Girls caps off one of their best seasons ever with a pair of fantastic episodes

HBO

HBO

Girls ended with two episodes in a row, “Love Stories” and “I Love You Baby.” Both very good episodes and they tied together well. Everyone got something involving an arc, and some people grew and matured, while others regressed. For still others it was a mixed bag of nonsense.

The first episode finally pulls the trigger on the Hannah and Fran slowly dying relationship, revealing an interesting parallel to the other relationships. Fran says he doesn’t like Hannah, but he loves her. And yet we know as she explains, that he is indeed a “secret dick.” She calls him manipulative, which Adam uses again in the second episode to refer to Hannah. Parallels and contrasts, as here Hannah is thinking clearly and being calm, while Adam was in the throes of fury.

Another parallel is the “love dream” Marnie has about Ray, where she envisions him like a daughter. But is it literal or is it figurative or neither? Dreams in fiction usually have meaning, but who can tell with a reality-based one like Girls. Using the metaphor at face value, Marnie is attracted to Ray because they support each other in ways that are complementary instead of destructive. Desi’s arrogance and childish emotional outbursts only amplified Marnie’s judgmental side and her selfishness. With Ray, it’s a weird, different kind of balance.

Ray is attracted to her but it’s already more than that by this point. Earlier this season, he called her the love of his life. Who knows what that means to him, but he cares. It helps that Shosh returned with a honesty and help. This arc continues into the next episode, but it’s a hilarious, feel-good idea.

The concept of the “anti-hipster” coffee shop led to several hilarious signs, like “Trust the Government” and “No Man Buns Allowed.” It was nice to see the return of the owner Hermie (Colin Quinn), who forms a weird, delightful bond with Shosh. His old school bitterness bounces off her endless desire to do something worthwhile with her life. Negative becomes positive, and Shoshanna ends the season with a discovery of delight.

For her in Japan, she was lost and lonely, trying to find herself. I can’t say how it will go, but it makes me happy to see her happy, she’s that kind of character. All praises to Zosia Mamet for the acting, which I know some people confuse with her real life personality. She’s been great all season, and this was such a nice note to go out on.

Ray hasn’t had quite as strong an arc, but it’s always interesting to see how it goes. His willingness to attempt maturity bounced off against the endless assholeness of Desi, who ended the season getting pleasured by a young fan in a locked dressing room. Much as Marnie was annoyed by Tandace and her weird manipulative ways, Desi is overwhelmingly selfish. The contrast reveals Marnie’s growth, and despite her inability to be completely honest with Ray, she’s still fairly honest.

She asks him along for support, but they both know it’s more than that. I was impressed by Allison Williams this season, and I think it may be Marnie’s best. Overall, it’s a great marker to compare to the other two girls. One who stumbles and the other who soars.

First, about Jessa and Adam. Adam still can’t give Jessa credit to help a baby, although in fairness she seems not to really get it. She brings up Hannah more than once, and each time it gets worse for them. Eventually it all erupts in their worst personality traits, Jessa spouting hurtful lies and Adam getting violent. It’s not good, and the final image says it all. Post-coital amidst carnage. Not a healthy relationship at all. They are still hung up on Hannah and their guilt about it. Oddly enough, this let Hannah move on.

Some killer work from the two actors, as these are two complex characters. There were no weak ones this season. So that leaves one more girl.

But before I get to Hannah, I want to talk about Elijah, who had his own arc this season, more than usual. His entire storyline with Dill was very effective and affecting, and it gave Elijah (for the first time) the opportunity to really put himself out there and be vulnerable. His final scene with Dill was heartbreaking and beautiful, giving both Andrew Rannells and Corey Stoll the chance to really hit you hard with those emotions.

Elijah sacrificed his dignity for the sake of Dill having a revelation. Parallel that to Desi, but Elijah doesn’t have a “Ray” – although Hannah’s parents act as his own surrogate ones. Also a bit inappropriately, but that’s why Elijah is such a great character. His talk with Tad pushed the older man to look for his hookup Keith. Honesty creating honesty. Sacrifice creating truth.

HBO

HBO

Finally, Hannah’s arc. It’s complicated but positive. She quits her teaching job because she can’t deal with it. At first it seems a regression until she runs into her old nemesis from season one, Tally (Jenny Slate). The two have an honest and really great conversation that sparks something. Suddenly Hannah has something to say, and unlike back in season one, now we believe she has earned it.

The final scenes with Hannah’s storytelling performance hit me the right way. It was cathartic for me too, and it wrapped it all up very believably. She started the episode running and ignoring her parents, and the last episode she rode a bike while afraid of the height. To contrast, as the show closed, she began to run on the bridge, a smile just beginning to form on her face.

All this while Frankie Valli’s classic “I Love You Baby” played, which has this key line “Let me love you.” That feeling echoed throughout the season and this episode, because you can see it playing with every storyline.

This season was great. I have been lukewarm as of late for Girls, but they’ve hooked me back in. Now I can’t wait to see what comes next season.

What did you think of this week’s episodes and the season in general? Tell us in the comments below!

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