…and why the next season is bound to be awesome.
Caveat: This article contains spoilers. For those who still haven’t watched the season finale, go ahead and watch it first.
The first two seasons of Girls are arguably two of the best seasons we have seen in 2012 and 2013: their episodes are not only solid and fun but they also capture the zeitgeist of this generation.
This is precisely why I have issues with its third season which concluded just the other day. The characters we adore did nothing but meander throughout New York City without achieving anything – without even an ounce of character growth and development. It was greatly underwhelming, to be honest, and we can’t help but think that Lena Dunham’s brainchild (or its writers and showrunners) might has already lost it.
That is until the last scene started rolling.
Before the end credits appeared, Dunham’s character Hannah “voice of her generation” Horvath was seen entering her apartment after having a falling out with her boyfriend. Like any other gal who has had her heart broken, she was crestfallen. But everything changed when she saw the letter she received earlier in the episode which says that she was accepted to one of the best graduate school in the United States. However, she must move to another state and abandon her life in New York.
Before the falling out happened, she was still unsure whether or not she will grab the opportunity. But in the final scene, she was seen smiling, no, glowing while clutching the acceptance letter close to her heart. Then the credits appeared.
The scene is pivotal to the show. Dunham’s character is at her best when she’s chasing after her dreams (to be the voice of her generation, that is). In season 3, she wasn’t. She just wanders from one career to another with great dissatisfaction and disappointment on what her life has become. She knows that she’s made for greater things; she knows that she wants to be a serious writer and not just spend the rest of her career as an advertising slave until her talent and dreams wither.
Hannah’s entrance to the graduate school is a clever twist as it will put her and the rest of the characters back to square one – back to the time when everything was in chaos and Girls made perfect sense. It might be the chance to turn things over and put Hannah Horvath at the top of her game again. We can only hope that the rest would follow.
Working to the particular scene’s advantage is its accompanying song composed by the show’s scorer Michael Penn. Entitled “Can’t Keep a Good Girl Down”, the song croons about Hannah and sings about her tribulations and on getting on her feet again. It was as inspiring as it was catchy and its placing in the episode was spot on. I’m calling it now: it would be nominated, if not win a Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. That’s how good it was.
But what does the graduate school arc mean for the three other girls whose lives are just as messy as Hannah’s?
For one, they would have the opportunity to sort things out without each other’s interference. You see, their conflicts just exacerbate when they are trying to sort things out together. For another, the distance from each other would be a chance to revamp the uninteresting stories of the increasingly annoying Marnie and the overly eccentric Jessa.
The only other “girl” apart from Hannah whom I can’t help but root for is the brutally honest Soshana whose unreciprocated love for her ex-boyfriend left her bleeding and uttering a gut-wrenching monologue which will go down as one of the best in recent television history. (To satisfy your curiosity, it goes something like this: “I want you back. I want you back. I miss you. I made a mistake. This whole entire year of freedom was just fucking stupid, and I want to be with you again. You made me a more stable human. And you made me want to be the best version of myself. And I want to be your girlfriend again and I want to pretend that I was never not your girlfriend before.”)
The last scene of what seemed like an uneven season is undeniably its redemption. It is poignant, it brims with hope and it keeps us excited for a potentially great fourth season. Hannah deserves to be happy, Shoshana deserves to be loved, Marnie and Jessica deserve someone to hold on to and the audience needs a satisfying conclusion to the saga.
Because despite the mess that is season 3, still, you can’t keep a good girl down.
Another standout line from the episode: “When opportunities like this arrive, you figure it out. You say yes, and you figure it out, that’s how this works.” –Hannah’s mom
P.S. I would embed Michael Penn’s original song here but I can’t find it anywhere. They will probably sell it on iTunes so let’s just wait for a YouTube version.