Are our Girls finally growing up? So it would seem.

Let’s break it down: 

Hannah finally has a reason to quip Grumpys: she lands a job at GQ. No, not as a contributing writer (as Ray so lovingly points out when she quits: “There’s no way GQ hires you as a staff writer”), but as an advertorial section assistant for Neiman-Marcus. It sounds, and probably is, menial as far as magazine jobs go, but it’s still a position at one of the highest quality publications in the world. And even though this is Hannah, meaning a breakdown of some sort is imminent, it’s nice to see her make friends with fellow writers and idealists – even if her new peers have way more “real writer” work under their belts (one’s a published poet, another wrote a think piece for The New Yorker). If anything, their presence might motivate her to crack down and really make something of herself, instead of coasting by on the idea of e-book deals and the occasional cocaine-fueled Internet think piece. And that’s a Hannah I’m willing to invest in – one who finally deserves the down-payment.

Jessa, too, is finally doing something. Like Hannah’s GQ gig, a children clothing store job is far from ideal, but it’s sort of weirdly perfect for Jessa, who uses her zany, abhorrent frame of mind to convince wealthy mothers that chic christening gowns definitely aren’t white. I love the idea of career-driven Jessa, and especially the idea of Jessa with a job that involves the sort of things a Jessa-type should be far removed from – like children, money and society. Girls is best when it’s re-conceptualizing its characters. That Hannah and Jessa are both stepping up to the plate and taking a swing is just the sort of boost a show like this needs mid-season. 

Marnine, on the other hand, is about as low as you can go – but she’s finally acknowledging her unhappiness instead of willing it away with wine and casual sex. The sex she’s having now is much less casual and much more… Ray. I’m weary of this storyline mostly because I was once really tickled by the prospect of it. The tension between Ray and Marnie has been there from the pilot, and it’s a relationship that’s developed into something oddly mature and tender. He sees her in a way no one else does, and he isn’t afraid to discuss her flaws – like last episode, when she literally asked him to tell her what's wrong with her. And that’s just what Marnie needs – someone to sit her down and tell her what’s up. I get her desire to hide this newfound romance from her friends, and it provides a hilarious “oh no” moment when she thinks she spots Hannah and Adam on the street while they're on a date, but it’ll have to come out sooner or later. And normally I’d be thrilled for that reveal if it wasn’t for…

Shoshanna. Who suddenly realizes that the reason she’s having such a hard time dating is because none of her potential suitors are Ray – her one true love. Oops.

“Free Snacks” (named for the dreamlike snack room in the GQ offices) also gives Adam some momentum. Remember his auditions way back in season one? Hannah convinces him to give the old acting thing another shot and, low and behold, he nails it and books his first acting job. Which means, if things work out, Adam and Hannah will both be functioning members of society with real jobs and real commitment and other grown up friends.

Which means something horrible and no good is surely on the horizon.