GRACE PLOT RECAP: Grace learns that her lung function is declining and she has two options: get a risky lung transplant that could extend her life by 10 years, or not do the transplant and live for 3 years. Grace is looking for support from her best friend Maya, who’s nowhere to be found, so she vents to Jonah instead. Grace doesn’t see the point in getting the transplant, so Jonah takes her to play minigolf; the stakes are if Jonah wins, she has to get the transplant. Jonah tries to convince her that there’s so many things she could do in 10 years, but Grace is afraid the people around her will eventually move on to live the type of fulfilling life she won’t be able to. When the return to Degrassi they spot Maya lying on the stairs covered in blood. It turns out Maya’s doing another “death” photoshoot with Saad, and Grace is furious that Maya’s been ditching her to do that. Later we learn that Grace has decided to put her name on the lung transplant list. Maya finally texts Grace back, and explains what she was doing by sending Grace photos from the shoot. Grace is then shown blocking Maya’s phone number.
This episode is all about perspective. How does your point of view and what you’re going through in life determine how you view the situations around you? It’s easy to forget what Grace is going through until things are front and center in a storyline, and then we have no choice but to face the reality of her mortality. I don’t blame her for not wanting to even try to get the lung transplant. It’s gotta be difficult to be optimistic when it feels like neither option is a solution. “Both options end pretty much the same way,” she says.
Looking at perspective we know Maya’s going through a difficult time of her own. But for Grace it’s an absolute slap in the face for her best friend to be M.I.A. when she needed her most, only to find out Maya’s been off glorifying death in photoshoots. “These photos are about confronting death, showing that it can be beautiful,” Maya says. Try telling that to someone whose body is failing them, and there’s no guarantee they’ll even be alive in a few years.
I love how Degrassi created physical and emotional distance between Grace and Maya simply by having Maya barely appear this season. In this episode Jonah mentions that Maya’s going through something, but they don’t know what that is because she hasn’t really communicated with anyone. As viewers, we’ve also been left in the dark about Maya’s whereabouts, and it creates this genuine feeling that she’s withdrawn from literally everyone.
Jonah is fantastic in this episode, and this season has allowed us to see their friendship grow compared to the first two seasons when it seemed like they were just bandmates connected by their friendships with Maya. He’s now someone who can help Grace overcome her biggest fear, which isn’t death itself, but dying alone.
HUNTER PLOT RECAP: While helping Lola edit one of her vlogs, Hunter gets a boner. He’s so embarrassed that he comes up with a scheme to convince Yael to fire Lola. The guys convince Yael that Lola’s makeup vlogs are costing too much to make and they’re losing profits because of it. Later, Hunter spots Yael and Lola talking, and he fears that Lola’s telling Yael about the boner incident. Hunter ends up telling on himself, which angers Yael. Hunter winds up apologizing, but Yael is upset not because he got a boner for another girl, but because he lied about it. Yael accepts his apology, but she still doesn’t know how she feels about them as a couple.
Hunter and Yael’s relationship has quietly been one of the best stories of Season 3. “What if this messes up our friendship?” Yael asked in Next Class Season 2 when they first revealed their feelings for each other.
Since then we’ve seen just how this relationship has affected their core friendship. Hunter feels as he can’t treat her the exact same as before because she’s now his girlfriend, and we once again see how this is making Yael feel like an outsider in both their social group and their relationship. “But you and I were best friends,” she tells Hunter. “We used to tell each other everything.”
I’d like to think that a solid friendship makes a great foundation for a relationship; people talk all the time about how they’ve married their best friend. However, we’re seeing a situation where that fear people have of a relationship messing up the friendship is happening. The ending of this plot is beautifully vague because Yael didn’t really accept his apology; she’s not really sure how to feel about everything that’s happened. Instead of having the characters immediately reconcile or breakup, everything’s left up in the air. Degrassi’s showing us how a relationship functions outside of “all or nothing” mode, where there’s discussion, conflict and feelings left in limbo.
ZASHA PLOT RECAP: Zoe’s planned the perfect first date for her and Rasha…a High School Musical sing-a-long screening. The problem is Rasha tells Goldi about it, who invites herself along. Rasha’s upset that she ruined their date plans, but Zoë comes up with a scheme to ditch Goldi by faking sick and having Goldi attend the PTA meeting instead. After their date they almost run into Baaz at The Dot. Rasha’s afraid he’ll figure out they’re on a date, so both her and Zoë sneak out separately. The next day Rasha is embarrassed because she feels like she keeps ruining everything, but Zoë tells her she’s amazing and the two share their first kiss. They go to a back room to kiss some more and they’re interrupted by Zoë’s mom, who came inside to drop off the books Zoë had left in the car. As Ms. Rivas hands Zoë the books she just stares at Zoë and Rasha, saying nothing.
This Zasha storyline is pretty quiet up until the end, when Degrassi hits us with the cliffhanger of Ms. Rivas catching her daughter making out with a girl. Degrassi’s done a great job of teasing Ms. Rivas’ attitude toward homosexuality in an earlier season of Next Class, and then hitting us with the reality that she really isn’t accepting of it this season. Coming into Season 3 I was holding onto the slim hope that Zoë’s mom might be more accepting thank we think, but that dream was thoroughly crushed in #BreakTheInternet. Now it’s a matter of waiting to see how Zoë’s mom will react to the reality of her daughter being gay.
*Rasha screaming over High School Musical is adorable.
* I love the detail they put into these casual scenes about they play. It’s hilarious watching Miles and Jonah argue over sepia-toned lighting, and Miles causing all kinds of noise on set.
*Grace’s plot in this episode reminds me loosely of the TNG Season 3 episode I Want Candy, in which characters (Spinner & Paige // Jonah) skip school with another character (Ashley // Grace) to take their mind off things.
*Every guy on the planet needs to insert their name into this chart and learn it:
I’m surprised that Grace didn’t literally slap Maya in the face!
Maybe Hunter and Yael should go back to just being friends, because obviously being a couple is so much pressure on them
150% agree with your commentary on Hunter’s chart.
With the endless amounts of relationships on the show, no one ever stops to think about what would happen to the friendship. I love how you highlighted how despite the fact that she like Hunter as more than a friend, Yael is still very much concerned about remaining his friend. These are tricky waters that I don’t remember Degrassi wading through in the past.