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Zig, Zoë and Maya’s plots end up crossing paths by the end of the episode, so I’m reviewing them together as one storyline.

ZIG RECAP: With his girlfriend traveling to NYC, Zig’s jealous because Jonah is also going on the trip. Maya ignores Zig’s messages so she can focus, leaving Zig to mope around and obsess over the idea that Maya and Jonah are hooking up. Zig storms out of class after seeing a Hastygram pic of Maya and Jonah together, and when Zoë bumps into him Zig drops and breaks his phone. He takes out his anger on Zoë until he realizes she’s also upset over something. The two hang out in the woods where Zig vents his frustration, and the two eventually hook up. Maya returns from NYC and Zig learns she’d been texting him on the way back (he never received them since his phone is broken. Maya plays back a song she created for Zig while she was in NYC as he just looks on in guilt over what he’s done.

ZOE RECAP: Zoë feels kind of awkward about having kissed Grace again, but the two end up making plans to hang out at Grace’s house. Grace’s mom returns and asks Zoë if she wants to spend the night (obviously she says yes).  Grace is worried they won’t be friends anymore if taking things to the next level doesn’t work out, but Zoë assures her that won’t happen and the two hook up. The next day, Grace is standoffish and admits to Zoë that she tried to see how she felt about them being together romantically, but she can’t do it because she’s straight and likes Zig. Heartbroken by the news, Zoë films herself hooking up with Zig in the woods and sends the video to Grace in order to hurt her.

MAYA RECAP: After receiving a message from a music producer after he heard her song “Not Okay,” Maya’s off to NYC with her mom and Jonah to audition for him. With nerves getting the best of her and Zig constantly messaging her, Maya turns off her phone to focus. She performs for the producer, but he tells her that while “Not Okay” is good, the rest of her music isn’t good enough.  After getting rejected, Maya returns home with a gift for Zig: a song she produced for him.

dnc107-1aThere is no reality, only perception, and boy does that come into play in this wonderfully-intertwined story involving three different plots. Maya’s plot alone is just okay; she goes to NYC, gets rejected and comes home, learning that you don’t become a superstar overnight. However, her trip plays a much bigger role in the context of what’s been going on in Zig Novak’s head since the beginning of this season. “Maya’s going places and I’m not,” Zig tells Zoë. He’s so insecure that he can’t see how in love Maya is with him, and that it doesn’t matter if Jonah harbors romantic feelings because she’d reject them.

I said in my review of #BootyCall that the only way Zig would lose Maya is if he allows his jealousy to get the best of him, and it does when he practically gives up by hooking up with Zoë. The writers give us an extra smack in the face when Zig uses what he learned in #YesMeansYes to stop and get Zoë’s consent before cheating on his girlfriend.

dnc107-1bZoë’s situation is even more complex and heartbreaking.  This girl has really strong feelings for Grace, and she’s never had feelings this strong for anyone else before. Grace echoes that sentiment, saying, “I’ve never felt this close to anyone,” before the two hook up. The doubt Grace seemed to show quite a bit implied she knew there was a chance she wouldn’t reciprocate Zoë’s feelings (because Grace is straight), but she cares so much about Zoë that she was willing to try anyway.  Zoë Rivas has grown over the years, but she still finds herself being viciously vindictive toward anyone who’s slighted her or who she deems a threat. She has every right to be upset because rejection hurts, but it’s not as if Grace did it with malicious intent…sometimes not getting what you want is reality.

There is no reality, only perception. Zig and Zoë allowed their perceptions of their realities to guide them into making stupid decisions. I love that we see the way someone chooses to think about a situation dictates how they react, and that ultimately dictates the outcome.

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RECAP: Miles is perplexed after waking up in the woods at Degrassi. Esme tells him about their night of partying, which leaves Miles worried, but he accepts another bag of unknown pills from Esme anyway. The two of them decide to eat at Lola’s Cantina while high and are confronted by Tiny. We learn that Miles sent Lola a dick pic the night before, and when he starts taunting Tiny he trips and lands head first onto the pavement. At the hospital, the doctor informs Miles and his mom that Miles had a slew of drugs in his system.  Miles tells his mom that the pills are the only thing that make him better and he can’t stop.  After being released from the hospital, Miles is enrolled into addiction counseling. He tells Esme he can’t hang out with her anymore, and she tries to guilt him for distancing himself before she finally walks away.

dnc107-2aEvery season of Degrassi has that one storyline that’s more memorable than the rest; for season 1 of Next Class it’s Miles Hollingsworth hitting rock bottom.  One of the most common complaints from fans over the years is that Degrassi drops plots after a couple of episodes. While that base argument is fairly overblown, rarely do we get such a lengthy look at an ongoing issue for a character.  For three seasons Degrassi has shown us how the existence of Mr. Hollingsworth has taken a toll on Miles’ mental state, with the stakes reaching their highest point in this episode.  Eric Osborne accepts the challenge and exceeds expectations with his emotional performance as Miles finds himself addicted to drugs.

dnc107-2bMiles is so desperate to avoid the feelings of anxiety associated with his family that we see him willingly accepting whatever pills Esme gives him.  Her role in Miles’ enabling is scary, especially given how nonchalant she is. “Does it matter?” she asks, when Miles questions what types of pills she’s just given him. She knows exactly what she’s doing, using specific phrasing (“Would you have rather spent the night with mommy? And daddy?” / “You have no friends and a crap family…you’ll come back.”) to try and keep a vulnerable Miles under her thumb.

The revelation of what drugs are in Miles’ system at the hospital is terrifying, because Miles has entered the gateway of drug usage without realizing it. As bad as this may sound, I’m glad that Mrs. Hollingsworth has been terribly clueless to her son’s spiral out of control.  We’re told to reach out to others for help during tough times, but throughout Miles’ arc in Next Class we’ve seen the brutal reality of what happens when people, even those closest to you, are deaf to your pleas.

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Posted by Kary

18 Comments

  1. I don’t like Jonah and I think he is doing everything he can to break up Zig and Maya. Zig and Maya’s relationship means so much to me on Degrassi, and I would hate to see them break up!

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    1. Jonah is… not my favorite, but overall this episode he’s just there. Which… is enough to threaten Zig. Jonah’s interest is getting his own music career places, which involves keeping Maya on the track. He wanted the shot to pay off, it didn’t, he kept Maya from falling apart when it failed.

      The writers have done a good job of giving Jonah lines with just the right amount of alternate meaning to make Zig nervous. Like at the start when Grace wouldn’t be going to NYC with the band. And showing that Maya and Zig aren’t on the same page, Maya is freaking because they need Grace’s drum machine part, and Zig is freaking because Jonah and Maya alone in NYC.

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      1. I think of it like this Zig is my favorite character and let’s say he is my favorite teams rival he doesn’t like him and I don’t like him. I know that might not make sense, but Frankie needs to watch it if she falls for him and he goes back to his old ways!

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  2. Honestly, each storyline shows how a lack of communication can cause a huge mess. The thing with Zig/Maya/Zoë has been building up for awhile now since 13D and it’s just reached the boiling point.

    I don’t think Jonah necessarily was trying to steal Maya from Zig, but what I have noticed is that Jonah seems bothered everytime Zig is around and he was used in this case to blow up the situation between Zig/Maya/ Zoë or at least from Zig’s side of it anyway. In my opinion, Zig and Maya started off with good amount of communication when issues came up, but that’s started to go downhill and they never really had conversation about the whole Jonah situation and what could be a compromise going into the EClare zone as I put it.

    What I found shocking is Mrs. Matlin’s reasoning that basically nothing could happen between Maya and Jonah because they’re just friends so it’s ok for them is share a hotel room. Now, in this instance nothing happened, however, that reasoning makes little to no sense being that something could still happen between a guy and girl who are just friends when sharing room together not just if they’re dating.

    Now, I can understand how Zoë feels when she got rejected by Grace because she’s opened up to people before and it didn’t turn out well. However, instead of just telling Grace how much she hurt her etc…, she purposely decided that she was going to use Zig for her revenge to viciously hurt Grace by recording the act and sending her the video when in the end all she did was disrespect herself and hurt Maya in the process.

    Zoë ranted about how she’s all alone and in the end she really did end up alone because she lost Grace as a friend and Zig went back to Maya after their hookup. Zig on the other hand is just as guilty because he allowed his worries of what could happen make him cheat with Zoë and instead of stopping Zoë and telling this isn’t right, he used what he learned about consent as a stab in the back. What I found interesting is that Zig thought Maya didn’t love him as much as he loved her. Once again letting his worries cloud his judgement. I think we all know that the video sooner or later is going to cause a hailstorm when it comes out.

    Touching a little bit on Grace side of things, I honestly think Grace was afraid to tell Zoë the truth and that’s understanable. I mean, Grace puts on a tough act, but deep down she has the pain of being abandoned by people. She told Zoë that when she was hozpitalized for a month how people came to visit her in the beginning, but eventually stopped visiting. So, as Grace got closer to Zoë than she has ever gotten with anyone in a friendship standpoint, she was afraid that Zoë would abandoned her if she told Zoë the truth.

    Now, when Zoë kissed Grace the second time around Grace should’ve told her that she’s not into girls, but I never got the impression that Grace liked Zoë in that way or was she leading her on. I always felt that Zoë was kinda pushing herself on Grace in a romantic way without actually having a heart-to-heart conversation with Grace to see how she felt.

    I gotta applaud Eric Osborne for his portrayal of Miles Hollingsworth. He has a real and raw why of taking on Miles struggles and it’s rear when an actor can make you feel what the character feels even if you never even went through it yourself.

    The saga of the Hollingsworth clan has been ongoing and has been building up since S13. I would like to think that the writers used “Cause and Effect” when it comes to this ongoing storyline with S14 being the cause showing everything blow up with the Hollingsworth and S1 of Next Class is the effect where it’s shown what the aftermath has done to Miles, Frankie and Hunter in different ways.

    Miles became a drug addict without realizing he became one. Esme is slick and knows exactly what she’s doing when it comes to Miles and was sneaky in the things she said knowing that it’ll cause him to come back to her for pills. She’s clouding his judgement with drugs and is making a false reality for him that he has no one in his corner. She even got Miles to believe this and he couldn’t see when his best friend Winston was just trying to help him out. Esme isolated Miles from everyone she deemed as a threat like with Winston who wasn’t going to go along with the “happy pills” mess.

    Even when Miles held his ground after he was released from the hospital, Esme still tried to paint as picture that she’s the only one who actually cares about him. In order for Miles to get better right now, he needs to stay away from Esme for his health. What I would like to know what is Esme home life like to make her became this way or does that even have anything to do with her actions being that a mental illness may come into play.

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  3. This on it’s own was a good episode but I am kind of over their endless cycle with Zoey. I felt bad when Grace rejected her, and know that lesbians who fall for their straight friends fall in the same trap. So I am sure it was relatable.

    But they constantly have Zoey be a uber bitch and cross a line even for a “mean girl” then she gets taken down a notch, then they build her up as a kinder gentler Zoey… then she gets shunned and does something else horrible… then she gets taken down a peg and humanized and everyone forgives her… then she pulls the same thing all over again.

    Especially annoying as how many times is she going to screw Maya over only to get a second chance from her, which she uses to screw Maya over again. This time her beef wasn’t even with Maya she just dragged down others once more in her quest to take down one person who she feels slighted her but never actually did anything malicious in the first place.

    Can’t argue it wasn’t in character, but it instantly took away from being sympathetic for Zoey and they will undoubtedly once more have a fall from grace and it come back to bite her in the ass. But once she is humanized after doing something horrible AGAIN why should we believe she won’t pull it over and over. Points for consistent characterization, but I for one am over it. Just make her the villain and call it a day. But as a viewer it is exhausting to keep watching them pull the same story over and over again.

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  4. I don’t like that Grace seems absolved by both Maya and viewers. I used to see her as blunt and righteous, but she’s proven through being wishy-washy with Zoe rather than telling her upfront she’s into guys, and by withholding the truth about Zig from Maya that she is willing to be dishonest for convenience. She should have been upfront with Zoe after the first time Zoe kissed her. She got mad and jealous when Zoe kissed Miles, but kept Zoe at her feet with ambiguous responses. At the end of the day Zoe is the one of the three who was both honest and didn’t cheat on anyone. What she did was wrong, but she’s not alone in this.

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    1. That’s only the case if Grace actually knows her orientation, not everyone in the world just knows where their lines are. You know what it took for me to figure out I was into girls and not guys? Kissing a guy. Grace is probably a bit closer to the middle of the Kinsey scale than I am, but not all the way to actually having a sexual reaction to ladies. If you went into this plot assuming Grace knew what her orientation was, you missed some of the point of Grace’s side of this story.

      And in Don’t look Back she was angry that Zoe for seeming to be using her to try and get Miles’s attention, she wasn’t aware of Zoe’s feelings until the kiss at the end. And even then Grace doesn’t have the same emotional connections everyone else has. Since Grace spends most of the series keeping everyone at arm’s length.

      And with Maya, look at it from the point of view that Zig, for as much as he is a cheating jerk, was about the only thing keeping Maya from completely falling apart during the rest of the season. And Grace has to be aware that Maya is far from emotionally okay given last season.

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    2. Her wrong kind of outweighs Grace. Grace was not upfront but it was because she didn’t want to lose her, and she did genuinely try because she knew it was what Zoey wanted and didn’t want to hurt her. Yeah, she should have been up front to Zoey but hardly cancels out what Zoey did which was done malicious with mean intent and dragged others into her quest to hurt someone.

      As for not telling Maya. she started to more than one but she was being tormented and threatened. Had it not been for the trolls she was clearly going to tell her, but there really never was an opening where she wouldn’t make someone clearly on the ragged edge even worse.

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  5. So one curious oversight that has been made by a LOT of the fandom is the other option for what Grace’s LGBT status is. The one that, and Gods I hope the writers planned this, is in her name. Grace has never really shown any interest in men, and barring Zoe she’s kept the fairer sex at arm’s length too. Now, everyone assumed she likes one or the other because in these shows the expectation is everyone is interested in romance.

    But what if Grace isn’t, what if she’s ace? Which is a topic that Degrassi hasn’t hit on yet, the topic of people that honestly don’t feel the romantic or sexual drives everyone else just expects. She claimed to be interested in a guy, but it seemed more than a little convenient timing and topic wise. Grace has never shown anything but brotherly familiarity with Zig (mostly telling him when he’s wrong, like any sibling would with a guy like Zig), so what if that’s not a smokescreen to her being in the closet as a lesbian. But simply a smokescreen because Grace, really and truly, doesn’t do romance. That it isn’t her. Or that she does romance, but sex isn’t her bag.

    We almost got there with Conner and Jenna, but it really was never explored how that worked, and was framed entirely as aspie things. So we are due for an ace character, one entirely beyond teenage romantic bull.

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    1. That is an option. She really didn’t seem that upset that Zig was kissing Zoe beyond that he scum bagged Maya. There didn’t seem to be any jealousy there. Although she just said she liked Zig, meaning at one time she did. Not that she still feels that way.

      Not sure I buy she is Ace. But it does seem like there is more to this. Although given Graces earlier reactions with Zoey I don’t think she was lying about not being into girls. Watching their interactions Grace never pushed Zoey away when she was showing her affection but never really reciprocated Zoey’s kisses and touches. Zoey just took her not stopping it for returning her affection because she wanted it to be true.

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    2. I absolutely agree with you I have been saying this since between the summer episode and the airing of the new one and this episode helped our theory. If grace is ace that would be a great storyline because I don’t think grace and Zoe’s storyline is over and it would be interesting to see how people feel about this. It will also be refreshing to see a character that doesn’t care for all the relationship drama.

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    3. I absolutely agree with you. Asexuality is a topic many people miss out on but some teens have to deal with. Watching this season and seasons in the past with grace your right she never really shows any affection or emotions to anyone Zoe was really the first. I think it would also be a great storyline to see how others react and how grace deals with this. Especially since I don’t think grace and Zoe’s storyline is over.

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  6. But she knew that she didn’t know, and she never told Zoe that she didn’t know. She even flirted with Zoe and sort of initiated what ended up being sex.

    I do think Grace could be asexual, or her CF could also turn her off from relationships. It’s hard to buy that she likes Zig, as I don’t think she views him as very mature.

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    1. The thing is she really didn’t initiate much. She did flirt with her but whenever Zoey kissed her she didn’t stop her but never really kissed back. She always looked more confused on how to handle it then like she was returning it. She did know how Zoey felt and should have been honest, but it always was more one sided especially in hindsight.

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  7. Okay, I have to say, faulting Zoë for lashing out is fair, but my heart broke for her when Grace admitted that she wasn’t into it. I mean, how horrible, to be into someone and think that they’re feeling it back, to the point where you actually hook up, especially with a member of the same sex for the first time, only to then find out that they didn’t feel the same way? That they didn’t enjoy it? For all of Grace’s previous insights on consent, for her to not have tried to stop things when she realized she wasn’t into it must make Zoë feel like she forced her. I’ve been in those shoes, and there is very little that will make you feel shittier.

    As to Miles’ storyline (which I agree is amazing for its consistency), but can we talk about how Mrs. Hollingsworth is straight up the worst? Their dad is a terrible person and a terrible father, but she’s so much worse for turning a blind eye to his treatment of their children. That anyone could see how actively afraid Miles is of his father, and continue to let that person be around their child is appalling to me. Even just there’s a scene, and it might be later in the season, but Miles asks her if they can talk. And she’s just sitting there on her laptop and it’s clear he has something serious to say, but she replies, impatiently, “Can it wait?” That’s everything about her to me. She’s self-centered to the point of active neglect of her own children. I’ll again postulate, how the hell did Frankie turn out so well-adjusted?

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    1. I should maybe qualify, as well-adjusted as she is. She’s got her own issues, but in comparison to Miles and Hunter, she’s really just a normal teenager.

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    2. On the Gracevas plot: Grace tried to be more than she was, that her feelings of attachment for Zoe could be more, followed it and it didn’t lead to romance. I’ve been on both sides of it, the one with feelings, and the one trying to maneuver around others feelings. No matter what it sucks, it’s a natural reaction to try and please someone you have other (non-sexual, non-romantic) feelings, but it still sucks. The only weird bit was the timing, Grace and Zoe should have had the talk during or after their sexytime. Instead the talk happened at school meaning… they needed to space out the scenes because its a TV show. But that’s really the only glaring error.

      Grace handled something bad, Zoe handled something bad, this is the primary trait of teen shows.

      As for Hollingsworth parents, its a bit hyperbolic to say that Mrs. H is worse than Mr. H. Because one of them actively beats their kids and the other one just doesn’t give two craps about them. But yeah, Mrs. H is pretty terrible even for Degrassi parent standards. This season Mrs. Matlin and Grace’s Mom are the only two actually good parents. Shay’s parents were… attentive, but overbearing, Ms. Rivas is emotionally abusive (again), and the Hollingsworths are just awful. Your kid has a drug problem, he wants to talk you TALK TO HIM. You don’t ask him to make an appointment.

      Frankie has her own issues when it comes to the way the parents treat her, but she’s generally gotten the least abuse from her parents by being the best behaved. Hunter is so anti-social he’s a hermit, Miles crashes and burns in public to spite his parents and try to get help, Franks… does her homework, gets good grades, and doesn’t do anything wrong. Thus Dad doesn’t hit her, mom doesn’t yell at her (except during Degrassi Nudes where BOTH turned on her and she spiraled badly from it). But that was the first time she acted out in any serious way (and even that was in direct response to her mom treating her like she’s a child, and her dad not being around).

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  8. The thing is that I always thought that Grace was gay. I mean she said that to Maya in one episode. I always thought that she only told Zoe she didn’t like her that way only because she was afraid of hurting her when she dies just like what Hazel did to Gus in Fault in Our Stars. That she only picked Zig because that was the only guy she could think of. But it seems like I didn’t get the memo that she was actually straight. I don’t like that they did that. I wanted her and Zoe together. I hated that Grace liked Zig because they’ve been friends from the getgo and I wanted them to stay that way. It looks like on Next Class, there really is no such things as guys and girls being JUST friends.

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