Girls Finale: Hold Up — Is Hannah Finally Getting Her Life Together?

Image: Via HBO.
Girls is closing up shop for the season and we might actually be seeing some character growth this time around. For example: As "Love Stories" — part one of the two-part finale — kicks off, Hannah and Fran are back in the Brooklyn apartment, still doing the breakup dance. Hannah is placid, just trying to get him to leave her apartment with his stuff, while Fran has worked himself into a major lather, furious that Hannah won't even consider working things out.

But what's fascinating about this little spat is that Hannah isn't just listening to her gut: She's being logical about life and love — and the fact that she and Fran aren't a good fit. He seems to think that they should work it out just because it is, theoretically, possible. But rather than getting swept into that kind of thinking, Hannah sticks to her guns, realizing that they definitely don't belong together.

That's not the only revelation Hannah is having, either: Later that day, she heads to work to gather her things. Classes are still out for the summer, so there are no kids around, but she runs into Principal Toby and informs him that she's officially quitting. He seems to think this is the right move — and not just because of how inappropriate she's been during her teaching tenure: He informs Hannah that her joie de vivre is actually pretty inspiring and that he hopes she finds what she's looking for. Hannah apologizes for the pussy-flash incident; he accepts; and she leaves the school, presumably forever.

Once she's out of the door, though, Hannah gets a little melancholy, realizing that — for the first time in a while — she's without commitments, which is also to say that she's without anything to tether herself to and without direction. While this is running through her brain, she runs into an old college friend, Tallie (Jenny Slate), who has, thus far, accomplished the kind of life that Hannah once hoped to have herself: She's a prolific, well-known writer and essayist. Tallie has just returned from a writer's retreat and at first, it's hard to tell if she's going to be unbearable. Hannah gets roped into hanging out, since she admits she has nothing else to do, and they head off to lunch.
Image: Via HBO.
While Fran and Hannah were putting the final nails in their relationship coffin early that morning, Marnie was having a little catharsis of her own, which manifested as an orgasm while she was having a "love" dream about Ray. She tells Elijah on a walk later that in the dream, Ray had really long hair and she was brushing it. She woke up and wished it were real, which makes her think that maybe, there's still something unresolved between the two of them.

Elijah is having his own relationship ish: After Dill showed up at his apartment, drunk, they never talked about their fight or the aftermath. But Elijah is determined to prove to Dill that he should want to be in a monogamous relationship, so he marches into Dill's newsroom and demands that they have a conversation about their status. But the heartfelt, you-deserve-someone-who-likes-you-for-you talk backfires: Dill realizes that Elijah is right. He does want a boyfriend — just someone who is "less aimless," he explains, adding that it also might be good to date someone who is taller and his own age. Elijah is heartbroken.
Image: Via HBO.
Back in Brooklyn, Marnie meets up with Desi for a few minutes to talk about the next steps with their music. They have exactly eight minutes to chat before his girlfriend (Lisa Bonet) comes to grab him — that's the amount of "conflict-free" time she has allotted Desi to deal with his now ex-wife. Marnie doesn't seem hurt so much as annoyed, and is concerned about what it's going to do to their musical relationship.

At lunch with Tallie, Hannah gets confessional about everything that's gone on in the last couple of years: She explains that she's quit writing, that the love of her life (so far) is going out with her former best friend, and that she just has no idea what she's doing these days. Tallie is super nurturing and empathetic about it. When the women leave the restaurant, Tallie spots a bike that has been left unlocked and eggs Hannah on to take it — which, ultimately, she does. Together, they go for a long ride in Brooklyn, laughing and letting the wind blow in their hair.

They arrive back at Hannah's apartment and decide to smoke a joint and keep the hangout going. Ultimately, Tallie ends up confesses that all the fame and accolades have turned her into the kind of person who Googles herself daily and that she feels paralyzed by her success. It's like a light goes on for Hannah when she realizes that she's been envious of someone who has their own struggles — that everyone has them and that success is its own cross to bear. Stoned, the gals have their own little dance party, working out their stress by grooving to Beyoncé.

Later, when they emerge from the apartment, they run into Jessa and Adam, who are headed into Caroline and Laird's place with groceries. When Tallie sees them and realizes what's going on, she just starts giggling, which makes Hannah laugh; Adam and Jessa are confused at first and then stomp into the downstairs apartment, leaving Hannah and Tallie doubled-over on the stairs, taking in the absurdity that has become mid-20s life.

Oh, and Shosh? She's had a busy day, too, stopping by Ray's and then playing private detective when she sees how empty his coffeeshop is and decides to help. She stakes out the hip café across the street and realizes something: If Ray's place is going to succeed, it needs a new marketing angle. It needs to be the anti-hipster coffee spot for people who actually have jobs.
Image: Via HBO.
It's just crazy enough to maybe work — but it's definitely not the most insane turn of events in the episode: Marnie, unable to get the dream out of her head, arrives at Ray's apartment that evening. She tells him that even though she thinks she's supposed to be alone, she also thinks that she's supposed to be with him. She tells him that she wants to brush his hair and they end up kissing. Marnie confesses that she thinks she belongs with Ray. Turns out: He suspects the same thing.

Okay. Ready for part two? Almost to the finish line: It's "I Love You Baby" time.

Some time has passed between the episode on the stairs and the current moment: Hannah seems to be at least trying to get the juices flowing, running in the neighborhood and even writing a little bit. But she's also been a little bit reclusive, i.e. not returning calls from her parents, who take that as a sign to come see her, which Hannah's not pleased about. Until, of course, her mom suggests that they do a little shopping together. During the excursion, Hannah brightens a bit and tells her mom about everything that was going on between Jessa and Adam. But even though she acknowledges that it really sucks, she's also detached enough to see it for the mess it is without melting into a tear puddle in the dressing room. Point: Horvath.

While Hannah and her mom are shopping their feelings out, Tad is home hanging out on the couch. Elijah shows up at the apartment, on the end tail of a bender, and needing a parental shoulder to lean on. (Clearly, the Dill breakup has left him in a bit of a state). While he's snuggled up to Tad, Elijah gives this speech about seizing the moment. You can practically see the wheels start to turn in Tad's head — but, no, in case you became immediately weirded out, nothing happens with these two (even though it really does for a second seem like there could have been).

Meanwhile, Adam is still on dedicated uncle duty: Caroline hasn't been located. (Is it just me, or does no one seem appropriately worried about that?) Jessa has gotten slightly better with the baby — but not good enough for Adam, who feels like she's not taking enough care with how she handles the kiddo. They're also just not doing so hot as a couple: Jessa keeps bringing Hannah up in conversation with Adam, which is sort of like poking an already angry and rage-prone bear. And indeed, the whole Hannah issue does boil over — we'll get to that in a few.

A couple that is doing well though? Marnie and Ray, who are spending a morning basking in post-coital snuggle glow. Marnie is going on a tour to promote her new record, and invites Ray to come along, as her lover/roadie. Because Ray likes to feel useful, and because who wants their new boo to go running off with her ex-husband for weeks at a time solo, he says yes. Besides, Ray tells Marnie: He can afford to take some time off, now that Shoshanna is running the show at the coffeeshop.

And running it she is — things are really taking off, now that the shop has instituted an anti-hipster policy. Now, Ray's is a place where people are actually coming to drink coffee and not just chill. Man buns have been banned. The New York Times style section even wants to come and check out this new philosophy that seems to be performing so brilliantly. (Great. Another Brooklyn trend story from The Gray Lady.) Things are definitely looking up.

For Hannah, too: All that shopping had an endgame. Hannah gets gussied up and — along with her mom and Elijah (Tad ends up heading into the city to meet his old friend the high-end boot dealer) — heads into the city to submit her name at The Moth reading series. The theme for the evening is jealousy, and she definitely has a little something she can contribute to that. Coincidentally enough, Hannah's name gets pulled to share her story, so she climbs up onstage and launches into — what else — the my-best-friend-is-fucking-my-ex-boyfriend anecdote. And honestly it's.... great. No, seriously.

Hannah, for the first time in a long time, is suddenly an improved version of herself, funny and charmingly self-deprecating and smart. She talks about how Adam and Jessa got together — and then reveals something new to everyone listening, including all Girls finale audiences in attendance. Turns out: She is finally starting to let go of her attachment to that whole shitty love triangle. "I wasn't angry," Hannah explains about how she felt after finding out that Jessa and Adam were together. "I was sad about what they thought I knew I was." Which is to say: someone who would go to pieces over the fact that her best friend and boyfriend got together.

And of course, that is what they thought — but it's also clear that, as much as both Adam and Jessa might prefer, they are never going to be able to escape the way that Hannah takes up space in their relationship. While Hannah is getting ready to go read at The Moth in Manhattan, Jessa and Adam are erupting into an epic fight back at his apartment. After Laird comes to collect the baby (who, by the way, Adam is adorably attached to at this point) Jessa brings up Hannah, full knowing that it's going to make Adam angry; Adam responds by telling her that Hannah is no longer a part of their lives.

That's when the worst of their pent-up rage comes spilling out: Jessa tells Adam that Hannah will always come first; that it's his fault that Jessa became the kind of person who stole a best friend's boyfriend; that she would never choose Adam over Hannah. Adam completely loses his cool and starts breaking things, throwing a lamp, punching the glass of a framed poster. Instead of just getting out of there, Jessa pulls the same stunts, pushing over a bookshelf and just generally going on destruction mode. Eventually, Jessa barricades herself in the bathroom. Adam punches through the door, and their screaming continues.

Hannah actually hears at least part of this: When she's telling her story at The Moth, we find out that she had actually dropped by Adam's place earlier on in the evening, to offer up a peace offering fruit basket. (Weird? Yes. Well-intended? Double yes.) But when she got there, she heard her name come up, and all the yelling from inside, so she just left the basket and walked away.

Turns out, that was all she ever really needed: to have the ability to set down what she could contribute, and then walk away from it all. Adam and Jessa have to be the one to sort of that mess and untangle whatever is going on between them; Hannah is not going to be a part of it, and that's a good thing — for everyone, but especially for her. Its's time to let go — and finally, start to move forward.

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