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‘Derry Girls’ Season 3 is Absolutely Cracker (And Has Some Cameos That Will Make You Scream)

5/5 light-up swan costumes

derry girls

The third and final season of Derry Girls, the Irish sitcom about four teenage girls and one boy growing up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, has finally hit Netflix after airing on Ireland’s Channel 4 last spring. The genius of Derry Girls has always lain in the contrast between the madcap comedy of Erin (Saoirse-Monica Jackson), Orla (Louisa Harland), Michelle (Jamie-Lee O’Donnell), Clare (Nicola Coughlan), and James (Dylan Llewellyn), and season 3 leans even harder into that contrast—with side-splitting results.

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Season 2 ended with James deciding to stay in Derry and the factions in Northern Ireland agreeing to a ceasefire. Season 3 picks up with the girls gradually making their way toward adulthood. They take their GCSE exams, celebrate their 18th birthdays, and weigh their options in the approaching Good Friday Agreement referendum. The season mainly focuses on the girls themselves, but like in previous seasons, the Troubles are a constant presence.

The girls are growing up, but thankfully, they’re no more mature than they were in the first two seasons, and the series still revolves around their unparalleled talent for creating their own problems. In one episode, the girls decide to break into the school to get their exam results, and end up accidentally aiding a burglary. In another episode, they manage to get—and lose—and get again!—and lose again!—tickets to Fatboy Slim. Every character on the show, from Erin to Sister Michael to the droning Colm, has a big personality, and the cast is just as stellar as they were last time we saw them.

Season 3 also plays with time more than the first two seasons did, using flashbacks and time jumps to expand the Derry girls’ world. One episode takes place in the 1970s, when Mary (Tara Lynne O’Neill), Sarah (Kathy Kiera Clarke), and the rest of the adults are teenagers in high school. At first the episode feels like a distraction, but once you start to see where Erin and her friends got all their quirks and neuroses, the 1970s plot is just as entertaining as the present day. That episode reminds us that the grownups in the show are just as funny as the kids, and their constant sniping never gets old.

This season also isn’t afraid to be tender and even heartbreaking at parts. Seasons 1 and 2 had their share of sweet moments, but season 3 surprised me by moving me to tears more than once. The Derry girls aren’t just vehicles for gags—they’re living, breathing, lovingly rendered characters who feel like old friends.

And those cameos we mentioned in the headline? Well, they were either spoiled for you last spring or you still don’t know who they are, so I’ll keep them a surprise in this review. Suffice it to say that I literally yelled when I saw who showed up.

The one bad thing about season 3 is that it means Derry Girls is over. Thanks to the final scene of the series, though, I can imagine that the girls are out there somewhere right now, getting up to some hilarious trouble.

Season 3 of Derry Girls is now streaming on Netflix.

(image: Netflix)

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Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>

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