Hannah and Jessa take a break from their exhausting lives as Professional Semi-Depressed and/or Painfully Writer’s-Blocked Persons to go frolic in the woods upstate. Specifically, they’re going to visit Jessa’s estranged father, because what we all need right now is more forced drama in Jessa Land.
Père Jessa, a paranoid, addict-y mess, eventually appears and hauls them back to the family abode. Ka-POW! Suddenly we’ve apparated into The Kids Are All Right. There’s a horrible hippie girlfriend named Patchoula who skins and cooks pet rabbits, and for some reason, this doofy pair share custody of a turtleneck-clad teen named Frank. He waves shyly at Hannah. She waves back. It’s obvious that they’re going to bang, which is weird and unsettling. I tried not to focus on it.
Sunshine and Flowers are very excited that Hannah has arrived, because someone has to be the buffer that keeps this social science experiment from going awry. “You’re the cushion!” she chirps. Hannah is the cushion? Are we just antagonizing the Internet, Girls writers? Is that the goal here?
The group sits down to a very earnest locavore dinner. Jessa’s dad and Patchoula refuse to cancel their evening plans, so the gals huff whipped cream and do some reckless driving with Frank and his best friend. Hells yeah! Hannah storms off into the woods in protest. Frank chases after her, they make out, and suddenly they’re having horrible, eight-second, amateur-hour sex (complete with—gulp—consoling back pat). Worse yet, she mistakes this scenario as some kind of teen rom-com sexcapade and is shocked when Jessa doesn’t reciprocate with Frank’s friend. Oh, Hannah.
The next morning, Jessa has a brief and eye-rollingly schmaltzy heart-to-heart with her dad. There is much talk of abandonment and minor weeping—and yet, despite all this sturm und drang, he convinces Jessa to stay one more night with a promise to make her favorite childhood meal for dinner. Blech. There’s clearly a lot going on, what with the drugs and rehab and shitty family relations and all, and this entire dialogue felt rushed, staged, and Lifetime-y. Not diggin’ it. We’re smarter than this.
Frank and Hannah cross paths, which was probably inevitable, what with being in the same house and all. Surprise: virginal Frank was emotionally invested in the having of the sex; Hannah insists that humping one’s thigh crease does not a consummation make. There is whimpering—and luckily, my ‘eww’ face was still plastered on from the previous scene, so I didn’t have to expend a whole lot of muscular energy to express my distaste. It’s the little things, y’all.
Papa Dearest disappears yet again. The ladies embark on the long walk back to the house. Aimee Mann is playing, and it’s great. (The Aimee Mann, not the lingering shots of Jessa looking contemplative.) While Hannah’s in the bathroom nursing a persistent UTI, Jessa disappears, leaving a mysterious note:
Say WHA? Did she tear off her clothes and go join the wolves? Did she head back to New York without Hannah? Was she abducted by mercenaries? Is she DEAD?
I cared for about five seconds, until I got wrapped up in Hannah’s impromptu phone call to her parents, which contains some of the most endearing parent-child writing I’ve heard since Bossypants:
“I was calling to thank you for making me feel supported as a child, and even sometimes as an adult. And there are times when I feel like we have nothing in common, like we don’t know each other at all, we weren’t even put on the same earth by the same god, but at the same time—I just feel like there’s a hammock under the earth that’s protecting me. It really means a lot, and that’s because of you.”
She lets out a guttural UTI-induced yowl—much like the sound of a newborn—as she hangs up the phone. The familiar low of the train horn echoes in the distance; it’s time for Hannah (and the rest of us) to get back to New York.
Like her UTI, the memory of this distinctly unsatisfactory episode will fade. Open up that laptop, Hannah. It’s time to get ‘er done.
Photo via HBOGo.com