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Some of the best episodes of Girls have been those that stand alone. Sunday’s “Flo” only featured a couple of regular characters, plus Hannah’s obnoxious female relatives. Hannah goes upstate to spend some quality time with her dying grandmother, her mom, her aunts and her cousin. But what’s meant to be support-filled bonding time, turns into cat fights about heirloom rings, Oxycontin and marriage. 

The Players:

  • Director: Richard Shepard
  • Writers: Bruce Eric Kaplan
  • Cast: Lena Dunham, Allison Williams, Jemima Kirke, Zosia Mamet, Adam Driver, Alex Karpovsky

Episode Title: “Flo”

Hannah learns that her maternal grandmother Flo (June Squibb) is dying of pneumonia. While comforting her mother and aunts, she witnesses them squabble over petty matters. Hannah also unsuccessfully tries to bond with her uptight cousin, med school student Rebecca (Sarah Steele), and is forced to contemplate her future with Adam when her mother asks her to tell Flo that she’s engaged to be married.

The Good:

  • Sister, Sister: Loreen and her two sisters Sissy and Margot all have their own problems going on, and as sisters tend to do, they take their frustrations out on each other. They argue about their marriages, their mother’s heirloom ring, not spending enough time together and what will happen to things when Flo dies. Sure, it’s nice to think that sisters are just the best of friends, but that’s almost never the case. They love-hate each other and they’re bitter and immature about the pettiest things, which makes for good entertainment.
  • The Cousins: Then there’s Hannah and Rebecca, who are just as equally fussy with each other as their mothers and aunt. Rebecca seems to have hated Hannah ever since she told her, at the tender age of seven, that her dad was convicted of insider trading. Hannah’s defense is that his crime was insider trading and not something truly horrible like human trafficking (Also, she would’ve found out anyway right?). Their interactions are quite entertaining, mainly because Rebecca’s the kind of person that can’t appreciate a Grey’s Anatomy reference, or Hannah’s funny side. At some point Hannah jokingly asks her, “How are, like, the hot doctors-to-be?” to which Rebecca sharply answers, “I’m actually not going there to meet a man. I actually really hate when people say that because I sort of feel like it diminishes what I’m doing.” Later in the episode, Hannah and Rebecca crash, thanks to Rebecca’s immature take on texting and driving. The crash is sort of rewarding, given how horrible Rebecca is to our very funny Hannah.

Best Lines:

  • “My grandma is like very neat and she had skin like a kitten’s ear.” – Hannah
  • “Writers, are like, this ridiculous class of people who just make everything about themselves, and they tend to have really strange, bizarre eating habits.” – Rebecca
  • “Got some mother hens following me.” – Adam
  • “It’s not easy being married to an odd man.” – Loreen

The So-So:

  • The Marriage Bomb: Thanks to Loreen, Hannah and Adam are forced to talk about marriage, and it’s just awkward. It seems like this is the first time they’ve ever talked about tying the knot. Adam tells Hannah that he’s very committed to her, to which Hannah sort of freaks out and lets him know this wasn’t a conversation she meant to have with him. However, Adam, at Loreen’s request, does the nicest thing and tells grandma Flo that he and Hannah are getting married. But the real kicker about this situation is actually the final conversation between Hannah and Loreen. As soon as Adam leaves, Loreen tells Hannah exactly how she feels about their relationship. She tells her to keep her options open because it’s very difficult to be with an odd man. She adds, “I don’t want you to spend your whole life socializing him like he’s a stray dog.” A statement like that has got to hurt. It looks like things aren’t going to be as nice and rosy in Hannah and Adam’s paradise for long.

Overall:

We’re always praising Lena Dunham, but how can we not when she’s behind episodes like “Flo”? While Girls is mostly dedicated to the bonds between girlfriends and couples, Dunham doesn’t shy away from anything. This episode tapped into the relationships between relatives and that’s something new. Not only was it hilarious, but it was sharply honest in its portrayal of family.

Rating: 9/10

Girls airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.

What did you think of last night’s episode?