‘Girls’ 5×05 review: Spring queening

8:15 am EDT, March 21, 2016

Girls season 5, episode 5, “Queen for Two Days,” showed the upside of settling down and accepting that sometimes life is just good enough.

Two parallel stories were told in “Queen for Two Days.” First, Shoshanna’s decision to stick around in the glittery world of Japan starts to lose its sparkle, while Loreen Horvath’s jump to divorce is starting to look more like a prison sentence than freedom.

Shoshanna’s move to Japan was the most radical change any of the leading ladies on Girls has undertaken. She packed up her life, looked her boring life in the eye and said, “Adios.” That choice finally gave Shoshanna some agency in her life. It took her off the beaten path of college, degree, find job, settle down with husband — what she saw as a predictable boring life.

Girls 5x05 shoshanna cat

On the opposite side of the aisle you have Hannah’s mother, Lorenne. Recently estranged from her gay husband, Loreene is looking for the step to take her away from her troubled life and into an adventure much like Shoshanna’s Japan trip. But what she realizes is that the small comforts, good sex, a competitive Scrabble partner, the friend who can make her laugh, are things that mean more than living alone.

Shoshanna may not have a job or a boyfriend to go back to in New York, but she has people treating her rudely, a sense of comfort in the pace of the city, and the ability to call up someone at the drop of a hat. Moving on and getting away is great for a weekend, but finding peace and comfort in the life you want to get away from isn’t the worst fate in the world.

Girls 5x05 horvath yoga

I’m not saying that working as the assistant manager of the second largest cat café in Tokyo is anything to walk away from, but does the job and her virgin, One Direction-looking boyfriend outweigh what is waiting across the world? Does spending nights at home, alone with a book and an Internet dating site outweigh the leaving your best friend behind?

I loved the message of finding comfort in the fact that sometimes the radical new thing is not for everyone. It’s okay to take a giant step forward only to evaluate your decision in hindsight. We all live under an illusion. Sometimes your life only feels like a train wreck when you are forced to explain it to someone else. Conversely, highlighting all the good things about your town, your job, your life to an outsider can reveal what you are missing.

Taking Abigail away from the comforts of sitting in a McDonalds to feel closer to home showed Shoshanna that craving the familiarity of someone being rude to you in the streets is not a feeling to dismiss. For Loreen, hearing the horror stories of the single women over 50 made her realize that having a gay husband may not be the worst fate in the world. Both of these women just want the comfort of familiarity to come to home to every night. It’s not so much settling, as it is taking advantage of the clarity of hindsight.

Telling the story through two women at very different stages in their lives drove this compelling storyline home.

The closing shot of Shoshanna looking equally at home on the outside with the colorful streets of Japan and so isolated from them at the same time was one of the most powerful images in Girls‘ series run.

Stray observations:

Girls 5x05 feature

Adam and Jessa are getting on in more ways than one. There was no flinch at the term boyfriend, they finally got the sex thing down (though it is still awkward from my standpoint, but hey, whatever works) and Adam is now going to help Jessa pursue her education.

Adam has always been a giver who is not afraid of pointing out when someone is being ridiculous. It goes to show how much confidence he has in Jessa’s determination to be a therapist.

Hannah also made a radical decision to explore a new experience, one that she regretted midway through and left Broadway rockstar Lena Hall crying on a steam room floor.

Hold onto your hats, next week is all about Marnie. 😳

Watch Girls season 5, episode 6, “The Panic in Central Park,” Sunday, March 27 at 10:00 p.m. ET on HBO.

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