'Girls' 2.05 Recap: 'One Man's Trash'

February 11th, 2013 11:32am EST

Girls There's a particular indelibility about your early twenties that's hard to clarify in layman's terms. You're equal parts eager, wistful, contemplative, mournful, nostalgic, muted, ample, sad. But most of all, you're sorry. You're sorry that you didn't do so many of the things you dreamed about in your early years. You're sorry you're not a veterinarian or a news anchor, you're sorry you don't have a family, you're sorry you had a family too soon, you're sorry you're settled into an existence you're not sure you wanted, you're sorry you still haven't found an existence worth settling for. You're sorry that no matter what facade you've mounted, it's never an exact summation of every heartache you're masking underneath.
It's easy to lose a sense of who Hannah Horvath is. She's often sidelined by her showier orbit of friends. Which isn't to say she's quiet or unseen. But her personality is more amorphous. While Jessa and Shoshanna and Marnie have broad-stroke personalities, Hannah is a searcher. Sometimes she's game for a random coke-fueled night of dancing and debauchery. Other nights, she's cooking pasta for her friends, wearing an apron and setting oven timers. But she plays it cool, for the most part. Even though we've treaded through her inner demons, she's never truly lost her temper or broken down.
"One Man's Trash" is an often puzzling half-hour of television, because it isn't the straightforward storyline Girls usually feeds us. It starts with Hannah at Grumpy's coffee shop with Ray, talking about how she's pretty sure she invented the term "sexit" (definition: leaving a party early to go have sex). After an Urban Dictionary search proves her wrong, the two are interrupted by a neighbor who claims someone is dumping Grumpy's garbage in his trash cans. Ray gets instantly furious and protests such accusations, and the neighbor leaves in a huff. Hannah's taken aback by Ray's blunt rudeness and quits. She tracks down the neighbor back at his place and apologies on his doorstep - she's the one who's been dumping the trash at his place, because she lost her Grumpy's trash key and is afraid of Ray. The neighbor seems pleased with her honesty and invites her in for a glass of lemonade.
This neighbor isn't your average Brooklyn wannabe, however. He's Joshua (not Josh), played by the all-American handsome showboat Patrick Wilson. His model good looks and impressive house woo Hannah immediately. "I feel like I'm in a Nancy Meyers movie," she says as she gapes at his kitchen, all stream-lined linen and fancy white countertops. Hannah decides to dismiss herself, realizing the oddity of the situation, but before she can, she does a purely Hannah-esque thing: she kisses him. She apologizes immediately for intruding, but then he kisses her back. And then they have sex on his kitchen counter.

Cue an idyllic weekend paradise huddled up in Joshua's cushy brownstone. It's a dream scenario for Hannah. He cooks her steak and lets her use his humungous shower. They have sex in the master bedroom. They play topless pingpong on his back patio, then do it on the table. They lay in bed, him reading and massaging her hair while she rests her head on his bare knees. Everything's filmed in a glossy filter, the sort of thing you'd see before the camera fades away and reveals it's all in someone's head.
But that never happens. Perhaps it goes without saying. Even by episode's end, it's hard to say if any of this really happened, or if it's all an illustrious fantasy Hannah cooked up. It has all the trimmings of a fake-out scenario: Hannah quits her job for good reason, winds up in the Restoration Hardware kitchen of a recently separated, godlike doctor. He's into her, despite her wholly unflattering floral romper and oxfords. They have sex all day, he skips work to stay in with her, she gets to wear his oversized t-shirts and eat rare meat and drink wine in the middle of the day. It's not Hannah's world, but it's the world she wants for herself.
That revelation comes on their final night together. Hannah breaks down while they lay together, letting loose every carefully withheld secret she's been swallowing all this time. "Please don't tell anyone this, but I want to be happy," she tells him. She wants a house with a fruit bowl and nice things in the fridge. She wants somebody waiting for her when she gets home. She wants a husband to cook her meals and have sex with her whenever she wants.
It isn't some wildly ludicrous notion. We all want to be secure and in love, in some variation. But up until now, Hannah has wanted a more Fiona Apple-esque exitsence: to feel everything, even if that means hurting herself in the process. She knows there's something sadistic in her, something that makes her lie about being sexually molested as a child, that makes her think she deserves physical abuse. And she's always been okay with that part of her.
But Joshua's a trigger. Suddenly she sees a world she could happily inhabit. Like she could slip into the vacant shoes of Joshua's estranged wife and pick up where she left off. But after her tearful revelation, Joshua tenses up. He's obviously uncomfortable now, and Hannah knows it, too. And even though she's still there, and he still wants her to be there, we all know it's over. She wakes up in his bed the next morning and he's gone, presumably to work. She makes herself breakfast, makes the bed, takes out his trash. Because Joshua's trash is Hannah's treasure. And while she has a lot of fumbling to do before she gets there, it's clear that this weekend – whether real or make believe – has given her something: an endgame.

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© 2013

Photo Credits: HBO

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