It’s been said that HBO’s Girls is like nothing else on TV. Last night’s “It’s A Shame About Ray” lived up to the hype as the series’ best episode yet. The emotion and reality of unstable 20-somethings was beautifully executed. Beautifully. If you’re still mumbling that Lena Dunham is a talentless rich girl, you need to stop. Admit it, she has a special knack for storytelling.

The Players:

  • Director: Jesse Peretz
  • Writers: Lena Dunham
  • Cast: Lena Dunham, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Allison Williams

Episode Title: “It’s A Shame About Ray”

Hannah hosts a dinner party. Charlie’s new girlfriend, Audrey, tells Marnie how she feels about her. Shoshanna finds out that Ray is living with her. And Jessa meets Thomas Johns parents for the first time.

The Good:

  • Focus of The Show: In the first three episodes of season, two of them centered on Hannah. We saw her kiss boys, dump boys, snort cocaine, dump friends, and kiss more boys. Marnie has been in the mix, but Jessa and Shoshanna have gotten almost no screen time. Last night, Dunham removed herself from the equation (as much as she could anyway), and shifted our attention to the other gals in the cast. We finally got a break from Hannah, and a peek into the lives of a married hippie and a recently devirginized SATC-worshipper. It was awesome.
  • Hannah’s Dinner: For some awful reason, Hannah decides to throw a dinner party celebrating her divorce from Elijah. He’s gone. She’s alone. Everyone shows up, minus Jessa, and things get super awkward and entertaining. Marnie and Audrey go at it over Charlie’s butthole (weird), and Shoshanna makes a shocking discovery about Ray. 
  • The Rooftop Conversation: Marnie and Charlie have a semi-conversation about their strange relationship, but that’s not what’s important (even though they share a passionate kiss). What’s important is that Charlie discovers Marnie is seeing that super weird “talented” artist guy, Booth Jonathan. He gets so angry that he assures Marnie that she will never get a piece of him (points to his penis) again.
  • Dinner With The In-Laws: Jessa and Thomas have dinner with his parents. It starts off as your typical, rom-com ‘meet-the-parents’ situation. Jessa says inappropriate things, and the parents try to laugh them off. But by the end you realize this particular scene has its own DNA, especially when Jessa starts talking nonchalantly about going to rehab for snorting heroine. The look on Thomas’ mothers’ face was priceless.
  • The Big Fight: Whoever bet that Jessa and Thomas weren’t going to make it past the fourth episode, it’s time to collect. Those two are never getting back together! After dinner, Jessa and Thomas get into an intense argument. A lot of mean things are said from both ends. It’s a devastating scene because it captures the reality of those types of situations when you know a relationship is done. It’s also hilarious because Chris O’Dowd and Jemima Kirke deliver each insult so candidly that it feels like they were making up the dialogue. It was like watching a scene from Woody Allen‘s Crime and Misdemeanors.
  • Shoshanna: There’s a precious moment when it dawns on Shoshanna that Ray lives with her. It’s a delicious piece of comedy, and another win for Zosia Mamet.
  • Bathtub Scene/Ending: Girls tends to have great finales. “It’s a Shame About Ray” finished with Hannah and Jessa, laughing and crying naked in a bathtub, while Oasis’ “Wonderwall” played in the background. Kirke delivered the emotions her character was feeling, and Dunham cut the sadness with jokes. Those two are a match made in heaven.

Best Lines:

  • “But I resent the fact that this was not a dialogue, this was a monologue.” –Elijah
  • “I’ve been doing some math and I paid for all of your burritos junior year.” –Elijah
  • “Marnie’s too self-involved to commit suicide.” –Hannah
  • “I hate this restaurant, but I don’t care because I am so happy to meet you guys.” –Jessa
  • “So where do you live when you’re not living at my house 7 days a week?” –Shoshanna
  • “I’m a miracle! I’m a unicorn! I’m a f–king needle in the haystack and you’re just some dumb f–king hipster who’s munching my hey.” –Thomas

The So-So:

  • Mild Backstabbing: At one point during Hannah’s dinner, Marnie asks her to choose between her and Audrey. Hannah just stays silent. It doesn’t matter how mad you are at your best friend for sleeping with your gay ex, you’re supposed to defend them against headband-wearing girls who are the enemy. That was a dirty move, expected, but still dirty.

Overall:

The second season of Girls hasn’t been bad. But let’s be honest, the first three episodes felt less like an ensemble and more like The Hannah Horvath Show. The series works best when it focuses on all its cast members. There are other fascinating characters, like Jessa, Shoshanna and Ray who deserve to have their stories told. Young Dunham, please don’t rob us of that.

Rating: 9.5/10

Girls airs Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO.

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What did you think of last night’s episode of Girls?