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1315-1DREW PLOT REVIEW: By the end of Black or White, it’s apparent where Drew’s storyline is trying to go message wise.  However, viewers must go through an odd, over-the-top road to get there, a path barely paved with anything at all besides good intentions.

Drew gears up for his first Degrassi TV interview as President, yet Winston spins the interview to make Drew look like an incompetent leader for wanting to spend school funds on a carnival.  Furious, Drew uses his position of power to pull the plug on Degrassi TV and fire Winston, and Imogen quits in protest.  Winston and Imogen lead a group of protesters who want to have Drew impeached.  Principal Simpson threatens to intervene if Drew doesn’t do something to calm the students.

After a phone call with Bianca, Drew comes up with an idea to compromise with Degrassi TV:  they can return to the airwaves, with one of the conditions being that they can’t run negative stories about student council.  Winston scoffs at the idea and continues to insult Drew, calling him a terrible President.  Drew angrily pushes Winston to the ground and walks off, shocked at what just happened.  The incident leaves Drew worrying that everyone, especially Bianca, will see him as a failure.  Dallas encourages Drew to try again and he does; Drew reinstates Degrassi TV, and instead of a carnival, he vows to use budget money to host a Thanksgiving feast for needy families.

1315-2We’re once again presented with Drew’s greatest fear, the feeling that he’s simply not good enough to succeed.  Within that he’s most afraid of letting down Bianca, as if one day she’s going to realize she’s too good for him and break up with him.  To tackle Drew’s internal conflict again is fine, but why wrap it in such an odd predicament such as the “Occupy Degrassi movement?”

It’d be one thing if we’d had a fairly extensive look at Drew’s presidency.  We received a glimpse of it in This Is How We Do It and You Got Me, but Drew’s presidency then was more of a backdrop for his insomnia storyline.  Winston has transformed from a character who I was kind of intrigued by into someone whose existence is confusing.  The creation of Degrassi TV allowed him a role outside of being Miles’ sidekick, since Miles is currently attached to Maya and Tristan.  Now Winston just runs around delivering forced, unfunny comedy relief.

Every interaction between Drew and Winston up until this episode has been cordial.  Yet, here we see Winston in Black or White running a hardcore smear campaign against Drew, claiming things viewers haven’t really had an opportunity to see.  For that reason Winston’s mind-boggling hostility in this episode seems to come from out of left field, serving as a plot device that’s far more distracting than anything.

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1315-3TRISTAN PLOT REVIEW: One of the good things in terms of Tristan’s character is the continuity in terms of his desire to be a leading man acting wise.  Before he eventually received the role in Eli’s zombie film in season 12, we saw Tristan struggle with not fitting the “type” Eli was looking for.  In Black or White, Tristan’s fear of not being good enough to be a leading man are played upon once again, though the struggle is primarily in his head.

In drama class the students are given a role they must perform as an assignment.  Tristan is given a comedic role, but he wants a serious, leading-man role.  Tristan decides to practice delivering his performance in a serious manner, but the teacher informs him that if he does so he’ll fail his assignment.  Zoë gives Tristan advice, telling him to perform the role as assigned because it’s better than not showcasing his talent at all.  Tristan performs the role as it was given and knocks it out of the park.  Afterward, Zoë tells Tristan that she wants him to join the comedy troupe she’s starting…the only problem is that they both know Maya won’t approve.

Tristan is the type of character who, when he wants something, he’ll barrel through everything blindly in an attempt to get it.  Thankfully he’s stop dead in his tracks by the voice of reason, played surprisingly by Zoë Rivas.  Degrassi continues to do this great thing where they show multiple sides of characters, making them more human than a character type.  As Tristan sees this, he’ll of course find himself stuck in between Maya and Zoë as their hatred for each other continues.

Zoë’s delivered quite a bit of petty, vicious behavior up until this point, but shows in Black or White she’s capable of sincerity.  Even if delivered in her own special way, Zoë’s advice is direct and a wonderful message to heed: having goals is great, but sometimes you have to suck it up and do things you don’t want to do to get where you want to go.

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1315-4ECLARE PLOT REVIEW:  Clare’s excited for her outdoor movie date with Eli, but things feel “off” between them.  He’s returned from NYU to visit her, but during their date he struggles to stay awake.  Eli receives a phone call and takes it, and while he’s away Clare discovers cigarettes in his bag.

Clare invites Eli over to talk things out, acknowledging that things feel distant between them.  Clare thinks he’s been smoking cigarettes as a coping mechanism, but is ultimately led to believe that Eli cheated on her with Lenore.  Upset, Clare refuses Eli’s attempts to explain what happened and kicks him out.

Upon first viewing it looks like an open-and-shut case…Eli cheated on Clare with Lenore, and Degrassi’s most-popular couple for the past three years is forever tainted.  However, multiple viewings of Eclare’s final scene in Black or White slowly plant seeds of doubt in regards to Clare’s assumption that the love of her life was randomly unfaithful.  The odd thing about Eclare’s final conversation is that they both kept delivering vague dialogue.  Eli says that “it” only happened once, because he missed Clare and was trying to fill a void.  Even as the conversation turns toward the cigarettes which Clare learns belonged to Lenore, and Eli’s guilty silence implies that something happened, there’s neither a specific admission of infidelity from Eli nor a specific request of the truth from Clare.

With that said it could be that Eli indeed cheated on Clare, a defiant move on Degrassi’s part after three years of developing a relationship where that kind of behavior seemed impossible.  But now there’s also the possibility that Eli didn’t cheat, which could lead to questionable decisions made by either or both.  It’s yet another tough reminder that things go sideways in Eclare’s relationship whenever they don’t communicate.  Eli was lonely and missed Clare, but it’s like he didn’t bother to tell her.  Clare also has things going on in her life that she hasn’t told Eli.  And now there’s an ironic chance that the vague conversation these two shared is one giant misunderstanding.  Either way, Eclare continues to be the poster child for why consistently communicating with your partner is vital.

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Posted by Kary

22 Comments

  1. well eli cheated …. at least we saw it coming

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  2. Kary, i hope you read this i would love to know your thoughts: i dont think he cheated. i think this is all one big misunderstanding, and no, im not a hardcore eclare shipper in denial. notice how clare misinterpreted the cigarettes as the thing that eli was doing wrong, only to findout that eli did something with lenore only minutes later. the exchange between the two was so brief and as eli exclaimed that he wished to explain, clare just kicked him out. given that eli and clare hug and reconcile in the next episode, i think clare will kiss drew only to findout that eli didnt cheat at all… and then she will be the one hiding the secret, which was forshadowed at the beginning of the episode when alli told clare “arent you the one keeping secrets”, when referring to her botched magazine article

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    1. Curse you lol, now you’ve got me second guessing things. I’ve rewatched that scene so many times now. Initially every sign points to him cheating, until you realize that their conversation is extremely vague. Eli admits to something, but doesn’t specifically say that he hooked up with Lenore in any way. Great analysis!

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  3. I think I’m done watching the show as it actually premieres. I’m not done entirely yet, but I’m damn sure finished at this rate where OOC traits and couples that breakup/hookup are purely for shock value. This season bombed big time. Worse than season 8 and lord knows that says a lot.

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    1. I sorta hear ya. I haven’t watched anything since they got back to the school, but it’s also because I’ve been really busy. But I mean that’s not entirely true, I’ve been able to keep up with the Blacklist and Grimm.

      This season just doesn’t really grip me like 10 and 12 did. 11 had some bright spots but it was pretty forgettable too in my opinion.

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    2. worse then season 8???? dammm u must really hate this season then cuz 8 was by far the most corniest and unwatchable season

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  4. Plot Grades
    A Plot – B+
    B Plot – B-
    C Plot – C

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  5. I love this show, but so often now, they do things that bug me. I was so happy to see the drama teacher and that part of the school again. But why did they have to make the drama teacher an ass? Pun intended, but seriously, You would think a drama teacher would be understanding and compassionate, ESPECIALLY around the homosexual aspect. It was just sad they decided to go the route of the teacher not being a role model.

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  6. Being a drama teacher doesn’t automatically make an adult understanding or any less homophobic than a teacher for any other subject.

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  7. I love eclaire and was a really big fan of munro. But their relationship problems are getting tiresome. I bet that shanioa is right, that Eli didn’t cheat. But does anyone still care? It’s getting to the point that it’s going round and round in circles, which is boring. I would’ve preferred another Ali plotline. Her story with her boyfriend seems unfinished. Whereas this Eclaire plotline seems forced and fake.

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    1. Thank you, I totally agree! I’m not an eclare fangirl, but have always really liked them together (and am a fan of munro as well as he was the best actor on the show for a long time), but their relationship really has become repetitive. I want the writers either have them breakup for good or stay together for good. Its this back and forth after only short periods of time that piss me off- as opposed to the long breakup where she was with jake. If they have to focus on a relationship – please focus on one that as not had the same drama over and over again (as you said the alli storyline is still unfinished and I would have preferred to revisit that than basically the SAME eclare drama)

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      1. I know after a while it does get boring. That’s why at the start of Season 12 I liked how the writers made EClare fresh again but now their relationship is a “either be together or not” kind of situation, like you said, mostly due to the fact that Eli graduated from Degrassi and is no longer part of the school.

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  8. So apparently Lyle’s leaving the show?

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    1. He is? Where did you find that out from?

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      1. Lyle said on Twitter that he’s moving to LA this month.

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    2. Nope, Ana said hes leaving during the Hiatus. It was on her instagram

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      1. About a week I go I was going to make a blog post about it, because there was also that tumblr post from the photographer that posted a caption saying Lyle was a “former Degrassi star” (the post has since then removed the word “former”). But then I remembered a bunch of cast members went out there during the hiatus last winter as well, and it looks like some of them are doing it again this year.

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  9. aw, I actually really liked the Drew/Winston storyline. It felt very TNGish

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  10. Kary, I’m surprised you didn’t mention in Drew’s plot a reference to the classic DJH episode Revolution where the 7th graders wanted to get rid of class president, Stephanie Kaye.

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  11. I think the Winston vs Drew storyline was okay but I do think it should of had some development prior to this episode. Mainly because I thought it was kind of weird how Winston started out as the person they didn’t want on dtv and now they’re fighting for him and even Becky and Imogen quit because of him. I think it was pretty much for them to have full on protest about it, and Simpson relying so heavy on Drew to solve the problem, especially since the money used for the school isn’t decided just by Drew and not the administration.

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  12. I think the problem with the Drew plot was that… without some basis of ‘Chewey has a point’ it just seems like Degrassi TV is pulling an Op Piece on the Degrassi Student Council. And the focus was on “Drew can’t do his job” not “Winston can’t do his job objectively.” We’ve seen a few things here and there for the Student Council, but none of Drew’s mistakes there were brought up, and most of the time while they weren’t doing well they also weren’t doing badly.

    There was also a lack of Clare defending Drew’s position due to her being ensnared in her own plot that’ll converge with Drew’s plot next ep. They probably should have given another character the A plot and let Drew be a side story excited for Bianca’s visit, then shift gears into a Drew plot for next episode.

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  13. To be honest Degrassi has seem quite dead to me since… Adam (I know this sounds weird but every day I mind runs on him) so dead that I don’t watch the episodes without reading about them online first. I EXTREMELY doubted that a guy who has done so many …questionable things for a girl, would then CHEAT on said girl… it just does not make any sense. I actually am afraid to watch the episode because from what I read from other sources, I got the assumption that Eli HAD cheated, but now having come here and getting a new insight on the episode I have a new view on it, Thank you for that.
    G:)

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