Last week’s Girls was a bit of a diversion, focusing mostly on dance sequences and weirdo artists, and though I was disappointed in it at the time, “It’s A Shame About Ray” more than makes up for it with the way it really digs into things. It’s an easy trick for a show to pull, throwing everyone into a dinner party together after everything has been continually falling apart all season, but it’s extremely well executed here.
But first, alongside the dinner party, Jessa finally meets Thomas John’s family, and it goes exactly as well as you may think. Which is to say, the whole things blows up, the way we’ve all known it was going to from the moment she came out of nowhere with the wedding last season. The dinner itself is a nasty piece of cringe humor, and when they get home and explode, it only gets nastier. Neither of these people are particularly likable, and they’re both right about each other: Thomas John is boring, and Jessa is obnoxious and entitled, and both of them were trying each other on like costumes. It’s all rotten, and the performances completely sell it.
The other side of things is equally as fraught, but thankfully, is much lighter, which balances the episode out. Audrey had never made much of an impression on me before, but I really enjoyed her here, especially playing of Marnie. The way she describes her inane mustard company, and the way Marnie follows up with, “So where do you get your headbands?” and an extra long sip from her drink, was one of my favorite exchanges of the night.
But still, at the end of the night, we end up feeling good about most of our lead girls. Hannah redeems herself with an impassioned defense of Marnie, proving that they still are friends, and that reconciliation isn’t an impossibility. And Shoshanna and Ray, even after he admits he’s kind of a loser, and she realizes he’s been living with her, end up admitting their love for each other on a bench in the subway, and it worked for me, which I wasn’t expecting it to, to be honest.
And “It’s A Shame About Ray” ends with Hannah and Jessa naked in a bath together, because, well, this is still Girls, and Lena Dunham seems determined to convince us that that’s how friends interact with each other. Which I kind of just have to accept at this point. Ignoring the weird platonic nudity, it’s a capper on an episode that’s mostly been about our core group of people moving back towards each other, which is a good place to be for a show one episode shy of halfway through the season.