A changed man.
This is a post about character, and growing up.
I’ve just re-watched Season 4 of HBO’s ‘Girls’ ahead of the premier of Season 5. Back in 2013, I wrote some personal reflections on Season 2 of this fantastic series here. In that post, I discussed the secretly self-loathing, relentlessly negative and unmotivated character Ray. But Ray became a very different man in the third season, in the aftermath of Shosh dumping him (it has been my favourite season so far – Hannah’s hopeful, solo moment in the final episode had me feeling all the feels).
One of the big surprises for me about Ray’s evolution in Seasons 3 and 4 was how much I grew to love his character. His concern for Marnie, who in my view is an entirely different person in Season 3 and 4 (extremely lost and wounded, thus unwisely entangled with the sensitive but selfish two-timing Desi) brings out the best in Ray, who, in his own words, was previously Marnie’s “whore” (episode 5).
Ray’s new interest in community service and politics was also a nice new story development, a way for this critical thinker who can spot the faults in everything to seek to shape the world around him in a constructive manner. I am eager to see what direction his character takes in Season 5, as all my favourite moments in Season 4 involved Ray and his valid concern for Marnie.
And since it is Valentine’s Day, here is my #1 moment – an unusually emotionally vulnerable moment for Ray:
“As we move forward I ask you to remember this: we are at our best when we’re together. Even if it doesn’t seem like the perfect fit; even if the path is laden with obstacles, frustrations, we need to work to understand each other, and to listen to each other, and ultimately to love each other.
I guess what I’m trying to say here is, none of us has a crystal ball, right, no one knows what the future holds, but when you need me, please know that I’ll be here. If you take a wrong turn, I’ll be here. If you get stuck in a rut, and you can’t get out, I’ll be here. If you feel like there’s no one else on this planet that you can talk to, I’ll be here. Whatever happens, please know that I promise to always, always, be here.”
~ Ray’s victory speech subtext message to Marnie, who had just become engaged to Desi (a man who was content to use her as his side bitch for months). Episode 9.
Ray was also the one who initially encouraged Marnie to pursue her dream (Season 2) and pushed her to believe in her capabilities, press on with the show and perform solo without Desi – whom he had just spectacularly told off for underestimating Marnie and for using her to stroke his ego for so long (Episode 10, Season 4). Ray and Marnie’s connection has always been odd, sometimes fraught, but these two have compelled each other to grow up in really important ways. If only Marnie had listened to Ray regarding Desi, too.