Since Season 11, Degrassi has done a fantastic job of providing social backdrops that allow multiple plots to happen within them simultaneously. That’s what we get here with Come As You Are Part 1 at least, when it comes to Katie/Drew/Bianca and Eclare. I almost feel like these are two storylines I should be so burned out from, but Degrassi’s writing team manages to dig deeper than the standard, shallow “relationship drama” we’re generally accustomed to.
PLOT A SUMMARY: Mr. Simpson starts off the term with an assembly where he announces the school is getting rid of its uniform policy. He also introduces the new junior hockey team, with most of them being new students. Dallas, captain of the team, is staying with Drew and Adam. Meanwhile, Drew finally breaks up with Katie, saying that he cheated on her with a girl named Courtney. Katie’s upset, but it leaves Drew free to finally date Bianca. Dallas and Adam decide to throw a party since the Torres parents are out of town. Drew gets drunk and Katie makes an appearance because she wants them to get back together. They go upstairs to an empty room and in a bid to reunite Katie has sex with Drew, who afterward, ends up passing out in front of everyone.
While nursing a hangover Drew doesn’t understand why Katie thinks they’re back together. He finally realizes that he slept with Katie, and feels the pressure from Bianca to make sure things between the two are officially kaput. Dallas and Adam tell Drew he needs to be straightforward with Katie, and he does so: he breaks up with her again and tells Katie the truth about Bianca. He also tells Katie that Bianca doesn’t know they had sex, and that Katie shouldn’t tell anyone they did. Drew and Bianca enjoy their time alone at the mall, but run into Katie and Marisol. Tension is high as Katie walks away without telling Bianca what happened, and Drew tells Bianca to not listen to anything Katie and Marisol might tell her.
Part of me wonders if Luke Bilyk realizes how effortlessly he displays Drew’s behavior with disturbing realism in the situation he faces with Katie in this episode. After the intense nature of the gang storyline in Season 11, Luke barely needs to break a sweat in order to make us feel the pressure of this awkward situation, Drew’s doing of course. Drew continually shows us how difficult it is to designate most people as flat out good or bad. On one hand we see him as an obedient son when his mom Audra is around. He’s shown that he’s a loving brother, defending a casual comment by Dallas about Adam without hesitation. He’s been emotionally supportive of Bianca and Katie during their times of need. Then we see him handle the romantic side of Bianca and Katie horribly. Do we determine someone’s “goodness” or “badness” based solely on how their behavior directly affects us?
There’s three things we know about Drew Torres: he’s kind of slow when it comes to academics, he’s got a good heart in there somewhere, and he’s a straight up dumbass when it comes to girls. It’s funny how Dallas and Adam had to be the ones to tell Drew that the direct approach is the way to go when breaking up with Katie. Even funnier is that while us viewers know that, odds are an overwhelming majority of us have been, are, and will be too afraid to be that straightforward without beating around the bush prior to rejecting someone. No one wants to be seen as the “bad guy,” and no one wants to hurt someone else’s feelings unless it’s out of vengeance.
More interesting than the fact Drew and Katie took each other’s virginity is the emotion that bled all over the room before it happened. Their faces said everything: Katie was desperate to get Drew back, while Drew was desperate to break free from Katie for good. I’ve been hoping we’d get the strong, no-nonsense Katie that we saw in her first appearance in Cry Me A River, but it turns out Chloe Rose is at her best when Katie’s on the brink of a mental breakdown. If Katie has a reason to lose it, this would be it seeing as how it’s all of her worst nightmares coming true. And it sucks for Bianca as well, who’s also caught in the middle of Drew’s web of nonsense.
Despite being there for both girls during their lowest moments, Drew doesn’t know what to do with himself when he’s got a girl in his life and somehow manages to screw it up. Both Katie and Bianca deserve better, and it’s sad knowing they’re both going to have to suffer through Drew’s negligence before that can happen.
PLOT B SUMMARY: Clare still isn’t sure how Eli feels after their kiss at Frostival. She asks for advice from Alli and Jenna, but Jake interjects and says Eli will eventually come to her if he’s interested. At Drew’s party she tries to talk to Eli, but she still can’t get a vibe on how he’s feeling. Later Clare confronts Eli outside about the kiss, and he tells her that he’s tired of chasing after her. He puts the ball in her court and tells her she has to be all in or nothing at all; Clare chooses the former and they kiss. The next morning the two make plans to go on their first date, but Clare learns her new co-op position might conflict with their date. She decides she can do both and rushes through her work. Her coordinator, Asher, invites her to go with him to cover a protest, meaning she has to cancel her date with Eli. He says he’s fine with it and that he’s not going to freak out on her like he would’ve in the past.
Both pro and anti-Eclare fans have been eagerly awaiting this plot for *insert various reasons here,* and it serves its purpose well as the plot where Eli and Clare are officially back together. This might be heresy but I found the “twinkly lights” scenes to be one of the better Eclare scenes we’ve seen in a very long time. It’s what prevents this plot from being plain in my book; since I’m not a big shipper in general the only value that comes from this plot is seeing how they’ve matured from all of their past encounters. In the back of our minds we all know there’s a chance Eli could slip at any moment, but he’s shown a lot of growth in the fact he’s not only self aware when it comes to his mental state, but it’s also his priority, even over Clare. For the argument about them rushing back into a relationship without going in depth about their history together, I’m not sure why they would need or want to beat each other over the head with their past when they both know what they want and it’d be easier to just continue to move forward. The point here isn’t them getting back together, because we all knew that was going to happen at some point. The bigger issue is whether or not they can stay together and handle any issues with their increased maturity. With Clare having to cancel their date and Eli taking it in stride, it seems they’ve passed the first of many tests.
PLOT C SUMMARY: Maya decides she wants to audition for Mo’s band, however, he blows her off because she doesn’t look “mature enough.” Maya confidence takes even more of a hit, given that earlier Dallas had made fun of her for being flat-chested. Tori helps Maya by suggesting she get “chicken cutlets” to pad her bra. Maya wears them and things are going well, until one of them falls out during her audition. She finishes her audition, but quickly and silently walks away afterward. Later, Mo tells her that he was impressed with her and asks her to join his band.
The niners continue to build on their resumé of solid subplots. They truly are at their finest when they work in groups, as they all seem to rotate being support characters for each other. The show has Maya deal with “body issues” (pointed out by others) in a natural way and it felt genuine coming from her perspective. It was really interesting to see that she had no idea Dallas was making fun of her chest until Tristan pointed it out, and then things snowballed until the got the cutlets. Imogen manages to the steal the show for a brief second, but of course the best moments are when one of the cutlets falls out of Maya’s bra during her audition, and at the end when she throws one of them at Owen.
I love how they’re taking their time slowly forming the new band, in the same way they’re slowly developing the niners. I have a feeling that by the time it’s their turn to shine, they’ll be ready.
How do YOU grade Come As You Are?
You will be able to grade the plots in Come As You Are after Part 2 airs…the polls should be available after 10:30pm EST!!