Shoshanna Shapiro’s greatest fear will always be of sticking with someone who keeps her from growing into the fully-formed woman she was placed on this earth to be. It’s why she broke up with Ray. It’s why she moved to Japan for a job.
It’s not a debilitating fear. Rather, it pushes Shosh to live more often, sometimes to the point of diminishing her safe sexual history, sure, but nonetheless to go and do. Because of this fear, she is happy, which we quickly realize as Girls jumps across the Pacific Ocean for at least half of its third episode of the fifth season, “Japan.”
Her life in Tokyo is simpler and less dramatic than the one she left in New York, so she’s seeing the world clearer and it shows in her body language. Remember, she worried that her friends were making her a bad, more cynical person, a concern she voiced in season three’s “Beach House.” In Japan, she’s making her own choices to create her own bubble, one that satisfies her professional and personal (and romantic) needs. As she tells her friend in the bath house (?) scene, she has almost completely disassociated herself from New York City. Japan is her home now.
Problem is, she’s getting laid off.
Shosh has every right to feel a little betrayed by Abigail (Aidy Bryant), her boss in America. “I moved to Japan!” Shosh exclaims via Skype. Not only is she scared about what will happen to her if she goes back to the life she gave up in New York, but she’s upset because being fired suggests to her that she has done something wrong.
But unlike when she tried to go back to Ray, she now refuses to be dragged around by a safety net that could be represented by America or her “boyfriend,” Scott. She’s more independent than ever before and, good or bad, she’s going to see where life in Japan takes her because, for once, she feels really good about herself.
Also this episode:
- Directed by Jesse Peretz and written by Jenni Konner, “Japan” is an amazing episode because it’s so saturated in Japanese culture, from Shosh’s apartment to the erotic sex parlor and the episode’s music. Good for Girls not to fake it, instead jumping right into Tokyo and filming. It looks really good. I kind of feel like everyone needs to move to Japan and, as Hannah says about Iowa last season, “start the revolution.”
- By the way, the Girls title slide in Japanese writing is yet another one to add to the growing list of “Best Girls title slides.”
- Two amazing things happen in a matter of minute with Hannah. First, this quote: “Until this happened, I was basically Kate Upton to myself.” Second, Hannah’s nude photo shoot with Ray and Elijah, and this subsequent Elijah direction: “Like you know a cake is coming later!”
- I really don’t like Hannah and Fran’s relationship very much, so far. But it’s interesting that Fran keeps naked pictures of his exes on his phone, thoughtful that Hannah considers them “trophies” and overbearing that she ultimately hacks and deletes them from his phone.