As with the end of most episodes of Girls, its Season 2 finale, “Together,” leaves us with more answers than questions: Should Hannah and Adam have been reunited after that shameful potential rape scene last week? Is Adam really in a position to help Hannah? Why did Shoshanna and Ray have to break up? What’s the deal with Marnie and Charlie getting back together? Oh, and where did Jessa go (and did she get her vagina pierced)? Now that we’ve had 36 hours or so to let Sunday night’s finale sink in, we’ve dug up the best critical writing on the episode, tempering the surge of critical responses to highlight the most thought-provoking pieces.
On men saving the day
In this season’s final installment of Slate‘s “Guys on Girls,” David Haglund and Seth Stevenson ask the question, “Did men just save the day on Girls?” and answer it with a booming “yes,” as they talk about how Charlie saved Marnie from herself and Hannah called upon her dad and even Laird, before finally imploring Adam to rescue her. For Stevenson, it was all “a bit Freudian,” while Haglund observes that Hannah’s “picking-up-glass story…tied everything together: growing up, facing real problems, looking to men to solve them.” They also wonder about how legitimate the men are as heartthrobs in Girls, since “just last week, Adam was doing something really horrible,” and whether Marnie was only really after Charlie for money.
On Hannah’s decline
The Guardian asked four venerable lady writers – its own Erin McCann and Ruth Spencer, as well as BuzzFeed Shift editor Amy Odell and Jezebel founder Anna Holmes – to recount their surprises and disappointments of the season. This group of writers felt unanimously let down by Hannah’s descent to Cool Whip and Q-Tips, while other disappointments included the lack of penis shots, Shoshanna’s rebound “with a card-carrying member of the Aryan Nation” after her surprising break-up with Ray, and Charlie’s willingness to take Marnie back.
On Hannah and Adam’s reunion
Meredith Blake, a TV writer for the LA Times, argues that the season finale of Girls “suddenly — and not altogether convincingly — morphed” the series “into a romantic comedy.” In spite of its “kind of sweet” ending, Blake draws our attention to the problem of the show’s conclusion – namely that “the guy who only last week sexually humiliated and maybe even raped his sweet, pretty new girlfriend is, all of a sudden, a knight-in-shining-armor” – while mapping it onto the larger problem of a second season altogether riddled with “haphazard character development” and an “increasingly disjointed narrative.”
Salon‘s Willa Paskin suggests thinking about Season 2 of Girls as a “reaction to the intense vitriol and passion directed at the first season,” and laments the absence of “regular” girls on the show. In their place this season, the tropes of the crazy woman can be found; there’s Hannah’s OCD as well as the other girls’ increasing incorrigibility, and the show as a whole has become darker. Paskin observes, “Craziness as a way of legitimizing female characters is all over TV,” and she insists that “Hannah and her friends didn’t need darkness and disorder to be a legitimate subject — only the haters believed that what they were wasn’t enough, that their experience was uninteresting and unimportant and already overexplored and overrepresented” – ultimately arguing that the show itself was in a downward spiral.