TRISTAN PLOT RECAP: Tristan’s glowing after finally getting together with Yates, but he hides the relationship from Maya in the beginning. Yates and Tristan secretly meet up at school, and Yates reminds him that they must keep things secret. However, Maya quickly figures out on her own that the two are having a secret affair. She believes it’s wrong, but Tristan demands that she not say anything. Tristan is called to Simpson’s office, and is interrogated about whether or not he and Yates have engaged in a sexual relationship. Tristan denies everything, but Yates is suspended because of the impending investigation and he ends their relationship. A furious Tristan yells at Maya for telling Simpson, and says he never wants to talk to her again.
All I can say at this point is that Tristan’s plot in this episode as well as Hypnotize will probably go down as the most memorable A plot of season 13. This storyline has been disturbing, gripping and emotionally intense on many levels. If you’re unfamiliar with Tristan Milligan as a character, the dialogue he delivers to Maya in the hallway perfectly encapsulates him. This is a guy who’s very secure in his sexuality, but very insecure in other aspects of his life. He has such a strong desire to be loved that he’d blindly dive into an empty, concrete pool head first. When he and Yates meet up in the supply closet Tristan doesn’t question why Yates insists that their relationship remain a secret, because Tristan is going to do whatever it takes to protect this romantic “love” that he’s wanted for so long. Tristan’s desperation is also amplified by the fact his parents are fighting at home still has an effect on him, as noted by him saying Maya has a “perfect home.”
The scene with Tristan and Simpson is brilliant. Before this episode I kept thinking about how I’d kind of hoped that this unsettling, secret relationship would continue into season 14, and I completely forgot about the fact that there would automatically be a suspension and investigation if any allegations were made. There is a hauntingly wonderful sense of continuity as Simpson sits there, on the verge of rolling his eyes at everything coming out of Tristan’s mouth. At one point Simpson leans back in his seat, frustrated because he has a sense that Tristan is protecting Yates. One has to wonder if Simpson’s own experience regarding alleged inappropriate behavior with a student weighed on his mind in this moment (My favorite episode of season 7, Another Brick In The Wall).
Lyle Lettau finally gets to let loose, and he nails the final scene of this episode. It’s a scene full of frustration and heartbreak, as you watch someone so caught up in their own head that they push away those who care for them. If there’s any questions as to Maya Matlin’s character as a friend, those should be put to rest. This girl truly cares about those she loves. “I did all of this to protect you,” Maya says, the same kind of rhetoric we heard from her when she was worried about Zig.
As emotional as this episode was, it still managed to leave things pretty open ended. Yates’ suspension is protocol, and an investigation doesn’t mean they’ll find anything. In the short term we’re left wondering whether or not Tristan and Maya’s friendship can bounce back, but the rollercoaster of emotions leading up to this moment has been one heck of a ride.
IMOGEN PLOT RECAP: It’s the day of the fashion show, yet Imogen decides she needs to redesign the dresses after Jack simply says her designs look “nice.” Imogen’s new, bizarre designs have everyone scrambling, and Becky’s upset because Imogen is ruining the fashion show trying to impress Jack. Tristan gives Imogen the emcee job because he has his own troubles to deal with, and she apologizes to Becky and flawlessly hosts the fashion show. Afterward Imogen confesses to Jack that she feels intimidated by her, and Jack admits she feels the same toward Imogen.
It’s pretty common on Degrassi for characters to sort of lose their minds and do weird things in the name of love. A lot of the time it’s happening as part of the grand scheme of things, but not often do we see a plot where the focus hones in specifically on that aspect. The lesson here is clearly that you shouldn’t change who you are to impress others, but that’s easier said that done, right? It reminds me of times when I’ve gotten into something, a hobby or maybe even a TV show, partially trying to impress someone I liked who enjoys that activity.
Whether anyone’s noticing it or not, we’re seeing a lot of friendship stuff on this show recently. Becky and Imogen were thrown together in season 13 because they were stragglers who had no one else. However, they mesh well; Becky’s stern demeanor compliments Imogen’s free spirit. At the same time, we see Becky’s issues coming into play a bit in this episode. “It means a lot to me that it goes well,” she says about the fashion show, after Imogen decides to redesign the dresses. It’s all of course because of what’s happening in her home life, but just like the Tristan/Maya dynamic in this episode, lately we’ve been seeing how each individual’s personal issues come into play when interacting with others. This plot ends up cementing Imogen and Jack’s relationship, but as Stefan Brogren once hinted things might not be so wonderful in the future.
FRANKIE PLOT RECAP: Frankie is convinced that Becky allowed her into the fashion show because her mother bribed Becky. However, Becky tells Frankie that the initial reason she was rejected was because Winston didn’t want to be around Frankie. Before the show Frankie confronts Winston and he comes clean. He didn’t want Frankie in the fashion show not because she was ugly, but because he liked her and didn’t want things to get weird. Winston’s worried about what Miles will think, but Frankie tells him not to worry and the two kiss.
This was a very predictable C plot, but I thought the ending was cute, and that’s all I was really hoping for. The scene where Frankie and Winston talk things out was heartfelt, and it has me rooting for them to be one of those couples on this show that doesn’t run into major drama.
Miles delivers one of the best lines that will ever come out of his mouth. “If people want to make fun of you they’re going to find a reason…too rich, too poor, too fat, too skinny,” he says after Frankie complained that people were making fun of her because she’s rich. “Just live your life.” It’s kind of interesting that Zoë is the one making fun of her, sliding back into her old, passive aggressive ways as opposed to her character’s personality doing a complete 180 since her assault.
It’s low key, but this plot does its job in terms of briefly highlighting how what other people think of us (or what we think they think of us) mess with our self confidence.