Girls Season 5 Finale Review: Hannah Forever

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This was a near-perfect end to a very strong (perhaps the single strongest) season of Girls.

Girls Season 5 Episode 9 and Girls Season 5 Episode 10, airing back to back, were perfect complements and tied up each of the girls' (and boys') storylines nicely, while introducing plenty of material for next season. I, for one, can't wait until Girls Season 6 premieres in a year.

Shoshanna Tries to Help - Girls

There's a lot of ground to cover (it is a two-parter, after all), so it might be best to go character-by-character.

Elijah

Elijah spent all season trying desperately to win the love of a man who didn't love him back. Elijah is my favorite character, so I basically want to punch Dill stupidface Harcourt in his dumb bald head right now.

As I predicted way back when, during my review of Girls Season 5 Episode 4, something was just off about Dill. It was unsurprising when, during the events of Girls Season 5 Episode 7, Elijah found out (in the most unglamorous way imaginable) that he wasn't the only man in Dill's life.

There was something just off about Dill from the beginning. He was charming – almost too charming. Elijah, being fairly perceptive, realized that this was a mask. During the finale, he accurately called Dill out on wanting more out of a relationship than he was currently getting, with his juggling act of all of these men.

Dill, I know you would never admit this to yourself, but don't you want to be with somebody who sees you for you? Beyond all this. I'm the only person who's gonna be honest with you about your bad jokes and the fact that, no, you don't look better with a shaved head. And if you say your private life is private and go and see Cher in Las Vegas, that's not the same thing as coming out of the closet. But all those guys you have around, all those fucking guys you just have... they're only going to tell you what you want to hear, and they're going to cater to you because of your fame and the stuff that you have. I don't want your stuff. You're going to end up with nothing, and you deserve everything. Dill, don't you want to be with someone who sees you for you? Don't you want a boyfriend-someone? Who's honest?

Elijah

Elijah's heartfelt speech to Dill was utterly spectacular. Serious props to Andrew Rannells with that scene, which was delivered with as much openness and vulnerability as the incredibly strong writing deserved. Much as I despise Dill, Corey Stoll's silent but visibly moved reactions were also flawless.

Which made it almost unbearably painful when Dill broke Elijah's heart in the most vicious way possible.

Now, it was pretty clear that Dill was genuinely thankful for Elijah "opening his eyes and his heart" and didn't mean to crush his now-former beau. Regardless, hearing that Dill didn't believe that Elijah was the man for him tore Elijah up.

In the second part of the finale, he was visibly disheveled and completely out of sorts. He and Loreen commiserated over their misfortunes on a street corner, getting drunk, which was humorous but also incredibly depressing.

At the very least, Elijah has reached rock bottom and can begin next season starting to climb out of the emotional well he's found himself in. Perhaps Dill's harsh but ultimately truthful edict (that Elijah is "not serious enough" for him) will break through, and Elijah will find a calling much as Shosh recently has. Speaking of whom –

Shoshannah

Shosh spent the first part of Girls Season 5 in Japan, struggling to pretend that she'd found her ideal life. Ultimately, Shoshannah couldn't remain behind in Japan because she realized she was aimless.

Her journey this season was about realizing that fulfillment wasn't about where she was, but rather about having a real purpose in her life.

Shosh wound up in the best place, out of the four main girls, by the end of the season finale. Each of the girls hit their rock bottom at various points throughout the season.

Shosh arguable hit her rock bottom earlier than most, when the bottom fell out of her perfect Japanese life midseason. For that reason, by the time the finale rolled around, she was ready to pick herself up and start again.

For her, that meant taking initiative and offering to turn things around at Ray's, which was struggling with the competition from Helvetica. And by struggling I mean, nearly out of business and about to be converted to a billiards store. 

After a glorious exchange with Ray, in which he subtly slid in the Hannah-gave-him-a-failed-blowjob reveal, Shosh set out on scoping out the competition in order to figure out a re-branding that could help Ray's compete with the uber-hipster coffee shop.

This led to one of the funniest moments in the finale, as Shosh went to Helvetica "incognito" and ended up fielding found words that were thrown at her by the ultra-PC employees of the rival business for her "writing a found poem" cover story.

By the end of the finale, Shosh has succeeded in resounding fashion. Business is booming at Ray's, the New York Times Style section is stopping by to interview Hermie, and the two do an adorable little dance during closing time to celebrate the change of fortune.

Marnie/Desi/Ray

This was probably the only part of the finale that didn't sit right with me at all. After having a "love dream" about Ray (specifically about Ray-as-a-little-girl), in which she's combing out his long-luxurious hair, Marnie realized she was in love with Ray.

Or, at the very least, she decided that that's what the dream meant and ran with it.

Ray and Marnie's relationship was always one of those things that you either loved or hated in the series. Personally, I hate it.

These two are incredibly mismatched, and I was still holding out hope that Ray would either find someone more in tune with him (and more his age) or would reunite with Shosh down the road when she'd matured more.

Instead, perhaps in a reaction against Desi's newfound relationship with the unbearably peaceful Tandace, Marnie showed up at the tail-end of the first part of the finale to declare her love to Ray.

Except "declare" is really the wrong word here, isn't it?

Marnie: I had a love dream about you.
Ray: What the fuck is a love dream?
Marnie: I love you. It can't be you. It just... It can't. It can't be you.
Ray: I think it might be me, Marn. I really do.

Ugh. Just, ugh. 

After seeking Ray out to personally inform him of her impending divorce from Desi during "Hello Kitty," I can't say I didn't see this coming. Regardless, I hate it.

Based on how this scene unfolded, I also legitimately can't tell whether we're supposed to believe Marnie's love is genuine. I do completely believe that, for whatever inexplicable reason, Ray is in love with Marnie.

I don't quite believe that Marnie is in love with Ray. Mostly because she can't quite believe it either (see above quote).

Despite hating this development, and hating that all of the character development that Marnie would seem to have undergone during Girls Season 5 Episode 6, I'm very interested to see what's going to come of their relationship after being on tour together, along with Desi.

I also can't say that Marnie going after Ray immediately after saying she needed to be alone wasn't in character. This is very much a Marnie move.

Speaking of Desi: he is so unbearably gross. Getting a blowjob from that extremely young groupie was perhaps the most despicable thing we've seen all season. And this is a show in which the main character is Hannah freakin' Horvath, so that's saying something.

Adam and Jessa

The cracks that began to appear while Adam and Jessa were taking care of baby Sample during Laird's break caused the whole foundation to crumble during the finale.

Beyond Jessa's mild disdain (or, at the very least, profound indifference) towards babies, her inability to stop obsessing over Hannah hating the two of them really got to Adam.

This was one of those situations where you can't truly blame either of them – sure, Adam was being insensitive, but as far as he knew, Hannah and Jessa weren't that good of friends to begin with. So he had no problem proclaiming that Hannah is out of their lives forever.

Apparently, Adam was very wrong about that.

Y'know, people hate me. I'm a hateable kind of person. I don't know why, I can't help it, maybe it's because I have a big ass and good hair but I know, I know that I have principles and one thing I don't do is steal people's boyfriends. But you ruin that. Don't you see that?! I'll never forgive you. I will NEVER forgive you for that. We could die in the same bed and I will never forgive you.

Jessa

This scene was great for so many reasons. It was one of the strongest of the finale, and of the season as a whole.

Both Jemima Kirke and Adam Driver are great actors and they played off of one another beautifully in this brutal exchange. The characters of Jessa and Adam are both fiery and passionate. So this scene wasn't truly surprising.

The brutality of it was a little shocking, admittedly. They ultimately destroyed the entire apartment in a massive, drag-out fight, which was an excellent call-back to the beginning of the season when Jessa claimed that they would destroy one another.

As much as I enjoyed this pairing, Jessa's condemnation of Adam, her admittance that she'd never forgive him for making her a boyfriend-stealer and causing the rift between her and Hannah, was wonderful. Each of the characters has had their moment this season, the moment that forced the audience to feel for these flawed, complicated humans. This was Jessa's.

Jessa's distress over realizing that Hannah would likely never speak to her again was heartbreaking, and it was real. This scene humanized Jessa more than the previous five seasons of aloof bitchiness combined did.

Of course, these two ended their fight by having sex amidst the wreckage (so fitting), so it seems as though a straightforward breakup is not going to work for these two, next season.

Hannah

Finally, our "hero" (for lack of a better word), Hannah Horvath.

Hannah had a great arc this season, cutting loose a man who, on paper, appeared perfect, but was ultimately not perfect for her. And ultimately, she was right. Fran was kind of a dick.

If you have any doubt about whether we are meant to believe Fran is a jerk, kindly go back and rewatch the very first scene of the finale. Those were not the words of a man we are meant to sympathize with.

In the first part of the finale, Hannah spent her time with Tally Schifrin, her old friend-nemesis-classmate who we've met earlier in the series. Tally, a successful author, served as a living reminder of all the ways Hannah believed she's failed as a human, as a writer, etc.

Tally encouraged Hannah to cut loose, during the finale, and in doing so they both opened up to one another.

Tally [about Jessa]: Yeah, I mean, from what I remember, she has really amazing hair.
Hannah: She has amazing hair, she's an amazing person. She's just not a person I can have in my life right now. And the worst part is, like, I miss them both, you know? I love them both so much, I don't know who to warn about the other one. And I could do what my instinct is, which is run around and destroy things and scream and try to throw myself in front of a van to make a point but end of the day, that would just be me fulfilling all of their expectations of me and I would love to surprise someone sometimes.

Hannah, notably, confessed that she'd just dated Fran to get over Adam, who was the only man she's ever really loved (ouch). Tally, for her part, admitted that she had her own struggles, and that being a successful writer wasn't as sunshiney and blissful as Hannah imagined it was.

I need to see how other people see me, because it's the only way that I can see myself.

Tally

This scene was easily the best of the first half of the finale. Great performances by guest star Jenny Slate (who is fabulous, as always) and by Lena Dunham. I am truly thankful that they didn't undercut the power of that scene by having them decide to spontaneously sleep together.

This breakthrough with Tally (and subsequent run-in with Adam and Jessa, which was awkward for them, and hilarious for an extremely stoned Tally and Hannah) was the first part of Hannah's healing process.

The second part occurred during the later half of the finale, in which Hannah's storyline revolved around her preparations for a performance at The Moth, a storytelling competition.

Sure, there were brief humorous moments during this sequence – like Loreen telling an impassioned story about the girl who stole her own boyfriend in college getting hit by a car and dying (and wishing the same on Jessa) and Elijah putting her name in the bag twice – but for the most part, the scene was played completely straight.

Going in, that scene could have gone many different ways, and I'd considered all of them. Hannah could have bombed the performance, giving an awkward speech and being uncomfortably clapped off the stage. I wouldn't put it past her.

Instead, this scene was a moment of triumph for Hannah. Despite how you feel about her, it's easy to admit that the situation she's found herself in is a pretty crappy one.

For that reason, Hannah's catharsis is an incredibly relatable and fantastic moment, and the best way to cap off the season.

I'm Hannah forever. No matter what I do, no matter whether I start a new nuclear missile crisis with my emotions, or I sit back and chill and give someone a fruit basket, I can only control the mayhem that I create around me. But the crazy thing is, when I showed up, I heard screaming and I heard my name and I heard madness. And I knew that I was free. At least for tonight. That's all. Thank you.

Hannah

Other thoughts:

  • One of the Helvetica employees is played by Lena Dunham's sister, Grace Dunham, who identifies as genderqueer. If there was any doubt that the political correctness jabs were tongue-in-cheek, I think that information would probably settle it.
  • Hermie taking the anti-hipster theme at Ray's far too seriously was hilarious.
  • Marnie being unable to orgasm unless she's having sex with someone she hates was a fantastic detail. As was Elijah being aware of this fact, for some reason.
  • I, like Adam, was fearful that Laird had ran off intending to go get high in the aftermath of Caroline's disappearance, so I really appreciated that they specifically showed Adam checking Laird carefully to be sure he was high before handing over the baby. Adam's love for that baby is maybe the best thing about this whole damn season.
  • Tad going to visit the man he went on a date with earlier in the season was lovely. The looks they exchanged! Oh my goodness. Heartwarming.
  • The closing montage was flawless, as we panned around to see all of the characters as they ended the season. What a great wrap-up and summary of where things have ended up.

What did you think of the finale? Chime in and leave your thoughts in the comments below and remember to watch Girls online to relive this season!

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Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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Girls Season 5 Episode 9 Quotes

Tally [about Jessa]: Yeah, I mean, from what I remember, she has really amazing hair.
Hannah: She has amazing hair, she's an amazing person. She's just not a person I can have in my life right now. And the worst part is, like, I miss them both, you know? I love them both so much, I don't know who to warn about the other one. And I could do what my instinct is, which is run around and destroy things and scream and try to throw myself in front of a van to make a point but end of the day, that would just be me fulfilling all of their expectations of me and I would love to surprise someone sometimes.

Dill, I know you would never admit this to yourself, but don't you want to be with somebody who sees you for you? Beyond all this. I'm the only person who's gonna be honest with you about your bad jokes and the fact that, no, you don't look better with a shaved head. And if you say your private life is private and go and see Cher in Las Vegas, that's not the same thing as coming out of the closet. But all those guys you have around, all those fucking guys you just have... they're only going to tell you what you want to hear, and they're going to cater to you because of your fame and the stuff that you have. I don't want your stuff. You're going to end up with nothing, and you deserve everything. Dill, don't you want to be with someone who sees you for you? Don't you want a boyfriend-someone? Who's honest?

Elijah