Why Hannah Needs to Stay in Iowa

by Maitri Suhas

After a season filled with shoddy plotlines and turmoil where turmoil need not be, the Season 3 finale of Girls was surprisingly satisfying. Hannah finds out that she has been accepted to the most prestigious and exclusive masters of fine arts programs in the country, the near-mythic Iowa Writers Workshop. She calls her parents, who are so excited for her ("I'm doing a little jig!" her super-cute dad says), and even though, of course, Hannah immediately says, "I don't even know if I'm going to go," it seems like she is definitely, for sure, going to go. But if Hannah Horvath goes to Iowa, does that mean Girls is over?

Obviously not, because the show has already been renewed for a fourth season. (HBO made the decision before Season 3 even aired, in fact.) But Girls is as much a show about "making it after all" in New York as it is about Hannah finding herself as a writer and artist. Personally, I feel the latter takes precedence over the former, but others would disagree. After all, the series surrounds four women — Hannah, Shosh, Marnie, and Jessa — who are struggling to survive in a city that, at many points, it seems they don't love that much at all. (Can relate.) But, in Season 4 especially, Hannah's writing and her identity as an artist have taken center stage. Even though it's a little puzzling that she was admitted into such a difficult MFA program when she didn't seem to be applying at all throughout the season (but I digress), I hope for Hannah's sake that she stays in Iowa.

Hannah breaks the news about her relocation to Adam right before he goes onstage for his first performance of Major Barbara. "We can be one of those artist couples," Hannah offers, in a moment of tenderness and honesty that is far removed from the distanced conversation Adam and Hannah were having during "Role-Play." Afterwards (in an amazing suit), Adam tells Hannah that he thinks his performance was awful, and it's her fault. Even though Adam has become stupidly charming over the past two seasons, this asshole move reminds me of the Adam of Season 1, who is unclear about what he wants.

Hannah, on the other hand, finally has a little clarity; after her stupendous breakdown at the GQ advertorial meeting — during which she accused her colleagues of being fraudulent sellouts (which is more of a conversation for Mad Men, not 2014) — it seemed like Hannah didn't know if she was even a writer at all. Her relocating to Iowa means she can meet the other "like-minded" individuals that I know she craves; there's something so romantic about the idea of taking time off to hone your craft.

Hannah Horvath has been coped with plenty of crises involving whether or not she is talented or worthy of being recognized as a writer, and Iowa is a place that would either justify that or let her know she just doesn't cut it. This ending was inevitable; I don't know that Hannah can stay in New York and find herself as a writer at the same time. She finally has something that is genuine and worth it to her, and I hope Season 4 doesn't open on her in New York, regretting that she didn't go. As much as I like Adam and Hannah together, the show finally has put Hannah in a place in which she actually has to choose what's more important: love, or the love of her craft. And choosing the latter would mean a far more interesting Season 4 than whatever Adam can provide.

If she goes, then Girls will finally be a show about what we thought it was: a girl with ambiguous goals who just wants to write, finally trying to actually write in an environment that will help her. That's what I want Girls to be about — not about Hannah wearing a horrid blonde wig and playing make-believe in some bar in Manhattan. As fun as that is to watch.

Image: HBO