As Awkward. moves towards its third season finale, Jenna (Ashley Rickards) continues to find her way back to her old friends and her old life. What she discovers is that it’s not so easy to go back to being the same person after everything that’s happened.
Let’s bitch it out…The title ‘Old Jenna’ perfectly describes this episode as Jenna desperately tries to make amends and right the wrongs she made when she was “bad.” This ends up involving a bit of role-play: she’s a push-over “yes woman” desperately trying to be agreeable to both Ming (Jessica Lu) and Tamara (Jillian Rose-Reed), as well as trying out a few new and unfamiliar roles. One finds Jenna literally putting herself in Valerie’s (Desi Lydic) place and counseling a new girl, Bailey (McKaley Miller), on surviving the perils of high school. The other involves being assertive and putting herself out there to get what she wants.
This final role is the result of advice provided by Hunter (Shoshana Bush), a character who is seemingly dropped into the plot at the exact moment that Jenna needs her. Hunter is basically an older version of Jenna, and she spends the episode modelling behaviour for Jenna: stepping into the shoes of others and righting perceived wrongs. This means offering Jenna advice about seizing the day after Mr. Hart (Anthony Michael Hall) once again bails on class. It also means hooking up with Matty (Beau Mirchoff) at his St. Patty’s Day party* (more on this below). Huntrer is like the ghost of Christmas future: a role model for Jenna (dark or light, good or bad) and the girl seems so funny, personable and put together that we can’t help but think that Jenna should aspire to be like her.
*MTV shows love to march to the beat of their holiday schedule
That point of view darkens a bit when Jenna spies Hunter and Matty making out, at which Hunter is more or less drop-kicked out of the plot. Any suggestion that Matty has moved on from Jenna is immediately dispelled the next morning when he states that the older girl puked and bailed and he would rather “spend time” with someone else. The groundwork that began when Matty picked Jenna up from Club Threesome and persisted last week continues to bear fruit, suggesting that it’s only a matter of time before Matty and Jenna reunite (as if we expected anything else).
In the meantime, Jenna continues to find her way back into her friends’ good graces. Much like last week, she’s figuring out the new rules that govern her behaviour, trying simply to revert back to ‘Old Jenna’ status without success. She can’t figure out Ming and Tamara’s rules, and when things get tough she immediately caves, gets drunk and makes an ill-advised pass at Jake (Brett Davern). Everyone seems to know that she’s trying (and failing) to adjust her behaviour, though, and by episode’s end Jenna’s made conciliatory muffins and cleaned the house and her friends forgive her with sitcom-level readiness that doesn’t really gel. As enjoyable as the episode is – and as much as I don’t want to see Jenna grovel for weeks on end – I hope it takes more than a Betty Crocker routine to get back into everyone’s good graces.
- I not-so-secretly really enjoy Mr. Hart’s acerbic wit, so it’s frustrating that he keeps ditching class and disappearing. It is an amusing recurring bit, however
- Jenna may have despaired over Hunter, but my impression is that she should watch out for Bailey. Knowing Awkward. all signs point to Bailey and Matty getting flirty/hooking up in the near future
- As predicted, Ming is losing control of the Mafia. She suspiciously observes that they’re assimilating with non-Asian students (ahhhh melting pot!). The whole idea will probably be gone by the end of the season, which is good news for individuals who found this storyline vaguely (or not so vaguely) racist
- The final cliffhanger reveals that Valerie has officially been fired, which means another week’s delay before Jenna and Val meet face to face to work out their issues. With only two episodes left, the only question is whether that occurs next week or in the season finale.
- In the lighter B-plot, Sadie (Molly Tarlov) forces Austin (Shane Harper) to make a move on her after an episode spent making “business” related innuendos. It’s fun and they’re cute together, but I wish these two were given a bit more to do
- Finally, Lacey (Nikki Deloach) is the MILF-iest MILF nurse the school has ever seen. MILF. It’s not subtle, or clever, or even particularly funny; it’s pretty much exactly what we expected would happen when she got the job. Blerg
- Sadie (discussing Austin’s lack of interest): “I don’t wanna discuss my business unless he’s all up in mine”
How do you think Jenna’s attempts at reconciliation are going? Were you expecting to see her confrontation with Val this week? Were you amused by the way Jake/Tamara made-up? Do you think Bailey will be trouble for Jenna and Matty? And what should the show do with “Lacey is a MILF” storylines? Comment away below
Awkward. airs Tuesdays at 10:30pm EST on MTV