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MILES VS. THE HOLLINGSWORTHS

Quick Recap: Miles’ father still sees him as a disappointment after catching Miles and Maya skinny dipping in the Hollingworth’s pool.  Everyone tells Miles in order to win his father’s approval, he just needs to work harder for it.  Miles then decides to organize campaign material for his dad with the help of Winston and Maya.  Miles wants to show off his hard work to his father, but finds his dad flirting with his attractive campaign manager, Andrea.  In order to discover the truth, Miles decides to send Andrea a necklace and a card, signing the card with his father’s name.  During the family’s media training session, Andrea finds the gift and is flattered, confirming she and Mr. Hollingsworth are having an affair.  Miles makes a scene then walks out of the meeting; he tells his mom about the affair, but to his dismay she already knows and has been keeping it a secret in order to protect the campaign.

1321-1We get a closer look at Miles’ home life, and it’s quite shocking how much of an outcast he is within his own family.  “You two are shining examples for your older brother,” Mr. Hollingsworth says to Miles’ younger sister Frankie and younger brother Hunter.  Normally the eldest sibling is generally regarded as the one who sets a positive example for their younger siblings.  The Hollingsworth parents value and praise Frankie and Hunter because they “know their role” so to speak when it comes to the mayoral campaign: the campaign always comes first.  The stigma within the family is that Miles is a screw up whose behavior jeopardized a past campaign, and now his father has no qualms about shaming him for any perceived wrongdoings.  Miles’ mother, though not verbally abusive like Miles’ father, shows little compassion toward her son.  “Try harder,” is the only thing she says in response to Miles asking her what he should do to show his father that he’s not a bad kid.

What makes things worse for Miles is the damaging secret he discovers within his own family.  Mr. Hollingsworth goes around berating Miles for his “embarrassing behavior” because, for the sake of the campaign, Mr. H. wants his family to be perceived as perfect, even in the eyes of his campaign staff.  However, Mr. H. engages in infidelity while he demands his son maintain a certain level of decorum.  After walking out of family media training, Miles’ discussion with his mother is disturbing.

“It’s not your problem,” she says after Miles tells her that Mr. H. has been unfaithful.

1321-2The nature of politics is one shrouded in secrets and deception, and everyone in the Hollingsworth family (excluding Miles) refuses to break character until the election is over.  “We will deal with it after the election,” Miles’ mom says with no emotion, after Miles asks “Why are you playing along with this stupid charade?”

“Why don’t you take a walk? I’ll tell them you weren’t feeling well,” she continues, as Miles angrily walks away.  If there’s love within the Hollingsworth clan it’s hard to tell.  The irony of his mom’s lifeless response there and the fact they’re having a family media training session shows how deep the Hollingsworths are in the political world: they’re virtually machines now, with a trained response to everything.  And that’s why we see Miles clinging tightly to Maya at the end of this episode, professing his love for her.  It’s a genuinely touching scene involving a young man who expected to find love within is family, but reality says otherwise.

Expectations vs. reality can be a very difficult thing to balance at times.  We as Degrassi fans set certain expectations months ago when it came to Miles Hollingsworth.  After the first time we saw Miles and Mr. Hollingsworth interact, I’m assuming a lot of us expected to see an intensely-abusive situation play out similar to Craig Manning and his abusive father in season 2.  For the time being that doesn’t seem to be what’s going to happen here with the Hollingsworths.  We’re not seeing Mr. Hollingsworth beat down Miles until he’s black and blue, but it doesn’t discount the sad dynamic of this dysfunctional family, one in which Miles is clearly on the outside looking in.  The idea of a kid who simply feels unloved by his family is sad in its own right.

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CLARE VS. HER “URGES”

Quick RecapTo celebrate being cancer free for six months, Clare decides to book a day of bungee jumping for herself, Eli, Jenna and Connor.  However, Eli can’t make it because he’s working on a short film at NYU.  Connor decides to invite Drew instead, but the move makes Clare nervous because of the kiss they shared on Thanksgiving.  Clare and Drew wind up doing a tandem jump, and have a great time.  Afterward, the two change clothes in Clare’s car and she finds herself staring at Drew while he’s shirtless.  While obviously physically attracted to him, she declines to hang out with him after bungee jumping and tells him to catch a ride home with Jenna and Connor.

1321-3The Eclare/Clew drama that’s been brewing since Black or White has been like one giant game of “Show and Tell,” minus the “show.”  We learned Eli cheated and we saw Clare kiss Drew, and since there was no real discussion between Eclare afterward about any of it we now assume everything is peachy (excluding the long distance and Eli’s busy schedule interfering with current plans).  The lack of “show” creates an even bigger issue when it comes to Clare and Drew, with Degrassi simply wanting to “tell” us that Clare is lusting after Drew now.  We know that these two have spent a lot of time together since the start of their senior year because of student council.  However, over the past six episodes we’ve jumped from Clare spontaneously jamming her tongue down Drew’s throat, to showing no interest in Drew, to now longing for his loins yet also wanting to avoid interacting with him.

Why is Clare suddenly awkward about being around Drew, given the fact they’ve interacted in the four episodes before this one with no issues or hints on her end?  It makes about as much sense as Dallas declaring that his son Rocky is now the main priority in his life, Rocky dropping off the face of the planet with minimal mention of his existence, then randomly appearing out of nowhere in this same episode where Clare finds herself resisting the temptation of Drew’s shirtless self.  There’s an important thread here where we see Clare being strongly attracted to someone else, and wanting to protect herself from doing so because she’s already in a committed relationship.  One could argue that Eli bailing triggered the same feelings in Clare that made her run into Drew’s arms before, and she’s terrified it will happen again.  But this whole scenario would make more sense if there’d been some effort to create a consistent string of relevant interaction between Clare and Drew to begin with, instead of having these feelings suddenly pop up after having spent a handful of episodes focused on life from Drew’s perspective.

Similar to a former character such as Owen Milligan, Rocky is a “character of convenience,”  but Clare’s plot here shows that apparently that theory now applies to characters’ feelings as well.

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DALLAS VS. ALLI’S PAST

Quick RecapStill working on their science project, Dallas loves how well Alli gets along with his son Rocky.  At school Dallas presents Alli with a gift basket and asks her out, but she says she can’t and walks away.  Dallas goes to her house to explain himself, and Alli confesses that she’s not over the physical and mental abuse her relationship with Leo caused.  The revelation leaves Dallas furious and wanting to seek vengeance on Leo.

1321-4Dallas’ crush on Alli is endearing, even as he’s completely clueless to Alli’s current state of mind.  All he knows is that Alli and Leo broke up, and now is his chance to swoop in on the girl of his dreams.  However, the vastly different realities of these two characters clash when Dallas finally asks her out.  Alli might be flattered by the gesture, but she also has zero interest in him.

Alli didn’t owe him an explanation as to why she didn’t want to go out on a date, but her revealing why does point out the fact when you’re rejected by someone it’s not necessarily about you.  Alli’s biggest concern is Alli at the moment, as it should be.  You know she’s still nowhere near ready for any kind of relationship based on her facial expressions during the scene where Dallas asks her out; she’s visibly uncomfortable with his romantic advances.  This episode leaves things up in the air with Dallas angry at the news that Leo abused Alli.  “I could crush him,” Dallas says.

“Yeah, but that wouldn’t change anything,” Alli says.  This statement sticks in my mind as Dallas seems intent on taking some course of action on his own.  Alli also specifically mentioned that Leo was full of anger and hate, suggesting that any aggressive retribution Dallas is thinking about dishing out could completely backfire if he’s attempting to be Alli’s knight in shining armor in this situation.

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Posted by Kary

19 Comments

  1. I have to agree with you a bit with Clare her relationship with Eli is inconsistent same as her feelings for Drew. Either Clare is hiding her true feelings really well before her conversation with Eli, I honestly think when she mentioned Lenore that was the trigger. I think she is still very hurt and hes still friends with her. I think Clare has been fighting her attraction.. The problem I still have why is Eclare still together, are the writers holding on for the fans. To me Eli is pretty much irrelevant right now, Clare hardly talk to him in the viewers eyes also she hardly mentions him. To me this is Holly J & Declan all over again and look hat happened to that. Eli is pointless in this season.

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  2. Funny how you gave Clare a D but gave Alli a D ? She’s had how many plots this season ? Dallas should not be wasted on a someone like Alli.

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    1. Clare wants the D though

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    2. I agree, The plot should be about how Dallas starts strengthening his relationship with his cutie pie son. That is what will change him, his kid. Cause he needs to focus on growing up and being a dad

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  3. This episode showcases what a simplistic worldview Miles has due to his age. If he were to cheat on Mya, it would probably result in an immediate breakup. In the real world, adult/married relationships are much more complicated than that.

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  4. Kary, good insightful review as usual. It’s funny that this Mayor’s race is Miles dad against the Mayor of Toronto. We all know that the Mayor is the tragically crack smoking flawed Rob Ford. Even though it’s a world wide story I doubt the show will mention his name. ….I would not have given the Drew/Clare story a D. Maybe a C plus or B minus. Whatever holes there were in the script I thought the acting was ok. Contrast that with the break up of Drew and Bianca. Alicia Josipovic had to take to twitter to say that her Bianca character’s actions in that episode were “very uncharacteristic.” She looked like she had to do those scenes with a gun to her head or having to take anti-depressants just to get through the damn taping. That story should have got a D minus rating IMHO. ……Kind of strange that the only couple that gets the happily ever after on Degrassi is Spinner and Emma.

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  5. Part of the Clare/Drew dynamic issue is that we’ve not had a Clare plot in a while, showing her and Eli. I can forgive the Clare/Drew parts being inconsistent as part of Clare’s nature. She loves decorum and rules, so in situations of rules (class, student council, a guys night poker game) she can shut out her own feelings. Being strapped to Drew and thrown off a cliff, however, is a different matter. But we also don’t have a lot of insight into Clare’s mentality over the distance and the strain.

    There’s a lot of assumptions in Clare’s mindset to get us to the Clew drama we have. Hopefully next episode will overcome some of this, but we don’t have enough of Clare’s inner mentality except for shirtless boys being her kryptonite. Which has been a statement of her for a while.

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    1. I agree with you in explaining Clare’s thoughts, or how she tries to shut them down at times.

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  6. I think that Clare and Eli’s failure to resolve what happened is really key to understanding what’s now happening with Clare and Drew. I agree that the show is being too subtle about it, expecting that people will automatically come to the conclusion that Clare’s feelings are very strongly impacted by Eli’s rejection of her (and while maybe some will say he’s just busy or whatever, his cancelling last minute- especially when he’s probably going to be working on a project with Lenore- still feels like rejection).

    It’s as if she’d swept what happened with Eli under the rug- when she was explaining it to Jenna, she didn’t even mention Eli’s infidelity, even though she readily confessed to her own digression. Why make yourself look like the bad guy when you can say with all honesty, “He cheated on me first”? She hasn’t really faced it. It makes sense that she would ignore it- how else could you learn about a betrayal but still continue the long distance thing, knowing that the “mistress” is still going to be around? I believe Nikki was right when she said that Clare mentioning Lenore was the trigger. When you are able to successfully block something negative from your mind, it’s extremely hard to actually acknowledge it again- nevermind actually say it aloud to another person.

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  7. I don’t think that Clares feelings seem out of nowhere. I think that this is a perfectly normal development.

    She was upset when she found out Eli cheated and kissed Drew, who was going through a semi-similar situation and who she had been getting closer to. Immediately she felt bad and realized she was willing to forgive Eli. This patching up of her and Eli’s relationship probaly renewed strong feelings for him and her guilt about kissing Drew probably made her forget any possible attraction she had for Drew.

    When Eli first went back to school, things were probably strong between Eli and Clare because of the feelings of patching up the relationship and making it threw a hurdle. Eventually though, they begin to realize that nothing has really changed between them. Eli is still busy and inattentive to Clare and surrounded by the girl he cheated on her with.

    This probably makes Clare frustrated. She also spends a lot of time with Drew and they seem to get along. The more frustrated she gets with Eli, the stronger her feelings get for Drew. But, she only sees him in a school setting and probably thinks that mild feelings are ok and doesn’t want to go bungee jumping with him because that may begin to blur the line.

    Doing something that causes increased adrenaline with someone you are attracted to, significantly increase your attraction for that person. It makes you excited and increases feelings of excitement for the person you are doing that with. So because of continued rejection from Eli and partaking in an extreme activity with Drew it makes sense that her feelings are significantly increased for next episode.

    I do get what you are saying though. That it might have been good to see what she was thinking before jumping into her having feelings for him, but most of the time, if you are in a relationship with someone, having an attraction to someone else is normal and you might not outwardly communicate that.

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  8. They’ve been hinting at Clare & Drew for awhile..i feel bad for shipping them as well so im MAD at myself but i’ll live. i love their lust for each other its unexpected, its degrassi! Alli & her constant sotrylines with guys is annoying but lets just say Demetrius is impressing me with his acting this episode i felt his pain after all this time hes been trying to get her! maya & miles is ehh theyre cute i just cant deal with Zoe she needs to go shes a weird ass character and simply there to annoy me after watching for 13 seasons straight i can do without her! the Crew storyline deserves a C at least lol

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  9. Hey Kary quick question in this episode Clare said she was in six months remission, but that doesn’t make sense since she beat cancer a few days before the school year started so that would’ve been in September and now they should be in late October or in November that would make one or two months in remission

    So my question is what is going on with Degrassi timeline? Because that whole remission for six months thing isn’t adding up

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    1. This season is using a different passage of time than the past three seasons. Instead of fighting the constant breaks for each block it’s running with them. Meaning each ep set is happening approximately where they are (at least: start airing). So 13C started with the start of the second semester of the year (how long Maya was actually suspended for is unknown, but she couldn’t be put in the Rubber Room so late in the semester).

      As such, Clare was in remission in Late August, so late January would be 6 months.

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      1. How is the weather in Toronto around this time? because them having pool parties in January/Feb didnt make sense to me at the time.

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  10. Good review as usual Kary.

    I was extremely disappointed in the Drew and Clare storyline. I felt it was a direct slap in the face to last week’s episode. Has Drew learned nothing from his mistake with Zoe? He just moves from girl to girl as he sees fit. i’m sure he and Clare will have a fling that will last a couple of episodes before he moves onto his next conquest. Who knows. Maybe Drew will propose to her on graduation day and we will have the second most unrealistic couple/marriage in Degrassi history next to Spinner & Emma.

    As for the rest of the episode, I continue to be impressed with Alli/Dallas. During the summer season I always assumed that Dallas and Leo would cross paths at some point and now it looks like it will happen.

    I wasn’t too thrilled with Miles, but I do give the writers credit for adding the unique storyline twist of his mother having full knowledge of her husband’s affair. It provides a few added layers of depth and I’m kind of curious to see where things go from here.

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    1. Clare has feelings for Drew, Drew’s actions, while charming, were for the most part within the realms of okay (except the tickling). Trying to paint Drew into this skirt chasing ideal only works if Drew actively was chasing Clare’s skirt. Which he might do next week, but for the moment this is Clare reacting like Clare does to shirtless good looking men.

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  11. Eli cheats on Clare. In turn, Clare runs into the arms of a guy who has cheated on all of his girlfriends (including her best friend). Does she still have chemo brain or something?

    I am beyond disgusted with the writers and the direction they decided to go in with Alli. Aside from the fact that it sends a message that a girl needs a guy to complete her or be her knight in shining armor, there has been way too much Alli this season. Heaven forbid that they actually give Connor or Chewy something to do instead.

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  12. I might be in the minority here, but I actually do want Clare and Drew together. They are polar opposites but I’d like to see what the writers will do with them, what their chemistry will be like etc. But then again, are any main characters on Degrassi single at all? Jeez, I feel like everyone is dating someone and no one actually can stay single for a long period of time.

    In terms of Eli and Clare, they’re pretty much done. There’s really nothing the writers can do about this now. Their relationship looks forced. It seems like this long distance thing isn’t working. My prediction is that Drew and Clare get closer, she realizes she has feelings for Drew, then BAM, she calls up Eli, they break up, blah blah. It’s hard shipping eClare when they’re not even in the same country anymore. This ship has sailed and it has now sunk. Time to move on.

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  13. I thought Miles was supposed to be a bad boy?

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