“Together”, the tenth episode of Girls Season Two and the season finale, took a surprising twist that evoked emotion and left the audience satisfied. For the first time, Lena Dunham gave the viewers their happy ending. The way she accomplished this continues to show how fearless and brilliant she is. She did it in the vein of David O. Russell’s Silver Linings Playbook, where boy gets girl in the end, but a sophisticated audience forgives the happy ending, because it’s done so gracefully.
The episode opens on Shoshanna doing something that typically takes more nerve and maturity than her character has shown in the past. She breaks up with Ray, rather than continue to lead him on and, ultimately, cheat on him. Ray is devastated, but deep down he must realize that his relationship with Shoshanna would never have worked. With a ten-year age difference, the two are in completely different places in their lives. Ray is also a victim of Shoshanna’s lack of experience. Now that she has had her first relationship, she realizes she wants to explore and that there are so many other men in the world for her to meet. In essence, Shoshanna needs to sow her oats, and Ray has become an obstacle to her being able to do so. This scene also allowed for some evolution in Shoshanna’s character. By ending her relationship with Ray, she has allowed herself more freedom and is less uptight.
The next part of the episode focuses on Charlie and Marnie. Over a late morning brunch, Marnie says that she thinks she and Charlie are now dating. Charlie falls silent and Marnie thinks that Charlie’s lack of agreement infers he is only interested in sleeping with her. She storms out of the restaurant and Charlie follows her. Realizing that she has nothing left to lose, Marnie tells Charlie, “I want you. I know I’m a mess, but I want you. I want to see you every morning. I want to make you a snack every night and, eventually, I want to have your little brown babies and, eventually I want to watch you die.” As a viewer, I found Charlie’s response to Marnie’s candor quite unexpected. He tells her that’s all he ever wanted to hear. He also tells her he’s always loved her and he keeps coming back because he loves her. It’s a beautiful moment and a satisfying one. All season Marnie needed to figure out what she truly wanted. Once she realized that what she really needed was already right in front of her, she was able to let her guard down and be honest for once. What resulted was a reconciliation between two people who most audience members had been rooting for all season.
The primary storyline of the season finale revolves around Hannah and her continuing breakdown. Her EBook deadline looms, but she’s unable to write anything and sees her golden opportunity slipping away. As I predicted last week, Marnie finally decides to reach out to Hannah and, when she comes to check on her, Hannah hides. Whether it’s because she is too embarrassed for anyone to see her in her current state or because she’s still angry with Marnie is unclear. But the result is that the reunion between Hannah and Marnie never happens and the season closes with their friendship still in jeopardy. As a writer, Dunham needed to leave one of her storylines hanging in the balance. Otherwise, there’d be nothing for the viewer to be anxious about in the opening of Season Three.
When Hannah begins to feel all is lost, she places a desperate, last-minute call to Jessa and tells her she needs her. Realizing she will not hear back from Jessa, at least not anytime in the near future, she then dials Adam. It is a moment of utter despair. Adam picks up and they somehow end up on Apple FaceTime where he can see Hannah twitching. Adam realizes Hannah is suffering from her Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and he tells her not to move and that he’s coming. Hannah ignores her instincts to hang up and stays on the line with Adam, watching him as he travels to her. Then in one of the most romantic gestures I’ve seen, Adam, who is not even wearing a shirt, runs down the sidewalks of Brooklyn and down the stairs into the subway. He finally reaches Hannah’s apartment and breaks down the door and then sweeps her into his arms. The entire sequence, from Adam running through the streets while still looking at his phone and then busting her door down is unbelievably poetic.
In an interview about her show Girls, Dunham has said that her Executive Producer, Judd Apatow, often gives her notes that read do not be afraid of emotion in your writing. Dunham doesn’t shy away from emotion in her Season Two finale. In fact she embraces it, and she creates a new cultural icon of the romantic gesture. No moment like this has been shown in recent cinema or television. It is a send up of the classic scene from the 1989 film, Say Anything, where John Cusack’s character, Lloyd Dobler, stands in the rain with a boom box over his head and plays a song for his girlfriend. I’m not surprised that the person who creates a scene that outshines one of the 1980’s most memorable moments is Lena Dunham. She just gave the Millennial Generation its own moment in pop culture history and cemented her place in the television medium. It is no wonder, Girls is coming back for a third season. Simply stated, it’s just that good.