Derry Girls Season 3 Review: Pure Class ★★★★☆

5 mins read

Derry Girls has come to an end with an almost perfect run.

In an emotional series finale, the Girls said their final farewells as viewers try to grasp what the TV guide will look like without them.

As the rest of Northern Ireland gears up to vote on the historic Good Friday Agreement, Erin and Orla prepare for the party of the year… their 18th.

Orla Mccool (Louisa Clare Harland). Image Credit: Channel 4

Rather than acting as a victory lap of their greatest hits, the series finale feels like the show has matured alongside its stars.  

Up until now, the Troubles had been a backing track to the arguably more distressing process of growing up.

The highs and lows of teendom were given their due respect but in this emotional send-off, we’re reminded that youth cannot last forever, and neither can war.

The last episode champions this idea, as the girls come to terms with growing up and all the compromises that come with that.

This may be an emotional watch for Northern Irish viewers, whether you remember the conflict or not.

McGee writes with an air of hope that is particularly bittersweet when you consider how contentious Northern Irish politics remains to this day.

The cast of Derry Girls (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

As always her writing is supported by a brilliant ensemble cast. Each one of them has had a hand in creating characters that feel familiar.

At some point, we were all either Erin, Michelle, Claire, Orla or James. We’ve all wanted to be a Derry Girl. This young cast is the reason for that.

Jamie-Lee O’Donnell demonstrated that she is not just the comic relief. Her performance as Michelle in the last episode perfectly reflects the moral grey area that comes with loving someone.

It is sad that Nicola Coughlan’s (who plays Clare) commitment to Netflix’s Bridgerton caused so many scheduling conflicts with Derry Girls.

Although they tried their best to minimise her absence as best they could, Clare feels detached from the rest of the group for much of the season.

A lot of the time this problem was addressed by having Clare go on solo side missions. It never felt too strange, but you can’t help missing the magic when the whole gang is together.

Despite this, everyone involved in the making of Derry Girls can rest assured that their last outing is triumphant. Especially when you consider how far they’ve come.

The stars of the show with creator Lisa McGee at their mural in Derry. Image Credit: Lorcan Doherty

Once, just another pilot hoping to bag a time slot, the show has found fans right across the globe.

Not only has it kickstarted the career of many young Irish actors like Saoirse-Monica Jackson and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell, but it has put Derry on the map as something other than a battleground.

That’s one of the reasons why we’ll miss Derry Girls. It showed the North for what it is, a flawed, confusing, brilliant place to be from.

It engaged with the past without turning it into a war between good and evil; McGee used a sitcom format to teach Irish history better than half the classrooms in Ireland.  

She achieved this by recognising that politics is personal, and how there are no good guys in war.

As Michelle rightly puts in the final episode:

“There is no right answer.”

It is these moments of reflection amid absolute chaos which sets Derry Girls apart.

This wee show from Derry may be missed but it won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

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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