My favorite episodes of Girls tend to involve one of two things: Hannah’s parents or a tighter focus on Shoshanna. “Queen for Two Days” does both, making it a quick candidate as a standout episode.
Although I was never a fan of the sudden development when Tad Horvath came out as a gay man, it has been interesting to watch the show navigate the ripple effects it has on both his wife and his daughter. Earlier this season, we saw how clumsily Tad is handling his new life, as he hooked up with someone from the internet and then enlisted his daughter to retrieve his forgotten wallet — which led to a sobbing father-daughter dinner at a restaurant. “Queen for Two Days” switches the focus to Loreen. After deciding that she wants a divorce, she heads off to a “Spring Queening” retreat with Hannah in tow.
Loreen’s inspired to go on the retreat because she has “some big choices to make,” even though, as Hannah points out, she already decided on the divorce. But it’s not just about that: Loreen doesn’t know how to start over at her age and is concerned she’ll end up “sexless and alone.” It’s a natural thing for Loreen to worry about; dating is always hard, but I can’t even imagine trying to do so after spending decades with one person, raising a daughter, and then having it all suddenly go to hell. The Spring Queening is a chance for her to spend time with herself — free of any pressure — and to just figure out what to do. As for Hannah, well, the retreat gives her a reason to get away from Fran and be annoyed with plenty of other things.
It all goes just as you’d expect it: Hannah immediately gets chastised for using her phone (something about how “dropping walls” starts with dropping our screens, which is a really poor phrase because dropping your screen just means cracking it on the pavement), there’s an emphasis on yoga and mindfulness and general connection with yourself, and even some free-form dance classes. None of it is for Hannah.
What the retreat does accomplish, however, is some quality time between Hannah and her mother. Once again, when the subject of Fran comes up, there is an emphasis on how nice he is. (“If we were in Hollywood, it’d be like ‘Tom Hanks is such a dick, it’s Fran who’s the nice one’,” Hannah aptly describes.) Loreen is convinced that she and Tad “did a number” on Hannah, effectively screwing their daughter up for life, and shares her theory that Hannah is “incapable of loving someone who is kind to you.” It’s a solid thesis, given Hannah’s penchant for assholes and her general unease about being with Fran.
Oh, and speaking of guys that Hannah has dated — it seems Jessa is going full-speed ahead with Adam. She engages in some silly role-play during sex, referring to him as her “boyfriend,” and invites him out to dinner with her sister, Minerva (Marianna Palka). Adam is 100 percent in, too, even offering to pay for Jessa’s schooling when Minerva refuses to.
But back to Hannah. A meeting with an attractive yoga teacher renews Hannah interest in the retreat, as well as the courage to start dancing … and jump into a little lesbian experimentation. It’s clear where their flirty behavior is headed, and it’s only a matter of time before Hannah cheats on Fran by going down on her in a sweaty sauna. But it’s not Hannah’s thing — and the heat gets to her — so she bails, awkwardly getting dressed as her yoga teacher finishes herself off.
Later, a distressed Hannah crawls into bed with her mother. The two have another heart-to-heart as Loreen says she decided to stay with Tad — an earlier conversation with other women seems to have put Loreen’s problems into perspective. But most of all, she’s just too worried about having to start over so late in life and fears that any new relationship won’t really be worth it. She and Tad work well together (well, aside from a sexual perspective) and she still loves all the little things about him. She’s not ready to let go. After listening, Hannah concludes, “I think you guys really did fuck me up.”
“Queen for Two Days” also checks in on Shoshanna, last seen bailing on her flight back to the United States. For a while, it looks like things are going okay for her in Japan: She got a job working at a cat café and is in a relationship with Yoshi. However, a visit from Abigail — who still feels guilty about firing Shoshanna or, as Abigail puts it, “took a spiked dildo and frickin’ rammed it right into your heart hole” — reveals that Shoshanna isn’t quite as happy as she’s pretending to be. A casual comment from Yoshi about how he and Shoshanna are going to lose their virginities to each other sends Shosh into a tailspin. She bursts into tears in a restaurant and admits to Abigail that she’s unhappy and lonely. The episode ends with the lovely, heartbreaking image of Shosh walking down a nearly empty street in Japan. She is doubling down on her loneliness, and it is absolutely haunting.