The third season of Girls is over, but that doesn't mean viewers like us got any closure. Lena Dunham's highly debated show left fans with one big talking point: What the hell happened between episode 11 and 12? Between the penultimate and final episodes, the girls seemed to jump in time, leaving fans to speculate as to whether or not there was an episode cut out of the season.
It was jarring, to say the least, and distracted from what was altogether superior season. Complex Pop Culture's deputy editor Ross Scarano and associate editor Tara Aquino attempt to make sense of what they saw and offer their thoughts on where the show can go from here.
Ross: My initial thought: It's like they wrote an episode between this and the last one that they didn't shoot—BUT still kept it as part of the story. Only, you know, we didn't have access to it.
Tara: Right. It felt very much like it made sure to be a season finale, which is to say, it felt contrived. But your point is that everything felt kind of out of character. When did Marnie become a sociopath? How was Jessa capable of killing someone?
Ross: We need to talk about Jess becoming Dr. Kevorkian. Between last week's episode and this one, I bet we didn't have more than five minutes with Jessa and Beadie, the photographer. And now Jessa is going to help her die? It really bummed me out, because I was loving Louise Lasser's performance. Her line last week about feeling like a shell watching women on TV was gutting. They deserved a bottle episode of their own.
Tara: Each of these girls did. That's the same way I felt about Marnie. Sure, she's been completely and utterly selfish all season, but when did she turn into a stalker who gets off on homewrecking another couple's marriage? It's scary how she shows no remorse for anything. There's no dimension to her, which is frustrating. And like you said about that missing episode—it felt like talk about her album should've there. Ultimately, you end the season not giving a shit about her character at all.
Ross: Right. And what you said about the album applies to Hannah and Iowa. You don't need to literally show her filling out the application. But we need to know what's up with her writing. It's always been a bit of a question mark, whether Hannah can actually write.
Now we have our answer, and it feels as if it was delivered in the most ham-fisted way possible. Really? Did it have to be Iowa? I wish the show had done more work developing our sense of Hannah as a writer rather than drop this loaded thing into our lap.
Tara: I mean, she referenced how great going back to school would be in the second episode where they picked up Jessa, but that's all you get. If you even remember that.
Ross: I thought the scenes between her and Adam were the strongest parts of the night. I need a minute to deal with how Adam Driver's face looked in the dressing room.
Tara: Adam Driver's become the best thing about season three. For a guy who makes no sense at all, everything about his arc makes sense.
Ross: Totally. He broke into, like, a different realm of acting this season. He had so much energy. Watching him freak out about getting the part in Major Barbara, watching him stuff paper towels in his mouth—that was Adam Driver ascending into rarefied Gosling territory. (Even though Gosling doesn't have emotions these days.)
Tara: He's got the kind of talent that makes you wonder when he's going to get pulled away from the show for bigger things. And I can't but feel that the show would be so empty without him. Speaking of under-utilized talent: Shoshanna.
Ross: She's played the corner so much this season, been this exaggerated Muppet for comic relief. Then they brought her in to act last night, and of course she nailed it.
Tara: There were glimpses of her breakdown, but they were few and far between to feel cohesive.
Ross: Right. And it only made me wanted more of her, and retroactively. So what happens next season? I'd love for Girls to pull a move where they put Hannah in Iowa and cut back and forth between her and the others in NYC, a la Peggy going to work for a rival firm on Mad Men.
Tara: I totally expect that to happen. As well as a storyline where Jessa avoids going to jail.
Ross: I want the show to keep tripping me up, but in ways that feel less like gaps in chronology. That energy you described, of making no sense in small moments but making sense as an arc. I thought season three worked best when it was digging into Hannah's character (the GQ episode, the June Squibb episode), and Hannah's relationship with Adam.
Tara: We've talked about how this was a such a better season as a whole. It did a good job, at least initially, of making the characters feel more flawed and less like caricatures.
Ross: Actually, you're right. Everyone benefited this season. I've never felt more interested in Marnie than I was when she was doing doing Ray. I was loving what was going on with Jessa near the season's end. (When she collapses while dancing? When she goes to dinner with the addict and his daughter?)
Tara: Yeah, same here. It felt like the season was coming full circle for her.
Ross: I just hope they don't think that near assisted suicide has resolved her shit. Because, nah. We have more to do there.
Tara: Right. Ultimately the season finale felt like too much of a cop-out way to set up next season quickly. Hopefully next season they'll figure out how to keep storylines moving in a way that can wrap up nicely in their allotted 12 episodes.
Ross: If I had to choose between what last night offered, and an episode that felt like a mid-season break, or just a totally regular episode, I'd go with the latter. Or latter latter.
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