The ‘Girls’ Season 6 Finale: We Used to Be Friends

Growing up, moving on.


The girls of GIRLS were never a group of best friends. They — Hannah, Jessa, Marnie and Shoshanna — were four young women bound to one another by proximity, nostalgia, history, convenience and because there’s no surviving New York City alone. They used each other: Jessa used Shoshanna for her apartment, Shoshanna used Jessa for her social life, Marnie used Hannah to refuel her self-esteem and Hannah used all three as an audience for her breathless soliloquy.

I think we use certain friends and friendships more than we speak about. People come into our lives for a season, a reason or a lifetime, as my mom likes to remind me. Though it sounds cold and crass, some friends are transitional, there to guide us from a sore spot to clarity, there to remind us of home or keep us from feeling alone, there to explore new terrain with, to be mutually beneficial emotional punching bags, to meet new people, to have someone to come back to, to ground us, if only for a bit.

Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Soshanna should have quit using one another years earlier. They should have let their toxic friendships fade and found new support systems. But to state the obvious, there would be no Girls without the girlsThe solo episodes never seemed to hit quite as deeply as scenes similar to Shoshanna’s bathroom sermon. And so they stayed. Their disjointed, superficial “group,” the bad relationship that you refuse to leave because loneliness seems a far scarier fate than misery. Like Marnie admitted to Hannah’s mom in the final episode, none of them felt that it was their time to be happy. It was on the horizon — it had to be. Why else would they keep going? For six seasons it was as though they were all waiting for their lives to start, and until they crossed the bridge, they walked in a formidable, arm-in-arm fortress of young female friendship.

There’s always safety in numbers.

Shoshanna was the first one to accept that the spell had long been broken. She stopped seeking refuge from the group, took a risk and engaged with other characters. It took an isolating sabbatical in Japan to feel what lonely really meant — and that even at her most despondent, she was fine without Hannah and company. An auxiliary character designed for comedic relief whose larger role wrote itself when the cast needed a female rock, Shoshanna’s “enlightenment” shouldn’t have been the surprise that it was for so many fans. As the mascot, it was her job to keep the team together, but how can you when the players make it impossible? She had to move on or she’d sink. Soshanna crossed the bridge of delayed adolescence, independent of the Girls, and moved on with her adult life.

What no one anticipated is that Hannah would be next. A newborn will do that to you, as I have learned from my friends with kids. Schedules get complicated. Attitudes pivot. Proximity widens. Convenience is gone and priorities shift. Not all friendships wither because of it, but not all friendships survive, either. Less fucks about “the drama” are given and reality becomes, well, a reality.

When Hannah’s baby, Grover, finally latches on to her in the final scene, and for one rare, ephemeral moment everything is at peace, she experiences what Shoshanna was trying to explain: that entire worlds exists beyond the universe as you know it.

Photo via HBO.

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  • Nat Ch

    I like this as a closure to the series… I’m gonna miss these Girls a lot! They were MY disfunctional distant crazy friends too :'(

  • MG

    The finale was so perfectly Hannah and Marnie at their most cringe-worthy.

    • Amelia Diamond

      yea it would have been weird if they were any other way

      • MG

        When Marnie was singing and driving I thought, I cannot wait to see what everyone on MR has to say about this tomorrow.

    • Stephanie

      I think I’m in the minority on actually liking the final episode, but I agree the episode was just a perfect farewell to what in my opinion were the two main characters of the show.

  • CarolLucy

    Beautifully written.

  • Grace B

    Didn’t like it.

  • ES

    Do we think Hannah and Marnie will continue to be friends in the coming years?

    I think they’ll try, but I’d love to hear y’all’s thoughts.

    Ps – This is a lovely post, Amelia 🙂

    • Amelia Diamond

      I think they will. They’re both too ingrained in one another’s lives.

      • Katia Luyo Angeles

        That’s the thing about their friendship. They’re almost sisters, with all the good and bad that entails. Because of it, I believe that might be the only friendship that lasts.

    • Lil

      I believe they will too. Episode 9 was great because it showed that you just have to let certain people go, wish them well, and not look back. Whereas episode 10’s beauty lies in the fact that if you’re lucky, at least one friendship will endure. The HBO commentary also has Lena Dunham saying how she loves the scene where she comes back pantless and instead of being angry, Marnie and her mom just welcome her back with no questions asked. And Dunham goes on to say how that’s real love.

  • Lauren

    I GET the final episode, but i also hated it.

    • pamb

      I felt like Shoshanna’s engagement party was the real final episode (other recappers did, too) so I was curious what this episode would bring. It was fine, but if they hadn’t done it, I wouldn’t have complained.

      • Brigitte

        Totally agree! From the dramaturgical point of view episode 9 would have been the better last episode. nevertheless i was glad to get an extended goodbye from GIRLS…

        • Squeegee

          I think the next to last episode did a really excellent job of explaining how the leads resolved their relationship to each other and the men in their lives.
          Then the last episode was like an epilogue which explained the direction Hannah took and how she came to terms with herself. And while it may seem like a trite way to end the series it is in fact parenthood that turns everything on its head for young people and refocuses and balances their lives.

  • me

    ~ ““Girls” is a story of becoming. Hannah has become an author, become a teacher, become a parent. But she also — like all of us — will never stop becoming. Nothing stops being a struggle. No one stops growing up. You triumph and screw up, you succeed and backslide. You walk on, pantless and unbowed.” (h/t NYT review)

    This reminded me of Leandra (her penchant for pantless-ness).

    And every one of us, really ….

    • Amelia Diamond

      oh i love that!

  • starryhye

    I know I was being naive thinking that once Hannah had a baby, she’d grow up a bit. After 6 seasons you’d think I’d know better! The scene where Hannah was stomping around the house yelling at her mother was typical Hannah. Any real person’s mother would grab them by the shoulders and shake them after that little tirade.

    The only thing I really enjoyed about this final episode was how it started exactly as the first; Hannah and Marnie spooning 🙂

  • nikilips

    Can’t wait for the “reunion” movie in 5 years!

  • Kattigans

    I watched my first episode of girls back in the summer going into my junior year of college. I’d just moved into a house with 9 of my best friends. We crammed around, watched the episode in our makeshift living room, and were immediately fascinated. It was like the SATC for US and I knew this show was gonna be good. Flash forward, 5 years later and I closed out watching the series in my very own apartment the day after moving into it. Seems only fitting that I finished with GIRLS as a new chapter of my life unfolds. And, I have to hand it to Jenni, Lena and Judd. The series didn’t always have the best episodes, however as whole it really holds a dear, dear place in my heart. A lot of the episodes have weirdly coincided with events in my life that the characters are also experiencing. Well done on this piece, Amelia!

  • Lillian

    This felt very much like an epilogue but I liked it. The shouting match with her mom fills me with so much anxiety. Rewatching it, the emotions feels so real and for a second funny when she dresses in the worst tucked in zip-up hoodie and presumes the driver of the car thinks she’s a hooker. hahaha. Would have loved to see them tackle postpartum depression rather than breastfeeding, but I guess it’s only a 30 minute episode. Sad to see it go 🙁

  • Anna Praxitelous

    love the article! especially the part about the fact that some friends are there for a season, reason or true. i am not sure about the last episode i think i secretly wished that all characters would meet again find a ‘fairytale’. it takes a while to accept when things really end. everything flows nothing remains.

    • Mariana

      I secretly think all of us want a fairytale-ish happy ending, because our life is just enough for “real stuff”. But in the era of social media, where all I can see in my feed is great trips, great marriages, great friendships, great jobs, great everything… is not just refreshing but necessary to have REAL struggles happen in television.

  • Katherine Sargeant

    This is a gr8 take. This season had awesome moments and tidbits but in hindsight, I would have been okay with the series ending with that shot of Hannah running after her Moth reading to I Love You, Baby.

    • Ché Hot Chocolate

      I actually agree. But I enjoyed this season so it’s just as well.

  • Katia Luyo Angeles

    Honestly, I felt like this episode wasn’t necessary, if anything it felt like an epilogue, which is nice. Feeling surprised and outraged by Hannah’s behaviour for the last time as if I didn’t know better was fun. You think newborns change you, but that sort of enlightenment sadly doesn’t happen to everyone. Sometimes it takes time, if it ever happens. The fact that Marnie was trying to compensate or feel needed also says a lot of where her character is. But the fact that moms are mostly always going to be there was a nice way to end the show. The Girl, The Girl’s Closest Friend and The Girl’s Mother. Says a lot of who usually ends up as a constant in your life right?

    ps. Actually I think Hannah’s enlightenment moment happened when she found out that teenager had run away from her mom. The breastfeeding part was patience and perseverance fueled by that moment. Loved the article Amelia <3

  • Teri Giese

    A few notable things about the last episode.As a Mom of grown daughters and children of their own;if I lived within a close proximity to any of my daughters;and KNEW how problematic being a new mom was for her;I would have been there from the babys birth.Been there myself,had no mom,nor best friend.But…I was “ready”?.Was a single Mom also.So,was odd to me that Marnie was there and not the Mom.BUT,Marnie needed to feel needed?Think because of their dynamic;Hannah KNEW Marnie needed to be needed,which subconsciously did not allow Hannah to just roll with things.Let nature do its thing.Having Marnie there,was causing her to feel as she did.That the baby “hated” her.Part of me thinks Marnie in some wierd way,felt validated,the more frustrated Hannah became.They are like sisters,and very,”ying and yang”.They will stay friends for that reason.As well as Hannahs moment of clarity in dealing with the young girl.She “got” motherhood.So,was an ok ending,expected some dramatic twist,like Marnie adopting Hannahs’baby or something.

    • Mariana

      This was one of the episodes in which I get Marnie the most.

      Who here has never postponed her/his happiness because wondered that it was not the time for that, because something bigger had to be taken care of, don’t know where to go next (and postponed a decision) or just because thought that did not really deserve it?

    • bb222

      I think they said that she had already been there (baby is 6 weeks right?) and it was stressful.

  • doublecurl

    wait are Ray & Aidy a real thing that we’re left with in conclusion here?!

    • Amelia Diamond


  • Marina Corrêa de Moraes

    I had the feeling that this article was finished in the middle, but I got the point (or half point).

  • Barbara Ela

    wise musings on nature of most friendships…as I get on years I tend to cultivate relationships with people that I can be myself. People who have wisdom to share, and who listen. Generosity and honesty are important to both parties involved.

  • saba

    Thank you Amelia. This makes me want to send this reading to the girls I know, who now I’ve had between 4-10 years of friendship with. And who all live away from me, literally in different continents. And with whom I am trying to stay in numbers, since I left home 3 years ago.

  • Squeegee

    This show fell apart because it tried too hard to follow the separate lives of the four leads and then took it a step further and tried also following the separate lives of other characters in particular several of the men. It was just too much to condense into a half hour format in a show that didn’t have that many episodes and the result was abrupt story lines and characters that seemed more like parodies of themselves than real people.
    I do think what the show did best is focus on the conundrum of liberal arts graduates thrust into the world without any practical job skills and finding that once the parental support system is gone things can get very ugly very quickly.

  • Squeegee

    Also as a side note I only caught Sex in the City in its final season but caught myself constantly comparing the two shows as Girls was a much more brutal take on life after college and for young women in particular negotiating everything from sex to making money to dealing with each other.
    It reminded me on so many levels why Sex in the City never really had any basis in reality from their sex lives to their apartments to never any real discussion of issues with money and having so much free time to spend with each other and to enjoy the city that isn’t the reality for anyone quite frankly.

  • Paul York

    I could not help but notice the Brown baby in the last episode. The surfer was ethnic, but that baby was not his spawn. Too bad the other dysfunctionals were not included in the final go around. It should have ended with something truly awful and shocking, just as life begins to kick in around those years and it will never the same for any of them.

  • Ché Hot Chocolate

    Amelia, this is so well written.