Even in a nostalgia-obsessed reality, good honest retrospect is still only marginally appealing.
In the sixth episode of the final season of “Girls,” its characters starkly confront their present situations in a way that forces us to consider just how Hannah ended up here: single, pregnant with a windsurfing instructor's baby and ready to parent solo.
Or how Marnie ended up married to a heroine addict, playing a birthday party at a club in Jersey with her mother.
Or how Jessa ended up friendless, dating a man so consumed with the end of his last relationship he wrote, starred in and produced a “just under 47 minute” film about it.
Or how Shoshanna ended up, honestly, way more self-aware and capable than most of us expected.
Hannah admits to Marnie she's pregnant and, once she believes her, Marnie is supportive to what Hannah considers a shocking extent. When she hears Hannah won't be sharing the news with the baby's father, Paul Louis, Marnie becomes traditionally judgmental and blames Hannah's hormones for the drama.
Marnie has been a pretty unsympathetic, stunningly self-absorbed character for seasons now as those around her mature, so her utter disappointment of life “on the wrong side of [her] 20s” doesn't quite blindside viewers.
She and Desi are obligated to fulfill their tour contracts, but he's too oxy-ed up to speak, let alone play.
In a brutal how-did-I-get-here moment, Marnie plays to a crowd of Jersey trash while her mother scats on the mic beside her (and Desi — who is basically dressed in an outfit that is more dish rag than sweater — stands offstage, mockingly reminding her to smile).
This is not the life Marnie imagined when she broke up with Charlie years ago, though Marnie's actions, like being what Hannah frankly refers to as “a horrible cunt to [Ray],” led her here. She is delusional in her approach to relationships of every kind, seeing herself as the only sentient, valuable participant in most situations.
Only recently has Marnie patched things up with Hannah in a way that feels at all sustainable and, even then, she starts off Hannah's pregnancy announcement dinner with news about her own love life.
Hannah isn't ready to give up on Marnie, but she's remorselessly finished with Jessa.
Jessa stops by to confront Hannah when she hears she's pregnant secondhand from Adam. Hannah dismisses Jessa altogether, admitting,
I don't care what you think and I don't care about your feelings because I don't really care about you anymore, Jessa.
Whether Hannah cuts Jessa out of her life for good merely because of her grudge against Jessa's relationship with Adam or the many other times Jessa acted with zero regard for their friendship (there was even a moment last season when she dumped Hannah in a yogurt shop, more or less), the magnitude of Hannah's current responsibilities render Jessa an unnecessary responsibility with little reward.
This season alone, Jessa has alienated herself from Hannah, Elijah, Shoshanna and, at times, even Adam. She is more alone than ever, though she doesn't seem at all ready to change her behavior to mend her relationships or secure new, stable ones.
Hannah, adversely, is back on loving, codependent terms with Elijah.
He apologizes for calling her a “terrible mother” and promises to help her raise “[their] baby,” though he will not be contributing financially in any way.
Elijah admits he was jealous Hannah will no longer be available 24/7, which may end up leading him back toward his old passions.
During a shift at Bendel's he runs lines with a co-worker for her audition and proves he has enough skill to honestly pursue the dream he abandoned to eat hot dog tacos and nocturnally stalk Ryan Dylan Davidson's Facebook.
Hannah and Adam's fence is a tougher one to mend. She wants nothing to do with him, but he's desperate for her to watch the film he made about "the dissolution of [their] relationship." He begs her,
I need you to tell me if I got it right… I want to know we felt the same things.
Hannah does watch "Full Dis:closure" eventually and is touched by the lens through which Adam viewed their time together. She's given the rare privilege of seeing her past through someone else's eyes -- an even scarier way to digest retrospect -- and it's softer than she expected.
Looking back doesn't work for everyone. It may not even serve to provide Hannah the evolution she needs.
Still, effort is being made by Hannah and Adam and Elijah, at least, to see themselves more honestly than before in the hopes of creating a less miserable future.