As Jenna is asked who she wants to be, she looks around her and finds the answer.
Review (with Spoilers)
As Jenna tries to rebuild her old life, she is faced with a question from Mr. Hart which, seemingly, makes her wonder why would she want to be like her old self, or even a remodeled version? Over the course of the season she has found love, lost it, had a rebellious stage, and learned so much about not only herself, but the people around her. Before she simply took advantage of people, perhaps even without meaning to, but now that she is vulnerable, open and her eyes are wide, she can see all she was missing when she limited her vision to simply her problems, or issues that she would have to deal with because so and so was her best friend, boyfriend or parent.
Topic 1: Acknowledging Her Escapism
The first thing worth noting about this episode is Jenna [Ashley Rickards] finally realizes that she is a serial dater who used relationships as crutches. Jake [Brett Davern] and Matty [Beau Mirchoff] both made her feel attractive, desirable, and she used this to fluff her ego, and make herself feel better. Collin, at first, made her feel sophisticated, more mature, and even adventurous until that situation went south. And even when you add people who weren’t her boyfriends, you can see her doing all she can to avoid focusing on developing Jenna without the influence of critics, others eyes, and that internal need for affection.
However, in this episode, after finding herself escape into Mr. Hart’s [Anthony Michael Hall] book Unraveled, and thinking she was falling in love with him during her repeated readings of the book, she began to realize that she needed to stand on her own. What helps is that she rediscovers Lacey’s [Nikki Deloach] letter and they both acknowledge how far they have come since then, and perhaps the icing on the cake is how Jenna treats Bailey. Matty seemingly is developing feelings for Bailey and though it would be easy to write her off as the third rebound, after Devon and Hunter, it seems that Bailey truly maybe here for the long haul. And seemingly, Jenna is willing to accept this and pushes for the two to be together, even though it may not be what her heart wants at the time. But, to me, it seems she isn’t relying on the heart’s whims as much anymore and is trying to focus on developing a full self. One inspired by the people she love, for they all contain traits she wants to have.
Topic 2: Sadie & Ming – Two Girls in Bliss
Since the season, if not series, began we have really only focused on Jenna’s love life, but then Tamara [Jillian Rose Reed] got Jake and then she got a chance to get some air time, and now it seems Ming [Jessica Lu], and Sadie [Molly Tarlov], are getting their chance to show off their relationships as well. For Sadie, despite still being the abrasive girl she has always been, she has found someone who has found a way to soften her up. He is odd, but likeable; seems like he loves her despite her faults; and with that comes feelings of love in her which are frightening. But, this young man Austin seems to be ready and willing to chip away at the concrete and gently embrace Sadie’s heart. Of course though, even as she has these sweet and tender moments, throughout the episode we are reminded that while she may open her heart to Austin, she is still ready and willing to give everyone else her ass to kiss.
As for Ming, we go further into getting to know her to the point we even physically see her parents. The main focus though is her fears about what will happen after prom. Being that Ming is a virgin, and not ready to have sex yet, she is trying to come up with a million and one ways to avoid directly telling Fred [Kelly Sry] she isn’t ready. Naturally, Tamara and Jenna throw out ideas like she is hairy, on her period, and etc, so to avoid those ideas, she tries to have her parents save her. However, even after trying to make Henry look horrible, at least to her conservative parents, they give her the freedom of going to prom and enjoying herself. This leads to her blowing up at the prom since she thinks Fred is hinting at “popping her cherry” but then we get such a nice moment in which he reassures his girlfriend, and not in a way of trying to coerce her, but understand her. In a way which seems unspoken, he seems to know she isn’t ready and despite getting a hotel room, it seems the intimacy he wants is just to stay up and watch PPV with her, make out a bit, and maybe just sleep together.
This episode is damn near perfect for the series, and made for a great season finale. It acknowledges the growth of all characters, as well as their relationships, and Jenna finally seems like she may focus on being an individual and not someone part of a couple. For, it seems, though Jenna is, for the most part, back together, she still is in the process of discovering and loving who she is, and maybe isn’t ready, or able, to let someone love her past a platonic sense yet. And though I have sort of been hot and cold toward this season, I must admit these last few episodes really swept the bad ones under the rug. Here is to the next season in which a new show runner will be managing the show and guiding us through Jenna, and co., new direction.
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