Dramatic ‘Ginny & Georgia’ finale leaves the Gilmores far behind

Netflix’s Ginny & Georgia is nothing like Gilmore Girls. The comparison was ostensibly made to create buzz around the former, which subsequently entered the world in the gargantuan shadow of its fast-talking, snow-covered predecessor. 

By the Season 1 finale, all Gilmore comparisons should be retired. Not because Ginny & Georgia has a particularly strong identity of its own, but because it has thrown everything at the wall over 10 episodes in the attempt. That effort to heighten the stakes doesn’t always pay off the way the creators planned; despite being a wildly eventful TV show, Ginny & Georgia is predictable, even in most of its high-octane finale. But if the primary thing it wanted to be was Not Gilmore Girls, it succeeds.

At the start of episode 10, Georgia is officially engaged to Jason Street Mayor Paul, a strategic move from both parties. Paul is well aware that he’s marrying someone capable of lying and cheating (his imagination may not extend to the larger crimes), and Georgia can count on some measure of security with him — or so she thinks. Gabriel Cordova is still hanging around, trying to figure out what she’s hiding.

Ginny has a rare conversation with someone who isn't terrible: Bracia.

Ginny has a rare conversation with someone who isn’t terrible: Bracia.


Meanwhile, Ginny has become a pariah with all her friends and ex-boyfriend Hunter, for very different reasons but with unfortunate timing nonetheless. Sitting in class with racist Mr. Gitten as he explains why the n-word is in the book their reading and blames it on the female author. Overwhelmed, Georgia leaves class and serendipitously runs into Bracia, who offers support and sympathy.

There is way too little of Bracia in this season, which is a bit of a Catch-22. Ginny’s journey as a character includes trying to fit in with the first friends she makes, who happen to be white. Her identity is a central conflict of the first season, and after Zion’s visit and the falling out with MANG it does make sense she’d want new friends. However, the byproduct of that character journey is that all the Black characters save for two get sidelined and saved for later seasons, only getting screen time when the show’s popularity and future are secured.  

At City Hall, Cynthia accuses Georgia of embezzling municipal funds, which Georgia squarely denies while gaslighting Cynthia and the many witnesses. Nick figures out the truth but he’s waiting to act — depending on the election and his loyalty to Georgia, things could go either way. 

Hunter goes to Blue Farm to talk to Ginny, apologizing for the barbs they hurled at each other and saying that he misses her — he loves her. I have no investment in Ginny and Hunter — or Ginny and Marcus, or Ginny and the rest of MANG — but Joe as her de facto confidante is one of the funniest and best things the show has done. It’s a little weird and forced writing-wise, but actor Raymond Ablack handles it superbly… and it sets up the Georgia reveal when he realizes she kept his sunglasses all these years.

Joe hoping for nothing less than the Earth to swallow him whole in this moment.

Joe hoping for nothing less than the Earth to swallow him whole in this moment.

Image: screenshot / netflix

If there’s a positive to Ginny & Georgia sidelining characters like Joe and Bracia, it’s that these relationships are ostensibly endgame. Joe is the slow burning romance, Bracia the real friend, and the actors (Ablack and Tameka Griffiths, respectively) make strong impressions despite being treated as largely secondary this season. That doesn’t mean Paul or MANG or Marcus are going away any time soon, but the competition is getting steeper.

I’m all for Joe and Georgia — even if the collective charisma and attractiveness might necessitate a hazard warning on future seasons — but their story is a lot to buy into. Just one character holding a candle for 15 years for the rando they met at a rest stop and talked to about horses would be concerning. Since it’s two we’re supposed to find it cute, but I am still concerned — especially since Georgia seemingly figured it out a while ago (if she didn’t stalk Joe directly to his store) and plans to say or do nothing.

Throughout the season, Ginny and Georgia’s relationship deteriorates. It’s why you can’t compare this show to Gilmore and maybe never should have. Ginny disrespects and slut-shames Georgia from start to finish of Season 1. It only improves for a few minutes when Georgia confides that she was molested as a child — and then Ginny goes right back to being mean! When Georgia says “I don’t know you, Ginny hits her with an appropriately melodramatic response: “You know who I am. I’m you, remember?” 

Speaking of Ginny being a brat, she decides to apologize to Max moments before curtains rise for the school play, which is about the rudest thing you can do to a performer. Even more unbelievable, it continues! Ginny lurks in the wings instead of taking a damn seat (at least come out of this fight with some praise for the musical), picking up the argument in between scenes until Max takes their fight to the hallway.

At that point, the ancillary members of the squad show up, Abby helpfully telling Hunter that Ginny slept with Marcus. Abby’s had some strong Gretchen Wieners energy throughout this season, but it rears its head with a vengeance in this scene when she throws Ginny under the bus just to save face with Max. She might have her own reasons for calling Ginny a bitch, but Abby isn’t building a strong case for her own compassion.

The scene in a vacuum demonstrates G&G’s penchant for dialing up tension without actually challenging story tropes. Every time a new character enters the hallway we know it’s only going to get worse and leave a mess behind. Hunter shows up and gets his heart broken, Marcus shows up and breaks Ginny’s heart (he lies for the sex with good reason, but Ginny already decided to leave this interaction as a victim). 




Also…there’s not really any precedent for Maxine’s response here. Of course she’s furious that Ginny lied and it involved her brother, but it really reads like the hookup itself is what she’s mad about. She spends opening night of her musical yelling at Marcus for having consensual sex with someone he loves and even tells their mom. By the way, remember how Marcus’ best friend died last year? I’m not just asking Max, I’m asking every character on this show and the writers because it came up in episode 2 and never again. Treating a grieving sibling the way Max does throughout this show does not endear her to anyone.

Ellen calling Georgia a bad mom did elicit my second gasp in this entire series (gasp #1 was when Austin stabbed a kid). May Jennifer Robertson have a long and illustrious career.

Ginny’s response to everything is, astoundingly, to blackmail Mr. Gitten for his racism. On one hand, kudos for calling the racist a racist, but maybe exploiting this powerful individual is not the best opening move? Austin’s school life is only slightly better in that he recovered from the bad P.R. of The Stabbing and then skipped class for a week without getting caught. His teacher suggests behavioral resources, but Georgia rebuffs them again because she doesn’t believe in mental health.

Ginny at least doesn’t throw Georgia under the bus when Gabriel says he suspects her of murder. After all Ginny’s ire at Georgia, murder is the one thing she can stomach, because she realizes Georgia did it to protect Ginny from her stepfather. Still, Ginny has had enough; she gets Austin and packs a bag to leave town. She has one last interaction with Marcus before leaving. He apologizes for saying the sex was a mistake, tells her once more that he loves her, but Marcus doesn’t expect them to live happily ever after. He’s used to hurting, and he’s more worried Ginny might hurt herself in her state of distress.

We recovered from the stabbing way too quickly.

We recovered from the stabbing way too quickly.


I’m not sure what to make of the Cynthia reveal near the end, that she has to take care of a sick husband who depends on medical equipment. We do not know this man’s name, and no one in town seems to know what’s going on — there’s a mention of “everything you’re going through at home” which seems like a woefully insensitive oversimplification. Cynthia softens with her husband and son and there is a real tenderness to the scene, but it’s so brief and presented to astonish in a way that just makes Georgia look like an asshole more than anything.

Just when Georgia thinks she’s out of the woods with the Kenny investigation (a.k.a. having his body exhumed so she can scatter the ashes via fireworks display), Gabriel gets a call about her first husband Anthony. Anthony’s fate was unclear in the flashbacks, but now we learn he’s missing. Georgia’s on the run from her past in more ways than one — remember her terror at the thought of Austin’s father knowing where they live?

Ginny and Austin aren’t worried about that part since they’re on their way out of Wellsbury. Just like her mother fled home as a teenager, Ginny takes to the streets with a child in tow and a pile of secrets. We’re not sure she’ll fare better — or that she’ll even be away for long.

Ginny & Georgia is now streaming on Netflix.

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