Adam. There was Mimi-Rose having an abortion behind his back, yes, but also Caroline's pregnancy, the birth of his niece—Jessa-Hannah Bluebell Poem "Sample" Schlesinger-Sackler—and Caroline's abandonment of her. Adam swooped in to take care of Sample after Caroline left. This situation is nigh irresistible to Adam's urge to nurture and protect.

The revelation of Hannah's pregnancy means something else to Jessa, and she visits her, somberly asking Hannah to confirm the news. Hannah confirms but tries to dismiss her, telling her she's working, but Jessa forces the issue, hurt, and Hannah hands Jessa her ass for calling her her "dear friend" when she broke up with her. Jessa can't reconcile not seeing Hannah anymore: she came all the way to New York to be with Hannah in the pilot. Her need for her has made Jessa insecure and petulant, and when Hannah left New York, Jessa lost it. Her frame of reference for what a family is is pretty crooked, but she feels at home with Hannah. She wanted Hannah to take care of her when she was pregnant. She told her father, "I'm the child." Adam observed that she needs "more help than a baby." But she can't be Hannah's baby anymore. One her way out the door, Jessa whispers: "Rest in peace."

After all this, Hannah can't get through to Paul-Louis at the waterski resort. Instead, she watches Adam's movie, Full Dis:closure. The first scene captures an idealized and warm vision of their relationship and moves Hannah to tears, recalling when he captivated her. Over the credits plays Adam's dramatization of their meeting, with Adam sporting vintage Adam hair: Hannah was eating right out of a bulk foods bin and Adam went on a tear about sugar, wrote his name on her arm, and when it hurt, he told her if it hurt, that means she'll remember it. We find out what had Hannah at first sight: when Adam first saw her, he asked if she was a writer.

Marnie dashes her relationship with Desi on the rocks of her mother's friend's birthday party, where they are supposed to perform. I love that Marnie's mother has implicated Marnie in her attempt to suck up to a woman she's "friends" with, whose attention she scrambles after. Desi does not want to play the show so badly he threatens to kill himself. When he rolls in an hour late, fucked up, Marnie's mother makes fun of her for being a prude and shames her for being disappointed in Desi and for not being able to tell that he's high. Marnie yells at her for raising her in a household where male approval is the holy grail, which seems like residual insight from her conversation with Hannah.

Desi delivers a great summary of a lesson Marnie needs to learn when she says he's a musician and he needs to do his job: "I'm not a musician, Bella. Never have been. Just acting like one. Before that, I was just acting like being an actor. Before that, I was just acting like being a big game photographer. I'm always acting like I'm something, but now I'm, like done." Marnie loves to proclaim that something is something and then just shame it until it conforms to the expectations of that thing. The best example remains her relationship with Charlie: after they rekindled their intimacy at the end of season two—on Charlie's part because he was concerned Marnie was having a psychic meltdown—she proclaimed them "old fogies" who were just going to have a quiet, boring life together, even though they had not had so much as a conversation about being in one another's lives again.

After Desi skips out on the performance and Marnie learns that the friend of her mother's for whom the party is being thrown is a successful musician—meaning that her mother is using Marnie to show off her own proximity to the music industry. Marnie shows some shrewd judgment, declining to perform, but then her mom gets into the idea of backing her up, and Marnie has no escape. Brilliantly, Marnie's mother tsks into the mic and announces a performance by "The Michaels Sisters." It goes miserably, Rita Wilson scats, and god what can be gleaned from this—does Marnie realize how little she knows about what makes a good mother and that she has nothing she can teach Hannah? Is she embarrassed by her mother's insecurity and commitment to playing make-believe, and does she sense she does the same thing? Literally any conclusion could help Marnie at this point.

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