So that’s what Shoshanna has been up to all this time. My one complaint about this otherwise excellent final season of Girls has been the lack of Shosh on my TV screen. She has appeared, but only in support of Ray’s story. Well, “Goodbye Tour” justifies this problem, and manages to give her absence narrative significance.
When Hannah shows up to Shosh’s apartment and discovers she hasn’t been invited to her engagement party (neither did she know Shosh was engaged), it’s a sobering realization of just how distant their relationship has become. This season has focused on Hannah more closely than ever, so it makes sense that Shosh’s major life news is as much of a shock to viewers as it is for Hannah.
Even though the main story beat of “Goodbye Tour” involves Hannah contemplating her future, it’s mostly an episode of reminiscence. Hannah walks into an enchantment store and witnesses two young women who are ecstatic about moving into the city together. This reminds Hannah of her younger self, back when she used to idealize New York City. It was full of promise and possibilities in those early days. It also makes her decision to leave it all behind just a bit more difficult, at least momentarily. There are plenty of counterarguments to her staying in the city. Elijah tells Hannah to think of all the important friendships she has made over the last few years. “That’s not a thing,” she responds, and they both break out in laughter.
As the series draws to a close, the engagement party is a fitting backdrop to bring the girls together one last time. All episode long, Hannah tries to call Marnie and Shosh, but cannot reach them. She’s been avoiding Jessa for a long time. But they do finally end up under one roof, and it leads to that wonderful bathroom scene.
The scene reminded me of my favorite episode of the series, “Beach House”, from season three. In it, the girls had a group meeting, laid out all of their grievances, and ended up in a major falling out. It was the culmination of every conflict in the series up to that point. In “Goodbye Tour,” we find out that not much has changed with the group’s dynamic since that time. Marnie believes their problems can be sorted out (thanks to her online therapist), but Shosh has already disconnected herself and moved on with her life. She points out that Hannah is making it “all about her”, which has always been Hannah’s most frustrating character trait. It rears its ugly head once again here.
It’s not surprising that Shosh has proven to be the most well-adjusted adult out of the group. She’s always had her shit together (relatively speaking). She’s carried a level of self-awareness that people like Hannah, Marnie, and Jessa often lack, and it was on display in this episode. As Marnie admits, “everything Shosh said was right.”
But the real beauty of this episode comes after the cards are laid out, and each character has had her say. Hannah and Jessa share a powerful moment of reconciliation at the party, agreeing to put all of the awful things they’ve done in the past behind them. The episode’s final montage is especially beautiful, as everyone chooses to stay at the party. They end up dancing and enjoying themselves despite all of their conflicts, which calls back to the early days of Girls.
Overall this is a moving, nostalgic episode that brings the focus back on the series’ core group of girls. Elijah withstanding, there are no men featured in the episode. This is important to note, since it helps bring closure to the series. Hannah is leaving the city, abandoning the vision she had of her life in the pilot. But she can’t do this without a proper “goodbye tour”. She has to hear from her friends, who – for better or worse – helped shape this chapter of her life.