Girls’ series finale upheld HBO’s occasional tradition of weird-ass endings by concluding with an epilogue, not a final chapter. By any measure, its main story concluded in the penultimate installment, with Shoshanna’s engagement party. That the series so fiercely resisted happy, optimistic resolutions for its four friends is notable. That it managed to whisper its characters’ fates — so that we have a general grasp of their trajectories, but precious little sense of what they’ll be doing a year or a few months or even several hours from now — is remarkable. Hannah chose to discontinue her youth by embracing motherhood, but Girls let its friends stay girlish: wondering, wandering, brimming with ideas rather than duties.
Given the stubbornly wispy endings many of the characters got, it’s worth revisiting some of their final scenes and how they got there over the course of six seasons. We’ll also take a stab at where they might be in a decade, for those who want a stronger sense of finality.
Hannah (Lena Dunham)
Where we last saw her: Pants-less in a rocking chair, finally bonding with her (giant) infant. More broadly, Hannah resentfully but confidently grew up fast by taking a teaching job upstate and signing up for the extreme adventure in backbreaking responsibility and eye-popping exhaustion that is parenting. She said farewell to the friends she’d outgrown (or who’d outgrown her) in one of the series’ boldest and frankest developments. And, thankfully, she didn’t end up with her doting ex Adam, in another brave flouting of convention. After years of two-steps-forward, two-steps-back arrested development, it’s heartening to watch Hannah force herself into a situation in which she’ll have to mature.
Where she’ll be in 10 years: As a writing instructor, Hannah never published anything again, except for her Medium blog. She walked naked around the house in front of Grover and his friends until he finally got her to stop when he was 9. She is now very active on Facebook.
Marnie (Allison Williams)
Where we last saw her: Drinking a glass of wine with Hannah’s mom after the older woman catches her masturbating — sorry, it’s not masturbating if you’re FaceTiming another person. Contemplating the future and what she wants out of life, Marnie proclaims what we’ve known all along: She fucking loves rules. Girls‘ writers haven’t known what to do with Marnie since she quit her gallery-girl gig, and so they gave Williams the unenviable task of being somehow even more self-absorbed than Hannah. It’s fitting that Marnie’s future is a giant question mark: The point of her existence is to realize that she’s casually scampered into terrible mistakes — not to learn from them.
Where she’ll be in 10 years: Because she is both the worst and the most boring person alive, milky Marnie became a corporate lawyer. She is 10th in line for a Birkin bag at her local Hermès store.
Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet)
Where we last saw her: Ditching the rest of the girls for other friends who’ve got “jobs and purses and nice personalities.” The girls are 0 for 2 with early, impulsive marriages, so it’s totally unclear whether Shosh and Byron will make it in the long haul. There’s something sad, of course, about a twentysomething woman who decides to make her fiancé her entire life. Then again, her friends have treated her so terribly for so long that it’s thrilling to see Shoshanna cast out the elements of her life that no longer work for her — as many young people learn they must eventually do.
Where she’ll be in 10 years: After failing to convince her soup-mogul ex-boyfriend to invest in her jeans-based social media app, Shoshanna found a rewarding job as chief marketing officer at a smoothie company. She lives in Dumbo next to the carousel. She and Byron are waiting to adopt … Cavalier King Charles spaniel twins. She still talks like that.
Jessa (Jemima Kirke)
Where we last saw her: To the shock of at least half of the Girls viewership, Jessa proved she’s not a sociopath at Shoshanna’s engagement party by apologizing to Hannah for getting together with Adam. The girl who rolled her eyes at everything found herself with nothing left to do; other than presumably return home to Adam, we don’t even know what she’ll be doing the morning after the party. Unlike Marnie, Jessa and her aimlessness feel purposeful to the show. And it’s smartly defiant of the writers to leave so many strings loose: Even friends of the same age evolve at different rates.
Where she’ll be in 10 years: The only other of the girls to leave the city, Jessa raises three children with her two life partners on their Vermont apple farm. She fucking hates the fall tourists.
Adam (Adam Driver)
Where we last saw him: Under Jessa’s window, after realizing that his proposal to raise Hannah’s baby with her will never work out. It’s too bad we never got to meet Adam and his sister Caroline’s parents; we’ll forever wonder where this singular, sensitive weirdo came from. Like Brad Pitt, Adam is a man who allows himself to be shaped by the women he’s dated, including Natalia and Mimi-Rose. The show implies that he and Jessa made up, but it’s hard to imagine this childlike savage growing older. His soul will die young.
Where he’ll be in 10 years: Adam becomes Adam Driver, starring in Star Wars sequels, dyspeptic Noah Baumbach indies about how millennials are awful, and a seven-hour Jim Jarmusch nap-bait about poetry and driving buses. He tries not to read the fierce online debates about whether he’s hot, but can’t help himself when he’s on the toilet.
Ray (Alex Karpovsky)
Where we last saw him: Did we know Ray could be happy? Did Ray know he could be happy? Girls gave its grieving misanthrope its cheeriest ending, awkwardly but earnestly kissing a new romantic prospect on a merry-go-round as a topper to the series’ best first date. It was the most promising of hellos; I wish we could’ve stayed with them longer.
Where he’ll be in 10 years: Despite being in a happy relationship with the most well-adjusted woman in New York, Ray is believed by his friends to have walked into the sea off Coney Island the morning after Trump’s reelection in 2020. Actually, he was picked up by a weathered fisherman named Herbie, and Ray, thinking it was close enough to Hermie, took this semi-coincidence as a sign from the universe and learned his new father figure’s trade to become a fisherman by day and an unpublished novelist by night. He enjoys movies about Coast Guard rescue teams more than he thinks he should, given that they’re all pro-government, pro-military propaganda.
Elijah (Andrew Rannells)
Where we last saw him: Among the primary characters, Elijah alone gets to live out the New York fantasy of exchanging some hustle and pluck (and sitcom-ish résumé-padding) for an elevator ride to meteoric success. The cattier-than-thou scene-stealer’s last significant moment finds him giving Hannah his blessing to leave the place where they were waiting to transform into the people they set out to become. Despite their closeness, it’s honestly hard to imagine Elijah missing Hannah, especially if he finds another roommate who he can always feel superior to. Theirs is the most circumstantial friendship — but sometimes, that’s all you need to get you through yet another lonely night.
Where he’ll be in 10 years: Elijah had to withdraw from White Men Can’t Jump: The Musical after his knees gave out two years into the show. He never got another acting job and now works as a bullying high school drama teacher. He still talks about Dill.
Hannah’s mom Loreen (Becky Ann Baker)
Where we last saw her: Sipping some wine with Marnie, inadvertently toasting her judge friend Patricia, who goes on five ChristianMingle dates a week. In Season 1, we saw Loreen involved in some shower sex so vigorous it led to her husband slipping and falling, and so the ensuing seasons’ accumulation of bitterness and loneliness following Tad’s coming-out has been heartbreaking. Loreen ends the show as its most isolated and purposeless character, perhaps as a reminder that youth is sometimes difficult to endure, but middle age can be worse. In a way, her involuntary solitude justifies the girls’ selfishness: Don’t sacrifice your life; it’s the only one you’ve got.
Where she’ll be in 10 years: Dead of a heart attack, not of suicide as Hannah had initially feared when she got the call from her hometown police.
Hannah’s dad Tad (Peter Scolari)
Where we last saw him: Picnicking in Washington Square Park with his boyfriend and Hannah, convincing his daughter to do the sensible thing and move away from the city. If Loreen’s journey was a cautionary tale of female compromise, Tad’s post-closet blossoming has been an inspirational story of late-in-life self-discovery — and maybe an implicit suggestion that you often can’t grow without discarding some people from your life, as painful as it may be. That he has been much more encouraging of Hannah’s motherhood than his ex-wife is a testament to both his optimism and his obliviousness. I’m not sure why the Girls writers wanted to give the show’s happiest endings to its men (Tad, Elijah, Ray, and, to a lesser extent, Adam), but it’s strangely fitting.
Where he’ll be in 10 years: Dead from natural causes in the bed he shared with his loving husband.
Where we last saw him: Being coaxed in his mother’s tired arms by his mother’s tired nipples. We hardly knew ye, little Grover, which is fine, since you’re a baby, and therefore not remotely interesting. Congrats on being maybe the fifth person of color on this show. That your ethnicity was never brought up was kinda irritating, if perfectly in line with Hannah’s general cluelessness. I’m glad I don’t have to watch her waffle between declaring that race doesn’t matter and making gross generalizations about whichever country she’ll decide Paul-Louis is from.
Where he’ll be in 10 years: Grover is the cutest and coolest kid in his class — a fact that has his mom constantly stressed that she’s raising a sexual objectifier. He will refuse to identify as a feminist.