The Reel Review
Turn on the subtitles! The highly anticipated third and final season of the hilarious Northern Irish comedy series Derry Girls on Netflix has our group of four Catholic schoolgirls and the “wee English fella” navigating a new set of misadventures during their final year of school – all to the backdrop of encouraging progress in the Northern Ireland peace process in the late 1990s.
Show creator/writer Lisa McGee again fills these final seven episodes with lots of laughs and eternal optimism, despite a couple of early episodes that really scrape the barrel for a story line and a cast, that after a three-year hiatus after Season Two, does look a wee bit older. Be it the mystifyingly overconfident Erin, panic-prone Clare, horndog Michelle, wonderfully weird Orla or often-emasculated James, the trademark ribald humor is still there though, despite a few jokes falling flat compared to the consistently hilarious Season One and even funnier Season Two.
In addition to the show’s fun, nostalgic 90s tunes and some surprising big-name cameos, one episode features a nice flashback of the adults’ equally hilarious adolescence, showing that the apples did not fall far from the tree. Season Three has a few more serious and sad moments, illustrating the group’s evolution into adulthood. But the finalé, coinciding with the Northern Ireland Peace Accord’s Good Friday Agreement Referendum, is the perfect ending for the wonderfully goofy series that has become the benchmark for solid comic writing and outstanding ensemble acting.
• Prior to filming Season Three, Siobhan McSweeney (Sister Michael) broke her leg falling off a bicycle while shooting another show. Her injury was incorporated into the show, with her on crutches in many scenes.
• Nicola Coughlin’s separation from the rest of group during the “Strangers on a Train” episode was due to her scheduling conflicts while filming Bridgerton. Oftentimes Coughlin would go straight from the Bridgerton set to the Derry Girls set still dressed as her character Penelope Featherington.
• Only two primary cast members are actually from Derry – Saoirse-Monica Jackson (Erin) and Jamie-Lee O’Donnell (Michelle).