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Thursday, June 20, 2024
The Observer

‘Derry Girls’ season three: Growing up and heading out

On Oct. 7, the third and final season of the hit show “Derry Girls” was added to Netflix. After months of waiting patiently, international fans were finally able to watch. Premiering in 2018,  “Derry Girls” follows five working-class friends at a Catholic school during the 1990s. It is a show about the mishaps of adolescence as well as the Troubles in Northern Ireland. The gang consists of the soulful but misguided Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), the ditsy Orla (Louisa Harland), overdramatic Clare (Nicola Coughlan), sassy Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell) and her quiet, English cousin, James (Dylan Llewellyn). Together the five of them are the “Derry Girls” who deal with a range of teen issues, from money, romance, breaking rules, as well as the rules that come with living in Northern Ireland in the ‘90s. One example is when Michelle tries to smuggle a bag of vodka onto a bus, denies ownership of it as she is a minor and the unclaimed bag gets literally blown up by the bomb squad.

Season three of “Derry Girls” is a season of change. The gang is growing up and soon graduating from high school, which means leaving their childhoods behind. In the same way, Derry is also growing as it contemplates a peace agreement for the first time. As well, it is a season about reality. Clare’s father dies unexpectedly, and we see her and the others mourn for his loss. It is the first time that “Derry Girls” has touched on death and grief, as if the innocence of their childhoods is slowly being lost with time. Similarly, Michelle and Erin get into a fight about Michelle’s brother who is in jail. With the peace agreement, he will be able to walk free even though he killed someone. The two girls discuss what it means to take a life, but also what it means to love someone who has done bad things. This scene reflects the growth the characters have had throughout the show and how now they are no longer the kinds from season one. 

The last episode really struck a chord with me. Toward the end of the episode, Erin asks her Grandpa Joe (Ian McElhinney), “What if we vote yes and it doesn’t even work?” Grandpa Joe is holding her little sister when he looks at her and responds, “And what if it does? What if no one else has to die? What if this all becomes a ghost story you’ll tell your wains (children) one day? A ghost story they’ll hardly believe.” 

That scene was beautifully done as it reflected the old generation passing wisdom down to the younger generation to make the world a better place for the future. The last scene is also beautiful. It shows the cast voting on the 1998 Good Friday Agreement referendum. As they cast their ballots, “Dreams” by The Cranberries plays. The last second of the scene is Grandpa Joe and the little sister walking hand-in-hand out of the voting room. The “Derry Girls” are no longer children and are headed out the door toward adulthood. It reminds us all that like our youths, they do not last forever. We too will walk out of the doors of college to adulthood one day. I hope to make an impact during my time as a young adult, although it definitely will not be as big as signing the Good Friday Agreement. 

Overall, “Derry Girls” was a hilarious, tear-jerking show that left me wanting more. I will miss the gang, but as they say, all good things must come to an end. 

Title: “Derry Girls”

Starring: Nicola Coughlan, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Louisa Harland

Creator: Lisa McGee

If you like: “Sex Education,” “The Good Place,” “Kim’s Convenience” 

Shamrocks: 5 out of 5 

Contact Rachel Hartmann at