Unfortunately all good things have to come to an end. Derry Girls recently concluded its third and final season so why not look back at the best episodes from one of the best comedy series ever? Thanks to its fantastic cast and wonderful writing, Derry Girls obviously attracted a huge fanbase. So, before I get into the list properly, here is some history about the show.
Derry Girls first debuted on Channel 4 in 2018 and as mentioned above it ran for three seasons until 2022. The show follows 5 teenagers: Michelle, Erin, Claire, James and Orla during the troubles in Northern Ireland within the town of Derry. During their adventures, they end up encountering Protestant boys schools, Liam Neeson as a police inspector and the most dreaded thing of all: exam results. Derry Girls was widely noted for its ability to blend the darker political turmoil of the troubles in Ireland with humour and great wit. Man, it’s a shame we can’t get any new episodes. Also, this list will probably not contain many Season 3 episodes because I haven’t seen the whole series yet. So, without further ado here are the best Derry Girls episodes.
10: Ms De Bruin and the Child of Prague (S2, E2)
Kicking off the list of the best Derry Girls episodes is Ms De Bruin and the Child of Prague. So, what makes this episode so good? Well, the girls have a new English teacher, Ms De Bruin, who seeks to inspire passion within their writings. How does she do this? Well, she helps them reflect on life by hanging out with them whilst drinking wine. Weird, but okay… The B plot sees Ma Mary being desperate to find out who the infamous Keyser Soze in the Usual Suspects is. This is due to the screening being cut short. Overall, a very solid episode.
9: Episode 1.4 (S1, E4)
How to follow up Ms De Bruin and the Child of Prague? Obviously, with an episode centred around James’s burgeoning relationship with a child of Chernobyl being accommodated in Derry: Katya. Naturally, Erin becomes massively suspicious and worries James is being used by Katya. So, obviously Erin handles this in a mature way by planning to expose her in front of the town at a party. Meanwhile, Granda Joe seems to be falling in love only for his daughters, Ma Mary and Auntie Sarah, to take a stand against it. Man, thank goodness this didn’t take place on Valentines Day….
8: Episode 1.3 (S1, E3)
After looking at Episode 1.4, next up on the best Derry Girls episodes is the episode that preceded it: Episode 1.3. So, what sort of madness do Erin and the girls get up to in this episode? Well, after staying up all night cramming for an exam (fairly relatable to be honest) the girls haven’t taken any information in. So, when praying to a statue of the Virgin Mary they think they see the statue crying. Naturally, everyone is suspicious of the timing which would take them out of the exam. However, the real reason for the statue crying really takes the… you know what I won’t spoil the episode because the twist is clever and slightly disgusting.
7: Episode 1.1 (S1, E1)
Aah, now we come to the episode that started it all: Episode 1.1. Now like all good first episodes, this one gives us all the information we need to know about the characters to engage the audience. Here, we see Michelle land the whole group in detention for threatening a first year. And if that sounds mad, as Auntie Sarah says of their time in detention with Sister Declan they end up ‘pissing on her dead body and making sandwiches’. That certainly introduces the audience to the characters very well…..
6: Episode 1.6 (S1, E6)
One of the best things that Derry Girls did was blending comedy with serious topics and Episode 1.6 is a perfect example. When Erin takes over as publisher of the school magazine, she ends up publishing an anonymous coming out letter on the front page. What ends up following is a shocking revelation within the gang and a very wholesome ending with the gang reuniting at the end. The B plot is refreshingly stupid one with Joe forgetting his ticket to pick up Mary’s photos with Granda Joe refusing to vouch for him. Once again, another funny episode.
5: Across the Barricade (S2, E1)
At the halfway point of the best Derry Girls episodes is Across the Barricade. As the title suggests, this episode focuses on a ‘Friends Across the Barricade’ scheme with a Protestant boys school. Despite the initiative supposedly being about cooperation and peace, Erin and Michelle take it as a chance to meet some hot Protestant boys. The trip only deteriorates further when a misunderstanding leads Claire into danger with a ‘fully blown’ Protestant boy. At least the episode makes a joke about the one thing: the one similarity Protestants and Catholics have.
4: The Concert (S2, E3)
If you ever wanted to see an episode where the A plot involves a Take That concert and the B plot involves an escaped polar bear, well have I got an episode for you. When an escaped polar bear in Belfast seems to stop the girls going to a Take That concert, they decide to make their own way there. What follows is a riotous episode featuring hiding their plan from Sister Michael, encounters with a band of travellers and a rambunctious merchandise seller. Oh, and the ending is just a wonderful piece of comedic timing. So much to love in this episode.
3: The Curse (S2, E4)
Sneaking into the top three best Derry Girls episodes is the Curse. So, what makes this episode so good? Well, at Auntie Bridie’s wedding Erin and the girls end up causing a scene. Long story short, Auntie Bridie drops dead after Ma Mary curses her out. This leads everyone to believe Mary cursed Auntie Bridie. And things don’t get much better at the wake when Michelle’s ‘special’ scones end up causing a blockage in the drains. If that isn’t enough reason to love this episode, then the guest appearance of Ardal O’Hanlan should do it.
2: The President (S2, E6)
Narrowly missing out on the top spot in the best Derry Girls episodes is The President. So, what makes this episode so good? Obviously, because of the A plot of President Bill Clinton visiting Derry after the ceasefire. This leads to James and the girls skipping the school and James then receives a surprise visit from a guest. On top of all this, there’s the B plot of Granda Joe trying to track the location of the President. Also, the ending once again shows why Derry Girls was so good with its blending comedy and heartbreak with the revelation of what it means to be a Derry Girl.
1: The Prom (S2, E5)
And the best Derry Girls episode is… The Prom. While the President makes a very strong contender, The Prom just edges it for me. Why? Well, a new Chinese student, Mae, joins the college and the group. On top of this, the prom is just round the corner so the girls are desperate to find dates. Unfortunately, James has a Doctor Who convention the night of the prom so looks like he will miss it. Also, what starts out as a regular Derry Girls episode soon turns into a ‘horror’ film when Jenny Joyce wins prom queen… at an event she organised. Long story short, this episode is packed with emotional moments like Erin getting a prom date. Heart warming stuff really.
What are your favourite Derry Girls episodes? Let me know in the comments below!