Girls: Homeward Bound Review

Girls gets a little ridiculous again, but still pulls out a really solid episode.

This Girls review contains spoilers.

Girls: Season 5, Episode 8

Early in the season, I kept complaining that Girls was indulging in its sitcom side a bit too much, resulting in some situations too outside the show’s usual level of reality. As the season went on, the tone righted itself—that or I stopped being so hard on it—but either way, this season has come back in a big way for me. “Homeward Bound” is definitely one of the season’s more comedic outings and with it comes a wee bit of devolution into over-silliness, but by and large it works.

Shoshanna returns from Japan. Before she even gets out of the airport, she finds herself furious with the Americans around her and begins ranting about how we’re all self-involved and self-serving. It’s a pointedly ironic opening as the episode’s running theme seems to be reminding us just how selfish every single one of the girls is (except maybe Marnie) as they piss off and alienate everyone around them.

Shosh runs into her ex-boyfriend, Scott, who she stood up in a major way by telling him she was coming back to the States and then left him waiting at the airport. Scott seems kind of douchey, to be completely honest, but Shosh is still in the wrong for not addressing their situation head-on. Aside from the opening, Shosh really only gets this one scene (for the record, I think this is another season with an inexcusably miniscule amount of Shosh), but it’s full of great Shoshisms, e.g., “How dare you, Scott. You just preyed upon my deepest fear. I told you that in confidence during pillow talk.”

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Adam’s sister Caroline has left Laird and Laird, trying to process this, takes off too, leaving Adam alone with their baby, whose nickname, horribly, is Sample. He asks Jessa to come over and help out, which proves to be a mistake as she is far too concerned with her own needs to properly take care of a baby. The scenes with Adam, Jessa, and little Sample do the job of displaying the deteriorating luster of Adam/Jessa (and Adam’s line “Why do you need more help than a baby?” is undeniably cutting), but we did get to this point maybe a bit too quickly.

Girls has always had a problem of scrambling to close out plot threads at the end of its seasons. It is odd we’ve basically only seen Jessa and Adam in the honeymoon phase and now Jessa’s suddenly awful all at once. However, one could argue it’s simply the presence of a baby that brings into relief this awful, self-centered side of her. Plus, their relationship is in itself an example of both Adam and Jessa’s wanton selfishness. It’s just that, previously, Jessa’s selfishness jived with Adam’s and, here, she’s a terrible prick all by herself. Regardless, I can’t deny the anger here between Jessa and Adam feels sudden and somewhat unearned as there were no obvious cracks in the relationship previously (except for the specter of Hannah’s disapproval hanging over it all).

Speaking of Hannah, she’s the absolute worst in “Homeward Bound.” She breaks up with Fran at the start of a three-month road trip they’re taking, which is probably for the best, but she does it by literally running away from him (in her pajamas) at a rest stop and refusing to get back into the RV, even just for the ride home he offers. Hannah’s right that she and Fran aren’t a good fit but she’s also undoubtedly the more horrible one in the relationship (something Marnie more or less asserted several episodes back). Her horribleness is further highlighted in humorous fashion when she calls Marnie to ask for a ride back to NYC, saying she can’t call an Uber because “I got kicked off the app for having too low a rating.”

She ends up roping Ray into picking her up in his new coffee van and then, doing her best to be unselfish for a change, starts giving him road head. This is the part of the episode I don’t quite buy into. I believe Hannah is such a compulsive bad-choice maker that she’d think blowing Ray was a kind gesture that might counteract her selfishness, but it’s hokey how swift and immediately this results in Ray driving off the side of the road and destroying his truck. It’s just goofy and you can see it coming a mile away. Though I do love the argument they have afterward where Ray insists he can get hard whenever he wants.

Amazingly, it’s plausible the aborted blowjob isn’t going to be the greatest upset to Ray and Hannah’s friendship as it’s eclipsed by her abandoning him with the fallen truck to hitchhike back to NYC in a stranger’s car. (The stranger is played by Guillermo Diaz who apparently works a lot but I personally hadn’t seen him since Half Baked.) The ride back is very sweet and ends on a hopeful note for both the driver and Hannah, which oddly works even though Hannah doesn’t really deserve any positivity.

To briefly mention Marnie’s plot, again, she’s really the only one who doesn’t come off like an asshole here as she’s stuck recording music with soon-to-be ex-husband Desi and everyone comes out looking better alongside Desi. Marnie having to deal with his bullshit here is so frustrating that it genuinely riled me up some. Desi’s now got some new girlfriend/spiritual guru on his side named, hilariously, Tandice Moncrief—played by none other than Lisa Bonet—who bolsters Desi’s incredible annoyingness so much that I really wanted Marnie to punch at least one of them (she doesn’t).

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In the end, we’ve got a very funny episode with a few rough patches, filled with characters behaving like incredible jerks. This leads us into next week’s two-part finale, where we’ll get to see all this jerkiness bear fruit. Also, I’d like to close with Hannah’s perfect assessment of Bugles, one of the weirdest snacks there is: “I’ve been eating Bugles my whole life and I still don’t even know if I like them. It’s just, like, something to do.”

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4 out of 5