Sam and Paige back to back.

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How and why Paige ended up at rock bottom is revealed, alongside Izzie opening up and Evan stepping up.

Director(s) Michael Medico
Writer(s) Mike Oppenhuizen, Lauren Moon
Air Date 11/1/2019
Introduced This Episode
Professor Shinerock Eric McCormack

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Stepping Up & Remaining Firm: Doug, Evan

Evan finally has that ride along with Doug, and he impresses him quite a bit. Specifically how he kept a kid calm after a car accident. This leads to them talking for Evan is a bit worried about his and Casey’s relationship and its future. Leading to Doug talking to Evan about how much Elsa’s mom didn’t like him, but Elsa did, and she had his back. Hence them being together still.

Finding The Essence: Gretchen, Zahid, Sam, Professor Shinerock

Professor Shinerock (Eric McCormack) talking to Sam
Professor Shinerock (Eric McCormack)

While Sam’s class with Professor Shinerock is perhaps one of his favorites, when Shinerock decides to focus less on the technical and push his class to be artistic, to capture the essence of something, this complicates things for Sam. Leading him to approach Zahid, who is dealing with a difficult time. Well, kind of.

You see, Gretchen is dulling Zahid, in more ways than one, and while his personality is in talk, his look is changing, and we see him arguing. Making it appear that while Zahid might be happy to be with someone, Gretchen may not be the best person. Though, who knows, part of what Gretchen is doing is pushing Zahid to grow up, and considering how long he has been stunted, this could be good for him?

But, getting back to Sam, his struggle comes in trying to understand beyond the habit, and it pushes him to realize the essence of someone, or something, is their constant. Be it Elsa meddling, Paige being an overachiever, Zahid upbeat, or Casey being sarcastic.

Love Will See You Through: Izzie, Elsa, Casey, Paige

As Elsa contemplates college, she finds herself having the ability to be the mother to Paige that Casey won’t let her be. What sets this all up? Well, after not making friends at school, getting an online shipping addiction, and grades slipping, to save face, Paige dropped out of school and decided to job search. Problem is, all she could get is a basic, kid restaurant job and it is beyond humbling for her. Thus leading to Elsa having to remind Paige who she is and making you wonder, where are Paige’s parents to give this conversation?

But, even Izzie needs some of Elsa’s love. Except rather than it come directly from her, it comes in the form of Casey doing as her mother is known for – meddling. This leads to Casey learning Izzie’s mom is again struggling with her demons, and she is trying to keep things normal for her siblings. However, she decides to take her grandparent’s offer to let them help and Elsa’s to stay over.

Izzie giving Casey them eyes.

In doing so, it calls for Izzie to apologize and also explain the reason why she came for Evan is jealous. Leading to Casey playing dumb and Izzie making it clear that she knows Casey knows why she is jealous.

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

The best caretakers are the ones who weren’t cared for themselves.
— Elsa

[…] the essence of anything is the thing that stays true about them in any situation.
— Sam

Other Noteworthy Facts, Moments, and Random Thoughts

  • The family lives at 4219 Greenwich Avenue in Webster, CT 06108
  • Is anyone else surprised how quickly Professor Shinerock got to hug Sam considering how long it took others to? Never mind he didn’t get pushed away from it being to tight or long?



Paige Having A Setback

One of the issues with being an overachiever is the rush that comes from checking off boxes and feeling that success is an adjective instead of a verb. Which makes that first road bump, that sends you flying and crashing, difficult to recover from. But, seeing Paige go through that, it is kind of nice.

Not because Paige needed to be taken down a peg, but what she did need was to be something more. For, similar to Elsa, she has been stuck in the same persona and having the same purpose, for quite some time. So this shift means room for her to grow, change perspective, and evolve.

Paige in a potato outfit.

Evan Finding Something He Is Good At

While the way Evan is talked about would make you think he is in his mid-20s or 30s and floundering, he is just 18. Yet, between Izzie, Casey, and even his dad to a point, he has been led to believe not knowing what he wants to be, what he is doing, it made him lazy at best and a loser at worse. However, it seems Casey’s comment about him being good with people, and Doug backing that up, has given him a spark. The kind of smile that only comes from finally thinking you know your place in the world and having direction.

Sam Seeing Beyond The Technical

In general, Atypical has always been about growth, but what this season really seems to be focused on is adaptation. Sam, specifically, has had to deal with things not really being made easy for him but instead learning to take the initiative and finding ways to make himself comfortable. Be it asking for help or taking on the role of being an advocate for his own opinion, like in Professor Judd’s class.

But beyond that, there is also this sense that Sam is no longer made to be this ideal version of someone with autism. He is no longer an A student, he is shown to have more of an ebb and flow when it comes to social situations being successful or not, as well as his understanding of people. Which you have to love for it is in that balance you feel that Sam gets to be human and not one of the few examples of people with autism on a major network right now.

Izzie Opening Up

Despite Izzie’s issues at home not being secret, there is just something about Stewart that makes the reintroduction of Izzie’s home life heartbreaking all over. I can’t say what it is specifically, but it definitely pushes you to believe, somewhere down the road, she definitely could lead a series or film. For the connection she creates between her scene partner and the audience, it isn’t common.

On The Fence


I don’t know if she is a catalyst for change and growth, or if she is someone who should be seen as someone who creates the appearance of growth, but is actually toxic? It’s hard to say, and that complication is what makes me both like and hate her. Particularly since one could say her asking Zahid to wear less flashy clothes is her trying to dim his light. Yet, at the same time, it has been made clear Zahid has had arrested development, and even if she is just waking him up to the idea he can’t exist in a cocoon, there is the need to worry she may not be the best alarm clock.

So Will Doug and Elsa Reconcile?

The whole storyline of Doug and Elsa’s thing has hit a pause, and while both characters have benefitted, it also leaves you wondering if they are going to hold this for the end of the season. That isn’t a terrible idea, but it also makes you wonder if we’re going to continue having baby steps or take a leap?


[ninja_tables id=”26179″]

Paige Having A Setback - 89%
Evan Finding Something He Is Good At - 85%
Sam Seeing Beyond The Technical - 84%
Izzie Opening Up - 88%
Gretchen - 75%
So Will Doug and Elsa Reconcile? - 74%


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