Derry Girls Series 3 Review *Spoilers Included*

Derry Girls has been on our screens since January 2018, and follows a group of teenage girls (Michelle, Orla, Erin and Clare), as well as one boy, called James. It’s 3rd and final series was announced in April 2019, but was postponed in 2020 — thank you Corona — after the pandemic took off.

In February 2021, it was confirmed that filming of the third series would start later in the year, and it finally premiered on Channel 4 in mid April this year.

In this blog, I’m going to give each of the episodes a mini summary, before giving my final thoughts at the end.

Episode 1 Summary

Episode 1 introduces us to the girls (and James) again, just a day before their GCSE results day, which they are all respectively nervous about. We learn how they spent their summer indulging James’s attempts to become NI’s foremost youth documentarian, which he is determined will be absolutely award winning, but ends up being completely wrong about, with the definition being exactly what you’d expect from a 17 year old beginner. The camera he uses later resurfaces in the same episode — when he and the girls are sneaking into the school after finding out Sister Michael already knows their results.

Things quickly turn for the worst, though, after they bump into two seemingly nice guys already in the school — one who gives his name as Hans. The men convince them to help them rob the school (which the girls don’t even realise until after they’ve done it), and are taken to the Londonderry RUC Station in a panic, where they are interrogated by a serious police commander, played by Liam Neeson.

By the end of the episode, the girls end up being let off, and they all do well in their GCSEs. That is, until James’s video camera is discovered with the evidence, which is where the episode ends.

I did find the episode funny in part, but not as funny compared to other episodes in the series. Overall, I felt like it was a nice introduction to the series.

Episode 2 Summary

The new term at Our Lady Immaculate’s has started, and we are yet again introduced to everyone’s favourite hot priest, Father Peter, who now has a ponytail.

He announces that — as part of the school’s Children in Need fundraiser — “Stars In Their Eyes” will be coming to the school. Students are welcomed to take part, but the big news is that whoever wins the competition, will get a chance to feature on TV.

Meanwhile, a hot plumber, called Gabriel, comes to the house, who makes Ma Mary blush, and sends Da Gerry into a tizzy. After a brief falling out with the girls, Clare tries to get some fresh air, but overhears a conversation Gabriel and Mary are having in the hallway, sparking speculation that they are having an affair.

As James has recently got his driver’s licence, the girls force him to drive them to the house that Mary and Gabriel decided to go to. Erin is devastated watching her mother and Gabriel taking wine and cheese together — believing it is enough to convince her they are having an affair.

On the night of “Stars In Their Eyes”, things get worse, when Erin spots Ma Mary and Gabriel getting close to each other again, and this distracts her from the performance she, Clare, Michelle, Orla and James are doing as the Spice Girls.

It turns out that the whole affair thing was a total big misunderstanding, and that Ma Mary was instead talking with Gabriel about wanting to get a degree. But either way, I did find the episode considerably funnier than the first one, with considerably more parts that you could laugh at.

Episode 3 summary

The episode starts by showing us more of James’s style as a filmmaker, on a day when the clan are on their way to ‘Protestant’ Portrush, for a trip to the Big Dipper.

Things, however, still end up going wrong!

For starters, they manage to leave Clare behind, but it ends up being quite entertaining for the audience’s benefit, as it turns out Sister Michael is also late for the train.

On board the train, however, the four other teens find themselves in trouble, when James lifts the wrong backpack, and discovers it contains some dodgy items, as well as a bag of Tayto Salt & Vinegar crisps.

The end of the episode was highly amusing, both on the train and when the scene cuts to Clare and Sister Michael.

My favourite scene in the episode was when Sister Michael gave off to the train reception lady, closely followed by when the tattooed man and ex conwoman run after the train to chase after James after he’s suspected as the person who ate the crisps.

Episode 4 Summary

I’ve explained how some of the episodes were less funny than others, but this one is personally one that I think is the best in the series.

The girls get annoyed at the fact that Jenny Joyce has stolen their song, and give off about it to Sister Michael. But the mood is darkened slightly when Sister Michael receives a call telling her that her aunt has died. The girls try offering her sympathy, but she tells them not to worry, as she was “an absolute arsehole.” However, she then sends them down to the house in Donegal that her aunt lived in to clear it out for a wake that will take place, in the school van, which she could do herself, but simply doesn’t want to.

The girls agree to do it, but only for hope of meeting some hot farmers.

But countless scenarios arise as soon as the gang arrive in Donegal, starting off with the van getting a flat tire. Secondly, James gets knocked unconscious after hitting his head off the van, and after they get him, and themselves inside, a spooky feeling engulfs the building!

First of all, they can’t find the key, and Clare ends up smashing the glass door rather than waiting for Orla to find it!

With James still unconscious, they try to use the phone to phone for an ambulance, but it turns out that it is disconnected with no satellite. This forces them to consider walking to the closest hospital, but thankfully, James regains consciousness soon. It is seen as a bit of a bad thing by Michelle, though, as James instantly starts talking about his near death experience.

Next, they ponder upon an old 1941 wedding photo of a happy couple, Annie and Robert, that everyone automatically start to feel freaked out about. This isn’t helped much when Erin mentions how she feels the ghosts of the couple are watching over them, which makes things even worse.

Meanwhile, James tries telling Erin about his feelings for her. But after Michelle catches them, she tells them how she doesn’t want them to be together.

Also, Mary, Sarah, Grandpa Joe and Da Jerry visit a psychic in relation to reaching out to their mother’s spirit, who in this episode it is revealed has been dead for 10 years.

As I said, this is personally one of my favourite episodes, with the amount of laugh out loud moments, as well as spooky elements, making it absolutely brilliant! The twist at the end when we find out that Sister Michael’s aunt was called Moira and never married was the best moment in the episode, that made me laugh more than I ever have at one of the episodes.

Episode 5 Summary

The Class of ‘77 school reunion is about to take place, and Ma Mary and Aunt Sarah are all out to impress with it.

Meanwhile, things change when the truth starts to come out about, threatening to get into everything that happened on Leavers’ night around 20 years before.

Again, I feel like this episode includes more Drama than Comedy, but it was interesting learning about what the parents in the series did when they were younger.

Episode 6 Summary

It’s Halloween, and the Derry girls (as well as James) are excited that Fat Boy Slim is booked to DJ at the Londonderry Halloween festival.

Originally successful in getting the last five tickets, they end up losing them after someone else in the cue says it isn’t fair that they got them, and challenges James to a fight. Unfortunately that isn’t the worse point, as James ends up fleeing the fight and tearing the tickets up.

Michelle later goes on tv with a made up sad story about James, but which ends up getting them five tickets.

Clare’s Dad arrives to take them to the event, with all the teens dressed up as angels, though James has an added black eye and crutches to keep the story believable.

When they arrive, the security guard tells them how he has arranged for Fat Boy Slim to meet them, but gets confused and asks if there’s not meant to be five of them. It turns out Clare has went off to find Laurie — a lesbian she was introduced to at the beginning of the episode — who said she would be there in a clown mask.

Unfortunately, there are dozens of people dressed as clowns already in the room, so Clare doesn’t know which one of them is Laurie. Once the gang finds her, they try to make her leave, but she refuses to leave until she finds her Lesie, forcing the gang to help them look under everyone’s masks.

While checking under everyone’s masks, James unfortunately brings off the mask of the man who challenged them at the beginning of the episode. Running away, he ends up throwing the crutches away, which ends up getting him and the girls thrown out, but not before Clare is kissed by Laurie.

But sadly, the joy isn’t able to last forever, as Gerry has already arrived to pick the girls up. Earlier in the episode, he got a call saying that Clare’s dad had took sick and was rushed to hospital. The episode ends with a funeral.

Episode 7 summary

A year has passed — until just slightly before the Good Friday Agreement — and Clare and her mum have moved to a different part of the country, while most of the other girls are or have already celebrated their 18th birthdays. Erin and Orla are planning a joined 18th birthday (even though Erin’s actual 18th wad three months beforehand), and are told they will have to compromise.

Meanwhile, the family and their friends try to get their heads around what The Good Friday Agreement will possibly mean for the future, with some even doubting if they will ever be ready.

Sister Michael also finds out that the bishops want to remove her as Head of Our Lady Immaculate College, and battles with whether she’ll give into them or stay.

Final Thoughts

Quite a lot of the series made me laugh, but there are parts of the series that will make you feel emotional.

The ending of episode 6 made even myself feel quite upset, but even the relationships the characters had with each other hit quite an emotional level on a couple of points, such as with the relationship between Erin and James — which I am happy the audience gets to make their own minds up on by the final episode — as well as the relationships their parents and other family members have with each other.

But moving on to the final episode, I found it interesting how one bonus episode had been added that covered the run up to the vote on the Good Friday Agreement.

As someone who was born just a matter of months before the Agreement was signed (in January ‘98), I thought it was an educational telling of the arguments on both sides, explained clearly to a younger generation. In fact, with all the troubles with it that are resurfacing now, I think the end of the series helped bring back many of the questions people had, which in many ways have been forgotten.

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