Girls: “Two Plane Rides” (3.12) - TV Recap

By Jordan Ferguson


Girls: Season 3 Episode 12 - “Two Plane Rides”

March 23, 2014, 10:00pm (EST), HBO

Last week, I took Girls to task for its shortcomings with regards to serialization. The show has problems telling long range stories, and particularly in pacing them out (more on this in a moment), but one thing it tends to be great at is conveying the journey the characters have gone on over the course of the season, if not in its finale as a whole (those tend to be a bit shaky, and “Two Plane Rides” is no exception there), then in its final image. Each season of Girls tends to roughly open and close with images that speak to each other. Season one began and ended with Hannah eating pasta and later wedding cake, tracking some of the fitful maturation she had gone through. Season two opened with Adam breaking into Hannah’s apartment, forcing her to call the cops, and concluded with Adam heroically kicking in her door in a grand romantic gesture that reunited them. And season three began with the two lovers deeply entwined in each other’s arms and deeply co-dependent. But it ends with Hannah alone, strong enough to stand on her own two feet, brave enough to take a leap for herself. It isn’t a happy ending, necessarily, or at least, it is definitely bittersweet in some ways. But it is a mark of progress for the character as the season ends.

“Two Plane Rides” spends its early minutes putting us through two almost unbelievably selfish acts, from Marnie and Hannah, respectively. It isn’t so much that the show hasn’t laid the groundwork for these two being monstrously narcissistic, because it has. Yet when Marnie found out Shoshanna was not graduating college and just blew past it to tell Shosh that she had slept with Ray, or when Hannah decided that opening night, right before Adam went on stage was the best time to reveal she was considering moving to Iowa, I still had trouble believing these characters were quite that horrible. I can follow this show a long way as it tracks deeply flawed people, but these were moments when Hannah and Marnie became deranged sociopaths to rush the plot along, and while both induced the cringes they were supposed to, they also each took me out of the episode a bit.

The rest of “Two Plane Rides” seemed to go out of its way to pull together this season’s disparate threads, which it managed with mixed success. Jessa’s story feels almost close to working, and with a little more build-up in her relationship with Beadie or in Beadie’s desire to be euthanized (or even a bit more time spent on the aftermath, with Jessa learning a lesson about wanting to be alive or something) it could have actually worked. Beadie forces Jessa to get drugs for her so that she can die, and in the process, Jessa sees that…drugs can kill you, I guess? This whole addiction plotline has been massively under-developed, especially considering it has easily the highest stakes of anything that happened this season, and while moments in “Two Plane Rides” made me think the show might actually be trying to say something in the finale, the end result was incredibly underwhelming.

“Two Plane Rides” is messy, occasionally incoherent, and challenged my suspension of disbelief a few times

Shoshanna has also been fairly underserved this season, but she is given a lot to do here, and Zosia Mamet is so fantastic it basically sells everything the show has tried to do with the character this season in one wonderful subplot. She gets to be funny and sad, angry and vulnerable, and as lost as we might expect, and Mamet is just phenomenal throughout. Shoshanna learns she is not graduating, discovers that Marnie slept with Ray, and realizes that she wants Ray back all in quick succession. Unlike a lot of the rest of this episode, which seemed over-stuffed and rushing to a conclusion, all of these things happening virtually back-to-back actually worked to deepen their impact, and make Shoshanna’s beautiful, crushing speech to Ray during intermission the perfect mix of desperate and honest. With her life falling apart, of course she wants the stability a relationship would provide, but it also makes sense that at this exact moment, she would realize what she had in Ray that an ocean of hook-ups cannot provide her. Say what you will about the rest of “Two Plane Rides,” but Shoshanna’s story was nearly perfect, and it’s a reminder that Zosia Mamet should be far more than a background presence on this show in years to come. Sure, Shosh is hysterical just sort of reacting to things in the background of stories, but Mamet can do a lot more when it is asked of her, and I’d like to see more of that.

We briefly saw the return of Caroline (almost as if Lena Dunham realized everyone was wondering what happened to that character and just decided to throw her in and make her pregnant, so there), though that amounted to little here. If Gaby Hoffman is going to be back next season, I see huge amounts of comedic potential in Caroline as a mother, but if not, this felt like a very strange way to tie up that loose end, and one that goes uncommented on elsewhere. Sure, it is out of character for Hannah to care more about Caroline’s news than her own, but you’d think she’d at least let Adam know he is an impending uncle before leaving him in that alleyway.

“Two Plane Rides” is messy, occasionally incoherent, and challenged my suspension of disbelief a few times, but it still served to pull the season together well enough to make it seem like more of a cohesive journey in hindsight than it actually was (which may actually be the secret superpower of Girls finales). This is a show that excels at moments and falters when trying to depict longer range character arcs, which is somewhat problematic considering this show is ostensibly about these people slowly growing up. Yet it is such a deeply personal piece of art, so well written and well directed, and with characters who are generally very well-realized, that I don’t lose any faith in its brilliance, even when it works much better as a series of short stories than when it is serialized.

Every season of Girls is a series of highs and lows, brilliant moments and missteps, but ultimately, the good things always far outweigh the bad. In that way, as in others, it feels like this is, finally, Hannah telling us her story. In hindsight, the good things always tend to make the bad a bit blurrier; the emotional highs outweigh the periods in between. The dull parts of the story that in a narrative we view as laying necessary groundwork rarely become part of the finished tale. They fade away, lost between big moments, sinking in the sea that becomes the story we tell of our life. Hannah’s story is still just beginning. There will be shifts and turns along the way, many of which she won’t see coming before they arrive. But as this season ends, she seems to see, even if only for a moment, that she is capable enough to handle them on her own, and ready for whatever is coming next. It may not be perfect, but its enough for now.

The Roundup

  • -“I can feel the labia forming. This is a woman.” “It definitely feels like there is a vagina…coming together…”
  • -“I HATE YOU!”
  • -“Although, the last four years of my life have been a total wash, I think we can all admit that…”
  • -“What’s gotten into you? You have such a deep groove begrudging the success of others…”
  • -“We’re gonna have a chat. At intermission, you’re going to buy me some M&Ms, and we’re going to have a fucking chat.”
  • -“Marnie, that’s another person with a girlfriend!”
  • -“Why are they talking like that? It’s not Shakespeare.” “They’re British.” “But it’s called Major Barbara.” “So?”
  • -“Iowa’s not a coast.”
  • -“I’ve predicted two of my friends’ divorces, one pregnancy, and a couple of natural disasters.”
  • -“I want to be your girlfriend and I want to pretend that I was never not your girlfriend, and I want you back. And I love you. I love you.”
  • -“Seriously, shut the fuck up. Has anyone ever taught you when to speak?”
  • -“Sadly, no Kelly Ripa, but there was like a blonde with him that threw me for a sec.”
  • -“Elijah loved the play.” “Oh good.”
  • -“Well I’m sick of trying to work it out. Can’t one thing ever be easy with you?”
  • -Thank you all for reading, this season. I’ll see you back in this space next year, when surely the show will be all about Hannah and the corn-fed Iowa boy she meets and convinces to reenact “American Gothic,” right?
76/100~ GOOD. “Two Plane Rides” seemed to go out of its way to pull together this season’s disparate threads, which it managed with mixed success.
Jordan Ferguson is a lifelong pop culture fan, and would probably never leave his couch if he could get away with it. When he isn’t wasting time “studying the law” at the University of Michigan, he writes about film, television, and music. In addition to writing for Next Projection, he is the Editor-in-Chief of Review To Be Named, a homemade haven for pop-culture obsessives. Check out more of his work at , follow him on twitter @bobchanning, or just yell really loudly on the street. Don’t worry, he’ll hear.
  • Derek Deskins

    Does this bring us closer to the show just switching to Boys? I can’t be the only one that finds Ray, Adam, and hell, even Elijah as much more enjoyable than the rest.