When we first met Marnie Michaels, she was on the brink of a tailspin. Within Girls' first few episodes, she lost her perfect boyfriend, her perfect job, and her perfect life, and while the rest of the characters spent six seasons chasing their place and purpose, she was clamoring to get it back. As I'm sure Marnie would be delighted to hear, that often made her story line more tragic. She'd had a glimpse of what her future could have been, and as she shuffled through a parade of sh*tty jobs and failed relationships — each one more disastrous than the last — it seemed as if she may never get back on track. But that's what makes Marnie's ending on Girls so triumphant.
It's a quiet kind of victory — one that if you don't look close enough, you might miss — but by Marnie's standards, it's a crowning achievement. In the April 15 episode, "The Bounce," she's forced to come to grips with reality when an eviction notice lands on her door. Initially, she does everything you'd expect from her: She calls her mom to beg for money, then sulks and stomps her feet when she declines, instead inviting her to crash on her couch. But later, after bemoaning the myriad of injustices the world has hurled at her, a particularly perceptive pawn shop owner finally sets her straight. He tells her she's doing a lot of blaming, that she's the liar, and apparently, that's all it takes. Afterward, she calls Desi to tell him he "doesn't owe" her anything — for the record, he doesn't — then packs up her stuff, swallows her pride, and moves back in with her mom.
It's comedic that a simple nudge from a stranger could cause Marnie to reroute her life, especially when it's something her friends and family and the entire f*cking internet have been practically screaming for years. Still, it proves that Marnie — entitled, smug, ingratiatingly self-centered Marnie — does, after all, have the capacity to change.
And for once, it's not a fluke. In the series finale, she offers to help Hannah raise her baby — an astoundingly selfless thing for someone who's typically so self-involved. She, of course, proposes the idea true to form, gloating about how she's Hannah's best friend and that means she "wins," but it's a profound measure of her growth as a person nonetheless.
In the end, Marnie is still Marnie: Type-A and controlling but ultimately well-intentioned. She may not have the life she envisioned for herself so many years ago, but now, at least, she's finally putting the pieces back together.