'Girls': Lena Dunham Breaks Down Engagement Shocker

The creator of the HBO series and co-showrunner Jenni Konner talk about Hannah's move and more from the penultimate episode.
Mark Schafer

[Warning: The following story contains spoilers about the ninth episode of Girls' sixth season, "Goodbye Tour."]

The girls are moving on.

On Sunday night's penultimate episode of Girls, Hannah (Lena Dunham), Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) each took big steps forward.

Hannah ends the half-hour ready to embark on a new chapter of her life in her new home upstate, after leaving the city to take a job as a professor. The move marks a return to academia and teaching for Hannah after her time at the Iowa Writers' Workshop and working as a high-school teacher at the end of season four and for much of season five.

"Kind of for the same reason that it's exciting to see Hannah be a parent, the idea of her taking some of the knowledge that she's accrued and passing it on, that's something that she's good at and she's been through a lot over the past five years in New York and she's experienced a lot," Dunham tells The Hollywood Reporter of the career development. "She can get anybody to talk to her on any subway. Helping people get their stories out of themselves is something she's able to do. Besides the convenience of it, teaching felt like somewhere where she could be useful."

But in some ways, as those who've struggled to carve out a life in New York City know, and Elijah (Andrew Rannells) expressed to Hannah early in the episode, leaving is a bit of a betrayal.

Konner tells THR, "There's something about when you live in New York there's almost this unspoken pact with your friends like, 'It's really hard here but we are toughing it out no matter what.' When people leave we kind of treat them like traitors to the cause, like, 'Oh, I guess you're soft in the end.'"

Still, Hannah's doing what's best for her child, Konner explains, "There's something about Hannah making that choice that also felt like that's her making that choice for an easier life for the child, not necessarily an easier life for her."

After receiving the job offer, Hannah struggles to get in touch with Marnie (Allison Williams) and Shoshanna until she finds them both at a party at Shoshanna's apartment to which she wasn't invited. In fact, the party is to celebrate Shoshanna's engagement to a man whom neither Hannah nor viewers have heard of.

While that plot development might seem surprising, Dunham explained that it was hinted at in her character's absence this season and that it shows Shoshanna was living her life without needing to advertise it to her friends.

"I remember when that idea came up, it was like, 'How could she?' Shoshanna's been very light this season, and it hasn't been an accident," Dunham explains. "We love Zosia, and we want her acting all of the time. But it has felt like she was going to be the character who made the breakaway first, and we needed to explain what had happened to her during that time."

Shoshanna tells Hannah and Co., in the heavily teased bathroom meeting, that in moving forward with her fiance, she's done being part of their group of friends. Konner says Shosh's breaking away from the group is a continuation of her memorable season-three beach house rant, in which she told the other girls off. But now, "she's just not angry anymore."

"I think at the beach house she was still angry and now she's past that phase," Konner says. "That was sort of one of the sadder things that she was like, 'I kind of feel nothing about you guys. I've moved on.'"

"That's sort of the more hurtful thing is when the anger is gone," Dunham concurs. "When you're no longer like, 'Wait 'til my friends find out about that.' When you're just living your life. Like [Shoshanna] wasn't even living for everyone to find out she was engaged. She wasn't advertising it. She was just straight-up living in her happiness. In a way that's the most painful thing you can realize: That your friend's doing just fine without you."

But while Shosh is moving on from the other girls, Hannah and Jessa are finally able to make up after their drama with Adam (Adam Driver).

"It's like, 'Neither of us has been perfect, neither of us has won and neither of us needs to win.' And also I think we all know that feeling of looking over at someone whom you had this massive rift with and being like, you still love them and you're never not going to love them and somebody hurting you unfortunately doesn't remove your capacity to f—ing adore them," Dunham says of why Hannah accepts Jessa's apology. "And that's what Hannah's facing."

Konner adds, "They both did things to each other at that point and it was almost like a truce."

There's just one episode of Girls left. What do you hope to see in the series finale? And what did you think of all of the moving on in the penultimate episode? Sound off in the comments and come back to Live Feed next Sunday for a postmortem on the final Girls.

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