If you found out that all this time Adam had been some kind of artificially intelligent supercomputer, you probably wouldn’t be too shocked. But that’s not quite what we mean when we say that the Hannah-Adam story arc in Girls’ third season seems to be telling the same story as Spike Jonze’s fantastic film Her.
If you haven’t seen Jonze’s movie yet, you might want to avoid this recap for fear of spoilers — we’ll tread light on Her’s plot details, but there’s a major element of the film’s conclusion that it’ll be impossible to ignore in this analysis. But just a quick refresher: recent divorcee and anxious shut-in Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) purchases the latest model of automated operating system (the voice of Scarlett Johansson), who/which advances from digital assistant to conversational comrade to intellectual equal to romantic partner to… well, that’s the rub. The technological makeup of Samantha (Johansson) is so sophisticated that she ascends from her platform as Theodore’s “perfect woman” to an entity well beyond his reach. Quickly, Samantha — once the submissive member of the relationship — outgrows Theodore and moves on to explore new folds of this awe-inspiring universe more befitting to her evolved state of being. It is this very fate that Hannah fears will sweep her and Adam once he nabs a part in the Broadway production of Major Barbara on this week’s episode.
Everyone from Shoshanna to Elijah to Hannah’s bespectacled boss to Patti LuPone confront the idea of Adam landing a role on Broadway with apprehension: “This is the first step in his journey of outgrowing you,” to paraphrase Ms. LuPone, who hits Hannah with this cold hard truth during a conversation about osteoporosis medication that Hannah is repping for Condé Nast. After getting effectively LuPWNED, Hannah allows the dread of Adam’s graduation into the dazzling world of theater to fester within her, growing humbly resentful as Adam invites his charming new actor pal to the gang’s hotel party to regale everyone with folksy stories of things like Idaho.
And although Adam assures Hannah that he’s not going anywhere — that he has no interest in the behind-the-scenes intrigue glamorized by Elijah, or even in “making friends” with his fellow thespians — we already see the changes taking place. Early on in the season, Adam insisted that he didn’t even really want a gig. Now, we see him nervous over auditions, offering to revise his performance for the producers, elated beyond imagination over landing the part. He’s already smitten with the idea of acting. Soon enough, we’ll see Adam fulfilling all of the fears that Hannah was granted by cranky stage legend and non-dog-owner Patti LuPone.
Running parallel to the Hannah/Adam story are two other big character turns this week:
Marnie’s breakup with Ray is disappointing. I really wanted to see more of these two! Let’s hope that just because their romantic union is a bust, their story together continues in some form, considering they’re both in such low places — Marnie lowers herself to hugging an old rival and eating pizza in front of a boy (the very thought), and Ray rents Bridget Jones 2 on Netflix, reads Mark Epstein’s Going to Pieces Without Falling Apart, and admits sullenly to wanting a real girlfriend.
In contrast, there’s a good deal of hope in the chilling relapse that overtakes Jessa once her rehab mate Jasper (Richard E. Grant) invades her routine of substance-free boredom, reintroducing her to his brand of excitement. What makes this turn feel so fresh for Jessa is its ready desperation. Although we’ve seen her in the throes of toxicity before, this seems like the closest thing to rock bottom she’s yet to experience, which could be what it takes to rid her of her dark passenger for good. At least maybe the nightmarish Jasper’s presence in her life could wake her up to the severity of her state of being.
Feel free to borrow LuPWNED, by the way.