Shoshanna has always been a bit of an alien on “Girls,” first the fast-talking stainless sapling, then the irresponsible disrupter, then the angry truth-teller, then the transient lost sheep, then the resourceful sorta-comeback kid and finally the nearly absent try-hard. Indeed, this final season of “Girls” shipped Shosh off to TV limbo for four of the nine episodes that have aired, sidelining its best character in an unfortunately poetic way: The show never quite knew what to do with her, and in that confusion she became its most pliable, and most interesting, resident.
Now we know where she’s been: getting engaged. And we know why she hasn’t been around: she’s over these people. Just like she was at the beach house in Season 3, Shosh is the voice of reason. During a Marnie-imposed “group meeting” in Shoshanna’s bathroom at the engagement party to which Hannah shows up uninvited, Shosh completes the 180-degree arc that has been her destiny since the pilot six years ago. She is no longer the fumbling, virginal prepster who was “definitely a Carrie at heart, but, like, sometimes Samantha kind of comes out.” In fact, she’s the only member of this half-baked posse who seems to have a vision for her future ― a future that contains a stable group of career-driven friends and a relationship that isn’t sown from seeds of will-they-won’t-they melodrama.
“I have come to realize how exhausting and narcissistic and ultimately boring this whole dynamic is, and I finally feel brave enough to create some distance for myself,” she tells the group, more assured of herself than ever. “If you guys happen to know all of those really pretty girls out there who have, like, jobs and purses and nice personalities, those are now my friends. Not you guys. I think we should all just agree to call it. OK? Great.”
Shoshanna’s arc encapsulates the wisdom of “Girls,” which consistently struggled to convince us its characters would indeed remain friends as their 20s continued. Burgeoning adulthood involves as many decisions as it does conveniences, and Shoshanna seemed worthy of far more than the convenience of these “Girls”-friends. She was regularly shoved around in the group, heartbroken when Jessa didn’t tell her she was getting married, duped by Ray’s insecurities, called a non-intellectual by Hannah. It turns out she’s the most intellectual of them all, primarily because Shoshanna is the only character with a healthy self-reflection.
Based on Sunday’s penultimate episode, it seems the series has bid farewell to most non-Hannah characters. Other than Shosh, the only person who seems stabler than he did two years ago is Tad, with his groovy new live-and-let-live gayness. That’s a revelatory way to end the show, by proving that characters’ dilemmas will not usually manifest in digestible life lessons. Now the one who could have been voted Most Likely To Hang Digestible Life Lessons on Her Wall is the person who needs them the least.
Shoshanna was once the character who seemed to have a playbook listing all the proper social mores, the one to see flailing friendships as a personal failure. But now she’s realized Hannah didn’t even tell her she’s pregnant, and whatever remaining consolation for the time they’ve spent together has evaporated. This is the new Shoshanna, “living her truth,” as writer Jenni Konner has said. Shosh’s sendoff reminds us that “Girls” was always best when its characters were contradictory.