My Own Worst Enemy features an intriguing start to a love square, another strong entry in this season’s strongest storyline by a mile, and a plot that has failed to even get off the ground in two episodes. As this episode indicates that in the future Clare’s plot may not be as emotionally taxing as it has been so far, it’ll be up to the rest of the show’s current storylines to pull their weight.
CLARE PLOT REVIEW: Clare’s cancer storyline continues to be strong and strike the right chords emotionally. Right out of the gate we’re given a chilling scene as a scared Clare is moments away from undergoing an MRI. Afterward, she becomes increasingly consumed by the fear that she might die. Eli and Helen fail to console her, and she decides to go visit her friend Paula from group therapy. She arrives at Paula’s room and learns that Paula (who has the same type of cancer as her) passed away earlier that morning.
Clare doesn’t want to die stuck in the hospital, so she enlists the help of Drew to sneak her out. He takes her to Degrassi’s summer camp, where she runs the obstacle course with the kids until she throws up. One of the kids coughs in her face because he has a cold and Clare freaks out, fearful that any kind of infection will kill her. Once she returns to the hospital Eli freaks out because she left the hospital without telling anyone. Helen interrupts their discussion to inform Clare that the MRI came back clear. Though she’s not out of the woods yet Clare’s hope is restored, and she vows to keep fighting.
What has set this storyline apart from many others is how easy it engages you, and makes you feel whatever emotion Clare is feeling. When Clare is nervous, I find myself feeling nervous. When she found out about Paula dying, my heart dropped into my stomach. When Clare found out the results of her MRI, I felt relieved and hopeful. Just as enjoyable is the injection of humor and friendship from Drew. Clare still has a long way to go with her battle with cancer, but so far the journey we’ve witnessed has been fantastic.
ALLI PLOT REVIEW: I’m not sure if anyone else feels this way, but Alli’s plot remains stagnant in My Own Worst Enemy. Once again it’s neither good nor bad…it just exists, lulling viewers into a state of uncertainty as to why this romance plot has yet to show any sparks. Alli asks Leo out and they agree to a picnic date, but she must also fit in a trip to the Louvre for a class assignment. She tries to get Leo to go there so she can do her assignment instead of having their picnic, but he’s annoyed by this and walks away from their date. Alli apologizes and the two decide to start over again.
When watching episodes as a viewer we’re looking to feel something. It can be good or bad, but we need to feel something. While the rest of the plots seem to be moving in some direction emotionally, Alli’s continues to sit here, offering nothing more than a mental break from the stress of Clare’s cancer and intrigue of trying to decipher Miles‘ sexuality. On a good note, Alli does openly acknowledge that she consistently lets relationships with boys get in the way of her life. However, the relationship she’s developing with this Parisian boy has yet to connect, leaving the current feeling that Alli is being wasted on a summer filler fling.
TRISTAN PLOT REVIEW: Upon Tristan and Miles’ reconciliation in All I Wanna Do, it was pretty apparently from the glimmer in his eye that Tristan had developed some feelings for Miles. He’s in full-blown crush mode here in My Own Worst Enemy, gushing about his feelings to Maya for the umpteenth time.
While Tristan has plans to eventually make Miles his boyfriend, Zoë overhears this and scoffs, because she has her eye on Miles as well. The two both want Miles to be their partner for a class project, but Miles chooses Tristan. The two talk as they venture the streets of Paris and Tristan kisses Miles, who offers a neutral reaction. Later, Tristan is unsure of what it means, and he’s disappointed when he and Maya find Miles on a couch with Zoë, who is flirtatiously sitting on his lap.
It’s safe to say that this is one of the more interesting love triangles to have been established on Degrassi. I thoroughly enjoyed the execution of this plot in this episode because we’re left with a good cliffhanger for once (something that, oddly enough, Degrassi had a difficult time doing with 30-minute Part 1 episodes when all of the episodes were broken up into two parts). For me the focal point is Miles and the fact that we still have no idea where he stands. Is he straight? Is he gay? Is he bisexual? Is he even interested in Tristan or Zoë? These are the questions that will linger as we wait for the next episode, a feeling of eagerness and so refreshing that a “To Be Continued…” frame isn’t necessary.