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Girl Meets World returns and things aren’t all sunshine, rainbows, and just catching up. Growing pains are the focus and whether or not people grow with you.
Main Plot (with Commentary)
Topic 1: Daddy Isn’t There (Ava)
For quite some time it has been established Ava’s parents aren’t happy. They have been fighting since the first season and honestly, it shows how this affects Ava in terms of her relationship with the Matthews and especially Auggie. She has been demanding, controlling, and even outright jealous when it comes to Auggie, and one could argue this all comes from the instability of her home life. Something which changes this episode for, like in Maya’s past, her dad decides to leave. Something which the young actress who plays Ava exhibits well from the final fight to her dad officially being done.
But as much as Ava and Auggie aren’t the main focus of the show, you have to admire how their storyline is handled. To me, especially in light of us meeting Ava’s mom in one episode, and it being clear how much of an influence she has on her, it is interesting to see how the girl evolved. When it comes to her relationship with Topanga and Auggie, she has learned to trust Auggie, even if she decides to hand him a prenup out of fears they’ll end up like her parents, and when it comes to Topanga, I think there is a deeper relationship than often given credit for. For I think it is coming to that point where she is realizing her mom is her mom, but Topanga is a much happier person and perhaps is a better person to model off of. Which includes when it comes to her relationship, or just plain puppy love, with Auggie. She doesn’t yell and scream as much, and while she remains sometimes insecure, like giving Auggie a prenup when they are in 2nd grade, she is more and more realizing that Auggie, like his father, is a catch. One who she doesn’t need to fight with to prove they care for one another, nor should she expect him to just roll over just because she wants something or is upset.
Also, in a way, most of Auggie’s growth, to me, is centered around Ava. For, as she goes through what Maya once did, him holding her hand, consoling her, and being whatever you would consider these two, is just so touching and shows more emotional maturity than sometimes you may expect from someone so young. Making it where, despite Topanga’s words to her, Maya’s, and even Cory chiming in when it comes to consoling her, Auggie and Ava’s moment is perhaps the most precious. Even with Ava talking about, without a second thought, how she expects Topanga and Cory to live with her and Auggie when they get old.
Topic 2: First Day of High School (Riley, Lucas, and Maya)
While the kiddies are having growing pains, so are the now high school kids. Most of which seem fine, at first since they have each other. However, between the awkwardness of both Riley and Maya wanting to be referred to as Lucas’ girlfriend, to seniors who pseudo-bully the kids, their first day isn’t heaven. Though perhaps the biggest issue is that none of them feel prepared. Which, naturally, they blame Cory for since he has babied them so much and now they search for good people, lessons, and are filled with this optimism which has quickly evaporated. Well, at least in mostly everyone but Riley.
Topic 3: Stuck In A Hole (Riley, Maya, Farkle, and Lucas)
The aforementioned seniors, who I don’t think even gave their name, may seem like bullies to most of the group, but this may not be true. If anything, they are trying to teach a harsh lesson. One which begins with pressuring Riley’s group to go into the hole, a place downstairs which leaves everyone looking up. This bothers Lucas, especially, at first, for he feels he is being picked on yet Riley smiles and tries to think of what lessons the seniors are trying to teach. His discontent though doesn’t let him do as Maya and just go along with Riley’s eccentric thought process. After a certain point, he grows tired of being treated second rate and basically breaks off from the group. Something Farkle, with girlfriend Smackle, joins in for, to them, while they are smaller than everyone else, they also feel like following Riley is keeping them from experiencing things. Which leads to the lessons it seems the seniors are trying to teach.
One of them deals with the fact that this big wonderful group you had, it isn’t going to last forever. People grow, as Cory tells Ava about her parents, and with this, they change and sometimes people don’t change and stay together. Sometimes they change and grow apart. Though what makes matters bad is that everyone knows Riley is like this, and Riley refuses to change yet seems to expect everyone to stick around. In a way, that Riley I always criticized, the one who thinks the world revolves around her and acts so entitled, that is the person who shows up. Which, based off the way Farkle talks, no one but Maya may be willing to put up with as much. And let’s be real, Maya’s loyalty may always be because the alternative to leaving Riley is not worth it considering all she would lose in the process.
Leading to the second lesson which deals with taking your time. Riley, unlike those so sure of themselves like Lucas who wants to get into sports, or Farkle and Smackle who have been good at academics all their lives, doesn’t have a niche. Riley has emotional intelligence, but she has them in specific areas which don’t connect to make her seem fully able to handle the world outside of her bubble. So, in a way, that is why the seniors want her in the hole. She needs to absorb, observe, and see where she fits in. Jump in too fast and maybe she’ll get stuck in something she finds out she never liked. Go through high school and only explore academic clubs or stuff like sports, and then you will miss so much of the experience. Which I think is how the seniors feel. With them being nostalgic on their final year, they want these group of freshman to experience as much as possible as they journey to their status.
Things To Note
Cory is having a hard time adapting to teaching in High School. Well, at least when it comes to dealing with this character named Marly.
Question(s) Left Unanswered
Why is it that when Cory was told his students, and his kid, were being bullied, it didn’t get a rise out of him at all?
Ava’s storyline, while a slightly more fleshed out version of Maya’s past, really hit hard and got me teary eyed in ways I didn’t think that child could do.
There was something about Riley realizing that she is having a real fight with her friends, and could actually lose them, including being teary eyed, which also was a major showing of the actors’ talents in this series. For while I have never been a big Riley fan, at the same time I do believe Rowan Blanchard, knows how to display the growing pains of a sheltered girl breaking away from the coddling she is used to and dealing with a world which isn’t going to bend to her whims. Much less, has no issue telling her that her thoughts, logic, and actions, are either wrong or make no sense.
Speaking of Maya and Ava comparisons, I kind of like how you can imagine, if perhaps Ava and Auggie don’t end up romantic, they could have a Maya and Riley type of relationship. Now in the sense of someone with their head in the clouds and another who is dead set on Earth, but more so they have the type of relationship where they just accept one another and this isn’t a reason or need for them to remind the other person they are going to stick around. Auggie, despite the prenup nonsense, doesn’t get offended and tries to make a case, just as much as Maya doesn’t start saying, as everyone abandons Riley, that she isn’t going anywhere.
It was great to still see Smackle and Farkle together, and Zay to make an appearance.
The way the love triangle is being handled, as a running gag almost now, bothers me. Like when Lucas has to introduce both Maya and Riley as his girlfriend; Maya questioning, after Marly starts something with Riley, how is she in a love triangle with her; and even Smackle saying she wants to join because it probably is a more consistent focus than her character.