Jessa is always the character I have the toughest time wrapping my head around. I always end up with more questions than answers about her and the latest episode of Girls, “Female Author,” is no different. Her half truths and lackadaisical immaturity baffle me, even though she’s always been a character who just thinks differently.
Ever since the previews for this fourth season were released, I’ve wondered about her and Adam’s relationship. On the teasers, she gazes at him admiringly as they walk down the sidewalk. In the episode, when she back-handedly invites him to a birthday party, I wondered: What is she trying to draw him into? What are her intentions? It was similarly alarming at the beginning of the episode, on video chat with Hannah, when she’s talks her way around the direct truth about how much time she’s spending with Adam either in person or on the phone. Hannah reacts the way we all do. From “not really” having heard from Adam to, yeah, I talked to him two or three times yesterday and the this morning. Yeah, that’s a lot.
She’s a very impersonal video chatter, walking around her apartment instead of sitting at attention in front of the computer. It’s all an act to disassociate herself. As is when she refers to Hannah as “what’s her face” when half-heartedly asking Adam how their nightly video chat dates are going. None of it is surprising, though.
She distances herself from all hard things, even though she may need Adam to be her friends because he’s the only connection she has to Hannah and video-chat Hannah feels very out of reach. Looking at it cynically, it’s not stupid to wonder if she’s trying to move in on him; after all, everything she said to Hannah before she left for Iowa was about being brave enough to break up with him, and now she’s spending a lot of time with him, inviting him to a two-person birthday party, and not telling Hannah anything about it. Is it to easy to tell I’ve thought about this before?
Or maybe she needs Adam in the way that anyone needs a friend. But she puts him in bad situations and gets him arrested. Was the police officer really hurting her, or was she whining to draw Adam’s attention into the scuffle? Adam’s unsure of the answer, too. What he has is a natural response, not wanting to associate with a troublemaker like Jessa. He cares about Hannah and has seen Jessa drag her into dirt over and over again. Now that she’s sober, what’s her excuse?
“Female Author” is an episode about a lot of rough relationships. Marnie and Desi are at a crossroads in their relationship because the barrier between being musical partners and sexual partners has broken down. Marnie’s sure she wants to be with Desi in the long run, but Desi thinks she’s way too young to know what she wants. It’s kind of a bullshit response from him. But I wondered this: If Marnie’s still sleeping with Ray, even though she thinks her relationship with Desi is real, does that make Ray her mistress?
Hannah’s also at a major crossroads with her classmates and chosen profession. She’s insecure about whether or not the workshop is right for her, since nobody seems to think her writing has any merit. She rightfully feels misunderstood, so maybe she’s meant to be a street-made artist instead of a factory-made one.
My favorite thing: Elijah has some really good lines. “I realized I got so good at taking selfies that I didn’t feel challenge anymore. Then I thought, what if I turned the camera around? It’s a real epiphany for me, Hannah.” There’s also that quote, he thinks: “Wherever you are, there you go.”