“Girls” Gives Anticlimactic Goodbye

"Girls" said goodbye last week after six seasons.

By Elli Neeld

“Girls” said goodbye last week after six seasons. (Courtesy of Facebook)

“Girls” concluded its sixth and final season with Hannah Horvath learning to look beyond herself.
While disjointed and anticlimactic in places, I found the final episode fitting for the conclusion of a show that has, in its essence, centered around an impasse of ages.

In this episode, it is time for Hannah (Lena Dunham) and crew to quietly bridge the gap between post-college-limbo and the so-called “real world,” although not without obstacles of its own.

Within minutes of the episode’s opening, it becomes clear that motherhood has brought on a slew of neuroses for Hannah, a situation certainly not helped by Marnie’s (Allison Williams) natural ease with Hannah’s baby Grover and a rendition of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car.” Marnie’s motivations for helping Hannah are questionable at best, but unlike (and perhaps, in spite of) the absent other core girls, she has decided to stick around.

Also sticking around is Hannah’s mother, Loreen (Becky Ann Baker), called to the upstate New York residence by an overwhelmed Marnie. In typical “Girls” fashion, secondary characters bring about change, and the final episode proves no different. Loreen doles out advice to both Hannah and Marnie with spoons of differing severities. Hannah receives the tough love of a woman newly single and understanding of the permanency of her daughter’s decision, while Marnie receives the cathartic advice of not needing to smother herself with her best friend. Both scenes play out fantastically, with Dunham’s, Williams’ and Baker’s performances riding the relaxed, confident high of a show coming to a close.

In an especially effective scene, Hannah encounters a young girl sans pants and shoes. Her instincts kick in; her own pants and shoes are offered. She then learns that the high-schooler has run away simply to avoid her nagging mother and homework opposed to any cataclysmic situation. Here, it all seems to click.

It may seem too convenient that a self-involved teenager and Hannah cross paths at this exact moment, sparking an understanding of the unconditional mother-child bond in Hannah, but this is “Girls.” It’s unlikely that someone would pause to help a half-clothed, crying teenager amidst the hustle and bustle of New York City, but this chance encounter between the two transpires in a rural college town, which makes Hannah’s decision to stop and talk to her more realistic.

In prior episodes, we have learned that Shoshanna is engaged, Elijah has been cast in the fictional — but what I hope will someday grace the stages of Broadway — “White Men Can’t Jump” and Adam and Jessa are freshly invested in their relationship. Their absences weigh the episode down with unresolved curiosity, but this is Hannah’s story, after all, and the uncertainty is fitting with the series’ arc.

In keeping with the theme, the final episode largely resides in a realm of ambiguity. A hand is raised, and the audience is left uncertain as to whether it will continue with a flourish of a pen or a punch. In this episode, however, a single answer is offered: Hannah’s self-involved trials and tribulations of getting her son to breastfeed are resolved.

After seasons of plunges and peaks, in the final seconds of the series, Hannah finally latches onto something meaningful. Her final expression: uncertain, but hopeful.