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Review: ‘Girls’ Season 5 Episode 6, ‘The Panic in Central Park’: A Former Flame Flips the Switch for Marnie

Review: 'Girls' Season 5 Episode 6, 'The Panic in Central Park': A Former Flame Flips the Switch for Marnie

LAST WEEK’S REVIEW: ‘Girls’ Season 5 Episode 5, ‘Queen For Two Days’: Cat Cafes and Female Getaways

Love Her or Hate Her

Of all the “Girls” characters, Marnie is often seen as the most despicable. While the rest of the characters are selfish at their core, they usually have some sort of redeeming quality to them that softens them to audiences, rendering them slightly more relatable. Where Marnie is concerned though, her hypocrisy tends to take center stage, highlighting her unlikable traits. That was somewhat erased in Sunday night’s Marnie-centric episode, where we finally saw her come to certain realizations about her life thanks to an unexpected run-in with the ex love-of-her-life Charlie (guest star Christopher Abbott). Although the installment started with a typical Marnie monologue about how grown up she’s become at the ripe old age of 25-and-a-half (“It’s like I’m looking out the eyes of a woman at the hands that have been touched”), by the end of the episode she was hit with some realism that brought her back down to earth and redeemed her as a character—at least for now.

A Blast From the Past

It’s been a long time since we’ve seen or heard from Charlie, so it’s easy to forget the early impact he had on Marnie, when he called her out for all her terrible traits and made her take a good, hard look at her life. The revelation that half her album is about him and the effect he had on her makes perfect sense, though, so it was easy for her to fall for him again despite his obvious fall from where we saw him last. Perhaps the needle she found in his pants pocket towards the episode’s end was a stark reminder of just how low her life could have gotten, had she stayed with a person who thought so little of her — giving her that one final push she needed to finally ditch Desi for good.

A Growth Spurt

The symbolism of Marnie falling into the water and having a moment of clarity wasn’t subtle, but given the tight timelines of the show, it was appropriate. As soon as Charlie entered the picture her mini-realizations (“It’s like you’re not trying to please everyone anymore”) were leading her to eventually confront her ridiculous situation with Desi, which never should have gone that far. “I have some serious shit to work out,” she told herself and Hubby, realizing that Desi was never going to get over his baggage and that she was therefore never going to outgrow hers with him by her side. 

Something to Cringe About

Hookers typically walk into champagne-soaked parties in sparkly red frocks and military inspired boots, do they not? Good on Marnie for getting 600 bucks out of the deal, at least.

How Many Shots to Forget About…

That terrifying robbery? Clearly Marnie needed none, since she wasn’t that upset about losing her wedding ring after the fact. A clear sign of things to come, if you ask us.

Aggressive Guitar

If it wasn’t obvious at the beginning of the episode that Marnie was done with Desi, it should have been. In the past his guitar playing doe-eyes, throws to his mum and crying fits have worked wonders on Marnie, who really did try and make it work with the eclectic artist. In this episode, though, it was clear that ship had sailed, and living in a half-renovated apartment with such a sensitive soul was no longer this girl’s jam.

Painting the Town Red

The Italian dinner scene was a romantic narrative leading to some “Pretty Women” moments, and as a starving artist you could almost buy that a girl that skinny would devour pasta, pizza, ice cream and wine to that extent after probably not having anything more than ramen noodles in months. (But really, where did she put it?!) But the thing was, it was also nice to see Marnie just kick back and have some good old-fashioned fun, something none of these girls have really done in a while. Doing dumb crap is a flagpole marquee of being in your twenties, so it’s nice to see these characters actually kick back every once in a while and let their metaphorical hair down. It’s lighter moments like that that give the show balance and a sense of humor, breaking through the selfish drama that so often takes center stage as the gals figure out their lives.

Walk of Shame

Could Marnie really not find some sort of footwear to sport back to her apartment?

The Ultimate Ending

Just when we thought Desi was going to handle the break-up situation like an adult came the ultimate breakup line: “You’re going to get murdered. That’s how little sense of the world you have.” Perhaps, given what we’ve seen from Marnie in the past. However the same could be said for Desi and his issues. How ironic would it be if in a future episode we saw his name pop up in a headline somewhere as an afterthought? Or perhaps that would just be predictable at this point.

This Week in Friendship

Hannah and Marnie’s relationship once took center stage on this series, but for the past couple of seasons it’s fallen away as love lives and personal drama has stepped in. By episode’s end, when Marnie crawled into bed beside her bestie, there was a sense of a core relationship reuniting. No words were needed to show us that when it really counts, these two have each other’s backs. It’s nice to have that dynamic somewhat reinstated for now; here’s hoping it continues to be intact, moving forward into the back half of the season.

Grade: A

“Girls” airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO. Next week: Elijah attends a swanky party at Dill’s place and Ray learns about Marnie’s big news.

For more Lena Dunham…


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