Derry Girls S3 E5 Recap: A Blast from the Past

4 mins read

Derry Girls‘ penultimate episode is a blast from the past and one for all the mammies out there.

With their impending school reunion forcing old tensions to the surface, the girl’s mothers must dig up the past and face secrets that they long pledged to cover up.

The whole episode flashes between Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah’s school reunion and their leaver’s disco way back in 1977.

This episode puts a spotlight on the forgotten women of this generation, who made up much of the workforce but reaped very little of the benefits.

(L-R) Tara-Lynne O’Neill as Ma Mary and Kathy Kiera Clarke as Aunt Sarah. Image Credit: Channel 4

Speaking to Digital Spy, writer and creator Lisa McGee wanted to highlight the lighter side of life in Northern Ireland in the ’70s:

“Before shit got serious and they had their family, they were the silly people too. I mean, they’re still quite silly on the show as adults, but you know, all mummies were young once!”

This idea has been experimented with on the show before. Oftentimes, the adults’ storylines run parallel with the teenagers’ antics.

However, interspersed throughout the episode is archive footage from The Troubles themselves. It was interesting to have such a light plot be interrupted by some of the darkest times in Northern Irish history.

It might have been good to have included some of this history in the plot itself, as it would have given the episode some surprising depth.

(L-R) Claire Keenan, Martin Quinn, Jessica Reynolds, Dearbhaile McKinney, Shauna Higgins, Lucy McIlwaine playing the Derry Mas. Image Credit: Channel 4

I understand it is important to depict this time and place outside of the usual political narrative, but if McGee is attempting to pay tribute to the women of this generation, you need to show their struggles as well as their successes.

McGee has already alluded to the sacrifices the women of this generation have made in order to raise their families in episode two with Ma Mary’s decision to return to university.

It would have been brilliant to develop this idea further by contrasting how short childhood is in a warzone.

However, there is only so much you can do with a 20-minute runtime. Honestly, it’s just a relief to see the North represented on-screen as anything other than a paramilitary or a policeman.

McGee’s writing is supported by a brilliant young cast who play younger versions of the mammies.

Jessica Reynolds is completely believable as a punk obsessed teenager who will one day try and control her equally rebellious daughter Michelle (played by Jamie-Lee O’Donnell).

(L-R) Louisa Harland, Dylan Llewellyn, Amelia Crowley, Nicola Coughlan, Kathy Kiera Clarke, Saoirse-Monica Jackson, Tommy Tiernan, Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, Ian McElhinney, Tara Lynne O’Neill, Phillipa Dunne. Image Credit: Channel 4

None of the new cast tries too hard to imitate their older counterparts or attempts to replace the original Derry Girls, yet they emulate the spirit of the show in their own way.

This is a fun episode with plenty of laughs and perfect for any parent missing their school days.

It is almost time to reflect on losing such a great addition to everyone’s watchlists, but not yet! We still have two final episodes to savour.

Next week Derry Girls will say goodbye for the final time with episode six airing as usual on Tuesday at 9pm on Channel 4, and then an extra-long finale on Wednesday at 9pm.

Featured Image Credit: Channel 4

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Film and Tv Editor at Brig Newspaper. Currently studying Journalism and English at the University of Stirling

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