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On this week's Girls, Marnie organized a Hamptons-but-not-really retreat so that the four title characters could reconnect. After less than a day together, the obvious question was: were these people ever really friends in the first place? How?!

When the show opened two years ago, the central relationship was Hannah and Marnie. They sat in the tub, they danced to Robyn, they existed somewhat separate from the rest of the group. Jessa was Hannah's friend that Marnie never really liked, and Shosh was Jessa's cousin that everyone just seemed to accept when she suddenly arrived on the scene, despite the nonsense that spewed from her mouth. The girls of Girls were never a cohesive unit the way some television foursomes have been. Which is why Marnie's plan for "a nice opportunity to have fun together and prove everyone via Instagram that we can still have fun as a group" was so obviously delusional and yet another example of Marnie being the wrongest on a show full of wrong people. It makes sense that Marnie would want to revive her friendship with Hannah, but her friendships with Jessa and Shosh? Those always seemed tenuous at best. So when the shit hit the proverbial fan at the end of the episode, we had a second question: Is it Marnie who's delusional about the girls' friendships, or is the show? 

"It's not like the four of us have had any real fun together in the last—what?—two years," Hannah says. But is that even true? If the conventional wisdom holds that one season equals one year, that doesn't really make much sense. Hannah and Marnie were friends all throughout college, but Marnie and Jessa weren't even friends through much of the first season. It wasn't until the eighth episode that they made a truce, went out to a bar, and then made out in Jessa's future ex-husband's apartment. Shoshanna, meanwhile, was essentially a stranger to all of them when the series started, and now they are her only friends. Sure, they have spent time together. They all went to Jessa's abortion; they went to the party in Bushwick; they went to Jessa's wedding; they went to Hannah and Elijah's housewarming party; they went to Hannah's birthday party. But it's not like they once saw each other for weekly brunch dates. These are not the ladies of Sex and the City

In "Beach House," however, Marnie seems convinced that she has to recapture something that—from what we can tell—never was. Which makes sense for Marnie, still grieving the loss of her relationship with Charlie, still flailing as to what to make of her life now. If the girls ultimately admitted that Marnie's plan was a lost cause, that would be one thing, but in the pivotal argument scene, it seems that everyone believes that somehow relationships that we have never seen as whole are now broken. 

Shoshanna, meanwhile, has suddenly become the truth teller in the room, even though, as Hannah rightly points out, at the beginning of this season she was spouting profoundly insane material about Blueberry Red Bull. The show has now decided that Shoshanna is both academically ambitious, and is right about everyone: about Hannah's narcissism, about Jessa's rehab parroting, about Marnie's self-doubt. It's almost like without Adam on the scene to be pitilessly correct about everyone's flaws, they needed Shosh to step in and pinch-hit.

The show picked apart its own holes in that one scene, and it would have been fascinating to see it then stick to that, admitting that maybe these people a) weren't really friends to begin with, or at least b) don't belong together now. But then, at the end, we have the four girls, sitting together, miming a dance routine. It felt a little like a cop out. 

All that said, it was nice to have Elijah back. Even if Danny Strong is not a very good boyfriend for him.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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