For anyone who found their way out of the divine trance that was Beyonce’s Earth goddess mother Grammys showstopper (basically, no one), another ode, of sorts, to womanhood aired last night: the "Girls" final season premiere. While the young women of "Girls" are a far cry from Beyonce-style world domination, “All I Ever Wanted” shows our heroine Hannah glimpse contentment — before her inherent Hannah-ness drags back down to being herself.
When the episode opens, we learn that Hannah has landed a New York Times “Modern Love” column for an essay called “Losing my best friend to my ex-boyfriend,” based on her tour-de-force Moth performance at Season 5’s close. In what would seem like the perfect writerly revenge on Jessa and Adam, instead of gloating, Hannah seems clear-headed and confident, intent to prioritize her career goals over any personal drama. While we’re happy Hannah’s getting some recognition for her writing, we’re keeping things in perspective; this isn’t unlike the fifteen-minutes-of-fame Internet-proclaimed Bad Journalist Rory Gilmore saw after her one New Yorker Talk of the Town piece.
The column lands Hannah another gig: an assignment from an editor (played by Chelsea Peretti) at some publication called Slag Mag to go gonzo (i.e., play “millennial Gidget,” as Hannah jokes) at a rich-lady surf camp in Montauk.
The setup is ripe for Hannah-style comedy of errors: She shows up to the Hamptons, pasty and unenthused. Her sunscreen explodes in her suitcase and she ditches out of the first surf lesson after her first failed attempt at a pop-up, faking an injury to hide out at the beach nurse’s office (er, tent).
After a lackluster attempt to sunbathe her vagina (a la Shailene Woodley), Hannah is ready to hit the LIRR back to Brooklyn, assignment be damned. But super chill dude, surf instructor Paul-Louis, played by Riz Ahmed (“The Night Of,” “Star Wars: Rogue One”), wins her over. They spend the rest of the weekend taking long walks on the beach, making out in the surf like the blooper reel of a Warrant music video, drinking cans of Montauk Brewing Co. (nice product plug) like it’s the Hamptons’ tap water. Hannah is trying on a neuroses-free existence, and liking it, in spite of herself.
“I was so ready to hate this,” she tells him, as they watch the waves crash, and Paul-Louis spouts off cringeworthy platitudes like “hate takes energy, love gives vibes.” But Hannah, a convert to this anxiety-free existence, holds her snark. “You’re a really special person,” she tells him, and means it.
But, of course, the dream is short-lived. Right when she’s thinking about sticking around the End for more than a weekend, you know, “detoxing from all the negativity in New York,” Paul-Louis drops the girlfriend bomb (apparently they’re in an open relationship outside of the Bahamas). Hannah tries to conceal her disappointment, but when she says, “Why get mad at fun?” it’s tinged with resentment.
Meanwhile, Marnie is set to sabotage her relationship with Ray. Although the two call each other “baby” incessantly, their chemistry is lacking, Marnie’s interest clearly waning. She basically kicks him out of the house because she needs more solipsistic, post-divorce Marnie-time, but when Ray returns to Adam’s, he finds a completely naked Jessa eating yogurt on the couch and all of his possessions shoved in a corner. (Adam explains they needed more space “for sex reasons.”)
Ray opts to crash with Shosh instead (the two honestly have an adorable, semi-platonic vibe, trading barbs about Paul Krugman being out of touch), to Marnie’s chagrin. (She shows up unannounced with Starbucks coffee, and Shosh tells her bluntly that Ray doesn’t drink coffee from multinational conglomerates.) A business meeting with ex-husband Desi to divide up their possessions leads to sex one hot second after he stokes her fragile ego with lines like, “Before everything, before I ever saw you as a woman, I saw you as an artist. You are a musical force.” “Thank you for really seeing me,” Marnie says.
If this episode is any augur for the rest of the final season, we’re guessing that the “Girls” will continue their messy, comical attempts at "growing up" (SPOILER) and likely won't arrive at any end point. But Paul-Louis was kind of a dick, anyway; we'll be happy to have Hannah back in the sand-free, comfortable discomfort of Brooklyn to hash things out.