Maya/Miles/Zig Plot Recap: Maya finds herself in a pickle…Miles wants to get back together, but Zig also wants to date her as well. She decides to date Miles, but decides they must keep it a secret so that she doesn’t hurt Zig. As Maya tries to hide the truth from Zig and allows him to become closer to her, Miles is upset by it. Maya finally tells Zig that she’s not over Miles, and Zig storms off angrily. Miles goes to talk to Zig for Maya’s sake, but the two get into a fist fight. After getting beat up, Miles decides to get revenge on Zig by confronting him with a fake pistol that looks real. Maya sees Miles doing this and is furious, telling him she can’t deal with someone who scares her. Maya apologizes to Zig and the two become friends again.
Maya references her former boyfriend Cam Saunders twice in this episode. It’s amazing how one reference sums up her feelings toward Miles, and the other her feelings toward Zig. Degrassi has done a great job of establishing Miles as someone with anger issues over an extensive period, apparent through the constant arguing and reconciling between Maya and Miles. He did become far more vindictive though when it came to Zig, more than he was toward anyone else (his father as well as Drew). Though his outbursts weren’t the over-the-top-violent variety, they were alarming enough for Maya to take notice. “I told you you scare me Miles, that you’re unstable and still you do this?” Maya said, referring to Miles pointing a fake gun in Zig’s face.
When it comes to Zig, I’ve never felt a vibe in season 13 that suggests Maya has romantic feelings for him. Maya has harbored feelings of guilt since discovering Zig was homeless, blaming herself for not being there for him over the summer. After Sparks Will Fly we see she simply wants to protect him, afraid that he may suffer an ending similar to Cam. “Last time someone I cared about disappeared they never came back,” Maya says after Zig becomes MIA.
Miles and Zig are cutthroat toward one another, but Miles is the one who gets caught by Maya. Miles getting pushed out of the way now allows for Maya and Zig to stand alone. It also allows for the show to finally delve into Zig’s recent past, a revelation that will catch Maya off guard as she and Zig become close again.
Clare/Eli/Drew Plot Recap: Clare is upset that not only does Eli not return her phone calls, he’s canceled his plans to visit her and be her date to Wild Wild West Night. While Clare is unsure what to do, Drew tells her that she deserves better than the way Eli’s treating her. Clare ends up calling Eli, and breaks up with him via voicemail when he doesn’t answer. At Wild Wild West night Clare tells Drew about the breakup, and the two sleep together in the props room. Eli shows up afterward, thinking Clare broke up with him to be with Drew. Eli begs for her to not give up on their relationship, but she says it’s over and walks away. Later, Drew isn’t convinced that Clare is fully over Eli, and he tells her they can’t be together now because he doesn’t want to be her rebound relationship.
In my review of Everything Is Everything, I mentioned how specific parts of this Eclare/Clew story arch have been better than the story as a whole. The story as a whole finally comes to a head in Sparks Will Fly, as it all falls down with Degrassi dropping a world of nonsense on our heads with one of the more surprising moments in recent memory.
Things start off strong in Part 1. We see Clare reach an emotional breaking point. Her boyfriend refuses to call or message her back. She just wants to be free from the pain of the situation, so she impulsively breaks up with him with a voicemail. The things she said to Eli in part two are what you’d wish she’d said to him months ago. “I know I’m over being sad all the time,” Clare says, “wondering when you’ll call.” The ending of this episode was expected; Eclare would break up, but Drew would realize that dating Clare so soon after that is a bad idea.
In the season 11 episode Love Game, Jake Martin says, “Why does everything have to be so dramatic? Move on, Clare.”
A younger Clare Edwards responds, “Oh, just like that? Move on?!?!” This conversation took place after Clare publicly confronted Eli about him seeming indifferent toward her and their breakup.
A lot of things have happened since that moment. Clare has grown up, and in the case of her and Eli in Sparks Will Fly, she’s moved on. Or has she?
The odd part is that’s not even the most pressing question of the moment, which is why on earth did Clare Edwards have sex with Drew in this episode?
Clare’s path of being a character whose beliefs about sex have changed over the years has been understandable up until this point. She started off with strict Christian values that prohibited her from consenting to sex before marriage. Her parents’ divorce radically changed her values. She became open to having premarital sex, but only with someone she loved, explaining her desire to sleep with Jake and willingness to eventually sleep with Eli. But at what point in season 13 does Degrassi flip the switch and show us Clare’s sexual views shifting again, one where she’s okay with jumping Drew’s bones the first chance she gets, even if she has been lusting after him for a while? That’s the difference between her actions here making sense and her sleeping with Drew feeling like it was thrown in for shock value.
There’s a hollow feeling in Eli’s return as he hopes to avoid losing Clare for good, spitting out generic lines you’d expect from a character in his position. “Look I’m sorry Clare, long distance is hard but I promise it’ll get better!” he says. Munro Chambers is good at staring with tear-filled eyes. But as he stands there in front of Clare we’re reminded that amongst the “tell, not show” approach they’ve gone with Eli in this storyline, his supremely developed character has now been reduced to a plot device in season 13.
There’s an eerie parallel between Eclare’s interaction and how I view their scenes. Eli shows up hoping that the love he once shared with Clare will rekindle, but it doesn’t. Clare doesn’t care anymore. Degrassi has Eli show up and I find myself not caring that he’s there. There’s nothing left to care about. We’re supposed to feel the disconnect between Eli and Clare, but are viewers supposed to feel disconnected to the characters involved as well? Eclare isn’t just some run-of-the-mill couple on this show. A large amount of time has been dedicated to their development over the years. “Please, I don’t want our story to end this way, not like this,” Eli pleads. I’d like to think he means don’t end it by disintegrating the characters themselves into something that’s unrecognizable.
Zoë Plot Recap: Zoë is looking to land her first major role since West Drive, and fails to impress Brett during her first audition for his new movie. Mr. Perino is also on Zoë’s case because her marks are low, and she’s offered a spot on Degrassi’s quiz for extra credit. Tristan tells Zoë that being on the team is lame, and that she should use her sexual assault to her advantage to gain pity from Brett. During her second audition Zoë thinks of her assault while acting and becomes so emotional that she accidentally attacks her co-star. However, Brett’s so impressed that he gives Zoë the part anyway. Zoë receives the script and is shocked to learn that her character commits suicide in the end. She doesn’t want to play the victim role, so Zoë tries to get Brett to change the ending of the movie. When he refuses, Zoë quits because she doesn’t want to relive the pain of her sexual assault through that role.
Since her sexual assault, Zoe has struggled to find something she can hang her hat on. “Ever since that night, everything in my life feels tainted,” she says, pleading with Brett to give her the role.
After quitting the movie we see Zoë afraid to inform her mom, someone who makes all of Zoë’s career decisions for her. However, we also see multiple characters pressuring Zoë into taking on the role. Tristan is absurdly condescending at the idea of Zoë not fighting for a role and joining the Bright Sparks quiz team instead. “Bright Sparks? Zoë no, people will judge…people like me,” he says.
Later, Frankie convinces Zoë to talk to Brett about changing the ending. Of course this is futile; why would he change the ending for a teen star who’s been unemployed for a year? But when it comes down to it, Zoë makes the executive decision to quit. “I’m tired of being used by people,” she says to her mom, “by Brett, by Luke and by you.” All three situations are different, but up being the same because Zoë feels as if she has no control over her life or what happens in it. She’s spent her entire life in front of cameras, her every move determined for her. Quitting a movie role (that probably pays a good amount of money) may seem like a silly idea on the outside, but for Zoë Rivas it’s a big step to her living her own life and becoming the person she wants to be, not someone she’s told to be.