The Finale of “Derry Girls” Is a Disappointment

The third season of “Derry Girls” failed to live up to the high expectations set by its preceding seasons.


Photo IMDb

Promotional photo for the release of the second season of “Derry Girls.”

Charlotte Stone, Print Managing Editor

From bomb threats to teenage drama, Derry Girls really has it all. In its first two seasons, “Derry Girls” was able to seamlessly encapsulate a relatable teen sitcom while also including some sobering details from “The Troubles,” a 30-year conflict in Ireland over religion and politics. However, season three fell short of the high expectations its preceding seasons set.

Set in Derry, Northern Ireland during the 1990s, “Derry Girls” follows a group of Catholic teens as they navigate growing up amidst the violent conflict that surrounded them.

Before you can understand the story, you need to really understand the setting and its history. “Derry Girls” is set towards the end of “The Troubles” or the Northern Ireland Conflict. At this time, Ireland has already been separated into the independent Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, which remained a part of the UK. The south is mainly Catholic, while the north is mainly Protestant. Although Catholicism and Protestantism are two very similar sects of the same religion, they caused a lot of conflict in Ireland. The 30-year conflict began in the late ’60s and lasted until 1998. It was started when the Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association (NRA) held a campaign to end discrimination against Catholics in Northern Ireland by the largely Protestant government and authorities. This bloody conflict led to the death of 3,500 people and didn’t end until the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998.

Now that the history is out of the way, it’s time to talk about the actual series. I have been a huge fan of this show ever since the first season came out back in 2018 and I was ecstatic for the series finale, but unfortunately, my expectations were too high.

Don’t get me wrong, it was still an entertaining show, but it lacked the quality of humor of the other seasons and felt rushed. Toward the end, they flashed forward by a year, which left me with tons of unanswered questions.

It just felt like the writers were trying to fit too much into one season. For example, in season three, two of the main characters, Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) and James (Dylan Llewellyn), get together and share a kiss. This was supposed to be a huge moment, but instead, it was brushed under the rug and never addressed again. The characters decided to wait to start a relationship and there was no closure at the end of the season. They just pretended it never happened and the season ended!

It was emotionally disappointing. At the end of each season, the show takes a moment to use real footage from the conflict that was going on to depict the severe loss that “The Troubles” brought. This emotional end is usually paired with a heartfelt monologue from the main character, Erin Quinn. It never fails to bring me to tears. So, I was prepared to bawl during the finale, but I hardly shed a tear. Due to the rushed nature of the series, I didn’t fully connect to their new challenges and wasn’t as invested in whether or not they were resolved.

As a result, the finale’s ending, which was about the resolution of “The Troubles” and the Derry Girls leaving their childhood behind, had little to no effect on me. After three seasons, the big finish, which was supposed to leave me broken, had no impact.