Jessa, front and centre this episode, is a very polarizing figure in "Girls". I don’t understand the lack of love for Jessa because for me, she is one of the most interesting, complex and flawed characters on the show.
Jessa sets out to the country to visit her estranged father Sal (Ben Mendelsohn) with Hannah and her UTI in tow. Sal lives with his girlfriend Petula (Rosanna Arquette) and her teenage son, in a big, old, dirty country home. We get a glimpse as to why Jessa is so unreliable, self-absorbed and flightly. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as Jessa's father is pretty much the same. He abandoned Jessa and her mother, fathered children with other women and abandoned them as well. He wasn't around for Jessa during troubling times with her mother, and is still unable to stay in one place for long. Jessa comes looking for answers from her father who is unable to give her any.
Jessa brings up her failed marriage to Thomas-John and expresses disappointment that he wasn't interested in working things out. “He didn’t remember we took vows,” she says, which is surprising as we knew she was never going to stay with him for long. Sal remarks that on some level Jessa wanted the marriage to fail because they 'aren’t like other people'. Takes one to know one.
Jessa, disappointed on how her visit is turning out, tells Sal that she is leaving early for the city, but he begs her to take a later train, and promises to make her favourite dinner. He drives the girls to the store to purchase the supplies and tells them he will pick them up in 5 minutes. He doesn’t show, and Jessa knows he’s not going to. Back at the house, Hannah finds a note from Jessa which simply reads “See you around my love. X”. Jessa has left for the city without Hannah.
While waiting alone for the train, Hannah has a sentimental moment and phones her parents to thank them for their love and support. But in true Hannah form, she ends up rambling nonsense about being dead and alone in space and her mom, growing suspicious of her motives, is having none of it. "Alright, I don't know what you're up to, but now I'm pissed," she replies to Hannah.
As with the past couple of episodes, the mood was somber, tackling issues surrounding relationships with our parents and who we are because of them. Hannah provided some much needed comic relief, from the sex-fumble with Petula's possibly gay son, to her constant whining about her burning bladder infection.
When Jessa can't deal with the situation at hand, she leaves. Case in point, the blow-up with her husband or her constant travelling around the world (does anybody else wonder where her money comes from – it's certainly not from her father). She bolted on Hannah at the country house, who didn't seem surprised in the least. Jessa is like a speeding train hurtling towards a brick wall, you know destruction is ahead but you can't look away, or, better yet, save yourself and abandon the train.
So love her or hate her, Jessa represents something that a lot of us struggle with. She has a difficult and painful relationship with her father, who clearly loves her, but is unable to be the parent that she needs him to be. And what she has yet to figure out, is that she is exactly like him.
Girls HBO Sundays @9p.m.