“My diligent locker custodians. I’ll be back in 15 minutes to inspect all your hard work. And once they’re clean… hello, summer.”
The bell rings as Snake ends his speech. Degrassi extras fill the hall, throwing away the contents of the lockers that they’ve never used until this moment. Snake walks silently by Jimmy and Hazel, who are walking with linked arms. Jimmy is counting down the time before he has to be on a plane to Los Angeles (23 hours and 10 minutes, for those of you who also count such things). He’s going to the best basketball camp in the United States. Hazel calls him spoiled. He says that if his parents really want to spoil him, they’ll let him cancel. Because, when they booked him at the camp it was before he started dating Hazel. Aww!
Paige finishes her locker-cleaning duties by offering up some “way passé” mascara and lip gloss. Her exile to The Wasteland is over. Spinner calls her honeybee as he tosses the offending beauty products into a nearby trashcan. For the record, I hate the nickname “honeybee” and always have. The end of Paige’s exile, in and of itself, is enough for Hazel to want to celebrate. But why stop there? These crazy kids have a semi-formal dance to attend later that night, and Jimmy has just the thing to make it a night they’ll never forget! He’s rented a limo. He presents a brochure to the group, which has a white limo driving into a cheesy sunset. On top of that, Jimmy is going to pay for everyone’s dinner. Paige asks Hazel to switch boyfriends. Spinner pretends to laugh. Jimmy’s plan for the night is, apparently, to “be the big hero.”
Farewell, Season Three Degrassi opening credits! You’ve helped all of us make it through these many months. May Season Four bring bigger and better things.
Snake is type, type, typing on his laptop, which is boring and black, and nowhere near as cool as the metallic green one that Sean stole. Speaking of Sean, there he is! The Hat of Evility is pulled down to his bushy eyebrows. Snake tells Bad Boy Slim to take a seat, and then shows him an impressive online report card that says Sean’s final mark in Media Immersion is a 49. Sean started off the year well, but his grade kept dropping – due in no small part to that navy blue knit hat, of course. Sean says that he can’t get Student Welfare if he doesn’t pass all his classes. He adopts his cranky face, the one with the furrowed brow and the pursed lips, and starts to leave.
Not so fast! If Sean creates an online parts database for the school’s auto shop, Snake will give him extra credit. If it’s good enough, the points will be enough for him to get a passing grade. Snake gives Sean a handout of some sort, and when Sean tries to thank him, Snake simply tells him time is ticking. Sean sits down at a computer and looks blown away by Snake’s generosity. Perhaps the love of a good man – I mean, mentor – will be enough to break the spell cast by that freaking hat.
Joey is running late for work. He’s hustling around his house, amassing papers (credit reports and a lease agreement) into an accordion filing system. Caitlin knocks on the door and lets herself in. She’s also running behind, but she has a big meeting and left her large, black leather planner at Joey’s. She calls it a briefcase, but it’s a planner. He hands it to her before she can ask for it. She calls him a model of efficiency. Then she says they are two peas in a pod. This prompts Joey to say, “you should move into this pod,” while he frantically puts on his trench coat and smiles. They both pause as it sinks in what he’s just said. Caitlin looks cautious but thrilled. In case there was confusion, Joey makes an actual proposal. “Seriously. You’re already a huge part of the kid’s lives. I know they would love it if you moved in. More importantly, I would love it.”
Caitlin’s initial reaction is, “Woah. This is sudden.” Joey tells her to think about it, but then tosses out more sweetness, “your stuff is already here, and you should be, too.” Who can resist such romance? Such charm? Such wit? Caitlin says she has to go to her meeting, but they can talk more at dinner that night. When she’s gone, the camera closes in on Joey, and it’s clear that his invite was spur of the moment, but that he doesn’t regret it.
The Grade 10 couples are hanging out at Jimmy’s deluxe apartment in the sky. Jimmy emerges from his bedroom wearing miles of pink satin. Whatever it’s supposed to be, it doesn’t fit. Paige informs him that it’s because he’s wearing a sari. He was supposed to ask for a kurta, which is what Indian men wear. Jimmy digs out his receipt, muttering that he asked for two saris and two kurtas. Did the other kids pay for anything themselves? Why would Jimmy spring for the cost of their outfits? Spinner heckles Jimmy for not checking the bag before he left for the store, but he should totally shut up if Jimmy paid for his kurta. In fact, if Jimmy paid for it, he should force Spinner to hand over the kurta and wear the extra sari.
As it is, Spinner is wearing a white tunic over white pants, with a navy vest. Paige is wearing a hot pink tunic over blue pants, and Hazel is wearing a gorgeous blue ensemble. Both girls have bindi dots on their foreheads. As everyone heads outside to await the limo, Jimmy puts on a black fleece vest over his pink to make it a proper outfit. Spinner tells him he’ll be the hottest girl at the dance. In the spirit of semi-formal love, Jimmy doesn’t kick his ass.
Hazel says that she has never been in a limo before and asks Jimmy if they’ll get champagne. I haven’t the energy to figure out the drinking age in Toronto, so I’ll refrain from making a comment. As the kids look on in horror, a ghetto limo pulls up in front of them. The horn plays an off-key version of that song that goes, “Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten, look away, look away, look away, Dixieland.” There are patches of rust and mismatched paint, and the hood ornament is a silver cowboy hat. The license plate says DUKE IT.
Out pops the driver. He’s wearing old jeans, cowboy boots, one of those t-shirts with a tuxedo printed on the front, a black leather jacket with fringe, and a cowboy hat. He’s Duke. He’ll be the driver for the evening. Oh. He also has shoulder-length brown hair, a full beard, and dangling earrings of some sort. Jimmy assumes there was a mistake, until Duke calls him by name. “It ain’t no mistake, hound dog. Let’s giddy up.”
The limo is worse inside. Trash litters the floor. The seats are patched with duct tape. There’s a small TV from 1975, with a cracked screen. Paige doesn’t try to hide her disdain as she climbs inside. I’m surprised she got in at all, frankly. Spinner makes a “ladies first” joke, and insists Jimmy get in the car before him. He tells Duke that he likes his hat. As Duke shuts the door he tells Spinner to watch his dress. Ha!
Caitlin is picking out monogrammed towels on the Internet. Told you she couldn’t resist the Jeremiah charm. Her hot, gay producer interrupts the domestic moment. He saw what she was doing through her office window when he walked by, so he teases her about it. Caitlin confesses that Joey asked her to move in, and she thinks the towels will say, “Why, Mr. Jeremiah, I would love to.” Hot, Gay Producer looks concerned. He was stopping by to tell her good news of another sort.
The documentary proposal to study UNICEF’s work on HIV/AIDS was approved by the station just that morning. Caitlin jumps up to share a congratulatory hug. She’s obviously thrilled to have gotten approval on her project plan, which was submitted over a year ago. Hot, Gay Producer hands her a plane ticket. To Geneva. Leaving that night. There is a world AIDS conference the next month, so Caitlin has to do a lot of groundwork so that she can cover it. She’s going to Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean. She won’t be back for nine months.
Caitlin is crestfallen. She can’t go. Hot, Gay Producer tells her that it’s her project, her baby. Doesn’t matter. The man she loves asked her to move in with him, and she’s not going to turn him down, not for anything. She goes back to ordering her towels. The discussion is over.
According to Sean’s database, the auto shop has an exhaust manifold to be used for demoing purposes. As far as I can tell, it’s a very impressive database. Way better than I could do. And, come to think of it, why didn’t anyone teach me to do that shit in high school? Oh. Right. I’m old. Sigh. Snake isn’t quite as enthused as me, but he says that it seems to work properly. There are redundancies in the tables, but that’s an easy fix. He goes to his computer and enters some numbers into the magic online report card system. Sean’s grade is now a 53. It’s not the best mark, but it’s a pass.
Sean and the caterpillars over his eyes are very happy with the outcome. He expresses his many thanks to Snake for helping him out. Snake looks at his watch and realizes that it’s 6pm. He has to go so that he can chaperone the semi-formal later that night. Sean says that he isn’t going, it’s not his scene. “Good time’s not your scene?” Snake is such a middle-aged guy. He tells Sean that he knows he’s been dealt some pretty crappy hands, but that life can be pretty amazing if you let it. Snake doesn’t know why Sean doesn’t come to him anymore when he’s in trouble, but he wants Sean to know that he hasn’t given up on him. He’ll always be there for Sean to lean on, when Sean’s not strong, when he needs a friend, when he needs someone to help him carry on. Sean purses his lips, because the Hat of Evility wants him to lash out, but he’s also starting to cry, because The Power of Love has broken its spell! Hallelujah!
“I stole your computer,” he confesses. He stole it to get back at Emma. Snake is so shocked that he starts muttering about how he lost it, how the chemo made him forgetful and he left it somewhere. It wasn’t the chemo. Sean stole it. And he’s really, really sorry. Snake tells him to go.
The Gang of Four arrives at the Italian restaurant where Marco, Dylan, Paige, Ashley and Spinner have all found shame in the past. Paige and Spinner hide behind the reservation podium and try to convince Jimmy and Hazel that it looks mediocre so that they can go. The Super Gay Waiter, who was present for both shameful incidents, is working a table nearby. In fact, he’ll be happy to seat them. I’m just glad that the restaurant actually had the reservation.
The kids walk past Joey and Caitlin, who are sharing a bottle of champagne. (Nice transition!) Joey wants to discuss the offer that was tabled earlier that day. Caitlin tells him that her decision is yes. Smiles for everyone! And also a kiss. Joey says that he’s “so happy.” They share a toast. Caitlin tells him that it’s been one hell of a day, a real roller coaster. Joey’s worried that she was conflicted about moving in. She wasn’t! Instead, she tells him about her project getting approved. Joey thinks it’s amazing. Except, Caitlin says, it’s horrible timing. She would have to leave that night to go to Geneva. Joey offers to get the check so they can go get her packed.
She tells him that she turned the proposal down. He doesn’t understand why she would do that. Uh-oh. That’s not what Caitlin wanted to hear, obviously. She says that she had to turn it down so that she can move in. Joey doesn’t see it that way. He wants her to go, because it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. She thought that HE was her opportunity of a lifetime. Joey says that he’s not going anywhere. All the wind gone from her sails, Caitlin says that she has to go. She leaves Joey at the table waiting for the check, all confused. Oh, Joey.
Welcome to Bollywood, boys and girls! The gym is all decked out in paper lanterns and silk tents. All the kids are wearing saris and kurtas. The equivalent of Indian dance music is playing loudly. Craig stops to take a picture of Manny, Emma, JT and Chris, who are dancing the only way they can – like idiots. Chris is trying to inject some hip-hop flava, but it’s not so much working out.
Dylan chases down a frantic Marco to tell him that everything is perfect. Marco says that it’s almost perfect as he adjusts some silk drapery over a spotlight. Some girl in a royal blue, belly-baring sari dances strangely. But back to Emma and her posse. Emma is dancing like I Dream of Jeannie, with her palms together and her arms over her head. She can’t believe it’s their gym. Manny thinks it looks amazing. JT notes to Snake that the beverages have a distinct lack of ice.
Enter Sean and Ellie. She’s wearing her typical plaid skirt, black leather jacket and side ponytail. He’s got the hoodie and Cap Previously Known as Evil. He came to apologize to Snake, who promptly blows him off.
At the restaurant, Hazel says that her meal was a 20 on a scale of one to 10. Jimmy looks pleased that at least one thing has gone right. Which is the perfect time for the bill to come. It’s higher than Jimmy thought it would be. Super Gay Waiter points out that the bill includes four meals from that night, as well as three lunches from the other day. Jimmy doesn’t have enough cash to cover the extra food. Neither Spinner nor Paige brought any cash, because Sugar Daddy Jimmy was supposed to cover everything. In the end, Hazel coughs up the extra dough. Jimmy is ashamed, but she doesn’t seem bothered by it.
Outside, the Duke is getting arrested due to non-payment of 30 parking tickets. They are cuffing him and putting him in the car as the kids walk out of the restaurant. They also appear to be impounding his car. Paige says they should start walking, but the Duke would never leave them high and dry. He encourages them to accept a ride with him. In a police car. Jimmy says he’s not pulling up to the prom in a cop car. Duke says, “boy, you’re already in deeper than a stable boy after a month of Sundays.” I’m pretty sure he’s implying Jimmy’s in deep shit, but that’s the most convoluted implication I’ve ever heard. Hazel’s fine with it. Duke tells them to have fun at the prom, and then says, “let’s dance” to the cop. Weirdo.
Snake’s car won’t start, and he needs to get some ice, stat. He whacks the dashboard several times, because that always works. Luckily, there happens to be in the neighborhood a boy with a guilty conscience and a penchant for auto repair. Sean tells Snake that he can help if he pops the hood. He promises not to steal the engine. Snake’s not thrilled with the situation, but he pops the hood anyway.
At her office, Caitlin is putting files and computer cords in a box while Hot, Gay Producer watches. He tells her that she’ll be going around the world in nine months. He wants to know if she’s sure she wants to do this, because that afternoon she told him no. Caitlin calls him Tomas! His name is Tomas! I totally knew that. Before she can reassure him some more, Joey shows up.
Joey wants to know what’s going on. She says that, since she’s taking the job, her plane leaves in a couple of hours. He’s not thrilled that Caitlin walked out on him, and he wants to know why. Because she actually thought he wanted her to move in. It’s all fun and games until miscommunication bludgeons your heart out with a rusty spoon. Joey doesn’t mind delaying the love shack for a couple of months. It’s not a couple of months, though. It’s almost a year.
Caitlin thinks that if Joey really loved her, he wouldn’t want her to go. Of course, it’s BECAUSE he loves her that he is encouraging her to chase after her career. He’ll never stop loving her. He promises. Caitlin tells him that he made promises before, ones that he didn’t keep. Ouch. To be fair, he was just a kid when he made them. Caitlin cries. Joey makes her ask herself one question: Does she want to take the job or not? She does. He says that he’ll be right there waiting for her (cue Richard Marx) when she gets back. She believes him.
There are greasy hands under Snake’s hood. Heh. Sorry. I couldn’t resist. Sean tells him that he has serious problems. Snake tells Sean to go home so that he can call a tow truck. Sean wants to help, because he’s free! Free from the Hat of Evility! Snake guffaws. It’s a little late for Sean to want to help. Snake was on death’s door, and Spike blew her savings on a laptop to cheer him up, and Sean stole it. “What kind of person does that?” Shaking off the reality of Snake’s words, Sean tells him that the starter is blown on his car. Also, the head gasket. Snake yells at him for not listening. The head might even be cracked, Sean continues. It might take weeks to repair, and it’ll be expensive, but if Snake buys the parts, Sean will do all the labor for free.
Sean wants to do this. A lot. Snake asks, “so?” in a really callous way. Sean says that he wants to help, and Snake might hate him, but it’s the only way he can make it up. He says please. The scene fades out on Snake’s angry face, and then fades into Ellie sitting alone at the dance. Snake and Sean enter, and Snake asks Sean if he’s really up for working on the car. It’s a big commitment. Sean is totally up for it. He’ll see Snake on Monday morning to get started. Snake gets back to his chaperoning duties, and Ellie asks Sean if things are better. He thinks things will be. Snuggles.
Manny, JT, Kendra and Toby (those two crazy kids are still together?) are having some snacks, served out of aluminum serving dishes. That right there folks is classy. Marco fluffs some more silk over the hot spotlights. More extras dance like spazzes. Hey, there’s Liberty! She’s giggling with Emma.
Marco steps up to the microphone to welcome everyone to the dance. Craig takes his picture. Liberty, Emma and Chris are standing right in front of the stage, while Dylan stands behind them and grins adoringly at Marco. Marco’s there to tell us how they’ll choose the King and Queen of the dance. At my school, voting took place by paper ballot the entire week before the dance. Degrassi Community School is way to high tech for that. They’ll do computer balloting. Marco is about to explain the process when one of the curtains behind him explodes into flames. All the kids start yelling “fire!” Snake grabs the mic and very uncalmly tells the kids to exit in a calm fashion. A sprinkler turns on over his head.
As the kids are running from the gym, the cop car carrying Jimmy et al pulls up. They get out in front of the whole school. Craig comes over to meet them and doesn’t express any concern that they’re arriving in a police vehicle. He tells them that the curtains Marco picked oot are, like, totally flammable. His voice is super high and kind of nasally. Has it always sounded like that, and I’ve just forgotten, since he hasn’t had any lines lately? Two fire trucks pull up to the school. Jimmy looks miserable.
Joey and Caitlin are kissing in front of the TV station. A sedan pulls up to take her to the airport. This is it, for now. They kiss some more. Joey does the face cup with bonus thumb-on-jaw stroking. His hand is huge in comparison to her head. It’s hot. They press their foreheads together one last time before she gets in the car. She waves goodbye through a car window that is covered in rain, even though it is not raining outside. Joey looks pensive as he gulps for air but does not cry.
The dance has been moved outside. Someone is blasting actual rock music, to which the kids are jumping up and down. The fire trucks are still there, and the kids are dancing between them in what I’m sure is a serious public safety no-no. Craig is actually sitting ON TOP of a fire truck, taking pictures of it all. Hey! There’s Ashley! I can only see a bit of her head, but it’s definitely her. And next to her is a Not-Craig, wearing Craig’s clothes and with Craig’s hair. I cannot tell if he’s wearing a wrist cuff or not, but she seems happy enough. Emma is dancing with Chris.
Dylan is following Marco through the crowd. Marco knows a station that specializes in Bollywood-type music. He’s not ready to let the spirit of Bollywood die. Dylan tells him to let it go. They grin at each other and walk out of the shot.
Hazel wants to know what Jimmy’s problem is. He’s wearing a sari, the limo driver was arrested, and the school almost burned down. She clarifies that she wanted to know why he’s being so glum. He wanted tonight to be all about him showing her that he could do it right. Has he ever done it wrong, before this? I don’t get it. She doesn’t care that the night didn’t go according to plan. Spinner and Paige run up to tell them they’re missing the party, and then run off again. Hazel tells Jimmy that all he needs to do to make her happy is (she kisses him) dance with her. They go join the dancing masses.