Derry Girl spoilers ahead.
The fan favourite teen show Derry Girls came to an end with its finale on Wednesday night, May 18. The episode is an important testament to the recent history of Northern Ireland and has the power to educate us all on the Troubles.
The Channel 4 sitcom follows the lives of five high school students in the 1990s, as they try to navigate being teenagers against the backdrop of the Northern Ireland conflict that became known as the Troubles.
The acclaimed finale of Derry Girls is an hour-long special set in 1998. While two of the girls, Orla and Erin, are organising a joint 18th birthday party, all of them are also preparing to vote at the referendum for the Good Friday Agreement, which brought an end to the Troubles.
The episode was full of funny moments in true Derry Girls-style, but they never diminished the importance of the fight for peace that was taking place at the time. Throughout the finale, we witness the characters coming to terms with what the vote will mean.
— Novelty Bobble (@NoveltyBobble12) May 17, 2022
We follow Erin (Saoirse Monica-Jackson) having an internal debate on whether it is right to release paramilitary soldiers who may have killed people, and we see Michelle expressing hope for her brother, who had killed a man and might be released under the deal.
Then we watch all of our protagonists stepping into the polling booth and voting in favour of the Good Friday Agreement, effectively deciding to take a step forward into a future where they can be free from the violence of the conflict.
During the Troubles, which lasted about 30 years, more than 3500 people were killed. The setting and context of this episode is of fundamental importance and it serves as a powerful reminder of what it meant to vote in favour of the Good Friday Agreement for the North.
One of the Derry Girls stars, Nicola Coughlan, whose character Clare came out as a lesbian at the end of season one, said her goodbye to the show in an emotional post on social media. “It’s impossible to put into words what Derry Girls has meant to me and how much it’s changed my life so I won’t even try,” wrote the actress, posting a photo of her audition and one of the final day on set. “Thank you all so much to you all, what an honour it’s been.”
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