ELI PLOT SUMMARY: Eli is still reeling from seeing Cam’s body in the greenhouse, so Fiona gives him the task of creating a video yearbook. Clare wants Eli to talk things out with her, but he doesn’t want to. While filming people for the video yearbook Eli runs into a mysterious girl, who gives him an invitation to a mysterious party. As Eli looks over video footage he finds some of Cam, and hastily closes his laptop. That night Eli has a nightmare and wakes up in a cold sweat. After talking with a counselor Eli thinks the best thing he can do is not talk about Cam and have fun. Eli, Clare, Fiona and Dallas watch Eli’s video, and Dallas is upset to learn that Eli didn’t add any footage of Cam to it. Fiona agrees that Cam should be included. Eli decides he wants to spend the evening at the mysterious party with Clare, but she has no interest in going. He asks Jake and Mo to go and they agree, and Eli runs into the mysterious girl whose named Talia. She sees Eli is intense and offers him MDMA. Eli is reluctant at first, but eventually takes it.
At school Clare is upset when she finds out Eli did drugs, and he promises to never do it again. While studying with Fiona for his NYU interview, Eli learns that Clare doesn’t want him to work on the video yearbook. That angers him and Clare tells him she’s worried that adding Cam footage to the video is what led him to do drugs. Later, Eli knocks his NYU interview out of the park. He’s ecstatic, but afterward Clare wants to finally talk to him about how he’s been doing and he agrees. Eli zones out as Clare tells him doing drugs is wrong, and later he takes more MDMA.
Clare and Alli find Eli high on drugs, showering fully clothed in the women’s locker room. While stripping naked Eli tells Clare that she’s been forcing him to talk when he doesn’t want to. Eli takes off, streaking down the hallways of Degrassi until he runs into Mr. Simpson. Bullfrog is called to the school and Simpson tells Eli he could be expelled for his actions. He also tells Eli that when was younger he also found the dead body of someone who committed suicide at Degrassi. Eli tells them that he doesn’t want to spend all of his time talking to everyone about Cam, and that he wants to move on. The next day Eli visit’s the newly-opened garden and is happy that he’s not freaking out. Clare shows up and he tells her that she’s worrying too much about him and they need to take a break from their relationship.
When thinking about this plot there such an internal conflict, one I’m feel won‘t be solved for a long time. On one hand you have a guy, suffering from mental illness, who witnessed something tragic. He’s traumatized, and trying to find any way to cope besides talking. Outside of speaking with his therapist, he feels as if he’s being pressured into talking about his feelings, especially by his girlfriend. On the other hand you have a girl who is aware that a traumatic event like finding Cam’s body could cause her boyfriend’s mental state to unravel. However, he refuses to talk or let her help him in any way as she learns he’s even engaging in risky behavior such as doing drugs.
This plot is all about frustration and (lack of) communication at its finest. Degrassi continues to show off its ability to provide a gray area for its characters. Instead of creating a story that allows for clear-cut labels to be slapped onto the characters (aka one is “good” while the other is “bad”), the show allows us to see and understand both Eli and Clare’s perspectives. The irony is that, upon re-watching the episode, part of the message itself seems to be unclear near the end. Eli tells Clare that she is the problem, not Cam. The part that’s confusing is his sudden unwillingness to tell her the things he said to his therapist, Bullfrog and Simpson, something that could‘ve prevented the need for a break in the first place.
Watching Eli try to cope throughout this episode is magnificent and heartbreaking. During his NYU interview, Eli says something profound. When asked if being bipolar interferes with his work, he says, “No, I think it helps. I put my feelings in my art, and that’s why doing what I do can be scary…because it comes from some place real.” Degrassi steps out of it box throughout this episode, using several flashbacks of Eli discovering Cam, as well as giving us a haunting look into Eli’s mind with a nightmare sequence. The scene with Eli and Bullfrog in Simpson’s office is powerful. Munro continues to make Eli’s emotional scenes look effortless. Simpson mentioning that he found Claude’s dead body at Degrassi decades ago is a moment we’ve been waiting for, bringing the storyline around full circle.
In the end there are no sides to choose. To place blame on one or the other is unfair when both Eli and Clare were doing what they felt was right. They might not have gone about things the right way, but we can also see why did what they did. Eli says that he’s doing fine, but there’s no reason to believe it’s over. Eclare broke up, but there’s never a reason to believe with these two that it‘s over.
JENNA/CONNOR PLOT SUMMARY: After Cam’s death, Jenna is on a mission to let people know someone cares about them. Luke appears and apologizes for rejecting her earlier in the year. When Luke makes fun of Connor, who spilled his project on the floor, Jenna scoffs at Luke. She helps Connor pick up his things and kisses him on the cheek in order to make Luke jealous. Later, Connor shows up at Jenna’s locker with flowers, candy and a stuffed bear. He asks her out on a date and she says no at first, but his straightforward persistence changes her mind. He gives her spacesuit and the two go on a date in a space flight simulator that he created. Jenna realizes she has feelings for Connor and the two kiss.
One day the two end up sharing a kiss as Becky, Dallas and Alli walk in. Their teasing upsets Jenna, especially Becky’s remark about Jenna and Connor having babies. Later, Becky apologizes and suggests that Jenna try dating Luke again instead. Luke tries to ask Jenna out again, but she rejects him when he gets too touchy feely. Out of nowhere Connor walks up and punches Luke, telling him to get away from his girlfriend. Jenna’s upset that Connor reacted with violence and walks off. Connor thinks that Jenna wants to break up with him because of it, but she tells him she had fun on their date and wants to continue seeing him.
Jenna and Connor are surprisingly cute as a couple. It’s interesting how in the past Connor’s personality has worked against him, yet his blunt nature works to his advantage in snagging Jenna. Part 1 is awesome, down to their magical space date and kiss among the stars.
I’m glad that Connor has found himself a girlfriend, but part of me is happier for Jenna. Luke made several advances toward Jenna in this episode, two of them on his own and one using his sister. Jenna rejected him because she believed she deserved better. She found someone who is kind, loyal and will treat her with respect. There’s been so many times when we’ve questioned females’ decision making on Degrassi when it comes to guys, as well as Jenna’s decision making in general, but this is a time where she makes the right choice.
KATIE PLOT SUMMARY: Marisol is upset that things haven’t been the same in her friendship group after Katie and Jake’s breakup, so she invites Katie to join her, Mo and Jake for lunch. At lunch Katie tries to apologize, but Jake is still angry over what happened in Vegas. Despite Marisol insisting she try again, Katie refuses to sit at lunch with them the next day, sitting with her sister, Tristan and Tori instead. She also goes with them to Maya’s opening mic performance at Little Miss Steaks. After Maya’s performance, one of the managers gives her his card and says she can play there whenever she wants. Katie is immediately suspicious, reminded of what happened to her with Darrin in Vegas. Later, when the manager tries to talk to Maya and taps her on the shoulder, Katie grabs him and flips him to the ground. She’s convinced that no guy gives a girl something without wanting something back in return, but Maya tells Katie that she’s been acting different since Vegas.
Katie talks to the school therapist, who tells Katie that she needs to start over. Katie regrets hurting Jake, so at a PTA meeting she asks for the Degrassi garden to be reopened. Some of the parents there are against it, but Simpson tells Katie they will vote on it. Katie’s too impatient to wait for the vote, so she breaks into the garden and knocks out several sections of the barricade. As she’s doing it Simpson arrives and tells them the PTA voted yes, but also gives Katie and Jake detention for vandalizing school property. In detention Katie apologizes for hurting Jake. As a peace offering he gives her a pamphlet for a soccer team tryout, telling her that it’s time that she gets back to doing something she loves.
When it comes down to it, Part 1 of this storyline feels very off. We get the runaround with Katie’s seemingly out-of-place trauma plot that she drags her sister into by randomly karate flipping a restaurant manager. It’s not until Part 2 that we get to the heart of the matter: Katie regrets ruining things with Jake. With the way her life has spiraled out of control since season 11, it finally sinks in how important Jake was to her stability. She understands the way back into Jake’s good graces is either through his stomach, or his garden; she goes with the latter. There’s no official Jatie reunion, but Katie manages to gain some closure, apologizing to Jake without him yelling at her. At the beginning of Part 2 the therapist says to Katie, “It’s never too late to start again and rebuild.” With the return of the garden and Jake encouraging her to play soccer again it’s allowing her to not only rebuild things with Jake, but also rebuild her own life as her tenure at Degrassi nears its end.