Last week focused on the friendship part of Girlfriends’ Guide: This week, they’re all splintered again, with our lead even going bi-coastal. But casting around for a common theme here, all our girlfriends are in some sort of power play.

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Let’s start with our main character, Abby, who is in one bizarro, you-can-barely-even-call-it-a-romance with Dr. Harris. I suppose if he was just a good guy, it wouldn’t be that interesting, but the push-me/pull-you game these two are playing here practically takes a turn for the unhealthy. The hotel phone sex, as the girls noted rightly, was indeed hawt, and who doesn’t want to join the mile-high club, as uncomfortable as it may appear? But even with Harris’ frequent icy withdrawals, maybe he’s just what Abby needs right now. She just left her marriage for good. And who among us has not had a nonsensical, possibly destructive rebound fling? Show of hands? Yeah, I thought so.

Nonetheless, Abby’s finest moment this entire episode (and certainly over the past couple of weeks) is when she brushes off Harris’ rescue efforts. Yes she was clinging to him last week, but that’s because, after the divorce papers, she was panicking. Now she knows that a new relationship, as calming as it may seem on the surface, is not the solution to her problems. In fact, Harris appears to bring a whole new parcel of problems with him. But he may be fun for the moment.

Also filling a momentary need: Delia and Albert. I don’t think she likes him as much as dislikes the idea of getting married. It would help if Gordon pulled a dick move somewhere, but he’s really just being as accommodating as possible, even leading into a discussion about cheating. While Abby brushes off these traditional, white-knight ideals, Delia, in an effort to cling to her upcoming nuptials, casts off what makes her happy (a case, because it’s tied to Albert), with a domestic effort (she made dinner!), which we know is not going to make her happy in the slightest.

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Jo is in a power-play with her ex’s new wife Charlene, and appears to actually be making inroads. Maybe the point of kicking Jo off as such a borderline-obnoxious character is to show how much she is capable of growth. She loves her kid so much, she will actually be willing to work stuff out with her ex and his new bride. It would have been nice if her commendable efforts had been rewarded, but Jo, like all the other girlfriends this episode, has to latch onto her own power and fight for what she wants: in this case Zooey, and the bakery.

Last and possibly oddest, Phoebe enters a gender studies class at college, where I hope the p.c.-ness is being insanely played up for intense comic effect, as her classmates decry feminism and the use of the word “vagina.” Like with Jo and Abby, it’s gratifying to see Phoebe make some inroads, not quitting the class but standing up to her slightly sleazy (yet awfully cute) teacher, and expanding herself not with some lame new business venture but with a Camille Paglia volume. Phoebe’s journey might be the most interesting one on the show right now.

In fact, this week, the only one who seems to be at war with herself is Delia. Wanting what she can’t have, her ardor for Albert is triggered by the arrival of his seemingly very nice wife. In the quadrangle she’s crafted, Delia is definitely the instigator, because as much as she protests, she keeps getting drawn back to Albert. Is it rebellion from her marriage? Actual affection for Albert? Somewhere in between?

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So Delia’s a wayward case, but everyone else appears to be getting more grounded for the moment. Jo even has a surprisingly decent talk with Jake, about how they both need to shape up and accept their rapidly expanding families, since there’s not much they can do about them. Abby flunks the Skype talk (although she gives great panel) but when she gets home post-airplane fling she quickly kicks into gear, sending Jake off, changing Charlie’s sheets, bonding with Lilly. The great thing about parenting, and hey, maybe about life, is that there’s always another chance to get it right, now matter how much you might have blown it before. The girlfriends here are taking advantage of that.

Stray observations

  • So fun to see Carrie Fisher again as Abby’s savvy agent Kat.
  • The Sex And The City parallels here are really beginning to strike me: Besides the four women, amazing fashions, and candid sex scenes, the lead character is a delightful, charming writer, who may occasionally have one drink too many but knows how to work a public appearance spot. And is entering a potentially destructive relationship with a hot, possibly emotionally distant man. Anyone else picking up on that? (Carrie Fisher appeared on that show, too.)
  • I love when the show goes all glam, like the spa with the crazy heat treatment. Only Jo would unplug herself and walk away from something that looks that relaxing.
  • On the other side of the spectrum, do L.A. people still have landlines?
  • Lot of judgmental jerks this episode, from Harris’ bookish friend sneering at Abby’s books (“I will look them up if I ever indulge in one of those rites of passage”) to all those super-p.c. college students (although “front hole” is pretty funny).
  • Best outfit: Abby’s dark blue panel dress with a full circle skirt, although it did highlight how unbelievably thin she is.
  • Runners-up: Delia’s royal blue pencil skirt, Abby’s animal print skirt, and, surprisingly, Jo’s leather pants.
  • Worst outfit: Charlene’s bright outfits are going to make my retinas hurt, like they’re supposed to.

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