At the beginning of the episode we are introduced to Hannah’s new life in Iowa. It’s very green, spacious and peaceful. She chooses a place to live which is much larger than where she lives in New York for the same price. Then we see her riding her bike to school and she is told not to bother locking it because “you’re in Iowa.”
Hannah shows Marnie her new place on Skype, saying that “Iowa is incredible; we should all move here and start the revolution.” Marnie suggests there is something about Adam that the audience doesn’t know yet; she says “Don’t start… I just know whatever I’m going to tell you is going to make you act weird.” She then says that she is knitting a scarf for Desi so that “she is always with him” and Hannah points out “even when he is with his girlfriend.”
We start to get a sense that Hannah is quite lonely in Iowa, in the large house by herself and she starts to miss Adam. She freaks out about a bat that got let into the house and ends up sleeping in the bathroom for the night.
Hannah goes to school the next day – running late, in pyjama pants – where all the students read out their short stories and the other students criticise each others work. Hannah introduces her story quite arrogantly, suggesting the piece will bring the other students to tears. Her story is about a woman who is abused by a man. The others criticise her work – much to Hannah’s surprise and disgust. The criticisms from the other students who say that the protagonist is “privileged” and that there is a “lack of empathy for the male perspective” seems to be inspired by the criticism the show Girls has received. Afterwards Hannah goes the pub with some of the other students and crosses the line with another girl, accusing her to be an abuse survivor and that’s why the story struck a chord with her.
This episode captures the reality of moving to a new place and not fitting in right away. She tries calling her friends on reverse charges but doesn’t get through. She then calls her parents who don’t want their game of scrabble interrupted and seemed unfazed when Hannah says she’s been thinking about suicide and asks her mum if she ever thinks about it.
Alijah turns up on the scene after exclaiming that New York is bull shit and they both get drunk at a ‘rager’ down the street. Hannah socialises with others, being a narcissistic know-it-all to others as she is 25 “and seen everything.” She reveals her opinion on long-distance relationships, that you can’t expect your partner to stay loyal and this I suspect might be introducing troubles that Hannah and Adam will have later in the season.
So far moving Hannah away from New York introduces a new setting, new characters, different sub-plots and strains between the character’s relationships. I think this is just the shift the series needed to stay fresh and compelling.