I review a whole season rather than individual episodes, so there is a chance of spoilers. If you haven’t watched the whole season yet, stop reading now!
Lena Dunham has managed to create a series which almost entirely based around obnoxious characters but still remains compelling. In fact, Season 5 is more compelling than most other seasons, getting back to the quality that launched the series in the first place. This is despite the fact that the four central characters couldn’t be less welcoming or more annoying, something that isn’t rectified this season either.
Not that it should be. This season is the beginning of the end for the show and any actual growth for the characters would be against the realism and drama that Dunham has made the trademark of the series from the beginning. This means Dunham’s Hannah is still selfish but it does begin to occur to her that it may alienate others, Jemima Kirke’s Jessica considers the feelings of others when deciding on her relationship with Adam while Zosia Mamet’s Shoshanna has a culture clash in Japan.
The only character which doesn’t seem to make any “progress” is Allison Williams’ Marnie. She has always been the least likable character and shows very few redeeming qualities here either. This isn’t a huge issue with her three co-characters but Marnie is also the least entertaining. In small doses she offers a character you enjoy disliking but in this season she gets her own episode and it makes for one of the weakest of the season.
That’s quite a complaint considering the season has been so strong. Dunham has managed to balance the humour and the character-arcs perfectly. Their stories are interesting without being too outlandish and the story-lines are ones you can actually care about rather than watch, ambivalent to what is happening next.
Like previous seasons, this has weirdly been down to the male characters. Although the series is called Girls, the more interesting elements have come from Adam Driver, Alex Karpovsky and even Andrew Randells who gets a whole season storyline of his own involving House of Cards and Ant-Man alumni Corey Stoll. It’s quite an achievement for Dunham to write such diverse stories for varied characters and keep strong actors, like Adam Driver who is on the cusp of Hollywood super-stardom.
That is why it is a smart move for Dunham to begin to draw a close on the series. Next season will be the show’s last and the final episode of this season pushed at least Hannah in an interesting direction. This was the highlight of the season, when the lines seemed to blur slightly between Dunham and her “main” character. Her final monologue is a perfect summation of the character so far, as well as what we can maybe expect for the final ten episodes that will close this unusual but solid series.
Overall, Girls fifth season has been a return to form, focusing on each character with interesting stories and expanded season-arcs. Lena Dunham has juggled the season well and proved that even the most obnoxious of characters can be effective and interesting. It makes you wonder where the season will eventually end-up.
Best Episode – I love you baby: The final episode of the season closes some stories nicely and gives Lena Dunham’s Hannah a great monologue moment.
Best performance – Adam Driver as Adam
Should there be another season? – Yes, but the decision to bring it to a close next season is a smart one.
Season Rating – 4.5
(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)