Girls S2, Ep7: Video Games

Posted: March 4, 2013 in TV
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“Video Games”, the seventh episode of Girls Season Two, focuses on Jessa and after a season and a half, some light is finally shed on why Jessa is the way she is.  Hannah accompanies Jessa on an overnight trip to the countryside in upstate New York, where Jessa is visiting her father.

Hannah and Jessa at Train Station

The episode starts out with the two girls being stranded at the train station and waiting hours for Jessa’s father to pick them up.  This is the first inkling the viewer gets that Jessa’s father is certainly not Parenting Magazine’s Father of the Year.  When he (Ben Mendelsohn) finally arrives, he is aloof, out of sorts and somewhat cold to his daughter.  The next scene introduces his live in-girlfriend Petula (Rosanna Arquette), an aging hippie type wearing a vintage Jefferson Starship t-shirt.  Everyone gathers around an outside picnic table for dinner, which consists of the same rabbits that Hannah petted and found cute and cuddly earlier that afternoon.  Jessa’s father announces to her that he and Petula have plans for the evening, and Jessa and Hannah are on their own.  Jessa seems quite disappointed, although she tries to hide her hurt.

Hannah and Jessa eating rabbit

In a distracting scene, Hannah and Jessa go out with two local boys and drive a sports car blindfolded through the winding country roads, while doing Whip-Its.  During this scene, Hannah is the only voice of reason and she actually gets out of the car in fear for her life.  We don’t typically see Hannah act as the level-headed one, but for a character who strives to be different and likes outside the box experiences, the entire trip to witness where Jessa has come from, makes Hannah realize she is actually the normal one.  In true Hannah fashion, she does sleep with Petula’s strange son and, I find I’m beginning to grow tired of Hannah’s carefree attitude towards her sexual encounters.  It seems that Dunham puts her character into this type of scene in almost every episode of Season Two.  Knowing that Dunham writes with purpose, I’m hoping there will be some kind of revelation about her carefree attitude towards sex somewhere near the end of this season.

The following day, Hannah and Jessa go to the local country store to stock up on edible food and once again, Jessa’s father never comes back to pick them up.  They have to walk back to the father’s house and, it’s during this walk, that Hannah realizes just how screwed up Jessa’s father is and why Jessa puts on a front of being such a carefree, liberal flowerchild type.  Unfortunately for Jessa, this is the only behavior she knows, but it’s really rather sad.  She is craving her father’s attention, but is rejected over and over again during her visit.  It’s because of this episode, that it’s now clear why Jessa rushed into marriage with Thomas John.  She has a serious need to seek male attention, whether it is the father of a child she babysits for or an uptight business man, like Thomas John.

Jessas Father

While Hannah is in the bathroom dealing with a urinary tract infection, Jessa vanishes, leaving Hannah stranded with only a note that reads, “See you around my love, X.”  The way in which Jessa appeared on Shoshanna’s doorstep in Season One, is the same whimsical way in which she departs from Season Two.  This episode concludes with Hannah phoning her parents from the train station to tell them how much she appreciates them for always being there for her.  In typical Girls fashion, the call doesn’t go smoothly; Hannah’s mother thinks Hannah is full of shit.  But whether or not Hannah’s mother believes she is genuine, Hannah knows the truth, that her upbringing, no matter how messed up or insane, doesn’t hold a candle to the way in which Jessa grew-up.

Jessa

In a look inside the episode, Dunham explains that writing this episode helps to give the viewer a chance to feel sympathy for Jessa.  Otherwise, they would have never felt anything for her.  On a whole, the episode is a success in that it properly mixes backstory with emotion to show that Dunham’s created characters, like Jessa, are not one-dimensional or mere satire.  They are deeply layered people with past wounds, and their present day actions come from a real place of conviction.

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