There’s something inherently polarizing about ‘the happy ending.’ On the one hand, the tactic is more often than not used as the easy way out, forgoing artistic integrity or real-life emotion in order to wrap things up nicely to give the general viewing public what they want. This is the reason most romantic comedies aren’t very good, because the characters at the core of the film are poorly written and unbelievable, made solely for that moment where the sun is shining and that cute song is playing and they realize that they want to be together forever. Conversely, however, who amongst us doesn’t have that soft spot inside that wants all of that? So when it comes to characters we’re genuinely invested in — think Jim and Pam from the early seasons of The Office or Chuck and Sarah from Chuck — the payoff is incredibly more satisfying.
It’s difficult to judge which side of the coin Girls falls under when it comes to Adam and Hannah. Both characters have hit rock-bottom (or pretty close to it) this season, which was an important step the show needed to take, especially for Hannah. These two extremely fucked up people are pretty perfect for one another, so it’s a logical jump to say that this dramatic reunion to close out the season isn’t completely unrealistic. But considering the slow decline into darkness this season, I felt that the joyful climax came a bit too abruptly. It’s understandable at least — upon filming the Season 2 finale the show maybe didn’t expect to be renewed for Season 3 and thus a nice, happy ending would be a good note to end on — but the moment still felt out of character for the show.
That said, I must say I kind of enjoyed how it was still able to put its own Girls spin on the happy ending. First we have a sweet moment where Adam and Hannah accidentally face time (Adam’s misunderstanding of technology is always funny, especially calling Siri ‘Shiri’), and after realizing Hannah needed him, Adam takes off through the streets of Brooklyn without his shirt, in a moment that is both completely absurd yet endless enjoyable knowing what we know about Adam. When he gets to Hannah’s apartment and she is too afraid to let him in (why, at that point, I’m not exactly sure), he literally kicks the door down, giving him a further air of invincibility and superheroism to come and rescue Hannah from her nightmares. Even his comeback to “you’re here” is pretty smooth. “Well, I was always here.” It was a heartwarming moment for a show that doesn’t have many of them, so for that I give it a lot of credit. And this is far from the typically happy ending: Adam and Hannah still have plenty of shit to work out. I just think the moment would have benefitted from a little more breathing room.
I have similarly lukewarm feelings towards Marnie and Charlie getting back together. While not nearly as messed up as Adam’s and Hannah’s shit, they’ve had plenty of ups and downs, and them finding their way back to one another was bound to happen. The moment at brunch where Marnie told Charlie all that nice stuff and Charlie said that that’s all he ever wanted to hear was a sincere moment, but I fear that a lot of Marnie’s motivations are based in her inherent fear of being forever alone. I don’t doubt that she loves Charlie, but some of her behavior in this episode (criticizing Charlie for sleeping with other people when they were apart, assuming they were back together without talking to him about it, saying she didn’t love him for his money) hints at some underlying issues with this pairing to be explored further.
Not everyone gets their happy ending, however, as Ray and Shoshanna can’t seem to patch things together. Shosh tells Ray that his lack of motivation is bringing her down, so he goes and gets a promotion (it’s that easy, apparently). Then when that’s not good enough she says that his dark soul is bogging down her colorful life, and that is can’t be possible for him to hate everything. Ray counters, saying that maybe she’s the one that needs to change. It’s a fair point, especially considering that she is too immature to ever admit to Ray that she cheated on him. Ray is battle-tested in young adulthood, and came out the other side a snarky cynic. Shosh is full of hope and wonderment because life hasn’t let her down yet. Neither side is right or wrong for being that way, but considering the stages in their lives they are at and the way they handle things, the relationship was always bound to be an uphill climb. It was some solid work by Zosia Mamet and Alex Karpovsky, but as the third or fourth storyline all season long, it just never got enough legs to hit hard enough.
In all, I feel about the finale how I generally feel about Season 2 as a whole. It had a lot of genuine moments that made me remember why I keep coming back to the show week after week, but by the end I was left wanting just a little bit more.
– Hannah is carrying plenty of storylines with her into Season 3. Will her (supposedly) getting back with Adam cause her OCD to subside again? What about her book deal? I’m pretty sure she didn’t finish those pages, which means some more trouble.
– As always, a welcome scene with Mr. Horvath. He puts his foot down on loaning her more money, which breaks his heart. “God Dammit if I let you stop my heart every three hours with drama.”
– Also worth noting, Hannah cut off most of her hair, and then she had Laird finish the job. Then Laird lays into her for being the most self-involved person he’s ever met and that he liked her until he realized her insides were rotten. YES, LAIRD.
– Colin Quinn guest stars as Ray’s boss, who hands the reins of his new shop in Brooklyn Heights over to Ray. When Ray wants to know what his title will be, Quinn responds, “Ray The Manager.” As I’m writing this I realize that a Mr. Manager homage to Arrested Development here would have been wonderful.
– Hannah gives Jessa a call but it goes straight to voicemail, and Hannah is fed up with her selfish shit and reams her out in a message she know she’ll never listen to. With Hannah’s low point has come some necessary realizations, like how desperately she needs some of the people she loves, and how she can’t handle when others act as selfishly as she does. A great scene for Dunham.
– That’s all for Season 2. Thanks for reading. I’ll be back with some more stuff this spring so keep an eye out.