‘Derry Girls’ Season 3 Review: A Beautiful Curtain Call

Derry Girls Season 3 Spoilers Ahead

Clare, Orla, Michelle, James, and Erin in Derry Girls Season 3

And just like that, we leave Derry, eyes full of tears and hearts brimming with immense gratitude. The fact remains that Lisa McGee’s Derry Girls was exceptional from the first episode. It took us to a place many of us weren’t familiar with, and it brought growing pains to the forefront while anchoring the stories around friendship. We laughed with them, cried with them, and grew with them, reflecting on our youth and the days that made us. 

Derry Girls Season 3 gives the audience the chance to get to know parents more, a further glimpse into the conflicts of Derry, and what it looks like to use your vote. It allows the girls to grow up while taking them through the perils of grief to showcase what it means when people are by your side. It’s a reflection of the good, bad, and ugly, and the use of “Dreams” by The Cranberries again brings the story full circle beautifully.

One of the most important arcs throughout the season occurs in the final two episodes as conflicts escalate, forcing the women to choose a side, understanding what it truly means to examine right and wrong along with the grey areas. The political disputes cause a conflict between Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson) and Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), but when the time comes to vote, both women understand where their approach went wrong. The first time a person votes for something can be a monumental occurrence, and more often than not, we don’t see it reflected on our screens with such balance. Derry Girls allows it to be messy, touches on the confusion, and brings to light the rewarding satisfaction of casting the ballot. Our voices matter, and this series has always done an exemplary job of showcasing the significance of everyone’s beliefs.

Still from Derry Girls Season 3 penultimate episode

Then there’s the narrative that tackles one of the most challenging storms a person can live through in the loss of a parent. As Erin’s father comes to pick up the girls, he states that Clare’s (Nicola Coughlan) father has suffered an aneurysm, taking them to the hospital while they wait for the results. She then leaves the room, quietly shaking her head and breaking down as the girls (and James (Dylan Llewellyn)) huddle around her in their angel costumes. If you’ve lost a parent or a close loved one, then the heart of this scene isn’t lost on you. In our darkest hours, the ones we love cover us like angels, taking our pain and making it theirs, silently doing what they can to bear the weight of grief with us.

Grief is a never-ending cycle of heartaches, and even after time passes, you learn to live with the pain as opposed to it ever leaving you. This pain becomes a reflection of your love for the person who’s passed, and Clare’s family carrying it with them as they move makes perfect sense. But as does the girls walking through this with her and the decision to show us this made for one of the most remarkably heartbreaking scenes in the show’s history, as well as a genuinely immaculate reminder of why steadfast friendships are so meaningful.

But steadfast friendships aren’t the only thing blossoming in Derry as James and Erin momentarily give in to the feelings within them. We all knew it was coming, and the scene was as rewarding as we hoped it’d be, even while Michelle interrupted them. And though there’s no definitive happy ending in this area, Michelle’s concerns are a realistic depiction of what it feels like when friends get together. There’s always going to be the potential threat of ruining a good thing, and that fear sometimes can be louder than anything else. Of course, Michelle would want both Erin and James to be happy, but it’s also understandable that she’d never want to pick a side if they were to break up. Still, the feelings are there, and the series’ ambiguous ending allows us to hope in the fact that one day, maybe this ship will set sail too. He’ll wait for her as he promised, and when the time’s right, their paths will intermingle as gorgeously as they are meant to.

“Things can’t stay the same, and they shouldn’t. No matter how scary it is we. Things may change for the better. So we have to be brave. And if our dreams get broken along the way, we have to make new ones from the pieces.”

– Erin Quinn

The Derry Girls Season 3 finale leaves us with plenty to reflect on as it touches on the hope found in possibilities. In the same way that most of us didn’t know what we’d do after high school, the girls don’t know what tomorrow will bring and where their dreams will lead them. But change isn’t always a bad thing. And there’s something hopeful about chasing down our dreams with people we love by our side, which is the heart of Derry Girls. 

“I am a Derry girl” wasn’t just James’ means of screaming that he’s staying; it served as a reflection of the audience and the comfort we all found in this show. It’s a reflection of the love we give and the love we receive. It showcases the detail that our broken pieces matter just as much as our whole parts because our mosaic is unveiled through the people we adore. 

Derry Girls is a show about friendships, and it’s a show about doing the next right thing even while we’re lost in the current challenges life throws at us. In its final episode, it reflects on the moments that matter while blaring forward the message that it’s okay if things aren’t always perfect—they’ll get there someday. If it isn’t today, then surely, it’s to come, and this alone makes the series one of the most heartwarming pieces of entertainment to grace our screens in a long, long time. 

Derry Girls Season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.


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