Spiderwebs, season 13’s fall finale, runs the gamut in terms of emotion and quality. The good news is that the primary plot does all of the heavy lifting, and is effective in doing so. On the other end of the spectrum you have the show’s most-dominant entities going off the rails with a hasty, unsettling conclusion crammed into a C plot. Ironically, the “B” plot is somewhere in between.
DREW PLOT REVIEW: When I think back, even to the time where I was annoyed with sir Torres’ “Dropout Drew” era, the show’s been pretty good about showing how incredibly insecure Drew is. On one hand he’s afraid he’ll always be viewed as a failure; that insecurity is doubled when it comes to the idea that Bianca could think that way of him. Once again Drew’s insecurities are played upon as he must also worry about running Degrassi’s Family Feast event. Dallas tells Drew that he spotted Bianca in town hanging out at The Dot, but she hasn’t told Drew she’s in town yet. Drew shows up at The Dot and meets Bianca’s college friends. After the friends leave, Bianca tells Drew that college has made her realize she’s not the girl she used to be, and that she needs to move on from their relationship.
Hoping to win Bianca back by proving to her that he’s changed, Drew begs her to pretend like they’re still together at the Family Feast for the sake of his mom, Audra. Bianca is impressed at what Drew has done, but when he tries to kiss her she avoids it, reminding him that they’re still broken up. An upset Drew finds Clare, who’s upset because of her situation with Eli. The two comfort each other and Clare ends up kissing Drew. After Clare runs out, Drew witnesses Clare reconciling with Eli. Later Drew accepts that he and Bianca need to break up, and she gives her engagement ring back to him.
As someone who jumped on the Drianca train near the end, watching their breakup is heartbreaking. “They’re engaged, there’s no way Degrassi would take them that far just to end them,” I once said. Oh how easy it is to forget Degrassi’s golden rule: no relationship is ever safe.
It’s painful watching Drew in this episode. Imagine one of your worst fears coming true, and being unable to stop it. When Clare first discovered Eli cheated on her, he said “New school, new people…it was so hard dealing without you.” On the opposite end of that we have Bianca, so seems so well adjusted to life beyond high school that she feels as if any attachment to that former part of her life (Drew) are holding her back. Drew’s plan to get Bianca back is fantastic because it’s such a believable and sad. He harmlessly tries to manipulate Bianca into taking him back, a doomed tactic by someone who’s in denial.
While everyone has spent most of their time focused on Eclare for one reason or another, Drianca has been right there with them in terms of screen time over the past three years. We’re often shown relationships on this show that self destruct because of bad decisions by one or both parties. However, Drianca’s demise serves as a depressing reminder that sometimes relationships end not because someone did something wrong, but simply because feelings fade and people’s lives drift apart.
TRISTAN PLOT REVIEW: Tristan officially finds himself caught in the middle of the feud between Maya and Zoë. He’s best friends with Maya, yet he also finds himself becoming friends with Zoë as the two interact in their comedy troupe. Tristan finally comes clean to Maya about Zoë being in the comedy troupe with him, but she ultimately gives him her blessing.
Maya attempts to use the comedy troupe’s Thanksgiving performance as a way to sneak back into Degrassi and exact revenge on Zoë, but Tristan initially wants no part of it. However, Tristan ends up taking Maya’s revenge into his own hands by throwing a pie in Zoë’s face during their performance. Afterward, Tristan scolds both of them for their constant bickering, and convinces the two to agree to a truce.
Kudos to Tristan for being the voice of reason in Spiderwebs and being the person in the Degrassi universe to call out both Maya and Zoë on their crap. In an episode where Degrassi’s two most dominant ships in recent memory are in turmoil, the Tenners serve as a filler to sort of conclude the Maya/Zoë feud for now. Because the plot is from Tristan’s perspective, we see softer reactions from the girls in regards to one another; it was definitely surprising to see Maya react so calmly when Tristan told her about him hanging out with Zoë. Clearly both Maya and Zoë greatly value Tristan’s friendship, but we’ll have to wait and see whether or not that’ll be enough to keep the two from butting heads.
CLARE PLOT REVIEW: While I enjoyed the show’s seemingly vague approach to Eclare drama in Black or White, highlighting the couple’s tendency to falter under communication issues, things feel different here in Spiderwebs. Clare has no desire to talk to Eli again until Alli convinces her that she should find out Eli’s side of the story. He admits to cheating on Clare, but denies that he and Lenore slept together. During their conversation Clare confesses to Eli that she screwed up her only chance at getting into Columbia before storming off.
Clare volunteers at Degrassi’s Family Feast and finds herself crying over Eli in an empty room. Drew discovers her and the two lean on each other for support as they each have their own heartbreak to deal with. During their comforting confrontation Clare kisses Drew. Realizing what she’s done, Clare freaks out and runs out of the room. Later, Eli approaches Clare and tries to win her back by giving her a book called “Our Story,” a collection of their e-mails to one another. Clare finds herself hugging Eli, and during dinner with all of the Family Feast volunteers she avoids making eye contact with Drew.
Clare’s uncertainty feels a bit like a forced narrative given the awkwardness of her conversation with Alli. Clare seems to have her mind made up until Alli surprisingly responds in a way that makes it seem as if Eli cheating wasn’t THAT big of a deal. “It was once, one time,” Alli says as she becomes increasingly adamant that Clare talk to Eli. There are times within Degrassi friendships where the advice-giving friend delivers dialogue that comes off as more of a device to push the plot in a certain direction, as opposed to being genuine advice one friend would give to another. Alli’s advice here is a perfect example, as if she talked Clare into being uncertain about her feelings toward Eli. Because of that it’s hard to grasp where Clare’s head is really at, given that no meaningful dialogue to address the situation ever happens between Eli and Clare in this episode.
The Clew kiss has been one of the most-touted scenes by network marketing teams during 13B, attempting to freak out fans by making it seem as if the show’s two most prominent ships were facing drastic changes. Watching the scene in context, it’s odd seeing that it not only makes sense, but it also says more about Clare’s plot than anything else in Spiderwebs attempted to. Clare’s reaction to kissing Drew is one of nearly instant regret. It’s in that moment of vulnerability that she seems to understand Eli’s reasoning for cheating, an act he quickly declared as meaningless earlier in the episode.
While Clare’s willingness to take Eli back so quickly makes sense in that context, their story still leaves much to be desired. A couple deemed so important and placed in a scenario that can destroy a relationship needs more than just a hasty reconciliation of sorts in a C plot. The look of guilt on Clare’s face indicates that her impulsive kiss with Drew will come back to haunt Eclare in the future. However, it’s unsettling that Eclare blew through this portion of their drama so quickly, with little to guide young female viewers who simply view this storyline as a girl who quickly took back her cheating boyfriend with little resistance.