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‘Girls’ Finale Review: “She Did”

Girls
HBO

The title of this week’s episode of ‘Girls‘ — and also the finale, sadly — is a clever response to the viewer reaction that will occur about five minutes into the episode. “No she didn’t!” That she is Jessa, and yeah, she did.

Jessa invites everyone to “the most important party” of her life — a secretive affair for which she asks her friends to dress nicely. Surprise, she’s marrying Thomas John, the venture capitalist from two episodes back who tried to bed her and Marnie at the same time. It seems so out of left field, but for Jessa this is typical behavior. At first it might seem dismissive of any hint of growth from last week’s encounter with Mrs. Lavoyt, who told Jessa that her flighty behavior and irresponsible actions are indicative of her fear of growth and embracing a life that might not be what she imagined, but a life she so desperately needs. In fact, I’d venture (zing) that this is Jessa taking that advice by pairing off with someone she views as a real grown-up. All those responsible people she mocks possess all the traits she does not, so what better way to get a life than by hitching her wagon to someone else’s first? And in true Jessa fashion, she does so impetuously, skirting the gravity of the situation as if it’s just another breezy adventure.

Shoshanna is visibly upset, a problem she plays off as embarrassment over inadvertently wearing white to someone’s wedding, but Ray senses there’s something deeper there. Still enamored with her after his evening of babysitting the high-on-crack Shosh over in Bushwick, Ray prods her for answers, and the truth is that she’s actually sort of jealous, though she doesn’t come right out and say it. Shoshanna has this captivating approach and attitude about things, fighting to lose her virginity and feel like an adult. She’s sort of like an emotional gymnast, in the sense that this virginity issue seems to have stunted her growth — at least in her view. Ray takes her home and the two begin to work on her sex life in a moment that feels completely earned and — dare I say it? I dare — touching. Though Shoshanna has often drawn the short straw throughout the season, she’s so sweet and fantastic every time she’s around that it’s hard not to root for her. While her friends may view her as someone who has it together, she feels like her friends are growing more than she is, even with all the drama their sex lives entail.

Marnie is upset, too, because Charlie is at the wedding and trying to get her to have sex with him in the bathroom, and there’s Jessa getting married when Marnie feels like maybe she should be up there with… someone? Anyone, probably. Marnie is, as discussed last week, the “couple type.” She is defined by her romantic relationships, and while she needs to get out and date and explore what the world of single sex has to offer, she also needs to learn how to be by herself so she can figure out who she is by herself.

Bobby Moynihan shows up as the wedding officiant, a total doofus with a cheesy sense of humor. It may just be all the champagne she’s chugging, but Marnie forms a bit of a crush on the dork and by the end of the episode they’re eating leftover cake and making out. Is it a step in the right direction, or is Marnie going to stick with this guy for a while? Regardless, ‘Girls’ definitely champions weird, goofy guys in a way that makes my heart sing.

But Marnie also has a hand in another character’s growth tonight as she moves out of the apartment she shares with Hannah and in with Shosh (spin-off!), prompting Adam to suggest that he move in with Hannah. At the wedding Adam gets teary eyed during the vows, and it’s all a bit much for Hannah to process. She was so sure she wanted to be in this serious relationship with him, but now she’s terrified — terrified that they’ll distract each other too much from pursuing their passions, scared that she’ll lose some sense of self, and scared that maybe Adam isn’t trying to move in with her because he wants to, but because he’s just nice and trying to do her a favor. He tells her that he loves her, and it should be this beautiful moment, but she breaks it with news that she’s asked Elijah (!!!) to move in with her.

This leads to a confrontation where Adam calls Hannah out on her self-involved, self-deprecating crap. She thinks she’s not pretty enough, her writing isn’t good enough, and she’s not a good friend, but Adam tells her she is pretty, she is a good writer, and yes, she is a good friend. But something he  says really sticks out, and that’s from the beginning of the fight: ”You love yourself so much, why is it so crazy that someone else would too?”

Our 20s are a time when we’re figuring ourselves out, and naturally it creates this insufferable vortex of “me me me,” similar to adolescence, but with drinking and more journals. We think we are so important, and that these feelings are so specific to our individual experience that we often overlook the obvious, and that’s that we don’t know a damn thing. But we also spend so much time dissecting and picking ourselves apart, shifting from the acute awareness of our flaws from our teenage years to the expert, PhD-level awareness of adulthood. We concentrate on these things so much that it becomes difficult to believe that anyone else could or would put up with our mess — we want love, we feel entitled to be loved, but we struggle to understand how someone could love us. Hannah has spent so much time in her own head that she feels like Adam should love her, but when he tells her he does, she doesn’t think she deserves it because she’s at the point where she feels like she’s finally approaching genuine growth, and if she doesn’t feel like a fully-formed adult now, how could she be ready for an adult concept like love?

Being a writer only exacerbates this for Hannah because her writing is all about herself, and she’s putting herself and every neurotic thought or action under the microscope every single day, whether she’s writing it out or not. And maybe this is why Hannah does need to write more — we write to understand, to process and help others see as we do. But we also write to better understand ourselves, deconstructing our thoughts in a way that makes neuroses seem productive. Hannah is self-involved and no one is arguing that here, but she’s also in a place in her life where it’s not only natural, but kind of necessary. It’s annoying, sure, as anyone who has been in their 20s or knows someone in their early 20s can tell you. It’s a selfish time, but it’s important to distinguish between being selfish in a healthy, serviceable way and selfish in a way that negatively affects the people Hannah cares about most.

Hannah doesn’t have it figured out, but she’s trying, just like Marnie and Jessa and Shoshanna. There have been complaints that these women haven’t shown any real desire or effort to grow from the beginning, but they have — and this episode highlights it in a way that may feel a little obvious, but it gives each girl her own space to show where she’s been and where’s she’s attempting to go next.

“She Did” ends with Hannah, who has fallen asleep on the subway and woken up somewhere unfamiliar, walking out onto the beach and staring at the ocean while she eats leftover cake with her hands, licking the icing off her fingers in a state of contemplation and unfamiliar solitude. She doesn’t know where she is, but she knows where she needs to be in both that moment and her life as a whole, and she’s not in a big rush to get there.

Quotable:

“Don’t just think, okay? That’s an extremely unattractive feature of your generation.”

“This is gonna be an ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ party.”

“Whassup, Marnie?”

“People finding each other, taking shelter. I’m very moved.” “But they just met two weeks ago.” “Time is a rubber band.”

“That girl wears floral capris like her hymen is still intact.”

“I have been 13 pounds overweight my whole life!”

“Here’s the worlds saddest, smallest violin playing ‘My Heart Bleeds For You.’”

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