Girls Gives Us an Atypical Series Finale

The episode's title is so literal, but says so much
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2017 7:51 AM CDT
Girls Gives Us an Atypical Series Finale
This image released by HBO shows Lena Dunham in a scene from "Girls."   (Craig Blankenhorn/HBO via AP)

What does Hannah Horvath, the "voice of a generation," have to say in the final episode of HBO's Girls, which aired Sunday night? Some of what you'd expect. (Stop here if you don't want spoilers.) The show's end introduces us to her newborn, Grover, who she's struggling to breastfeed and to whom she lobs some classic Hannah lines ("You think you're the first man who's rejected this? Well, think again!"). And yet what it gave us was, in the eyes of critics, somewhat unexpected. Some takes:

  • The final scene—a literal manifestation of the episode's title, "Latching"—"may or may not be the closing statement you wanted from Girls," writes James Poniewozik for the New York Times. But he for one seems pleased: with the episode's humor, with Lena Dunham's "remarkable" growth as an actor, with the pacing with which the series wrapped up loose ends. "Hannah has become an author, become a teacher, become a parent. But she also—like all of us—will never stop becoming. ... You triumph and screw up, you succeed and backslide. You walk on, pantless and unbowed," he writes.
  • An odd closing statement it was, notes Willa Paskin at Slate, calling it "a just-okay episode lacking all the typical trappings of a finale." But that's OK. The last scene for her was "a baby step forward. It's a testament to all the (better) episodes of this excellent, trying, fascinating show that in the next episode, which we’ll never get to see, we still know exactly what happens: Hannah inevitably takes a step back."

  • The main elements of the episode—Hannah, her baby, being upstate—were what Joshua Alston was anticipating, but he was "initially underwhelmed" all the same, he writes at the AV Club. He calls it a "bold ending" that feels more like a season finale, "like a complete thought with an ellipsis at the end." But it ends on a memorable note. "What [Dunham] does with her face in the final few seconds is astonishing."
  • Writing for Vulture, Kathryn VanArendonk has a few quibbles, but like many other critics, sees nice literal and figurative ties between how the series ended and how it began, and what it's been about all along: "whether Hannah could detach. ... Doing so is maturity, Girls has seemed to suggest. Maturity is independence and autonomy, and reliance on no one. And so now, at the end, irony of ironies, the thing Hannah needs most is to help her son latch."
(More Girls (HBO show) stories.)

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