Girls Series Finale Explained: “Everyone’s Trying to Figure It Out”
Viewers said goodbye to Girls as Lena Dunham‘s HBO series wrapped up its six-year run on Sunday, April 16 with a quiet finale just featuring three of the show’s main characters: Hannah (Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams) and Hannah’s mom Loreen (Becky Ann Baker).
The episode jumped five years into the future from when Hannah said goodbye to New York City and friends Jessa (Jemima Kirke) and Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet). She had her baby, Grover, and Marnie was there in Upstate New York helping her raise the kid. But it wasn’t all happiness and baby smiles. Hannah had trouble breastfeeding; the final episode was called “Latching.”
“I think Judd Apatow was surprisingly really the man behind this breast feeding plot,” Dunahm said in a taped segment after the show.
“I think the seed of this was the fact that Hannah would be losing her mind. A few months later we started talking about post-partum depression and her mental health issues coming up again,” Apatow said. “And then after I guess the happiness of [episode nine], the reality that it’s really difficult would land in [episode 10]…”
Episode nine was more of a traditional finale, the writers and executive producers explained. “Judd was the first person who said, ‘I think we should do our finale, and then we should do the end we really want to do, so that everyone gets satisfied and we also get to — we see how everyone wraps up, we wrap it up, and we also get to see a little bit more,'” Jenni Konner told The Hollywood Reporter.
With the subject matter of latching, Dunham said they wanted to make sure they weren’t coming down on one side or the other when it came to breastfeeding, “because we’re not having a position about what women should and shouldn’t do.”
Hannah lashed out repeatedly in the episode, both at Marnie and her mom after Marnie calls in reinforcements.
“With Hannah and Loreen, there’s a lot of pain because they’re mirroring each other all the time, and so there’s all of this anxiety that comes from watching,” Dunham explained in after show segment. “I think Loreen watching Hannah do things that she knows that she herself did or watching Hannah do thing she wishes she had done, and there’s a lot of projection that exists between mothers and daughters and it felt like that relationship needed the closure.”
As for Marnie, she’s going to leave that house eventually. Dunham said it was Loreen who pushed her to realize that she can’t latch onto Hannah’s life, Hannah’s on another path of her own.
“I think you really see just how much they love each other and how much Marnie’s willing to put up with because Hannah’s a pretty big jerk to her for the majority of the episode,” Dunham said.
Hannah’s turning point comes when she encounters a teenager who had an argument with her mother over doing homework. “At the end of it, it’s really about dropping that and realizing, ‘Oh, I can’t behave this way anymore and be a mother,'” Apatow explained.
Like the series as a whole, the finale was about everybody trying to figure it out, Duham said.
“I think something that we wanted to say was that everyone’s trying to figure it out. It’s like Grover’s trying to figure out how to eat, Marnie’s trying to figure out how to become a person with a life, Hannah’s trying to figure out why she’s made the choices she’s made, Loreen’s trying to let go of her anger, and it doesn’t matter where you are,” she said. “There’s like this lack of resolution, but that you can always make the decision to do better.”
Apatow, who wrote the episode along with Dunham and Konner, said his favorite moment was the last shot of the series.
“I like the idea that it ends with a giving gesture for somebody that’s been narcissistic for most of this, that her peace comes the moment she’s in the middle of a purely giving act to her son,” he said. “And then you see for the first time a look of complete peace.”