As the band Semisonic once said, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” So true. When the old Degrassi series ended, kids of the 80s were left with broken dreams and Saved By The Bell. Zack was no Joey Jeremiah, let me tell you. Thankfully, someone had the good sense to realize the time was ripe for a new incarnation of our old favorite, and Degrassi: The Next Generation was born. Let’s start at the beginning…
Emma Nelson and Manny Santos are still babies, huddled together in Emma’s room staring at the computer screen. Manny is wearing a fedora.(Which old-skool fans will immediately recognize as Joey Jeremiah’s.-loki) Emma implores her to “Read it again!” Whatever it is, Manny has already read it six times. Turns out it’s an email from some guy Emma met on the Internet, and he signed it “love you, Jordan.” Both girls giggle and squeal. Emma pulls up photos of Jordan on the computer and says he gets cuter every time she sees his face. He’s kind of a dorky-looking kid.
Emma grabs a copy of Television magazine from Manny, and says that she doesn’t want it wrinkled, because she’s hoping that Caitlin Ryan will sign it for her. Caitlin’s on the cover, and the article is titled “Ryan’s World.” Next up on the nostalgia train is a picture of Emma’s mother, Spike, and her wacky hair from high school. We pan up to the current Spike, who has short, flippy black hair. And looks, like, a zillion times more amazing than she ever did back in the day. She calls out for Emma, who hurries to close Jordan’s pictures and emails before her mother can see.
Spike comes barging into Emma’s room. Emma covers by sucking up and saying that she was just showing Manny the reunion website. The three of them flip through photos of the old Degrassi gang on the web. Spike tells us that her ten-year reunion is coming up, and then urges the girls to get a move on. Just as Emma leaves, her computer beeps. She has a new message!
I wonder if the creators of the Degrassi: The Next Generation theme song knew that sometime in the future we’d be able to hear it every single day? Was it their goal, to help us make it through?
It’s JT’s turn to wear the fedora. He looks even younger than Manny and Emma. He’s just a tiny little person. Who is struggling with a large cardboard box. For reasons unknown to us, JT tagged along with Spike, Emma and Manny to drop some stuff off at the Degrassi community school for the reunion. Manny is looking forward to seeing their new school, but JT’s pretty sure they’ll get enough of it during the school year. Emma tells Manny about the new email from Jordan. JT almost drops his boxes, and literally squeaks out a “help!” The girls ignore him, so far gone are they in their discussion about Emma’s ‘net boyfriend.
Apparently, Jordan saved a polar bear wildlife refuge. He lives far away in Yellowknife. Ah, too bad. Tagalong JT drops his box, and stuff spills out all over the hallway. (Mmmm. Tagalongs. Those were my favorite Girl Scout cookie after Samoas. Both of which have been renamed now. Kind of like a new generation of Girl Scout cookies!)Emma picks up a picture of her mom’s old gang and proclaims that people in the 80s were weird. In a poor bit of editing, we zoom in on the picture, specifically on Joey *in* the picture, and suddenly we’re at Joey’s car lot, where Joey himself is trying to sell Lucy a car. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, that Joey Jeremiah is one fine looking man. He’s acting like an idiot, though, pitching a new VW Beetle. Lucy was looking for something a little bit bigger than her laptop, but Joey tries to sell her on the little bud vase in the dashboard. I’ve gotta tell you, I have never used mine.
Angela runs out to say hello, and Lucy goes all girly about how much Joey’s little girl has grown. She’s just getting ready to start kindergarten. It’s revealed that Joey isn’t planning to attend the reunion. Lucy narrates that Joey’s wife, Julia, has been dead for a year, and that she wouldn’t have wanted Joey to cut himself off from other people. Joey has other ideas. He doesn’t think he’s ready to go, so he changes the subject back to the car.
Back at the school, the kids run into Snake, Mr. Simpson if you’re nasty. (Damn. That joke never gets old.) He recognizes Emma. It’s weird, because he says, “You must be Emma,” which gives you the impression that he hasn’t seen her since she was a baby. I assumed since he and Spike lived in the same town, that they would have hung out between graduation and now. Guess I was wrong. Snake expresses amazement that Spike was able to find so many high school memories in her basement. It’s the first time Manny has heard Emma’s mom called “Spike,” her real name is Christine, so Emma gets to helpfully explain to the audience that it was her nickname in high school. Snake uncovers JT hiding behind a box and recognizes the fedora as Joey’s. The more specific question is, why did Spike have Joey’s fedora in her basement?
The kids take off running through the school, JT making fun of Spike. Snake tries to get them to slow down, but they ignore him. He stands there talking to himself, wearing Joey’s fedora. The kids slam into lockers, and then come to a screeching halt in front of the media immersion lab. It’s pretty clear that Emma wants to break in and email Jordan, which JT picks up on right away. “Oh, it’s like he can read into my soul,” he says, very dramatically. Emma punches him in the arm, but I think he’s kind of funny.
Enter Radditch, Toby and Toby’s dad. Toby is not wearing his glasses. Toby’s dad is played by the same guy who plays Ray’s dad on Radio Free Roscoe. (And I’m kind of fond of that show these days.) Toby and JT recognize each other from camp and run to each other, sharing a secret handshake that involves a very gay chant. Isn’t it funny how, when you look back at the stuff you did as kids, so much of it seems kind of gay? Camp? So gay. The girls are amused at their gayness. Toby tells us that his dad moved in with his girlfriend, who we learn much later in the series is also Ashley’s mom.
JT introduces Toby, and Emma makes a sarcastic remark about camp. And right there, boys and girls, begins Toby’s big crush on Emma. He’s so little and round and not-having of his glasses. Poor little Toby. Emma’s had enough, and drags Manny into the media lab. They order the boys to stand guard. Manny jumps into the window of the closed door and yells at them. The boys are startled. “Kids,” Toby says.
Let’s continue the walk down memory lane with a picture of Caitlin and Snake at graduation! Snake chuckles because, after all, people in the 80s were weird. He flips through snapshots and remembers what it was like when he had a full head of hair.
There’s a limo driving through the streets of Toronto, and Caitlin Ryan is inside. She, too, has a copy of Television magazine. She’s talking on a cell phone, pleading with some guy named Keith to join her at the reunion. She tells him that it’s important to her that she gets to show him off. The camera focuses tightly on her face the entire time, emphasizing the moles she has on her eyelid and chin. I’m guessing the purpose is probably to show us that she’s wearing an engagement ring. The limo stops in front of the school, and Caitlin walks up the front steps. She’s wearing a red strappy top with a thin strip of material missing out of the back. It’s body-hugging, and it’s hot.
Snake happens by the door with the cardboard box o’ memories just as Caitlin enters and they embrace. If I were Snake, I might try to cop a feel. I’m just saying. That shirt is hot. Caitlin fills us in that Snake is a teacher, and then she pulls out a headband. It’s her greatest memory of Degrassi. Snake is disappointed that her greatest memory is a headband. Caitlin says she went through a headband phase. Snake hands Caitlin Joey’s fedora and she puts in on. It’s a hot look for her. Wow. Caitlin is really hot in this so far! She wants to know about a shirt that supposedly goes along with the hat, and Snake says that Joey is probably still wearing it. Everyone laughs.
Not coincidentally, Joey, Angela and Lucy pull up to the school in the Beetle. Lucy whistles at the limo and says that Joey should try to sell her a car like that. Lucy is limping and walking with a cane, which is a great bit on continuity from the old series: she was in a car accident in the Degrassi High finale movie. Caitlin walks by the glass front doors wearing Joey’s hat, and everything goes into slow motion as the two of them see each other. Oh, yeah. There’s two people who are still carrying torches for each other.
Emma has broken into one of the computers in the media lab. Manny’s freaking out. Emma says that she’ll tell Radditch that she forced Manny to be her accomplice, if they get caught. Manny guffaws. An actual, sarcastic guffaw. It’s a perfect adolescent gesture. It’s a good thing the computers are all hooked up to the Internet and ready to go, or else Emma wouldn’t be able to find out that Jordan is coming to Toronto and wants to meet her. Tomorrow. He uses two exclamation points to emphasize that it’s tomorrow. Manny looks uncomfortable with the idea. The Anvil of Foreshadowing in this episode will be played by Manny Santos.
Joey, Lucy and Angela have joined Snake and Caitlin inside the school. Angela tells Caitlin that her dinosaur’s name is Allie. Wasn’t Angela’s name at one time Allie? I seem to remember a funky continuity problem from another episode. Joey says, “So, you’re getting married.” He pretends to be happy for Caitlin. She and Keith haven’t set a date yet, but it’s sometime next year. She says they’re all invited. Snake wants to meet the man behind the ring, who is actually on a flight out from LA. Caitlin lies and says that Keith is dying to meet them. Joey wants to know if Keith is in showbiz, which he is. He’s a director. Joey is feeling kind of schmucky, since he’s just a used car salesman, and Caitlin’s new guy is a director. There’s an awkward silence before Caitlin starts to leave. Joey reiterates that he’s not going to the reunion, but Caitlin forces him to agree to go out with the gang for drinks. After she leaves, everyone looks at Joey with pity.
Manny and Emma are spinning around and around on a tire swing. I love those things. The boys are climbing on the jungle gym. Kids! Emma says that she wants to meet Jordan, except that she told him she was in high school. Manny says that’s okay, because Emma is *almost* in high school. I see that Manny believed early on that lies were okay. JT overhears and says that Emma’s guy is probably “40 and drools.” She says, “you used to wet the bed, and I’m friends with you.” That’s our Emma, bringing the banter since the bassinet. The kids all have those Popsicles that come in long plastic tubes. You know the kind. They start out as a liquid and you freeze them yourself. Actually, Popsicles all have sticks in them. These are freeze-pops – my favorite brand were Otter Pops. Mmm… Sir Issac Lime.Toby says it’s wrong to meet strangers from the Internet, and Emma points out that she’s known Jordan longer than she’s known Toby. She has a point, sort of.
Jordan is okay, Manny says, because he’s 16 and coming to Toronto on a school trip. I believe Emma is, like, 12 at this point. When I was 12, I still collected model horses and took pictures of them in my garden to submit to magazines. I can’t imagine dating a 16-year-old boy at that age. JT thinks it’s fishy. What kind of school trip happens in the summer? Blah blah, Jordan is smart and likes to do school stuff all the time. Then there’s an impromptu water fight. Everyone screams.
It’s Caitlin’s turn to giggle over the photos on the reunion website. There’s one of Joey in his fedora! And he has a lot of hair. Unlike now. Caitlin tries to wrestle control of the mouse away from Spike so that she can see another picture of the wacky 80s hair, but Spike grabs her hand and exclaims over her engagement ring. She wants to meet Keith, because he has great taste in jewelry. Actually, the ring is a normal princess cut solitaire, and it’s a very small diamond at that. Keith obviously isn’t a well-known director. Someone should tell Joey that. Caitlin looks sad and admits that she had to pick the ring out herself, because Keith never had time. She used his credit card. Spike is in the process of pretending like that’s totally cool when Emma comes home.
Cue the mother-daughter banter about Spike being in Emma’s room without her permission. Spike wants her to be more polite when they have company, and she steps aside to reveal Caitlin. Emma spazzes out about meeting her. She goes totally stalker, reciting her birth date and her astrological sign. Spike breaks up the love by asking if Emma was waiting for an email from her boyfriend. Emma accuses her of hacking into her email. Spike couldn’t hack her way out of a paper bag, but she can tell when her daughter is getting interested in boys. For no reason at all, Emma feels the need to point out that she isn’t having sex. Spike makes Caitlin promise that they’ll have fun during the big reunion weekend.
There’s a very strange shot of the Nelson house from the outside, and then the camera zooms up to a window on the top floor. Emma and Manny are going through all of Jordan’s emails, looking for evidence that he’s an old toothless guy who works in a video store. Manny says that JT is just worried about Emma, and then says that “that Toby guy” seemed kind of okay. Emma was not impressed, and calls him “young.” She points out that girls are more mature than boys. Manny is laying on her back on Emma’s bed, painting her toenails. Emma says that she’s never had a boyfriend who’s so smart or thoughtful, and Manny points out that she’s never had a boyfriend at all. Manny changes her mind again about Emma meeting Jordan. She wants Emma to talk to Spike about it first, because she’s usually cool about stuff. Emma doesn’t feel that she can talk to her mom about this. Emma asks Manny again if she thinks meeting Jordan is okay, and instead of answering Manny knocks her fist against Emma’s forehead and they giggle.
The adult gang is at a bar. Keith is telling Snake that teaching is noble. He’s wearing sunglasses at night. He’s also working on a script about teachers – he calls them “you guys” – that is a Dangerous Minds meets Footloose kind of thing. Sounds right up my alley. Spike laughs at the absurdity of Caitlin’s man, who takes a cell call at the table. Joey looks miserable. Keith is all losery wannabe-powerful Hollywood guy as he steps away. Lucy tells Caitlin that she loves her show, and that she thinks Caitlin is brave for getting herself into all the situations she does. I don’t have any idea what she’s talking about. Caitlin says that Lucy is the brave one. Joey fills in that she had two years of physical therapy, and went on to get a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree. Spike jumps in with “and a PhD in one more year.” They extol the virtues of Lucy until she says it’s just life. She made it through the accident. Snake makes a snarky comment about Wheels, who was driving the car. He killed a kid, and ten years later, he’s free. The gang gets quiet.
They’re broken out of their thoughts by a Jeremiah Motors commercial on the TV behind the bar. It’s a typical car spot, with Joey swearing that if you find a better deal, he’ll give you the shirt off his back. He actually tears off his shirt, for good measure. The gang laughs and laughs. Keith comes back in time to give Joey some advice: commercials make or break a business, but he feels that Joey should hire a real actor to avoid the shifty used car salesman vibe. Snake feels indignant on Joey’s behalf, but Joey tries to be a big man and thanks him for his advice. That’s what they pay Keith the big bucks for. Allow me to again point out the paltry size of the diamond Caitlin is sporting on her left hand. Snake doesn’t let it go. He says the commercial is funny, classic, and typically Joey. Caitlin opens her mouth and inserts her foot. She says he was a ham in high school, and that after all he’s been through, he’s still the same old Joey. Joey’s face crumples and he says that he has changed, and so has Caitlin. He heads for the bar.
Where Snake finds him throwing back a shot. He orders more liquor, and wants to know what’s going on. What’s going on is that Joey knew it was a bad idea to see Caitlin again. He’s more vague than that, though. Snake says, “cutting out the rest of the world isn’t going to bring her back, you know that, right?” Joey’s not a child, and he doesn’t need anyone telling him how to live his life. He’s also sick of people feeling sorry for him. Even though, you know, his behavior would suggest that he is begging for attention. That’s why he’s not going to the reunion, because the pity just makes him feel worse. It does not, he is very clear, have anything to do with Caitlin. Except, of course, that it does. He doesn’t like her boyfriend (fiancé, Snake amends) and he doesn’t like that she feels sorry for him. He’s tired of everybody trying to save him. Snake tells Joey that he should look and see who’s feeling sorry for whom. Word. Snake leaves him at the bar to wait for a cab, and Joey makes a frowny face at the gang.
Emma is pulled from slumber by the sound of Spike, Lucy and Caitlin arriving home from the bar. They’re singing the famous Zit Remedy song “Everybody Wants Something.” Just as characters on this series will do a hundred times over the next three seasons. The girls are about to wander off in search of champagne when Emma comes down the stairs. Caitlin wants to spike Spike’s hair (nickname origination much?) because the 80s are back and the Go-Gos have reunited. They see Emma on the stairs and express little remorse that they’ve gotten her out of bed with their drunken revelry.
Caitlin joins her on the stairs for some girl talk. Emma wants to know what to do, when you really like a boy, but your friends don’t think he’s good for you. I guess that’s one way to explain her situation. A bad way, but a way nonetheless. Emma says that sometimes it’s like Jordan can see into her soul. Just like JT said earlier. Caitlin, not knowing the situation, gives her the age-old “follow your heart” speech. Apparently, Caitlin followed her heart for the environment. Emma worships Caitlin, so I wonder what she’s going to do with that advice? Spike breaks up their pow-wow and tries to get Caitlin to give up Emma’s secret. Caitlin refuses, and Spike’s drunk, so she doesn’t push the issue.
Caitlin exclaims to Lucy and Spike that Emma is so young and she’s almost 30. Oh, god. These women are, like, my age! My ten-year reunion was this summer! I’m so old! Like Jamie Lee Curtis said in Freaky Friday, I’m like the crypt keeper! (I’d like to point out another bit of continuity issues here, where Joey later says he’s “in his thirties.” Lies.) Lucy, bless her, says she doesn’t even feel it. She is wearing Joey’s fedora. She says she refuses to have the biological clock discussion. I love Lucy. Spike wants to go out on a date. Caitlin says the best thing about Keith is that she doesn’t have to flirt with men wearing sandals over organic produce and environmental chit-chat. Lucy says, “Poor Caitlin, so many vegans, so little time.”
Meanwhile, Emma has opened up her browser and is telling Jordan that she’d love to meet him. Right before she hits the “send” button, she repeats Caitlin’s advice. “Sometimes. You just go for it.”
It’s the day of the reunion. Spike is running late and Emma, wearing Joey’s fedora, is urging her to get out of the house. Spike is wearing a low-cut red sleeveless dress. Yowza. Even Emma has to admit that her mom looks hot. Spike says she feels like she’s going to the prom she never got to go to. Because she had Emma when she was 16, you know. Emma is practically shoving her out the door, which makes Spike suspicious. Emma blows her off by telling her that she’s planning a crazy night with Manny and the television. And possibly real butter on the popcorn. “Very shocking.” Too excited to listen to her Mom Radar, Spike grabs the fedora and takes off.
It’s daytime, and the reunion is starting with a tour of the school. Caitlin and Keith are there together, but he’s more interested in his cell phone than in her old school. Snake tells them that Ashley will start their tour, but Keith heads off to find drinks. They’re serving drinks while students are still in the school? Canada is so progressive, yo.
Terri is giving a stilted lecture about the media immersion lab, while Ashley waits. If you were to see this episode when it first ran, this would be the first time you’d meet any of the student characters outside of Emma, Manny, JT and Toby. Caitlin wanders through the lab looking impressed until she turns around and sees Joey out in the hall. Things slow down again as they look at each other. He waves and gives her an apologetic look.
Emma is sitting at her dressing table, shaking a bottle of nail polish. She’s on the phone with Manny, who is painting her fingernails. I think they’re trying to tell us something about teenaged girls here. Emma tells Manny that she’s not going to meet Jordan. Manny is relieved. She offers to come over and keep Emma company for the evening, but Emma wants to watch a TV special about wildlife. “You know, for Jordan.” Manny offers to help with the research but Emma blows her off. It’s so obvious that she’s lying. Even Manny knows that something’s up.
Ashley is randomly pointing out classrooms. Caitlin and Joey walk behind the others, and he apologizes to her for his behavior at the bar. That’s not the way he wanted to see her again after so many years. Caitlin agrees. Joey wants to pretend like the past is the past, and the present is the past, and he doesn’t get to what the future is, because he knows he isn’t making any sense. He just wants to be friends with Caitlin. She agrees and begs him to stay at the reunion. They’re interrupted by some tall leggy blond named Allison. She gushes about seeing them again, and blatantly hits on Joey with a line about how sexy he is ripping off his shirt during the commercial. Caitlin is not amused as Joey goes off to get a drink with her.
Emma takes a cab to Jordan’s hotel. She has exchanged her plain cotton shorts and girly t-shirt for a jean jacket, and the ugliest jeans I’ve ever seen. And I know ugly pants, believe me. I’ve seen *NSYNC in concert multiple times. These jeans have splashing dolphins painted on each leg. JC Chasez would so covet those pants. Anyway, Emma has on makeup and has pulled her hair back with a single barrette. She’s early, so she leaves a message for him. She’s already sent him pictures, so he knows what she looks like.
Toby and JT are throwing a pillow back and forth on the couch, when Toby’s dad announces that he has a visitor. It’s Manny. Now. If she just met Toby yesterday, how would she already know where he lives? And what are the chances that he lives close enough to her that she could just show up? Manny is worried about Emma. She tells Toby that she has a bad feeling. Emma’s not at her house, she didn’t pick up her cell, and the wildlife show she said she wanted to watch isn’t even on. Toby is the genius that figures out that Emma probably went to meet Jordan. Then he tells a story about some girl who met a guy online, and was later found dead. In pieces. JT says that guy was a psycho, but that Emma’s too smart, that she gets straight A’s. Toby points out that this isn’t school, and decides they should hack into Emma’s email to figure out where they went.
Joey wanders through the school hallways with a glass of red wine and two glasses of punch. I skipped my reunion, but I can’t imagine that we would have been allowed to walk around the halls during broad daylight with alcohol. (We had the decency to get sloshed in a local country club.) He comes upon his new best friend Allison, sitting in the hall with Hollywood Keith. Keith says that “Katy” is really pushing for the marriage, and that he’s about to hit it big. Her career would have to take the backseat, and he doesn’t think that’s fair. It would almost be a nice thing to say, if he weren’t lying to get into Allison’s pants. She thinks Caitlin should understand. Keith is an artist, he needs to be free. She offers to come visit him in LA, and he thinks that is a great idea. He offers to show her around.
Emma is flipping through a magazine in the hotel lobby when a guy walks by carrying a pizza. He’s not bad looking, in his late 20s. Raise your hand if you know where this is going. Strange Guy stops and asks if she’s Emma. He’s Jordan’s teacher, and Jordan talks about her all the time. In fact, he was just getting ready to take the pizza up to Jordan and the kids. He has one pizza, and a small one at that, for an entire school group. That should have been her first clue. He asks Emma to come upstairs, and when she balks, he says that he can send Jordan down after he eats. He quickly adds on that Jordan wanted Emma to sign his petition, and that the petition is upstairs along with Jordan. Who we now, of course, realize is fictional.
The other kids are trying to break into Emma’s email. They’re having some problems with the password. Toby discovers that Emma’s secret password question is “What’s mom’s favorite rock band?”
Emma is walking down the hall with Strange Teacher Guy. He tells her that Jordan is going to send his petition off to the United Nations next week. Jordan’s a “pretty impressive kid.” I’d be impressive, too, if I were imaginary, and being used to lure young girls back to my hotel room. Strange Teacher Guy hands Emma the room key and says, “after you.” They go inside.
STG knocks on the door to the adjoining room. He tells “the guys” that the pizza is here. Another clue: boys on a school trip, left on their own in a hotel room, will make a lot of noise. It’s dead silent. Emma sits down in a chair next to the bed and stares warily at a video camera. She’s told that they’re making a video journal of the trip, because it’s a big deal for “the guys.” Emma’s fight or flight instincts are starting to kick in. STG hands her a slice of pizza, and promises that “the guys” will be back in just a minute. He continues to tell her all of the things that “Jordan” has said about her, and it’s really creepy. She holds her pizza slice awkwardly and looks scared. She lies and says that she needs to go back downstairs and look for her bag. Nice try, but her bag is sitting next to her chair. She runs to the door and can’t figure out the lock. STG comes after her, pretending to be puzzled by her behavior. Emma hurries into the bathroom and locks the door, still holding her slice of pizza. She asks him if he’s Jordan.
Radditch introduces “Degrassi’s very own environmental crusader, Caitlin Ryan.” She gives a speech about how great it is to be back. Keith looks proud of her, and mutters to Joey that she’s pretty good. Joey, who is sulking, says that “some of us think so, but some of us aren’t too sure about that, are they, Keith?” Keith is taken aback. Joey continues, asking Allison (who is sitting next to Keith, and not Joey) if she’s going to visit LA before or after Keith breaks up with Caitlin. Snake and Spike look on in horror as Keith tells Joey that his jealousy is getting out of hand. But Joey is just getting started. He calls Keith a loser who comes to his fiancée’s reunion and tells a stranger that he’s going to break up with her when he makes it big. Keith throws it back, calling Joey out for eavesdropping. Now everyone is staring as the two get into a pissing contest over whether or not Caitlin is Joey’s business. Either Keith tells Caitlin, or Joey will. Instead, Keith steps over the line and condescendingly pats Joey on the cheek. There is shoving and punching and Caitlin’s toast is wrecked by her old boyfriend and her new one throwing down. It’s very dramatic until Keith’s phone starts ringing, and Joey grabs him and taunts him with it, saying, “This what you want? This is more important?” while alternately slapping Keith across the face.
Caitlin rushes to Joey’s side and gets the good news: Keith is a lying losery Hollywood guy. Well, Joey is a psycho, so, nyah! Keith could probably make it through this okay, except Allison perks up and says, “So, he has doubts about getting married. Who doesn’t?” Caitlin is rightly insulted that Keith would tell this to a total stranger. Especially a stranger that would hit on Joey, the secret love of her life. Caitlin runs off.
Emma’s still in the hotel bathroom. Scary Teacher Guy explains that he didn’t tell her his real age, because he was scared she’d stop writing him. Because that makes it okay? Emma wants to go home. He doesn’t want to scare her, so he’ll go down to the lobby so that she can leave. Or, if she wants, she can stay just to talk. He opens the door to his room, but the camera cuts to Emma before we see him walk out. As if he walked out. Please.
The Engagement Ring of No Joy flashes in the fluorescent school lighting. Caitlin is crying in the bathroom. Joey’s with her. His nose is bleeding. She asks him if the ring brings back any memories. There were engaged, see, before Caitlin found out that Joey was cheating on her with Tessa Campinelli. This time, Caitlin just wanted to settle down before she turned 30. She is freaking out about the big 3-0 as much as I am. She’s never had a relationship last for more than a few months. The way she tenderly wipes blood away from Joey’s face, I can see why. She thinks it’s because she’s always working, but anyone with two eyes can see she’s just been waiting to be with Joey again. Caitlin realizes that she gave Emma relationship advice. She’s a fraud. Oops.
Joey tells her that she’s one of the most caring, trusting people he knows, and therefore she could never be a fraud. Caitlin wants to know how Joey knew it was right with Julia. It was the way she called him Joe, the way her hair smelled like rain, and the way she always made him laugh. Caitlin says she’s sorry. Joey doesn’t want her to be, because he was lucky to have had Julia at all.
Suddenly, we’re visiting “Emma’s Eco Page.” The kids are trolling for clues about Spike’s favorite rock band. These kids are like the Scooby Gang! I think Toby would be Velma. Emma helpfully has a picture of her mom up, from high school. Spike is wearing a Pogues shirt. Oh, how I used to love the Pogues. Spike and I could have totally been best friends. Manny doesn’t think Emma would make her password that easy, and yet, she did. The kids are into Emma’s email account, and there ain’t no stopping them now.
Emma waits a beat before leaving the bathroom, pizza in hand. The door is still locked, including the deadbolt. There’s another big flashing clue, as he couldn’t possibly have done up the deadbolt from the outside. Emma panics and fumbles with the locks, but it’s two late. STG grabs her and tells her that he’ll tape her mouth if she makes a noise.
Meanwhile, Toby has figured out that Scary Teacher Guy has also been hacking into Emma’s email. He’s gone through all her messages, and realized that “Jordan” was writing about things that Emma said to other people, in other emails. For instance, Emma tells Manny that she loves fresh air, and in Jordan’s next email, he tells Emma that he, too, loves fresh air. Toby has cracked the case: Jordan isn’t seeing into Emma’s soul, he’s seeing into her email. They get to Jordan’s last email, and find his hotel and room number. The Scooby Gang takes off running toward the school. Chubby Toby has trouble keeping up.
Aw! Snake is dancing with Spike. It’s more foreshadowing. He’s about three feet taller than her. Snake is being smooth when they’re interrupted by the Scoobies, who all talk at once as they try to tell her what happened to Emma. Snake sprints out of the school while Spike calls the police. Thank goodness Snake’s Jeep is parked right in front. Spike tells the kids that she’ll call their parents, and away she goes to the rescue.
Running, running, running down a long hotel hallway. Spike bangs on the door and yells for Emma. Inside, Emma screams for her, but STG covers her mouth. Spike starts crying and clawing at the door. Snake joins her. Back in the room, our view in through the video camera. We watch Emma bite STG on the hand, and then flip backwards off the bed. She runs to the door. Spike weeps. Emma manages to get the door open and runs into the hallway. She shakes her head “no” when Spike asks her if she’s okay. STG stands in the open door. Idiot. He tries to say it was all a mistake, but Snake grabs him and pins him to the wall. “You make a move, and I’ll break your neck.” Snake is almost sexy when he’s being threatening. Almost. The cops arrive.
Back at Emma’s house, some guy is dragging away their hard drive. He says STG is a repeat offender, but that this time they might have enough evidence to put him away. He cautions Spike about putting the computer someplace where she can keep an eye on Emma. “Keep the cyberstalkers out of her room.” In future episodes, it’s been moved to the den.
(As a random aside, I realize that Internet stalkers are very real and very scary. I know it’s an important lesson to teach kids in this day and age. However, I’ve always hated how, in discussions about this, everyone gets painted with the same broad stroke. Everyone on the Internet isn’t crazy. At least not in a dangerous way.)
Time for the big mother-daughter chat. Emma starts off by apologizing for ruining Spike’s reunion, while Spike starts by yelling at her for being so stupid. Emma made a mistake, and then she makes another one by pointing out that Spike made a mistake by getting pregnant in high school. It’s not exactly the same thing, as Emma could have been killed. Emma says that she’s a dumb kid, but she’s not, really. She should have been smart enough to talk to Spike about Jordan. Spike wants Emma to feel that they can talk about anything, even boys, but Emma’s not so hip to that. She says that Spike doesn’t remember what it’s like to be 12, that she doesn’t remember anything. Ouch. Spike tells her that, even when Emma hates her guts, she’ll always try to listen to her, but that Emma has to feel that she can come to her. Emma starts to cry and tells her mom that she was scared. They embrace.
Next week: We’ll meet the other kids of Degrassi.
Get the PopGurls character recap here.