[WARNING: THIS EPISODE REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS]
Umbrella is an episode that has three pretty solid parts for the most part after it’s all said and done. I’m not going to lie…I was far more interested in Fadam and Dave/Wesley than EClare. And while I feel myself getting over the EClare honeymoon phase, they did well when it counted.
PLOT A: EClare – Clare continues to deal with her parent’s divorce; What is in Eli’s room?
Clare is still dealing with the fallout from her parents deciding to get a divorce. Their next move is to sell the house and move on. Clare feels like she’s losing everything and randomly grabs a gold watch, which she values, from a box and eventually gives it to Eli. She continues to lose faith in everything (yes, even Jesus Club), but is comforted by Eli, who says he isn’t going anywhere.
Clare meets Eli’s bizarre parents, and after hearing of Clare’s current family troubles they say she can stay at their place. This conflicts with her current beliefs (since staying with Eli provides the assumption that sex will be involved, and she believes in waiting until marriage), but after a talk with her mom Clare decides she wants to stay the night with Eli.
The problem is Eli doesn’t want her to, so Clare takes it personally. Now thinking that their relationship is falling apart Clare wants her gold watch back, but Eli refuses. Clare takes it upon herself (with the help of Adam) go to Eli’s house and get into his room, which has a lock on it. Adam suggests Clare use the combination “22-04-09” on the lock, and it works. They discover Eli is a hoarder, and Clare even tries to “help” him by organizing his locker at school, but he immediately freaks out.
It turns out Eli has been hoarding since Julia’s death. He finally opens up to Clare about this, whose mind is somewhat at ease as her parents have decided to keep the house, and just share a condo…all for Clare’s sake. And for the moment, EClare has stabilized itself.
I was impressed with how the Eclare plot shifted its focus from Clare’s trouble onto Eli’s so smoothly. I’m very glad they did this too, because I was completely uninterested in Clare’s part of the plot. At this point it feels so humdrum because not much has changed. It’s basically the same Clare content (just in a different episode) that we’ve been subjected to for the past couple of weeks. I hate to say this (because I absolutely adore Aislinn), but I haven’t been impressed by her acting throughout Clare dealing with her parents’ divorce. It’s easy to sympathize with Clare’s situation, but still Clare’s mental breakdown is flat and unconvincing.
Eli’s, however, is the exact opposite. The Munro fanatics will be pleased to know that I thought he was fantastic in this episode. The hoarding aspect was a complete surprise, and him freaking out over Clare organizing his locker was great. The scene where he explains to Clare his reason for hoarding is the top highlight of this plot. Eli’s facial expression is disturbing and heartbreaking, yet telling. A brilliant shot in that scene is when the camera shows his hands shaking; simple, yet effective.
Essentially the Clare stuff was boring, and Eli’s issues saved this plot from diving into mediocre waters. I’m still luke warm about EClare as a couple. What could keep me from completely losing interest is when they write the storylines like this…the focus being on Clare and Eli individually as opposed to it being more of a relationship-driven story.
PLOT B: Fadam – Drew and Adam both have a crush on Fiona.
Oh nothing, Drew and Adam are in the gym preparing stuff for the school’s food drive when in walks the hottness that is Fiona Coyne.
Drew has a crush on her, but so does Adam (who decides to keep it to himself). Drew uses every aspect of his “A” game to try and woo Fiona, but she’s not interested. However, Fiona seems to be genuinely interested in Adam, but doesn’t actually say so. Fiona states that she’s not interested in a physical relationship, which would be PERFECT for Adam, but Drew doesn’t think Adam stands a chance because he’s transgendered. However, Drew has got it so bad that Adam decides he’s going to help him get Fiona by talking to her.
When Fiona decides to actually give Drew a chance and they seem to hit it off, Adam gets jealous. Drew talks to Fiona and realizes that she likes Adam and doesn’t know his secret, so Drew steps aside so Adam can have a shot with her.
I thought the rivalry between Drew and Adam would be more heated than it was, but it still wasn’t bad. And it’s still good to see the brother/brother interaction. This is setting up for what could be a much more interesting storyline involving a relationship with Adam and Fiona. As far as when it comes to Drew, I’m confused. It’s good that in the end he acted selfless, but he suddenly became that way after being a horndog the entire episode. The ending seemed slightly forced because as always it’s as if the writers morph Drew’s character to fit whatever mold they need him to be at the moment…if they need a jackass, they make him act like a jerk. If they want us to love him, they’ll make him go out of his way for his brother. If they want us to feel sorry for him, they’ll make him walk around feeling all sad with puppy-dog eyes.
PLOT C: Dave/Wesley – Dave ditches Wesley to hang out with a cooler group of guys.
“I don’t wanna be one of the Three Tenners forever…”
Dave finds a new group of friends to hang out with…the cool, hip kind of clique that he’s been looking for! The problem is he has no interest in having Wesley tag along, who wants to hang with the group as well. Dave isn’t afraid to tell Wesley that he isn’t cool enough to hang out with him and his new crew. On the other hand, Wesley isn’t afraid to tell Dave’s new friends that Dave’s dad is one of the cops that now work at Degrassi. This makes the guys think Dave will sqeal on them if they do something against the rules, and they refer to him as a Narc.
The only way Dave can get back on the group’s good side is to take something from his dad’s police car, so he ends up grabbing a taser. They insist that Dave use the taser on Wesley (who just so happened to be walking by), and he does. Realizing that he went way too far Dave apologizes and gives Wesley the chance to use the taser on him. Instead, Wesley just gives daves purple nurples and all is forgiven.
Now I think we can all come to the conclusion that Dave is a jackass. If you thought Alli’s behavior when she’s hyperfocused on popularity is ridiculous, Dave’s is 1000 times worse. I thought this was going to be just a simple “Gangsta, Gangsta” storyline reboot, but this storyline went further than I ever imagined by having Dave actually use the taser on Wesley. This plot is good minus the ending, which is WAY too “Happily Ever After” for my taste. Wesley is the most underrated character on the show and bravo for taking the high road, but at the same time I don’t like that all is instantly forgiven at the end in this case, and Dave tasering Wesley is treated as if it were no big deal. The least they could’ve done is end this episode with Wesley still mad at Dave. Geez, in the past Degrassi’s found a way to make less-intense friend squabbles span longer than a couple of episodes.