WARNING: THIS BLOG CONTAINS EPISODE SPOILERS.
“Jane Says” Soundtrack: click here (you can search the song lists for all of the Degrassi episodes).
“Jane Says” is one of those episodes that sticks out because its storyline is similar to one of the most memorable Degrassi High episodes for me. In “Crossed Wires,” Liz was haunted by the memories of sexual abuse she suffered as a child. The sheer terror displayed on her face and her inability to talk to anyone about made it a powerful episode.
Some two decades later, Jane encounters the past as her father comes back into her life. While her brother Lucas is ecstatic at the thought of being a family again, Jane harbors a hatred for their father and doesn’t know why.
Most of Season 8 has been forgettable, and while “Jane Says” is a step in the right direction, it still leaves something to be desired.
The main problem with this episode is the fact that it takes SO long for Jane to realize that her father molested her when she was little. It takes her all of Pt. 1 and a third of Pt. 2 for the “AHA!” moment to finally hit.
I know the writers wanted to focus on Jane putting together the pieces of why she hated her father. However, the fact that we can instantly tell she’d been molested when they show the first flashback makes the first thirty minutes feel long and drawn out. And the fact that it becomes even more obvious with each passing moment makes the point when she realizes what her father did somewhat anticlimactic.
But with all that said, once the story FINALLY gets rolling this episode is what Degrassi is all about: hard-hitting emotion. Jane has become one of my favorite characters out of the newer ones introduced over the past few seasons. Paula Brancati’s acting is on the mark, and it gets better as the episode goes along. I also liked the angle “Jane Says” gave Lucas’ character; his anger toward Jane isn’t in vain, it’s motivated by his desire to have a complete family again.
Touching on abuse, “Jane Says” boasts the most serious storyline of the season, which provides a break from the ever-increasing, unimportant romantic drama that’s taken over the show (see my review of the Pt. 1 subplot below). Even though I felt like it could’ve easily been tightened into a 30-minute episode as opposed to an hour, it’s good to know Degrassi hasn’t forgotten how to deal with the tougher issues of life.
“JANE SAYS” Main Plot Grade: C-
The subplot of “Jane Says Pt. 1” is a perfect example of Degrassi at its worst. Danny wants his new girlfriend Leia to hang out with his crew (Peter, Sav, Mia and Anya).
Leia’s nervous and throws out a bunch of stupid white lies: she says Sav’s been flirting with her, her dad is a music producer and she tells the gang that she knows Pete Wentz from Fallout Boy.
Leia is officially one of the most useless characters to ever grace the halls of Degrassi. She’s flat and boring, and her compulsive lying doesn’t make sense. “Well people lie for no reason in real life,” is an argument you could pitch to me, and I get that. The problem is compulsive liars have a history; it doesn’t just come out nowhere like it did with Leia.
Leia’s relationship with Danny makes me cringe, because he’s deserves much better than her. He’s the star QB of the football team, and one of the most popular guys in school; even when Hazel dated Jimmy she could be incorporated into storylines because she was BFF with Paige. Leia’s a dud that has yet to offer anything to the show; I did laugh at Peter calling her “Liar Leia” though.
“JANE SAYS Pt. 1” Subplot Grade: F
Think of the subplot of “Jane Says Pt. 2” as “U Got The Look” LITE (v1.2). Clare decides to donate Darcy’s old clothes to charity (as if Darcy’s going to stay in Africa FOREVER, hahah), but Alli convices her to keep them and use them to change her nerdy look.
Of course Clare’s Manny-esque makeover causes Alli to get jealous when guys start noticing Clare over her.
This plot is much more tolerable than the one involving Leia, but for me the interesting part is how it’s keeping the whole will they/won’t they storyline with Alli and Johnny going. Maybe I liked it so much because it’s continuing to build on Alli/Johnny for what I think is HANDS DOWN one of the best episodes of Season 8, “Heart of Glass” (If you’re watching Degrassi on The-N, that episode will air on Friday, July 17th).
“JANE SAYS Pt. 2” Subplot Grade: C