It’s day three of the worst sinus infection of my life, so I’m thinking these painful peaks and valleys in my ol’ head are optimum circumstances for viewing the Girls Season Four finale. Seriously—and give this a hard thought—how many storylines did we have to wrap up last night? Between Marnie’s engagement, Hannah’s gay dad, Jessa’s completely out-of-character crush, Mimi-Rose Howard and everything between, it’s pretty easy to forget this season started with Hannah clashing with her writers’ workshop classmates.
Girls produced some heartbreaking scenarios all season. I was glued to the whole Adam/Hannah drama. Discovering Hannah’s dad is gay felt very relevant in 2015. But unlike the show’s first two seasons, “Home Birth” was maybe the best example so far that, while the Girls team has been great at making us feel lots of feelings, the repercussions have been treated as afterthoughts.
Like—Hannah up and quit school before the middle of the season. She returned to New York, found a sub job and the whole situation was never mentioned again. Hannah’s dad announced he was gay, and aside from a little shopping trip with Elijah, that storyline fizzled out right until the end of the episode where Loreen—mean as ever—berated Tad with her daughter on the line. We haven’t followed Laird and Caroline all season, but they somehow commanded the final episode because we didn’t already have enough going on. Which makes it both a relief and kind of worrying that Girls is for-sure coming back for another season. On one hand, we (hopefully) get to see these things tied up. On another, this iffy finale made for a rough, self-contained season. Aside from getting a reaction, why are we doing all of this? So many scenarios support themselves episodically to prove a point, but they don’t make any sense in the bigger picture.
But the big theme coursing through “Home Birth” was the independence of all of our Girls. After being offered a job in Japan, we finally see Shoshanna reject those thoughts of partnering up for the sake of being a wife. Which is a relief to see in her, especially when her own satisfaction came from helping Ray win his campaign. Marnie played a solo show after Desi abandoned her. Although, if we’re being honest, this couldn’t have been that foreign to Marnie. Caroline keeps insisting that she’s going to give birth all by herself, and, thus, winds up in the hospital.
Girls season finales have always excelled at tying up old stories and kicking off new ones, and there’s no exception here. In fact, it feels a little overdone. Hannah and Adam are standing over a newborn when Hannah drives a nail in the coffin of her relationship with Adam, who just admitted his relationship with Mimi-Rose Howard is over. I can’t tell you how happy I’ll be to never type that name again.
“I don’t know where I’ve been, but I’m here now,” Adam said. And doesn’t that make you think of a certain Season Two finale? You know, the glory days when he didn’t wear shirts and said: “I’ve always been here”? But the outcomes were completely different. And honestly? After everything everyone’s been through this season? I didn’t feel bad for the guy when he tried to reconcile and Hannah tearfully shook her head and told him no. And maybe it’s because we’ve only been given a hint of Adam’s own longing for Hannah, or maybe it’s because this whole thing has been dragged out over the course of the whole season, but when it’s finally done for Adam and Hannah, I’m pretty relieved.
And then the episode ends (six months later!) with Hannah kissing the man named Fran (Jake Lacy), whose paper-thin relationship exists on the strength of a back rub during Hannah’s panic attack. And Shoshanna’s going to Tokyo. And Caroline has a baby. And Hannah’s mom still hates Hannah’s dad. Here’s hoping that Girls’ next season exists not only to conjure shock and awe, but to also tell a story that we can stick with through the end of the season.
Tyler is a writer at Paste. His only experience with Girls comes thanks to HBO. You can follow him on Twitter.