Episode 6, “The Return,” is particularly interesting because we finally catch a glimpse of Hannah’s childhood in Michigan, as the episode just follows her during her trip home for a weekend. Her relationship with her parents is explored in more detail, which is great since they were only featured for a few minutes during the first episode. Also, we are able to see the difference between how Hannah is treated by her friends from home, versus her New York crew.
While at home, Hannah bickers with her parents and broods in her room. Clearly not much has changed since we last saw her in New York; she is whiney and entitled. But the next day, we begin to see her unwind and act more confident…perhaps her lack of self-esteem has something to do with living in the city, and is not a personality flaw after all.
While running an errand for her mother, Hannah stops by to say hello to an old girlfriend from high school. She is bubbly and friendly, which leads us to believe Hannah used to be that way too. Apparently the city has hardened her. While catching up with her friend, Hannah learns that another girl from their graduating class (Carrie) went missing while on vacation, and is believed to be dead. The town is throwing a benefit to raise money for Carrie’s parents, so they can afford to hire a private investigator. Clearly this is a close-knit town, where people care about and want to help one another. Again, basically it is the complete opposite of Hannah’s dog-eat-dog life in New York.
Later, Hannah heads to the local pharmacy to pick up medication for her mother. The handsome pharmacist behind the counter recognizes her from their high school class and tries to start a conversation. At first it seems Hannah is caught off guard (someone actually being nice to her for once??), but quickly warms up to him. He is a genuinely nice guy, which is a good thing for her. To both Hannah’s and the viewer’s surprise, he asks her to be his date for the Carrie benefit that evening.
My favorite scene of the episode (and possibly of the whole series thus far) is when Hannah tells her parents about her upcoming date. As she was visiting them for their anniversary, Hannah’s parents are upset since they already all had celebratory dinner plans. Hannah responds, “I don’t really think that you guys are understanding the severity of this situation. I have been dating someone who treats my heart like it’s monkey meat. I feel like a delusional, invisible person half the time. So I need to learn what it’s like to be treated well, before it’s too late for me.” Finally admitting her unhappiness with her relationship with Adam, it seems Hannah is making great strides. She is finally honest with herself how cruelly Adam treats her and that she deserves better. I wanted to jump up and down in my living room during this scene; Hannah is finally seeing clearly, it’s a miracle!
While getting ready for her date, Hannah gives herself a pep talk. While her self-esteem has seemingly soared since she has traveled home, her confidence is still slightly lagging behind. Looking in her mirror, Hannah tells herself, “You are from New York; therefore, you are just naturally interesting, ok? It is not up to you to fill all the awkward pauses. You are not in danger of mortifying yourself. The worst stuff that you say sounds better than the best stuff that other people say.”
It appears that Hannah is a bit nervous and on edge, but thankfully she loosens up while eating pizza with the pharmacy guy. However, her awkwardness comes out in full force at the benefit, when he puts his arm around her shoulders. Poor Hannah looks shocked, horrified and like she going to cry all at the same time, which I found confusing. Shouldn’t she be happy someone is finally treating her well and respects her? Hannah ends up sleeping with him at the end of their evening out, but she is too forward and needy. It is awkward and uncomfortable to watch.
While she is sleeping in her bed after returning home, Hannah receives a call from Adam. She pretends to be nonchalant about it, but it’s obvious that she is excited…especially after he says that he misses her and wishes she were there with him. Oh no, here we go again…Hannah is going to get sucked back in. Nevertheless, the rest of their conversation is interesting. Hannah tells Adam how everyone is different in Michigan and how nice it would be to live there. “It’s like why doesn’t everyone struggling in New York move here and start the revolution,” she says. “It’s like we’re all slaves to this place that doesn’t even want us.” Prophetic words indeed; hopefully she still feels the same way upon returning to the city, and doesn’t lose the sense of self that she has gained from her time at home.