Derry Girls is back with a bang for its third and final season.
The acclaimed show has been off our screens for nearly three years now due to coronavirus restrictions. But after last night’s episode, it promises to not disappoint.
Set in Northern Ireland during the troubles, the channel 4 comedy follows a group of schoolgirls (and a wee English fella) as they navigate their teenage years while living through a civil war.
We return in season three as the gang waits for their GCSE results, but they must resort to drastic measures when the anticipation becomes too much.
Despite its long hiatus, none of Derry Girls’ original charms has worn off, It feels like we’re coming home to these characters. Which makes it all the more heartbreaking that we don’t have long left with them.
Writer Lisa McGee nails the unique Derry language once again, with some scenes feeling like they’re recreations of real-life conversations overheard on the Derry streets.
McGee’s one-liners are sharp as ever and are delivered to perfection by the incredible cast.
Starring local Derry talent Saorise-Monica Jackson (Erin) and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (Michelle) as well as a host of Irish Legends, this ensemble cast is a true delight.
You could watch the show six times over and pay attention to a different actor’s performance each viewing and still find something new to love.
Their small moments of interaction with each other may not be the main focal point but they help us to get to know these characters and fall in love with them all over again. Quirks and all.
It’s hard to isolate any of the actor’s performances, but it’s always a joy to watch Granda Joe (played by Ian McElhinney) threaten Da Gerry (played by Comedian Tommy Tiernan) in an age-old battle of the father versus the son-in-law.
Derry Girls has never shied away from talking about the darker side of the Troubles. Rather it uses the tense political situation as a backdrop to the equally tense lives of teenagers.
The writers are also able to comment on the injustices in this highly contested period of time, without forgetting to make us laugh.
In one scene the girls are faced with an R.U.C. interrogation until Erin plays them at their own game:
“If your organisation isn’t prejudiced Inspector, then you won’t mind telling us how many catholic officers are serving in it at this time.”
This simple question serves as a stark reminder of how separated communities in Northern Ireland had become, and gives context to the conflict.
But this isn’t a documentary, it’s Derry Girls:
“Well, if you count the Jewish fella from Ballymena, three.”
A special cameo in this episode from a Hollywood star was a welcome surprise and goes to show the reach that this small Northern Irish production has achieved.
It also makes you think that if they could hide this, what else might they have in store for us this season?
It is clear that season three isn’t about to mess up its almost perfect run, let’s just hope it continues to stick the landing.
Derry Girls airs Tuesday 9:15pm on Channel 4
Featured image credit: NME