“Girls” is coming to an end after six seasons, and each episode leading up to the series finale seems to top itself.
The penultimate episode, where Hannah (Lena Dunham) contemplates a job offer that would take her out of New York City, Shoshana (Zosia Mamet) has a big announcement to make and Marnie (Alison Williams) gets the foursome, including Jessa (Jemima Kirke), into the same room for the first time in what seems like forever, was especially poignant.
Below, reporters Linda Ge and Matt Donnelly discuss why they were so moved by the episode and all of the developments contained within.
Matt: We decided to recap the penultimate “Girls” episode — but really, it’s group therapy.
Linda: I think the first thing we all noticed was that it felt very much like a fitting series finale — and yet it was not.
Matt: Agreed, for so many reasons. I also love how these last episodes have not obeyed any sort of TV convention about what a final season looks like. Take that entire, gross and amazing Matthew Rhys episode. I wonder if they now have problems selling that apartment they shot it in?
Linda: Yes, and how, aside from Hannah’s dramatic and sudden life event, none of the other girls have been shoehorned into playing out “wrapping-up” storylines. Particularly relevant to this episode, Shoshana has been mostly absent despite being one of the four main leads on the show. I believe Lena and Jenni Konner, the showrunners, have said in interviews that this was by design and that, despite TV conventions, it made sense for the character to grow up and apart from friends she has already called out for being toxic in the past. Even earlier this season, Jessa crashed a networking event important to Shosh and made an ass of herself, as usual, and you could see Shosh wanting to cut the ties right then and there. Too bad they’re cousins, so she may never be truly free of Jessa’s toxicity.
Matt: A high-ranking member of TheWrap team who will not be named felt that Shosh had a “personality transplant” overnight, but I agree with you — this is what Shosh has been up to when we haven’t seen her. Growing up, taking care of herself and finding like-minded people to bolster her. That amazing bathroom confrontation at her engagement party, which reminded me of “Sex and the City” for some reason, when Shosh says:
“Do you see those girls out there, with jobs and purses and nice personalities? Those are my friends now.”
I won’t lie, when she said that I took a long look around my apartment. This is soul-baring to the point that I just looked for another cookie in this conference room. Stop this madness.
Linda: That’s one of the things this show does so well, it really cuts right to the core of these feelings we all have, like the nagging sensation of: What if we’re the ones who are going to be left behind while our friends move on to successful, happy lives and have no more room for us? And it is hard to watch, of course.
How did you feel about Hannah and Jessa making up?
Matt: I am pretty vengeful as a person, I’ll admit, but if there had to be forgiveness I’m glad it happened this way. Something about the absurdity and the “playing house”-ness of Shosh’s overnight engagement party, where Marnie, of course, is in New Jersey makeup and handing out business cards — felt so right for Hannah and Jessa to act out an authentic, unpolished reconciliation. But also, why did Shosh wear a f—ing wedding dress?
Linda: I have to be honest, when Hannah told Jessa she didn’t care about her anymore in a previous episode earlier this season, I totally cheered because I thought it was a long time coming. Even before the Adam thing, Jessa has been a terrible friend. Would it have been so bad if it was a permanent separation, probably healthy for both of them? I guess the show does still have to play by some TV conventions. We needed these four girls in the same room again and to have some kind of relationship before the end.
Matt: Do you think Jessa may be the benefactor of some kind of optimism Hannah now has to have for the human race, considering she’s bringing a child into the world?
Linda: Very good point. Hannah wants her child to grow up in a world where people don’t sh-t on the sidewalk, and where old and dear friends forgive each other, no matter how heinous the previous crimes. And of course that brings us to Hannah’s big decision to move to upstate New York…
Matt: Oh god, the sh-t on the sidewalk thing. That totally reminds me of a famous Season 1 Jessa quote that I think was parodied on “SNL”: “You were born on a dirt floor.” Like, even now they’re still loosely drawing Jessa’s character just above the screen for us.
Here’s the thing, though: I bawled my eyes out, mostly because of the slow-mo dancing and because that heartbreaking song told me to. Hannah taking in the sight of her imperfect friends in a moment of abandon and then literally hugging herself, finally displaying some independence and appreciating that to love people is not to fix them. F—ing Kill Me.
Linda: That was the moment in the episode that got to me as well. She’s watching them with that serene smile on her face, more mature and centered than we’ve ever seen her before, and it’s intercut with her moving into her new place, new life — so different from New York City. I have to be honest, when she was watching them with that look on her face, having made up with Jessa and everything, I thought the show was going to tell us she changed her mind and ended up not taking the job. But I’m so glad she ultimately made the best decision for herself and her kid.
The show always has amazing music-infused moments, but I thought this was one of if not the best. Hannah lip-syncing to Banks’ “Crowded Spaces” brought the music into the show in a more immediate and intimate way than ever before and oh god, now I’m going to cry again.
Matt: Me too, forever. Not sure where the finale will take us, though I get the impression Hannah delivers the baby by then and tries to abscond her duties. Which would explain her mother’s big lecture in those previews — maybe one last tour through New York City, visiting everyone in their little boxes?
Linda: I really hope she does not abscond, though it would be perfectly on brand for “Girls” characters to take one step forward and several back. I may not have been crazy about this pregnancy storyline, but it certainly has made Hannah grow up in a way she may never have otherwise, forever embroiled in that narcissistic Brooklyn trap, forever bickering with her friends and trying to “find herself.” Time is a flat circle — until something happens that forces you out of the cycle.
Matt: What stupid thing will she name the baby?
Matt: Holden Beyonce Caulfied Horvath. Until next week, when maybe the title card will say WOMEN.
Linda: God I’m gonna miss this show.
“Girls” Season 6 finale will air Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.