While last week's odyssey was for the boys Adam and Ray, this week's 'Girls' found Hannah and Jessa outward bound, on a thankless mission to find Jessa's estranged father and his whacky New Age wife Petula (guest star Rosanna Arquette).
An outward bound mission for Hannah (Lena Dunham) and Jessa (Jemima Quirke)
Jessa, usually the only one who can possibly withstand Hannah's self-absorption with her own capacity for mischief-making, revealed some new vulnerability, talking to her maverick father (the almost unrecognisable Aussie actor, Ben Mendelsohn) about her wrecked marriage. He reached for words of reassurance wherever they could be found…"We're not like normal people" he told her, and, anyway, "all Camry drivers are c***s."
Meanwhile, Hannah took on the role of social 'cushion', with this unexpectedly charming gem disarming even the surly half-brother Frank, "I really like the way you turn down your turtle neck." Their resulting eight-second copulation resulted in some seriously laugh-out-loud awkwardness on Frank's part "you weren't my first"… "everyone thinks I'm in love with Tyler, if anything Tyler is in love with me." Okay, then.
Jessa tried in vain to bond with her wayward father (Ben Mendelsohn)
In the semi-rural New York clapboard setting, a leafy cauldron of resentment, unsolvable family dysfunction and inexpressible affection, this episode had a feature film quality to it, and managed to achieve in 28 minutes what many such films lack. Atmosphere, economy and compassion - it was all there, another triumphant episode in a series that is becoming ever more ambitious and sure-footed.