Girls is such a prickly show, and never has there been a pricklier episode than “One Man’s Trash.” It’s an odd half-hour, odd even in the context of a fairly unusual show. It is, minus a short prelude, entirely focused on one character we know, and a stranger. It is reaching for a certain level of subtlety in its portrayal of emotion that is rarely attempted on television. It seems to actually pay attention to cinematography. And, despite all of this, I believe that it’s a failure.
But let’s start with the good in it. The beginning is simple enough, and believable, and there’s some great stuff in there about how Hannah grew to enjoy the thrill of dumping trash in other people’strashcans. The set-up with Joshua, played by the always-welcome Patrick Wilson, may strain credibility for just a minute, but that’s where it becomes important that this is an episode in an ongoing series. We know Hannah, and how over the first half of this season, she’s been methodically removing the most important people from her life. She’s lonely, and we quickly come to realize that Joshua, too, is lonely.