Girls Season 2 Finale Review “Together”

Here we are. It’s the end of a tumultuous season for Girls, one that’s experimented wildly, and, recently, went to some dark, dark places. All of this is why “Together” feels so out of place as a finale. It’s an episode that ends in a rom-com swell of music and emotions, but presents characters (possibly excluding Shoshanna) reaching points that feel starting over in the worst possible way. But even now just thinking about it, I’m talking myself in and out of liking the way this season ended.

Here are the two opinions that are battling it out inside my head. The first, which results in my liking the episode overall, means processing the way this episode ended in a less-than-pleasant way. Marnie and Hannah have both taken pretty sharp turns for the worse in this season, over however long it’s been since they moved apart, basically. And so it makes dramatic sense to provide a respite in the season finale, and it makes thematic sense, in the world of Girls, that they provide themselves with that respite in the most harmful ways possible. Neither Charlie nor Adam are the best boyfriends around, for very different reasons, and both couples reverting back to where they were at the start of season one is, from my point of view, a depressing turn. It’s a sign that neither girl has really made any move towards maturity. (Unlike Shoshanna, who I think actually showed show some level of development in this finale.)

But given the way the end section of the episode was put together, that interpretation seems a little charitable. I have a lot of trust in Lena Dunham and the writers of Girls, enough that I know that they know that nothing that happened here was really all that great for the characters. But if I’m just given the episode itself, there’s nothing in there to suggest a reading beyond that of “this is a happy, rom-com ending.” The sequence with Adam running shirtless through Manhattan while Facetiming with Hannah was particularly egregious. The whole thing could (and should) have been ridiculous, embarrassing and horrible and kind of disgusting (imagine being on that subway car), but the music and editing said it was supposed to be a pure romantic gesture, and that just made the whole thing feel cheap.

And so, in the end, “Together” as a whole feels cheap to me, and I can’t really say I love it. Girls has produced some excellent episodes of TV this season (episode four, with the dinner party, and the one at Jessa’s dad’s house both stand out to me as the best), and I expect season three will give us at least a few more of the same. I just wish we didn’t pause out on such a weird, inconsistent note, one that feels like the show lost the courage of its convictions.