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In Degrassi’s reboot of the original Degrassi Junior High series, I’ve often found myself at odds with the show’s season premieres and finales.  There was a time where I was never really impressed with either, but ever since the show rebranded itself as just “Degrassi,” we’ve had the pleasure of enjoying three strong premieres (seasons 10, 11 and 12).

The finales, however, have found themselves still falling short, in my eyes either being just “okay” or uninteresting altogether.

The season 12 finale, The Time of My Life, is a step in the right direction.  Degrassi fans often complain about how Degrassi is too relationship heavy, but the fact that two of the three plots here deal with relationship drama is almost unnoticeable, as Degrassi delivers a fast-paced story with varying levels of emotional depth.

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123940-1FIMOGEN PLOT REVIEW:  Fimogen has come along way since their random beginning, though I’m still not sure what I think of them as a romantic couple.  There were times where they were extremely cute together, but a lot of the time they had just great “friendship chemistry,” which is satisfying in itself.  The setup for their plot in this episode is slightly off putting.  Imogen is failing most of her classes, so she will have to repeat her senior year at Degrassi.  It’s difficult to grasp that Imogen could get away with not turning in any of her work without someone around her noticing (given that her girlfriend is, you know, class Valedictorian).

Things get worse for Imogen as she learns Fiona has a chance at a job being a Junior Designer in Italy.  We’ve seen three versions of Imogen so far during her tenure at Degrassi.  Normally she’s a very fun-loving, quirky girl.   Another side of her is her tendency to shut down when situations become too emotionally intense.  The third is one we haven’t seen since season 11, the side of her which manipulates people in order to direct a situation’s outcome for her own benefit.  It’s odd watching her do the latter in this episode as she pretends to be Fiona and intentionally botch Fi’s meeting with the fashion designer.

123940-2However, Imogen’s character going full circle by reverting back to her character’s initial behavior provides an outcome (Fimogen on the brink of collapse) that also highlights how Fiona, the one who’s graduating, has also come full circle since her arrival at Degrassi.  It was around the last Degrassi graduation that Fiona was the one losing her mind because the person closest to her (Holly J) was leaving.  We see how Fiona has matured since then, going from being the needy one receiving assurance that she can make it on her own to being the one who gives that same kind of assurance to Imogen.

It’s refreshing to watch a breakup on Degrassi that isn’t because one of the people did something stupid.  Imogen and Fiona are complete opposites and they were both civil enough to realize that because their differences are taking them each down different paths, that will make it difficult for them to maintain a relationship.  While Fiona moves onto her life after Degrassi, Imogen will stay behind, hoping to follow the path Fiona took as she started her final year anew.

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123940-3ECLARE PLOT REVIEW:  Out of all the plots in this episode, this one seemed to move at the fastest pace.  Maybe it feels this way because there was no dilly dallying with filler drama (the story jumped quickly from Clare finding a random prom date, to Eli showing up at her front door, to Eclare reconciling all in the first 30 minutes of the episode).  There’s sincerity in their reunion as we witness two people who obviously still care about each other realizing they need to put their bullshit aside before it‘s too late.

Anyone who’s been legitimately paying attention to Degrassi (the show, NOT the fandom) since the second half of season 10 knew that Eclare having sex was imminent if they were to stay together long enough.  The foundation of everything that Clare believed was destroyed with the divorce of her parents, including her stance on premarital sex.

While the Eclare fandom had much to rejoice about in this episode, the evolution of Eclare’s relationship was marred by the brilliantly-dark cloud of Alli discovering a lump on Clare’s back.  For the first time in forever, Degrassi completely surprised me with a shocking moment on the show.  In a time where major plot details seem to always get revealed one way or another, I’m legimately proud that Degrassi was able to keep this quiet.

While most season finales aim to wrap up everything so they can start off the next season fresh, the writers smartly lay down the foundation for Clare potentially battling leukemia in season 13.  Though Clare is the leading lady of this show, this should easily be the most hard-hitting storyline she’s ever received.

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123940-4MO/JAKE PLOT REVIEW:  Even until the very end, Mo and Jake continue to dismantle the belief by some in the Degrassi fandom that all characters need equal time and development in order to be useful or loved.  Neither character has had a groundbreaking plot of their own.  Both have relied primarily on being a sidekick or plot device for someone else, and each other.  The latter always makes for good entertainment, as Jacob Neayam and Justin Kelly have phenomenal chemistry when they’re together.

Mo and Jake’s friendship is put to the test as Mo wants to make sure that he and Jake will maintain their friendship even after they graduate and head to college.  Mo also has to deal with keeping Marisol happy at prom, a task he ends up struggling with after getting drunk and throwing up on the dance floor.  Mo and Jake’s plot is brilliant based on its simplicity and relatability.  Depending on your age when reading this, you’re bound to reach (or have reached) a point where you’re going to graduate and people you’ve been around for years will start going their own separate ways.  Mo finally telling Jake he wants them to be friends forever is a heartwarming moment, even if in reality such a request might be difficult to achieve based on the randomness of life.  Thank goodness this is a TV show, so we can safely assume one of the greatest bromances of this generation is endgame.

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Posted by Kary

35 Comments

  1. im watching it right now, and i KNOW Clare has Cancer!!!! D:

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    1. Degrassi4Lyfe June 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm

      But she will most likely NOT die..that’s too predictable. It will be interesting to see the struggles she and her family go through.

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      1. I think it’s possible she could…especially after the spoilery set photos for a funeral from a few days ago…but I’m really hoping not…this is/would be the third major character on the show to have cancer. I think its time for Degrassi to find a new disease or ailment to use as a plotline.

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      2. Why do they need “a different disease” given how prominent and relatable cancer is? Clare would be the fourth major Degrassi character to have cancer over the course of the show’s 30+ year existence, so it’s not like they’re overusing it.

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  2. Relly J Sinclaire June 21, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    i there a link yet for it?

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  3. NO. OUT OF EVERYONE, OF COURSE CLARE HAS TO GET CANCER. i dont know if i can deal with that.

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    1. that was meant in a “there are so many better people deserving of an interesting plot than clare” rant not a “please spare clare!!!!” rant

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      1. I know, right? The cancer storyline could have gone to any other character and it should have gone to somebody less developed and with less screentime than Clare. They should have kept Wesley and given him the cancer storyline. Since he was quite possibly one of the most loveable characters in Degrassi’s three decade history, it would have probably tugged at a lot of heartstrings to see such a nice and likeable character go through something like that.

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  4. Was Clare’s sexual harassment plot resolved? I wish they had followed up on-camera after “Scream”. If they’re going to invest a lot of time in her cancer next season I feel like the Asher thing will end up just another dropped storyline (not that we need anymore Clare dramz, we’ve definitely met our quota at this point).

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  5. so I guess alli just decided to forgo the fast track and just not graduate? Does this mean no more MIT or did the writers just forget about her only plot line this season…….

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    1. She actually decided not to fast track in the fall (I Want It That Way) when she had her whole pill addiction/car accident (giving her a pseudo-second plot in S12!).

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  6. The thing that I like about this season finale is the fact that it highlights how much better Season 12 has been than Seasons 5-11. Even though this finale has some minor inconsistencies, it still stands strong. Sure the writers may have recently destroyed Fiona’s development in the episode, Karma Police, but this finale managed to give her a decent send-off. As for the subplots, I like the direction that the writers are going with Clare’s possible cancer, which in itself was totally unexpected, and Mo/Jake’s plot carried a perfect, simplistic message about friendship. Overall, this season has been great and it’s nice to see Degrassi step up their game after so many years of hit or miss seasons

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    1. I think that the biggest change is yet to come for DeGrassi. If the current, graduate and your gone, policy continues, the end of 13 will mark the departure of all the characters who have been with the show over 6 series. (other than Simpson) Clare, Alli, and I guess one or two others will no longer be around to anchor the show to the distant past. The 4 year contracts now being given will ensure a very different type of show in the future. I’m actually looking forward to seeing how that works out. Also, it will be interesting how they write these last, “old timers” out of the show..

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  7. I agree, I’m so glad they were able to keep the cancer part of the story a secret. They’ve managed to do twists like that a few times this season and I’ve loved every one.

    I loved the episode. I’m glad the seniors got to go out with a bang and managed to make me more excited for season 13.

    The only thing I was kind of iffy about was Imogen staying back. Of all the seniors she was nowhere near the top of my list who I would have preferred to stay back (Jake would have been my first choice) but I hope this gives her character a chance to develop a bit more and possibly see more of her fathers dementia.

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  8. I will never understand why dateless underclassmen go to the senior prom (Unless I missed something early on), but not sure why Alli and Jenna were there too.

    Hopefully now that Eli popped Clare’s cherry, she won’t be such a stick in the mud next season.

    Really gonna miss Jake and Mo’s epic bromance. Wish those 2 were sticking around. They consistently make me laugh.

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    1. I like that Imogen was given more to do in this episode and was generally satisfied with that plot overall, though I’ll reserve judgment on the writing of the Imogen character until her arc is done. That said, the rest of the episode was not doing anything for me. I did not like that they basically re-used the trope from the Las Vegas episode to resolve the Mo-Marisol conflict; it was cute there, but here it just felt like lazy writing at a Hangover II level. I still miss some of my favorites from earlier seasons (they haven’t successfully replaced Holly J, for one), but I like that they appear to be cutting back on characters for season 13, gives me slight hope for the future. If the show doesn’t improve though I may not stick with it much longer.

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    2. It was probably a junior/senior prom.

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  9. So did they explain just HOW Fiona ended up as valedictorian?

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    1. i was thinking the same thing. like wtf, didn’t she repeat grade 12? idk about Canada, but here in the states the valedictorian is the person with the highest gpa!

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  10. Oh, and I predict that a billion EClare pregnancy fanfics are going to pop up at fanfiction.net (I mean, aside from the billion that lready exist) after this episode. I bet that TeenNick’s boards are going to be flooded with “OMG Clare pragnate?” threads too.

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  11. I have been watching this show since I was 11 years old and I’ve also backtracked and watched the original series. Honestly, if they kill Clare I think I’m done with it.

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  12. I was kind of disappointed with this episode. The acting just didn’t seem on par to what it usually is, especially Marisol and that kid Cliff. They could have easily cut Cliff out of the episode and just have Clare show up with Jenna and Alli, but I guess they really wanted to use that “soul mate” line or something. That just seemed really off.

    Another thing that was off for me was the Jatie kiss. Like, seriously? One second you’re talking about picking mushrooms and then, BAM, sucking face?

    Kary brought up a good point when he said Fiona was in Imogen’s position last year when Holly J left, so I felt like Fiona should have been a little more empathetic towards Immy. And I thought the whole Imogen impersonating Fiona thing was ridiculous. She could have easily just erased the phone call from Fiona’s phone, or if she was gonna impersonate Fiona, just tell him she wasn’t interested.

    Bad stuff aside, I teared up at the airport scene when Imogen was talking about how everyone should have a Fiona in their lives (but I tear up at almost everything; I’m a big sap). And I also really liked their breakup scene.

    The Eclare stuff did happen pretty fast, but I liked the fact that once Eli said he was leaving tomorrow, all the bs was dropped. The idea to have sex with Eli may have been a little impulsive on Clare’s part, but you get the feeling it won’t turn out to be a regretful decision, which is a nice feeling coming from Degrassi because almost EVERY girl regrets their decision to have sex for the first time.

    I also really liked the little scene where Clare was asking Jenna and Ali advice, lol.

    I was shocked about the lump on Clare’s back. My stomach literally dropped. I never would have thought they would give Clare a plot like that, considering all the drama she’s already been through, but maybe they’re wanting her to miss a lot of school, therefore repeat senior year and be in season 14? I don’t know, but it shall be interesting.

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  13. Taking Off DJH June 22, 2013 at 5:30 pm

    I think it’s tough to compare this finale to other ones….In terms of ” class graduation send off episodes,” it doesn’t really compare to School’s Out or Degrassi Takes Manhattan simply because it wasn’t written like a 2 hour movie. It’s similar to “We Built This City” in that it’s a season finale that is not a movie…And actually, the parallel continues between WBTC and Time of My Life in the sense that it wraps up storylines for graduating characters….Although WBTC was better in my opinion since we had known all those characters longer—Emma/Manny/Toby/Liberty/Jimmy.

    I enjoyed Eclare and Mo/Jake in this episode…But not so much Fimogen. I dunno, it seems hard to get emotionally invested in a couple that has really only existed one season…And there seemed to be a lot of plot contrivances here… Mia going to Europe seemed forced, as did this Fiona-going-to-Europe thing; It’s similar to Spemma in the sense that the writers are just trying to find ways to write people off (Although, despite how crazy their marriage seemed, I enjoyed the Spemma plot in DTM more than Fimogen here).

    Who is back next year? Tell me if I got something wrong, but I think the following characters will return:
    Clare, Alli, Dave, Connor, Jenna, Dallas, Drew, Zig, Tristan, Maya,
    What about Luke?, Becky?, Bianca?, Adam?

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    1. Eli, Becky and Adam will definitely be returning. Bianca has been on set at some point during season 13 filming, so apparently she’ll make a guest appearance as well. Not a single word has been mentioned about Luke, but as useless as he was in season 12 I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s gone.

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      1. So will Eli be a regular again, or recurring, or is he just in a few episodes? I’m confused about this, because I thought for sure he was leaving the show.

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  14. Albert Smarowsky June 22, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    After FINALLY getting to watch this episode, I have to say there were a few surprises. I know with so many characters graduating, there was bound to be a break up happening, but I never saw it being Fimogen. I’ve had to look past some personal opinions, and while it’s not easy sometimes, they were the first real homosexual couple I enjoyed on the show. To me, others just tried pushing it too much, but they didn’t. As far as their plot, I thought it was pretty realistic. If you think about it, with all Imogen had going on with her dad and having to take care of him, it’s definitely possible she just couldn’t keep up with school. I think she was definitely selfish with impersonating Fiona, but then getting that guy to give her a second chance was great. The break up was nice, not over-doing the emotion, but yet making it feel sincere on both ends.

    The Mo/Jake plot was more funny than anything, especially when he got sick all over Marisol. I’m sorry, but to me, finding out your girlfriend did what Marisol did would make anyone sick, and the writers took it literally. At the end, I loved how Simpson got so worried when the lights went out, thinking “Oh no, not another problem,” but when they were doing the flash mob, Simpson was even dancing. To me, that plot hit home the most, not so much with the relationship stuff, but the fear of not hanging out with your friends again. I had to move during my 9th grade year, and had those feelings then and also when I did graduate, since I had just started building some friendships.

    The Eli/Clare plot had the biggest surprises to me. From Clare finding the lump, to them getting back together, it was overall good. I think that Cliff was used as a plot device, but without him and the scenes that followed, they would have cut out a major shock. I know that with her parents’ divorce way back she sort of got away from her Christian beliefs, but I personally hope that with this new twist, they bring it back in a strong way. To me, the one issue Degrassi has never done a good overall plot with is religion (whether Christianity or another), and maybe they will do a story with Clare and her family with this. I just wish, and maybe it was done for a reason, that she would have told Eli, instead of just making seem like nothing. As far as the sex scene, I’m happy they only shown them getting into the room and a little after, but nothing more. That could have been a big issue, but it wasn’t. I’ll be curious to see what they do to Clare and Eli in Season 13.

    I really enjoyed this episode, and to me they really did an awesome job with this season. From one portion to the next, they haven’t simply tied each storyline up and start fresh, and I like it since it makes you want to come back.

    PS, was it me, or did anyone else think back to the scene of Clare and Alli finding Mrs. Simpson’s vibrator during the scenes before and during Eli/Clare having sex?

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  15. I have to agree with Kary that the season finales have usually been let-downs, but this one certainly was a definite improvement over recent ones. I honestly think that Season 12 was a vast improvement over either Season 10 or 11, but then again that’s just me. Degrassi has built a good head of steam going into Season 13 premiere with an overall rock solid C Block to end out their 12th season.

    A plot: This was interesting to me to see a complete role reversal for Fiona considering where her character was last year, or in the whole series by and large. In Season 11 she needed her rock, Holly J, to barely get by, whereas this year it was her who largely supported Imogen. It was quite a transition to take in, with it finally hitting home during this episode with Imogen’s emotional collapse upon hearing that Fiona had the chance to go work in Italy. Kary hit the nail right on the head as far as Imogen’s multiple versions of her character, and it was quite a sight to see her transition between them all in one episode. To be honest, I thought that the whole issue of Imogen failing her classes was a bit unrealistic, considering that nobody, including teachers or Mr. Simpson, seemed to notice or intervene. With that being said, I hope that they can use her for a good purpose next season and not waste her potential. Also, this was still a pretty decent sendoff for Fiona/Annie Clark, who deserved to take a gracious bow after a stellar evolution of her character since her introduction in Season 9. Goodbye Annie, its been a pleasure watching you on screen and good luck to you in your acting career if that is what you choose to pursue.

    B plot: Ah, Eclare…where to begin. The fan favorite couple reconciled, which didn’t surprise me, nor them having sex. Clare has evolved and moderated much of her stance on social/religious issues throughout Aislinn’s tenure on the show. Whether this is because of Eli’s influence or her parent’s divorce and mother’s new marriage, she has changed almost as much as a character as Fiona has. What did surprise me was the cancer issue, which brilliantly presents her with a hardship/challenge like no other for her going into the new season. I honestly didn’t think that the writers would have much for her once Eli graduated simply from the fact that they have always been practically attached of the hip. Yes, Aislinn did a great job with the whole sexual harassment issue regarding Asher, but I am happy to see that the writers were smart enough to present her with an unexpected challenge that will undoubtedly keep her preoccupied for a good chunk of the season along with keeping President Drew in line. That last part in itself ought to be hilarious if they follow that route. I also hope that Eli is gradually transitioned out of the series in the next season. I liked Munro’s acting and Eli himself, but it is his time to go. He will be kept around for tidbits with Clare, but that will be it I imagine.

    C plot: What can I say, Jacob and Justin are great and funny as hell when put together. It is hard for the writers to stumble across pairs of actors that work so well together on-air, with a chemistry that can make any scene go from good to excellent. Cam and Maya had it, Drew and Bianca as well, but outside of relationships, this is the only one that really stood out to me. Neither Mo nor Jake have been used primarily in the series, but they got their well deserved farewell. I know I’ve used the word deserved a lot, but some of these seniors truly did earn an excellent plot for the finale that they were presented with producing for TV. These guys have always made me laugh, and its a shame that they must leave. Bravo guys, bravo!

    Watching the very end of this made me remember the one never-changing thing about a show about unpredictable teen lives. Degrassi is a giant rotating door, constantly cycling out characters that have either graduated or outlived their usefulness/purpose, only to replace them with a new crops of fresh faces to keep the show going. With that, I am looking forward to Season 13 and all the surprises that it will bring to us viewers.

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  16. Dallas is going to be a senior?

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  17. Very disappointed in this episode. It came off very corny and unrealistic. It wasn’t a good send off for the seniors. It was very unemotional and not sad for a graduation. As much as I don’t like Clare, I loved the set up for a possible cancer storyline with her. It was written and set up very well. However, Eli showing up at her house with a horse and carriage, Imogen randomly being held back, Imogen impersonating Fiona was corny and unrealistic. It’s not very unrealistic of that to happen but the way they portrayed that was just terrible, the way the announced the graduates in random orders, Clare gets a date to the prom the day of, Fiona as Valedictorian?, Dallas staying behind without any explanation, the singing at the end that would never happen lol, also the fact that they waited like 20 minutes before they threw up their caps and gown? haha and the fact that clare was brought up their with Eli to do it. You don’t see a lot of people after you graduate but you don’t have to ask your best friend to still be friends as if you were never going to hang out again lol (Mo/Jake). Imogen finding the guy right before he got on the plane and hes willing to give Fiona a chance, no family was really shown at graduation. I mean Fiona’s mom flew in. I was expecting Fiona to be visited by Declan as a surprise and maybe Holly J but im not surprised that it didn’t happen although it would be nice. It was the worst episode for me. It wasn’t awful it just It was just a very badly written and constructed finale to me unfortunately.

    I feel like following Katie, Marisol, Jake and Mo after graduation would work. Im pretty sure they are done with the show but I feel like if they showed them at college once in a while it wouldn’t be horrible for some reason. Also, Katie and Jake are siblings of two big characters on the show so even showing them at home once in a while.

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    1. I just have to say that agree with you completely.

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  18. Marisol was my favorite thing about this episode <3.

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  19. The finale was rather a letdown for me. I realize they could only focus on a few characters, but other than Clare’s lump scare, everything else was rather tired. I guess because Imogen will still be with the show in S13, her relationship pretty much had to end. But two people who had gone through so much together to just throw in the towel so easily, well that seemed contrived. It was as if Fiona was relieved to be set free when 12 hours before she had just professed her undying love for Imogen. Poetic license is one thing, but no one goes full circle with there emotions in 30 seconds. The Jake and Mo drama felt like filler to me. I guess their purpose was to bring home the, “were graduating and nothing will be the same theme.” I am interested in how Eli will be used in the next series, gotta have something to look forward to. I guess other than Fiona, no one in this class who isn’t returning will be missed too much. I really think that’s why this finale was ho-hum.

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  20. DegrassiFanatic June 24, 2013 at 12:08 am

    The problem with the Fimogen plot is that there isn’t any emotion felt towards the, to appreciate the storyline. Anyone who watched DJH and DH felt a connection to Joey/Caitlin to the point where their break up in Goin’ Down The Road meant something; Same goes for Semma in Don’t You Want Me. The resolution of these couples that it’s not going to work had an impact on the audience because itnwasclosure, whether you liked that couple or not. But Fimogen is way too new to create that feeling with the audience, which is why I disliked it.

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  21. I am so excited for the possibilities of Clare’s (possible) cancer. While they already played out the death of a student earlier this season, I think that this would show death from a completely different angle. While Cam’s death was heartwrenching and made us feel as though we did not have enough time with him, a period of time where someone (and those around them) know they are going to die could take more of a toll on the other characters. Since Clare has been around the longest (of the main cast), we feel most used to her presence, whether we like her or not.

    The degrassi fandom would be so angry with the writers not making EClare endgame. The only way to truly make them endgame would be to have them together while one of them dies. This could also be an amazing development for Eli’s character. Since Julia’s death was the trigger that led to most of his issues during his time on the show, him using Clare’s death to push him forward in a positive way would be an amazing way to end his time on the show, giving us a glimpse of his character growth.

    I am really looking forward to this season!

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  22. Jesse Escalante June 25, 2013 at 5:12 pm

    This is irrelevant, but I wonder if the writers notice that Paige is the only lesbian ( or Bisexual) girl to actually graduate on time. Alex went back to school in season 6. Fiona got held back and do did Imogen. Lol.

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