March 24, 2014
In the season 2 finale of Girls, Hannah, unable to finish her book on deadline, instead cuts her own hair and finds herself with no one to call but Adam. Adam, shirtless as ever, runs all the way to Hannah’s apartment, his face bouncing on her Facetime screen as he comes to her rescue.
In the season 1 finale, Hannah is all dressed up and at Jessa’s surprise wedding when she tells Adam that she doesn’t want to live with him. She leaves him headed to the hospital and ends up all the way on the beach with no phone; with nothing, actually, but a piece of cake.
In this finale, things are happening on a higher level — and, as they should, in accordance with the age of the Girls. As Hannah so astutely says to her parents on the phone, “Let’s face it, the last four years of my life have been a total wash.” This sentence itself is shocking: never before has Hannah shown such self-awareness. I really don’t think ever.
Meanwhile, it seems that the maturity she displays in this final episode is not actually as sudden as it appears to be, because all this time that I’ve been complaining about how she’s given up on her goals and hasn’t been writing, she was really applying to the best MFA program in the country. So when she rips open that envelope (too quickly, tearing the letter in half — she’s not all grown up just yet) to find that she was accepted into the program, the subsequent jumping up and down she does is entirely deserved, and entirely her own. She earned this.
I’m continually impressed with the character development on this show. As we’ve watched these young people grow, they’ve changed in such natural, true-to-life ways. Hannah is growing up. That said, she’s still doing idiot things, like telling her boyfriend that she might move across the country right before he’s about to have his first opening night on Broadway. That was really dumb.
And maybe that’s what Adam means when he says “Can’t anything ever be easy with you?” Yes, she’s done a good thing by following her passion and applying to school, but why did she have to go and put that in his head right before the show? Yes, she wore a great and totally appropriate dress to opening night, but what was up with those pouch pants in the first scene? The clothes don’t really matter, but I think they are a metaphor — an intentional one — for Hannah’s sense of herself in the world. In some ways she’s really figuring it out, and in others she has a long way to go.
So what about the rest of the girls? Shoshanna, who can’t graduate on time (although I feel like she’ll just have to take one summer course and then be all set, and they’ll probably still let her walk with her class, holding her grandmother’s flag and all — right?) is tearing her apartment apart in rage. Marnie, after having torn Shoshanna’s heart to pieces, is going after another guy with a girlfriend. Elijah is wearing a shorts-suit. Ray is doing well.
They’re mostly evolving as they should. Shoshanna has had her year of rebellion, and has had enough of it now. When she looks at Ray with those big wide eyes and begs him to take her back, it’s really painful — but we also know, like Ray does, that it would never work. He’s kind to her, but he’s better now. She pushed him to act his age, and now that he is, he’s too old for her.
The only one I haven’t mentioned is Jessa, and that’s because her plotline in this finale is entirely separate from the rest of the group. She doesn’t attend Adam’s opening night. Instead, she is with Beady, helping her to commit suicide. At the last minute, Beady opens her eyes wide and screams for Jessa to call 911. “I don’t want to die!” she calls out. What does this storyline have to do with the rest? Firstly, it was really beautiful, and showed Jessa in a more positive light than we’ve seen her all season — as someone who has felt real pain and can help others who have, too. And it showed an older woman going through the struggles that come with that time of life. All these three seasons we’ve been so obsessed with how hard it is to be in your early 20s, when the fact is that it’s hard to be any age.
In last season’s finale there were complaints that it featured all the boys rescuing all of the girls. As we come to the end of this season, Hannah is rescuing herself. The show ends with Hannah holding the acceptance letter to her heart, and it’s so much more satisfying than a kiss.
— I’m so happy for Laird and Caroline. I hope she treats him right.
— Turns out that I’ve been saying Shosh’s last name wrong this whole time — it’s “Shap-eye-ro”, not “Shap-i-ro”. Was anyone else doing that?
— Excellent costume design for the scene in the bathroom; Marnie’s prim green dress and Clementine’s hip green one are perfect foils.
— Desi is really the worst, but maybe he and Marnie are actually good for each other. They’re both really pretty and kind of stupid with nice voices; does that make a perfect relationship?
— A season thing: like with Sex and the City, Girls always takes place in the summer (every episode of SATC was set during the summer except the final season, which went from fall to winter). This means that if Hannah does go to Iowa, we could potentially never see it, and only see her during summer break, during which she’d presumably be back in NYC.
— Finally: what does the title mean? What two plane rides are we talking about? There is Hannah’s supposed upcoming plane ride to Iowa. And what else? Where is Adam flying? Does it refer to Beady’s trip? I actually haven’t seen this talked about anywhere else, and I don’t have any super solid theories. Thoughts?
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