Something Huge Happened on 'Girls'

There's something inherently likable about Adam Driver. That's why he's set to star in the new Star Wars franchise. That's why he gets invited to be a part of Vogue photo shoots. And that's probably why his character on Girls is so popular. In the first season, it's hard to like Adam. He's painted as the worst non-boyfriend. He's emotionally abusive. He's distant and apathetic. He's erratic. He painfully, obviously just not that into Hannah. But as the series progressed, Adam got some redemption. We discovered his struggles with alcoholism. He warmed up to Hannah and even became the chaser in the relationship. They broke up and he proved that he could be a good boyfriend to Shiri Appleby. He and Hannah reconciled and he moved in with her and everything seemed perfect. But, during Sunday night's episode, Hannah and Adam broke up again.

But let's back up to their post-break-up reconciliation. It was so perfect that Adam started to change. He became more responsible, more dependable, more serious. He auditioned for a role on Broadway and got it. And then Hannah started to worry that he would lose interest in her and their relationship (thanks, Patti Lupone). The worry prompted her to fight it from happening, which in turn made it happen. This week, in "Role-Play," Adam announced to Hannah that he was moving in with Ray "for a while."

It wasn't exactly a breakup, but it certainly wasn't not a breakup. Adam left Hannah crying on Marnie's borrowed bed.

You see, Hannah decided that their relationship had changed and that that was somehow a bad thing. I just reminded you how not great their relationship was in season one. Hannah has to know that too. They've been happy (so happy, in fact, that I've been dreading a moment like this for weeks). But she gets it into her head that what Adam wants, what will keep him invested in the relationship, is a return to the degrading nature of their early sexual encounters.

She puts on ridiculous lingerie and a wig and goes to the bar they've planned to meet at in character. She pretends to be an older woman, angry with her husband and on the prowl for a fling. Adam plays along, but somewhat hesitantly. She gets him punched on the street when she refuses to break character and admit to a stranger that she knows him and isn't being sexually assaulted, but he sticks with it. They stumble over to Marnie's apartment, which Hannah has borrowed for the fantasy, and as things heat up, she changes the story and starts pretending to be some variation of a "dirty little girl." It takes Adam out of the moment and he yells that she can't change the narrative in the middle.

This leads to a petty fight about his right to dictate story and some half-hearted insistence from Hannah that she's a writer and knows as much about story as he does. Finally, they get to the real issue and Hannah explains that she was trying to make him happy and excited about the relationship by having sex the way they used to. He angrily explains that that's insane because they were having that sex because he was fucked up and not in love and everything about their relationship has changed, for the better, since then. Now, he explains, he's in love and just wants to sleep with her as her. It's not boring, it's good.

It's too late though. Adam predicted that Hannah's drama was heating up and had already talked to Ray about staying with him during rehearsals because the play is more important to him than he ever let on. She grabs at him in a futile attempt to stop him from leaving, but he shakes her off; she's only illustrating why he needs space.

And that's it.

"Role-Play" is an uncomfortable episode to watch. Hannah's attempt at creating fantasy for Adam is awkward and forced, as are his attempts at getting into it. The break(up) was something you could see coming a mile away, but it still hurts to watch. Hannah is always selfish and a little desperate, but this week, she's selfish and desperate in a way we all are, so it's relatable. It might be the best episode of the season, and the saddest (definitely sadder than either of the two deaths).

Image: HBO