Last night, Hannah Horvath got saved.
After two messy, brilliant episodes in which our anti-heroine descended into OCD-fueled loneliness, a knight in, well, no armor (or shirt) -- also known as Adam Sackler -- broke down her door, swept her into his arms and kissed and made her feel (at least temporarily) better. Elsewhere in New York, Marnie also got rescued from the "worst year of [her] life" by a (more fully clothed) ex-boyfriend, the now very wealthy Charlie Dattolo. The season 2 finale is the closest that HBO's "Girls" has gotten to a "happily ever after" romantic-comedy ending -- and it got mixed reactions.
Viewers were left with questions: Should we take the ending at face value? Should we feel happy that these doomed-to-fail couples are back together for now? Is it OK to feel uncomfortable about the fact that Marnie and Hannah fell back into romantic relationships for solace rather tackling their problems on their own? Was the conventional "happy ending" actually all that happy?
To help us sort through our own feelings about the "Girls" romantic-comedy-like ending, we've rounded up some of the most interesting responses.
Camp #1: It was romantic.
Charlie has "always loved" Marnie and Adam tells Hannah, "I was always here" after he breaks down her door. There are kisses and hugs, and two of the original "Girls" couples are reunited. Some viewers were swept away by the big romantic gestures and speeches and reached the end of the episode feeling happy and teary-eyed. Patrick Wilson's wife (and general badass), Dagmara Dominczyk, was one of those viewers. She tweeted:
TV critic for The Daily Beast, Jace Lacob, also loved the ending:
And Vulture's Kaitlin Phillips, pointed out that Hannah needed someone to lean on by the end of the season and that perhaps Adam was just the obvious choice. "Someone has to be with Hannah right now, and I’m not sure anyone else is crazy enough to do it," she wrote.
Camp #2: It left the "Girls" overly reliant on guys.
Others were less enthralled with the seemingly conventional final scenes -- especially because they all involved the female "Girls" characters finding solace through guys. As HuffPost Live host Mike Sacks tweeted:
And Halle Kiefer at Rolling Stone also felt frustrated that Hannah and Marnie fell back into the arms of their respective exes rather than turning to each other -- or themselves:
If only we could have seen Marnie and Hannah re-friend each other rather than rehash the same romantic entanglements over and over again ... After sprinting to her house shirtless and smashing in the door (did Hannah buy her deadbolt at the dollar store?), Adam scoops up Hannah in his arms and they kiss. We're not supposed to be happy about this development, are we? Ain't no dramatic music swells big enough to cure that OCD or teach you to live in the world or grow those bangs back, girl.
Camp #3: It wasn't really a happy ending at all.
Some people felt that the Michael Penn score and conventional rom-com cues were actually only happy on the surface. This "happy ending" was not what it seemed to the undiscerning eye. Chris Rosen, HuffPost Entertainment editor, argued that the images of blissful Marnie and rescued Hannah were not actually positive developments for these characters:
Except while the images were happy, the underlying themes were not: Hannah, Adam, Marnie and Charlie are all back to square one. Any personal gains they've made in the year that the show has depicted were erased with one single montage. It was "Girls" as "The Graduate": the characters won the battle, but lost the war.
TIME's James Poniewozik felt similarly about the "Girls" romances. He wrote:
[The final scenes], whether by design or not, does underscore a theme of this season of Girls: that getting what you wish for is not necessarily a great thing after all (be it Hannah’s book deal or Marnie’s hookup with Booth Jonathan). Just as season one ended with Hannah alone, broke and eating her last piece of cake on a beach -- and yet felt surprisingly hopeful and filled with possibilities -- season two’s rom-com finish does not necessarily portend happily-ever-after. I don’t expect season two’s happy endings to mean a happy beginning for season three. Let’s hope that’s a good thing.
Perhaps Dunham set up a fairy-tale ending just so she could tear it down.
So, what did you think of the "Girls" finale's potentially happy ending? Let us know in the comments!
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