I’m gonna write this review differently because there’s more than just the plots to discuss. I’m only gonna bother grading the top two plots (Fiona and Krew), since Anya’s was a throwaway anyway.
EPISODE SUMMARY: Prom’s only a few days away, and everyone has a date except Fiona. She runs into Charlie, who ends up being her prom date in exchange for Fiona letting Mr. Tuxedo Pants stay with her. Fiona goes to Charlie’s art show and buys the painting Charlie did of her. Fiona learns that Charlie has a girlfriend, and heads home to drink her sorrows away, and lets Mr. Tuxedo Pants run away.
At graduation, Fiona’s too concerned with her own sadness to care that Holly J’s going to miss prom because her kidney transplant surgery is on the same day. The seniors finally graduate. Fiona leaves graduation to buy another bottle of alcohol, but she’s caught by Charlie. After a scolding from Charlie about how she pushes people away, Fiona goes to visit Holly J during her final dialysis. She apologizes and surprises Holly J with a pre-prom party for them, Chantay and Anya. The girls dress up and cruise the city in a limo, ending up at Degrassi. They express their fears over the future (and Fiona confesses that she lost her sobriety), and they leave handprints with their initials in fresh cement on the sidewalk. Fiona apologizes to Charlie about Mr. Tuxedo Pants, who was finally found, and reveals that she’s checking herself back into rehab for the summer.
Meanwhile, Katie and Drew are going to prom together, but Marisol asks Katie what she’ll do when Drew wants to have sex. Katie ends up asking Drew if he’s been tested for STI’s, and tells him that she’s up for having sex even though she’s not ready. Drew invites her over to watch a movie, so she invites Marisol too to play the role of buffer. Katie finally comes clean about not being ready to have sex, and Drew tells her he invited her over to meet his mom.
SIDE PLOTS: Anya’s officially leaving for the Army after prom, but isn’t in shape yet. Owen agrees to help her train, and she shows the more confidence than she’s had in a while. Also, Riley tells his mom he’s gay whether she likes it or not, and she finally quits being in denial.
Fiona/Charlie has been one of the weakest storylines of Season 11, but it was very well done in Take A Bow. They finally got back to the genuine emotion I love from Fiona Coyne…Annie Clark does it so well. I felt awkward when Fifi was all giddy and awkward after her feelings returned for Charlie, and I felt heartbroken when she broke down and started drinking again.
I love how Fiona’s drinking didn’t become a spectacle…I’m talking about something along the lines of her crashing the art show or crashing graduation in a drunken state. And while it’s a big deal that she broke her sobriety, the fact that she fears a future of loneliness (and a much bigger issue in my eyes) was always front and center.
I still feel no chemistry between Krew, but I did enjoy the awkwardness Katie brought to the table. We all know how Degrassi likes to randomly transform strong, capable women into OOC piles of mush whenever a guy comes around. And I wanted to rip into the show for doing that with Katie….but then I remember that they actually listed guys as being her weakness in her character description. So it wasn’t all that random for Katie to be so uncomfortable after all. I just hope that the tough, no-nonsense Katie we saw isn’t completely overshadowed in the second half of Season 11 by a need to only focus on her and relationships (like they’ve done for the most part with Clare now).
It’s weird how Katie and Marisol’s friendship received more development in this episode than it did before Don’t Panic. This episode showed that if done right, Marisol’s lack of a filter can be more entertaining than annoying.
The graduation itself was anticlimactic, and just seemed to fly by. For me it wasn’t as emotional of a moment as I thought it’d be, and that was kind of disappointing. The biggest thing that hurts Degrassi upon graduation is the loss of Holly J. She’s a strong character portrayed by the show’s strongest actress (Charlotte Arnold). And with her departure also goes the friendship between her and Fiona, which is one of the best friendships in the history of this show. These are huge gaps to fill…I don’t expect them to be filled immediately, but it can be done.
Of course looking at things with rose-colored glasses we’ll miss them, but in reality there won’t be too much loss from the other seniors:
SAV: I’ve loved the progression of his character, especially in Season 10. But they simply ran out of things for him to do, and his type of character can be easily replaced.
CHANTAY: The true last remnant of the original students from TNG, there’s no way to replace the meme that is Chantay Black.
ANYA: A lot of Anya’s time on the show was spent being in the shadow of other characters. By the time she’d finally started to develop on her own, it was time for her to graduate.
RILEY & ZANE: Don’t even get me started with these two, one of the biggest wastes of material on the show. Why bother giving them a storyline if you‘re not going to do anything with them? There had to have been some sort of production issue, or scheduling conflict with Argiris and Shannon to where they couldn’t film on a regular basis…because there’s nothing else to explain how Ziley could be featured in an episode, then completely drop off the face of the planet for such long periods of time. And what little screen time they had was devoted to the same old “one step forward, two steps back for Riley” routine, so even if parts of their storyline were great it got old soon after. Let’s hope not every waking moment for Degrassi’s next male gay character is spent on the dynamics of him trying to come out.