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‘Girls’ Matures Toward a Satisfying Final Season

HBO’s Girls returns for its sixth and final season on Sunday night, quickly setting aside any nerves for waning quality in this quietly great series.

Fear not lovers of Season 5 of Girls.

It’s been widely acknowledged that the quality of the fifth season of Girls was a surprise. The show has always had its devoted fans. After the first season, it felt like Lena Dunham’s comedy struggled to find its identity as much as its central female foursome. The writing and performances of the latest season of Girls allowed us to watch these women mature before our eyes. It became insanely watchable and a great swan song.

I admit that I was nervous for the season premiere of the sixth and final season. Would it be a letdown since its previous season was so strong? Fear not. These ladies seem to be on a steady and solid track, so we can hope that the quality sustains until we say goodbye.

Girls
(Photo: HBO)

Some of the best episodes of the entire series occur when the main cast isolate themselves from one another. People took notice when Dunham had a dalliance with Patrick Wilson, and, more recently, when Allison Williams’ Marnie reconnected with her ex-boyfriend in Season 5. While Girls doesn’t solely focus on Hannah (we do meet up with the other ladies), her story line with Riz Ahmed highlights the premiere.

After Hannah finally gets an article published in The New York Times, she takes an assignments in The Hamptons to observe a surf camp. They want her to sort of be a fish out of water and make (presumably) mean commentary on the women who go to the beach and trade yoga for surfing with younger men. In true Hannah fashion, she gives up mid-way through her first lesson but attracts instructor Paul-Louis. They drink a lot (“I can without becoming an alcoholic,” he tells her) and spending the night together. He seems happy with his life, but Hannah has always been looking to move–or at least appear that she’s ambitious.

While the premiere succeeds with providing great chemistry for Dunham and Ahmed (there’s also a great sight gag with Jemima Kirke naked on a couch in front of a horrified Alex Karpovsky), the second episode sort of settles melodramatic hipster hysterics. The marriage of Desi and Marnie rears its ugly head when Hannah accompanies the pair on an inevitably disastrous trip. I mean, come on, who ever thought that’d be a good idea. As Desi, Ebon Moss-Bachrach looks like the result of a Shia LaBeouf performance piece. There’s enough to love in these first two episodes. Andrew Rannells (my personal MVP from last season) is somehow bitchier and more aggressive.

Final Verdict

It appears that the drama surrounding this broken foursome might be on the rise. These characters always create good drama before the eventual healing. It’s reassuring that we’re able to so smoothly slip into the final season. This initial taste of Season 6, minor quibbles aside, feels comfortingly assured. I suspect we may not realize how much we’ll miss the show until it’s gone. Life often works that way, doesn’t it?