Toronto Star

Hannah Horvath grows up, while surprising herself

- Johanna Schneller

The Show: Girls, Season 6, Episode 3 The Moment: Hannah’s face

Hannah (series creator Lena Dunham) wrote a blog that went viral about a famous novelist ( The Americans’ Matthew Rhys) whom four women have accused of sexual misconduct. He invited her to his elegant apartment. For the entire episode, he explains his position (he didn’t pressure the women; they made their own choices), and she explains hers (pressure isn’t always apparent). Both are equally articulate and respectful.

Near the end, they lie on his bed. “I’m sorry I wrote something about you that upset you so much without considerin­g all the facts,” Hannah says.

“That’s all right, I’m not angry,” he replies. Then he does something, and she does something, that sur- prises her. She springs off the bed.

At that moment, his daughter comes home. She wants to play her flute for him, and invites Hannah to stay. Hannah does. As Hannah watches the novelist watch his daughter, the camera slowly moves in, parsing her expression.

This is the episode Dunham was born to write. This is the issue Girls grabbed the zeitgeist to address, in all its thorny complexity. The back and forth is electric, yet scrupulous­ly fair. In this series’ final season, Hannah is growing up, and we see that here.

I watched this with my 23-year-old daughter, and we had different reactions to Hannah’s expression: Is she angry at the novelist? At herself? Or is there acceptance? Social media is going to go nuts.

Just as you’re making up your mind, Dunham delivers one more tracking shot. It will stop you cold. Girls airs on HBO. Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseu­r who zeroes in on pop culture moments. She usually appears Monday through Thursday.

 ?? CRAIG BLANKENHOR­N/HBO ?? Lena Dunham and Matthew Rhys in Season 6, Episode 3 of Girls.
CRAIG BLANKENHOR­N/HBO Lena Dunham and Matthew Rhys in Season 6, Episode 3 of Girls.
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