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Here’s How We Want ‘Girls’ to End

Six endings we strongly desire for the show everyone’s got an opinion about

(HBO)
(HBO)

For six seasons, we’ve laughed, cried, and done cocaine off toilet seats with Brooklyn’s finest (worst?). But Girls comes to an end this weekend. We’ve got a decent idea of what’s coming — Hannah is having her baby, and the titular foursome are going their separate ways. But is that the way the series should end? Here, six Ringer staffers take their best swings at a finale.

It Was All a Dream

Juliet Litman: Episode 7 of this final season ends with Hannah in the waiting room of a medical practice. She’s flanked on all sides by couples: a pregnant woman with, presumably, a partner. She’s there alone. All of the other women are showing. Hannah is not. And while the other four women all appear to be in states ranging from content to engrossed to neutral, Hannah looks tense. She stares ahead without fixating on anything in her line of vision. I assumed this was the look of a woman about to get an abortion.

Imagine my surprise when the very next episode was a dreamlike 20-plus minutes in which Hannah and Adam tried each other on again, seeing if they could coparent, and in which she is now showing, too. After a decidedly un-Girls-like sex scene that gave no indication that these two were formerly in love and he was now dating her best friend, the two spent the day walking around, catching up. It was all sweet and moving, and it registered as slightly askew.

Episode 9 pushed the vibe from somnolescent to downright surreal. Hannah’s worst nightmare is Marnie refusing to call her back and Shoshanna finding a fiancé without her knowing. And the girl who spoke with sharp specificity to a lascivious male writer would never entertain a teaching position whose job description had the clarity of a passing cloud. “Teach kids about the internet,” Ann Dowd more or less proclaimed! Sure, the profession of being a liberal arts professor is being brought down by adjunct positions just like this, but that is not the kind of issue with which Girls is concerned.

Episode 10 will end with Hannah waking up after the abortion. It has all been an anesthesia-enhanced dream. She won’t leave the city. Her dream state helped her work out her feels about Jessa and Adam, and Marnie, and Shosh. But Hannah keeps on keeping on. Because that’s what your 20s are about. Onward, no matter the trauma or heartbreak. Girls must know that, right?

Here’s How They All Die

Kate Knibbs: I’d like a Six Feet Under–style reveal of everyone’s deaths. Here are my guesses:

  • Hannah will die at 56 from diabetes complications.
  • Shosh and her husband will die at 86 in a Tampa retirement-community shuffleboard tournament gone awry.
  • Jessa and Adam will die in a sex accident within a year of the show wrapping up.
  • Ray will get bladder cancer at 60.
  • Charlie is already dead from an overdose.
  • Elijah will succumb to his injuries after attempting to do the splits at 92 at a Palm Springs luncheon for retired thespians.
  • Marnie will live to 100 and die of old age but never find happiness.

Hannah Doesn’t Keep the Baby

Alison Herman: I have to be honest here: I’m still not sold on the pregnancy thing. Even though Girls has magically solved Hannah’s most obvious problem — namely, how is she gonna not let this thing starve — by tossing a salaried academic job into her lap, it still hasn’t made the possibility of her motherhood any more tangible, realistic, or consistent with her previous behavior. The show is ending by transmogrifying its heroine into a completely different person, shaping her to fit the conclusion rather than crafting the conclusion around her, in all her catastrophically irresponsible glory. But what if they went the other way?

As last week’s episode showed, Hannah is unable to confront the consequences of her actions until they’re literally in front of her, whether that action is “icing out a former BFF until she doesn’t invite you to her engagement party” or “having a kid.” We also know, because weed gummies draw the truth from us all, that her mom is feeling at sea lately, lonely and purposeless in her post-divorce days. I see an opportunity to kill two birds with one stone here: Hannah gives birth, realizes within weeks that she is not cut out for this shit, and hands her son over to Loreen to give him a stable Midwestern childhood while she has an ill-advised affair with a student or throws a disastrous wine-fueled department mixer or whatever other shenanigan Professor Horvath will inevitably get up to. Even if the kid reminds his grandmother of her own death, she’s probably a more fit guardian — and how is Hannah going to have confessional blog post material without the childless freedom to make terrible decisions? As the saying goes, you gotta publish or perish.

They All Get Together

Sam Schube: For six seasons, Girls has shifted its central players from one social arrangement to another. Hannah dates Adam and is friends with Jessa; Jessa dates Adam and breaks up with Hannah. Ray dates Shoshanna; Ray dates Marnie; Ray dates the ghost of Hermie. This was a show as restless as its heroine — so excited to try out different horrendous-choice couples and friendships that it never really gave any of them a shot.

So the only real way to end this show is to force every square peg into every last round hole. The final half-hour will see these punks — every last one of them, including Charlie — move to a commune upstate, where they will collectively raise Hannah’s baby and teach us all a thing or two about the flimsy social construct that is the two-person relationship.

Hannah Turns Into Don Draper

Lindsay Zoladz: Professor Horvath stares into the cerulean abyss of the sea. In the distance, we hear about a dozen wealthy female surfers chanting, “OMMMM.” She thought it would be so easy, to return exactly one year later to the site of her son Elijah Jr.’s conception, and to have bad, meaningless sex with another random surf instructor — and then write about the whole experience in a generation-defining “Modern Love” essay, which garners her a six-figure book deal that is immediately turned into a hit film, which, naturally, leads to an already-tenured position at the University of Iowa as well as a Kennedy Center Honor. But now that she’s here in the Hamptons, the essay is eluding her. In fact, all writing is eluding her. Why write at all? Is that the way to make one’s mark on the world these days, or are there other, more influential ways one can wield one’s creativity and effect social change? “OMMMM,” the women chant. As if beckoned by a siren song, Hannah joins them, taking a cross-legged seat on the sand. After a few moments, a subtle, serene smile spreads across her face. A bell rings.

Cut to: the Kendall Jenner Pepsi ad.

Hannah Stays Hannah Forever

Amanda Dobbins: A brief summary of my Season 6 Girls opinions: friend breakups are natural; the pregnancy makes no sense for the character; the instajob and the move are delusional plot developments; and I do not recognize Hannah as we have come to know her. So I hope my colleague Juliet Litman is right, and that the last two episodes turn out to be a dream, or at least are undone in some way — and that Hannah winds up back in Brooklyn, with a boring day job and a frosty-at-best relationship to her former friends. (And a baby, I guess?) Girls has never been the most self-aware show, but it excels at specific moments of jarring realization: that you’re with the wrong person; that you don’t know what you’re talking about; that you’re still too young for all this. Maybe a happy ending would be Hannah “figuring it all out”; I think a more honest ending would be Hannah realizing she’s made a mess of things, and getting ready to try again. I guess what I’m saying is that I’d like Hannah Horvath to stay in her 20s, even if I couldn’t. They called it Girls for a reason.

Disclosure: HBO is an initial investor in The Ringer.