[Spoilers follow for “Girls” Season 6, Episode 4, “Painful Evacuation.”]
It’s the final season of “Girls,” and it is not going gently into that good night. Following last week’s tremendous bottle episode, “American Bitch,” the series has thrown a major landmine into the narrative with the reveal this week that Hannah (Lena Dunham) has become pregnant thanks to her one night stand in the season opener with Paul-Louis (Riz Ahmed).
It’s a major shake-up for the HBO comedy created by Dunham, but while it might have caught us off guard, it was a shocking moment six years in the making.
Executive producer Jenni Konner revealed to IndieWire that Hannah getting pregnant was a part of Dunham’s plan for the show “from the very beginning… Creatively, she saw that as something that could be the next step in Hannah’s journey.”
The cherry on the surprise sundae was who ended up delivering the news to Hannah: A very familiar-looking E.R. doctor. The inspiration for bringing back Joshua (Patrick Wilson), last seen spending a lost weekend with Hannah in the classic Season 2 bottle episode “One Man’s Trash,” came from asking a very simple question in the writer’s room.
“We were excited to try to figure out who the worst person to tell her she’s pregnant would be,” Konner said. “Like, what’s the worst way she could find out? That was the question we posed to the room.”
That choice did end up conflicting with one person’s point of view on “One Man’s Trash” — specifically episode director Richard Shepard. “He kind of, in his mind, always thought that the Patrick Wilson episode could exist in a world where it was all a dream, like, did it really happen?” Konner revealed. “That was his idea about the episode. Lena and I were like no, it definitely happened. It was not a dream. And he was like, ‘But, is it?'”
The character’s return, of course, proves that Dr. Joshua was in fact real the whole time, to Shepard’s disappointment. “He was the only one who was like, ‘You can’t bring him back,'” Konner laughed.
For Konner, Hannah’s pregnancy adds a new level of stakes to the show, because “everything that’s come before it could be considered much lower stakes than actually becoming a parent. So I think it adds a gravitas, something that can’t get dismissed. It just adds a level of importance.”
Does that mean Hannah’s keeping the baby? The character certainly implied she might be in “Painful Evacuation,” but Konner had an interesting interpretation of that moment. “The first thing Patrick Wilson assumes is that she’ll have an abortion and so the first thing she considers is not having an abortion, just because she’s such a contrary person. Like, ‘You don’t know me, you don’t know anything about me — maybe I am going to have this child,'” she explained.
There are six more episodes left in the season, and Konner didn’t give up much as to what we might expect from the finale. She did, however, say that fan expectations didn’t weigh into any choices made for the ending.
“Not to sound cheesy,” she said, “but I think we owed it to these characters to give them what we felt their ending was, not what people were crying for.”
That said, Konner believes that “we’ve made a satisfying end for people. I’m anxious to know what people think.”
Because this is “Girls,” it’s a safe bet that people will have opinions about it.
“Girls” Season 6 airs Sundays at 10 p.m. on HBO.