Season 3 Finale—“Two Plane Rides”
Excuse us for still needing time to process, but that was one hell of a finale for the third season of one of our favorite shows. The “Girls” finale had everything— MFAs, infidelity, a failed Glaciology course, and even an attempted assisted suicide. Literally, EVERYTHING. There is so much to cover for the finale, but we want to thank everyone was was reading along with us this season, and for anyone involved in the live-tweeting during the show.
1. Shosana makes her feelings very clear to Ray at the start of “Major Barbara”:
"We’re going to have a chat. At intermission, you’re going to buy me some m&m’s and we’re going to have a FUCKING CHAT"
2. Elijah grounding an excited Hannah in tenets of basic geography:
Hannah: “You’re not going to be without me all the time, I’ll be back and forth— I’ll be bi-coastal.”
Elijah: “Iowa is not a coast.”
3. Jessa gets a dose of sobering reality from a suicidal artist:
Beadie: “Jessa, don’t you take any of these pills after I’m gone.”
Jessa: “I won’t— I, somehow they don’t look nearly as fun when they’re being used to murder someone.”
1. #SHOSHRAGE: We’ve seen Shoshana let loose a few times this season [Beach house, anyone?], but this mosh pit for one was a perfect release, and the finale’s most GIF-able moment.
2. Marnie= Creeper: Though she admits that she does not value the emotional property of other women and that she uses sex as a form of validation, it does not stop Marnie from creeping around corners, plotting her next move. DO NOT LEAVE YO MAN WITH MARNIE!
ONE TOPIC TO EXPLORE FURTHER:
For the finale of this episode, we wanted to think through the idea of whether or not these characters are selfish, as many people on Twitter and Reddit have claimed, or if their decision making is appropriate for the time in their lives. Hannah and Ray, to us, seem like polar opposites in their view of the world, but they ended up as great case-studies for our final topic to explore further of the season— is it developmentally appropriate for people in their twenties to make “selfish” decisions?
JP: Seven weeks ago, I got a call from the admissions department of a school informing me that I had been accepted into their grad program. I was so happy that I immediately called my family and told my friends— I even instagrammed a photograph of one of my acceptance letters. Hell, I wanted to tell anyone that would listen… I’M GOING TO BUSINESS SCHOOL. So, when I saw the look on Ms. Hannah Horvath’s face as she read her acceptance letter to the Iowa Writers Workshop, I felt so happy for her. She immediately called her parents who were ecstatic for her, helping her realize that she accomplished something big. She told Marnie, who instead of being jelly, was so happy for Hannah that she gave her an awk Marnie hug and told her that she HAS to go to Iowa.
The episode, which was appropriately titled “Two Plane Rides,” explored what happens when distance starts to culminate in a relationship. Since Adam landed his role in Major Barbara, Hannah’s been hyper aware of her own creative shortcomings— flailing about, feeling unfulfilled at her job. Her jealousy of his Broadway success paired with her disdain for selling out creatively ultimately led to her quitting her cushy job at GQ. Some people criticized her decision to leave as being rash and ill planned but I couldn’t help but understand where she was coming from. She was selling out. She was working a job that was not fulfilling her. Meanwhile, her boyfriend and best friend were making strides in their creative pursuits. “Are you going to be O.K.?” Shosh asked. “Adam’s about to be on Broadway and Marnie’s clearly meant to be a pop star and, I don’t know, and you were like supposed to be the famous artist in this group.”
Almost everyone I know is going through some sort of mid-twenties millennial quarter life crisis. The crisis of coming to grips with the fact that we’re not in college anymore and our decisions are ultimately shaping us to be the people we are going to be. The relationships we enter are a little more serious than they were while we were in undergrad. The jobs we take give us specific experience which often times narrows our future potential employment possibilities to be within that same field. Some people are getting engaged and others are Tindering themselves silly. Ultimately, we all want the same thing. We just want to be happy. We want to work a job that leaves us feeling fulfilled. We want to be in a relationship with someone we trust, love and support and we expect the same from our lover.
Hannah getting into grad school is HUGE for her so it’s no surprise that she immediately wanted to share the news with everyone she cared about. Some have criticized her telling Adam right before he went on stage for the first time as a selfish move but I am hesitant to agree with that. She told Adam, ”Watching you thrive creatively over these past few weeks has made me want to thrive…I want to find a whole new world in the shape of me and just fill it up.” Sure, Hannah could have waited until after the play to tell Adam, but Hannah is impulsive. She may be a ditz but I don’t think she was acting out of ill intention. She just wanted to share the good news with her lover. Hannah made a decision for Hannah. It wasn’t about dumping Adam (we don’t know what the future has in store for the two of them) but it was about her pursuing her own dreams. I’m excited for Hannah to have a more structured life to help guide her professionally, regardless if that means that end of the Hannah-Adam saga.
OP: In a show called “Girls,” I didn’t expect for Ray to be such a driving force for our characters’ development, but he’s been there through it all, sometimes involving himself in the drama, as well. I’ve always viewed Ray as a standing antithesis of our four central female protagonists, as his pessimistic view of the world and direct communication style is a breath of fresh air among so many characters who are still trying to figure out what they want, and whose lack of direction has provided the bulk of the plot points for the last three seasons of the show. But what’s interesting is that despite sleeping with his ex-girlfriend’s friend, being deeply insecure at times, and generally being an asshole, Ray does not get the same labels we throw at Hannah— narcissistic, self-centered, unrelatable,etc. Part of me of me thinks there is some serious male privilege at play, as men are allowed to make decisions for themselves while women may be expected to consider the thoughts and feelings of everyone that matters to them in order to make sound decisions, but Ray’s journey to this finale starts way back in Season 1. I also want to point out that I don’t think it’s wrong to be self-centered sometimes, as I’ve seen the negative impacts of friends and family members who put tremendous amount of emphasis on romantic relationships or making decisions for other people.
The first time Ray seemed relevant on the series is when he encouraged Charlie to read Hannah’s Diary, and subsequently performed excerpts of it in front of a live audience, which showed us that he was emotionally involved in the lives of the other characters on this show. Fast forward a few episodes, and now Ray is chasing after a squirrely undergrad after she accidentally smoked crack, thrusting himself right into the center of the ridiculous antics these characters find themselves in, and somehow, falling in love. But as much as he judged everyone else, Ray was deeply flawed and insecure, which led to his breakup with Shoshana, but also his major turning point as a character on the show. Set to the tune of Tame Impala’s “Elephant,” Ray marched into his bosses office and demanded a change, to be given more responsibility and prove to himself (and Shoshana) that he had his life somewhat together, that he was worth dating and not just some loser working at a coffee shop.
You might be asking yourself— what the fuck does this have to do with being selfish? Well, thank you for being patient. I bring all of this up because while Ray made tremendous progress in his professional life in the past season by opening up a new Grumpy’s with a pizza oven, I think he’s had to realize that he’s no longer trying to prove something to Shoshana, but that he has to prove something to himself first. We saw this a few times this season already with his soliloquy outside of the bar at Hannah’s birthday (which provided the best line of the season in my opinion— “cool cigarette”), and making it clear to Marnie that they shouldn’t try to pursue anything romantically. Though hurt, Ray tries to create distance between himself and the other characters on the show, because he realizes that his happiness and success comes from a place of personal agency and control, not from the value others assign to his life. And yet, when the woman who caused the positive change in his life is in front of him, tears in her eyes and professing that she wants him back, he is able to create further distance, noting, “Shosh. Look, I’m eternally grateful to you, because I have a real job now, with real responsibilities…You pushed me forward in a lot of ways, and i’m eternally appreciative of that. But right now we’re in different places. We have very, very different goals.” To me, that is a self-centered act, where Ray is choosing to put himself first, and it is completely ok. I’m happy for him and proud that he could have that much restraint in an emotionally charged conversation. What is not ok is that Hannah, making similar choices that have serious impacts for her life and future, is viewed as selfish and narcissistic (though timing could be better, I admit) and is almost villainized by audiences of the show. Both Hannah and Ray realize that there are choices and opportunities that have long-term impact, and as much as you love and care for other people, there are points where you have to be your own personal priority. The point is, we’re all selfish to varying degrees, and it takes making some selfish choices in your twenties to be ready to make decisions that impact other people later on in your life. Ray is being protective of his heart and his personal stability in the season finale because sometimes, you just gotta do you.
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