[WARNING: THIS EPISODE REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS]
If there’s one that’s apparent in the Degrassi universe, they DO NOT like they idea of characters having long-term relationships…with Jane being Spinner’s third long-term girlfriend on the show (Manny doesn’t count), is he doomed to be the lonely Dot manager in Degrassi The Next NEXT Generation?
Right off the bat this episode addresses Jane’s relationship issue: she and Spinner are TOO comfortable for her taste. They’re always together, and the “spark” in their relationship is gone for her. Jane is now the lead singer of Studz, and Spinner even tells Jane she’s “just like one of the guys.”
…and so enters Declan stage left; he and Jane are in the same theatre class, and Declan doesn’t hide the fact that he wants her. Jane wards off his advances at first, yet secretly enjoys the thrill of getting attention from him. Things get confusing when Spinner moves into Peter’s old apartment (Peter transferred the lease to Spin, and he also quit Studz). Spinner asks Jane to move in with him, and a confused Jane leaves without giving him an answer.
The juicy part of the episode comes when Jane goes to Declan’s house to work on their theatre project, and they kiss. Of course it was no accident; Jane knew that she was going to act on her feelings before arriving.
Now the question is…Is Jane cheating on Spinner an out-of-character move for her? Jane has never given the impression until this episode that she’d be the kind of girl to cheat, or string Spinner along. Also, since when is she all of a sudden not happy in her relationship with Spinner?
Despite being blindsided by those two thoughts, “Close To Me” was still interesting to watch, and it’s a solid episode. Jane actually cheating seems OOC, but the feelings she experienced through it all feel realistic and relatable. The ending was really great as a conflicted Jane was standing there hugging on Spinner as Declan stood there smirking. Jane is one of the better characters to watch because Paula Brancati is a good actress. And I still love Declan, he is just so condescending and manipulative…a character like that who is around solely for the purpose of causing trouble hasn’t existed since Jay Hogart before his “I-Love-Manny-Santos” days.
“CLOSE TO ME” MAIN PLOT GRADE: B
In this episode’s subplot we get another peek into KC’s past. The basketball coach encourages him to do his best, even though he’s a niner (and they are usually just benchwarmers). The coach even lets KC play in one of the games. However, KC doesn’t play well and the coach pulls him out and yells at him. Because his parents treated him like crap, KC interpreted it as the coach basically telling him he sucks at basketball…so he quits the team.
As much as I wanted to slap KC for overreacting (AGAIN), I have to keep reminding myself they are using a slow-build technique for his character. Instead of KC vomiting his entire backstory in one reflective moment, they’re gradually giving us tidbits into who he is and how his past has shaped him. In the end the coach talks some sense into KC and reassures him that he’s not alone, hopefully establishing some sort of trust between KC and at least one adult.
“CLOSE TO ME” SUBPLOT GRADE: B