MAYA PLOT RECAP: After realizing that her laptop is missing after class in the rubber room, Maya believes Zig might’ve stolen it. She follows him home after school and witnesses him squatting in an abandoned house. She tries to confront him and find out why he’s living there, but Zig refuses to talk to her. The next day, Maya tells Ms. Grell about Zig’s living situation, and Grell tells her that if he isn’t living in a safe place then she will have to call Children’s Aid. Zig is livid that Maya told Ms. Grell about where he’s living, and is forced to admit to Maya that his parents kicked him out. Mrs. Matlin discovers Maya’s laptop was at home all along, leaving Maya feeling guilty for accusing Zig. Maya tells her mom about Zig’s situation, and pleads with her to let Zig stay with them temporarily.
It’s funny how one minor suggestion can influence someone’s decisions. For some completely unknown reason Tristan is adamant that Zig is the one who stole Maya’s laptop, planting the seed in her head that won’t go away, even after she’s caught snooping in Zig’s bag. The stolen laptop angle leads Maya into discovering that Zig is living alone in an abandoned house. The scene where we view him sitting inside of this house, alone, is powerful.
This isn’t like the days of Sean Cameron living in a minimally-furnished place by himself in season 3, becoming empowered by his ability to finally behave like a responsible adult at a young age. Zig is horrified when Maya shows up at his front door; he’s embarrassed that someone’s discovered his current living conditions, a far cry even from the days of him being too ashamed to tell Tori that his family is poor.
In Unbelievable, we saw a scenario where a character was in a bad situation, and for the most part no one really seemed to care. Becky wound up taking the lead, and by the end of the episode quite a few people finally jumped into Zoë’s corner.
We’re kind of in that same type of situation in What It’s Like when it comes to Maya and her friends. Miles, Tristan and Zoë couldn’t care less about Zig being homeless. “This isn’t your problem,” Miles says, angry that Maya seems overly concerned about another guy. “What are you going to do, adopt him?” Tristan says jokingly. Though she might be misguided in thinking she’s the reason Zig is where he is now, Maya feels guilty for not being there for Zig over the summer, when something affected him enough to change his personality and eventually get him kicked out of his parents’ home.
Of course Zig accepting Maya’s offer to live at her house will open up a can of worms when it comes to her relationship with Miles. However, forcing Zig’s character back into the fold with major characters on the show is putting us one step closer to finding out the answer to season 13’s biggest question: What happened to Zig while everyone else was in Paris last summer?
JENNA PLOT RECAP: Jenna nominates herself and Connor to be king and queen of the upcoming semiformal because she wants people to stop thinking they’re a weird couple. Connor agrees to take part in Jenna’s wardrobe makeover experiment for him, but he eventually becomes frustrated with the process. Jenna tries to apologize and finds Connor has upgraded his wardrobe on his own. Jenna’s happy with the change, until she sees Connor is now receiving attention from other girls.
There’s something almost comforting about watching Jenna and Connor interact. “Connor is his own person, it’s…sexy,” Jenna says. The perception is that people think Connor is weird, but Jenna takes his personality in stride. When she’s trying to get him to change his wardrobe, she rolls with it as Connor questions her about it as if it were a scientific project.
While Jenna might be comfortable in her relationship with Connor, she’s also aware of how it’s perceived from the outside. “Why do you care so much what other people think?” Connor asks. That’s a good question; Jenna doesn’t seemed concerned with Jonnor’s image, until Clare and Alli tell her that’s the one thing people care about when voting for king and queen of the dance.
On Connor’s end we see how he handles a social situation nowadays, given that glimpses into his character beyond funny one liners are rare these days. He’s still brutally honest, but while a younger Connor simply wouldn’t understand Jenna’s position, he ultimately decides to go through with changing his look because he wants to make her happy. Connor remains himself though, citing that he realizes compromise is important in a relationship because he read about it somewhere.
The plot seems to wrap itself up very quickly until the twist at the end, when we see Connor surrounded by a group of grade nines girls who want him to tutor them. Of course Connor has no interest in them and is oblivious to the fact they find him attractive now (who knew all it took to be sexy was to lose the glasses and wear cool clothes?). However, it will be interesting to see how Jenna reacts to no longer being the only female who’s physically attracted to Connor.
BECKY PLOT RECAP: Imogen becomes smitten with a new female student named Jack, and it leaves Becky feeling jealous. Imogen and Jack have so much in common that Becky feels left out when the three of them are hanging out. Drew tells Becky that she should get some alone time with Imogen so they can talk, and it leads Becky to ask Imogen to be her date for the semiformal.
I really like this storyline so far. Becky and Imogen have a friendship that’s been built through the time they’ve spent together working on Degrassi TV. After the events of Unbelievable, it’s assumed that Becky has relied quite a bit on Imogen for emotional support. “It’s been hard at home,” Becky says after thanking Imogen for being there for her.
One thing to remember is that Becky is someone who’s never had a lot of close friends. In the season 12 episode Closer To Free, she told Jenna she had a very close relationship with her brother Luke, but “it’s not the same as having a real girlfriend.” Her friendship with Jenna has faded over time on the show, probably moreso the direction of the writing/characters in general than any actual issue between the two. After the first eight episodes of season 13 both Becky and Imogen were standalone characters, so it’s only natural that the show would pair them up.
However, Jack poses an instant threat. Unbelievable continued to show how naive and inexperienced Becky is, and it continues here in What It’s Like. The most notable scene is where Jack calls Imogen weird, and Becky doesn’t understand that Jack was actually complimenting Imogen. Imogen is quirky and Jack shares her eclectic tastes. The two hit it off immediately, and Becky is left wondering whether her only close friend will eventually ditch her for a girlfriend.
Friendships are a highly underrated aspect of this show, and I like a simple, common element (jealousy) being tossed into the mix. The biggest cause of issues in romantic relationships on Degrassi is a lack of communication, and it’s refreshing to see this translate over to a friendship as well. Becky asks Imogen to the dance so they can “get to know each other more intimately,” a poor choice of words on her part because it leads Imogen to believe Becky has romantic feelings for her. “You’re the most important person in my life right now,” Becky says. Imogen doesn’t seem all that thrilled for this “date” with Becky, whose shattered home life has her desperately clinging to her closest friend.