Episode 25: “Girl Meets the New Year”
As the year comes to a close, Farkle finds himself tired of harboring Riley’s secret. So, to try to push her to confess herself, he gives her until midnight to say something.
Characters & Story (with Commentary)
Topic 1: Sense & Sensibility (Maya and Riley)
Harper returns and with her return comes her bringing Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility with her and it becoming a big issue within her class as seemingly the storyline correlates with the love triangle of the show. In this case, sense is Riley, and sensibility is Maya, and it is questioned which makes more sense, can one only have both, and it lays the foundation for all the drama to come.
But, alongside laying down the foundation for the drama to come, I must admit I found myself wondering something: Does Maya have a learning disability? I mean, I don’t think this show wants to impose the idea everyone got something, since Smackle returns in all her glory, but since Maya has always had a difficulty with academics, I wonder if this idea may ever be approached? For while I’m sure some would argue that perhaps Maya just lacks interest and focus, maybe it isn’t necessarily because she isn’t challenged but other reasons. Just a thought.
Topic 2: A Ball (Maya, Riley, Lucas, and Farkle)
Being that Riley loves a good fantasy, and the times of Sense and Sensibility tickle her, she decides perhaps a ball should be held to help everyone in this indecision of who should be with who. Something which isn’t a problem for Farkle, since he has someone and, in my mind, has effectively made him and Smackle the Cory and Topanga of this series, but for everyone else there is trouble. Riley has Charlie, who is so into her that it is hard to put your finger on whether he is cute about it or creepy; then you have Maya who is so unsure how to handle her feelings that it is awkward; and then there is Lucas.
Someone who, in my mind, based off how he interacts with Charlie, likely has feelings for Riley, if not stronger feelings for Riley than Maya, but at the same time I think the show is trying to show us another polar opposite. To explain, since the beginning polar opposites have been used to present stark contrast. Between Maya and Riley, it was the good, wholesome, and almost sheltered girl vs. the bad, abandoned, and troubled kid. Then, with Lucas and Farkle, it was the cool, charming, and dateable jock, vs. the weird, nerdy, and “let’s be friends” geek. A lot of which hardly applies at this point, but with Charlie I think once more we are presented a stark contrast. Charlie, in comparison to Lucas, is so open and forward about his feelings that it is awkward, a bit off-putting, and often times inconvenient due to how often he takes initiative and is forward. Lucas, on the other hand, he is smooth, holds back, is a bit shy, and seems to not often pursue making the first move.
Which is where most of the difficulty lies here. Neither Riley nor Lucas will make a move, and stuck in the middle is Maya who doesn’t want to hurt her friend, just as Riley doesn’t wish to hurt her, yet she doesn’t know how to deal with these feelings. One could argue because she didn’t get the same example as Riley did, with her parents, but it could also simply be because this dude might be her first crush.
Either way you slice it though, it seems Farkle is quite tired of this love triangle and holding Riley’s secret. So, to try to coerce the girl into confessing, he gives her until the stroke of midnight of the new year, on the day of her apartment ball.
Topic 3: It’s Going to be a Tough Year (Maya, Riley, and Lucas)
As you can imagine, with Riley feeling she needs to step back in order to see if perhaps Lucas and Maya could be a thing, in a similar fashion as to how Maya stepped back for her, nothing is really done by midnight. However, perhaps that isn’t fully true. Maya does approach Lucas, up on the roof, but all that is given is a small compliment. One much enjoyed by Lucas for such is rare from Maya’s mouth, but it seems with him being as unsure as everyone else, or too polite to reject Maya’s feelings, this baby step seems almost meaningless.
But, in terms of Charlie, Riley lets him down easy. For while she is unsure how to handle Lucas, she knows that despite Charlie knowing her so well, and him making “sense,” she doesn’t have the same type of feelings for him as he does for her. Thus leaving Farkle no choice. For, be it because he doesn’t want to be alone in the world of relationships, wants to perhaps squash the real drama before it starts, or simply wants Riley to have the truth out there, he reveals Riley still has feelings for Lucas. Something which is so shocking that everyone from Riley’s class immediately leaves the roof, and Farkle simply hopes forgiveness can eventually be given.
I love how, amongst everyone, perhaps Farkle is the one character who seemingly had a natural progression from where he began to now. For while Riley sort of flips from mature young lady to pretty princess, Farkle I think has smooth transitions from the kid we knew, to the young man we are getting to know. Something which can especially be seen as he presents his emotional intelligence in my opinion. For while his relationship with Smackle is likely his first, at the same time he is the only one who shares a similar family dynamic to Riley. He has seen love, and has a stable household, but arguably him not being coddled has allowed him to develop in ways Riley still isn’t comfortable with. Which often shows as the character matures.
Amongst the love triangles, and Charlie trying to wiggle in, I must admit I love seeing Smackle and Farkle together. For be it the way he speaks about bringing her to Riley’s ball, and how possessive Farkle gets, and how she tries, really hard, to be a good girlfriend, arguably they are the new Cory and Topanga, with a slight twist.
Its great Harper has made an appearance. I do wish she would consistently be on the show, and that the show would expand to others subjects as well. For while I don’t often give Cory enough credit, or the writers for that matter, I do think the way lectures are presented on this show are definitely interesting and thought provoking at times. Even when you separate how they are supposed to correlate with the storyline.
During perhaps one of the most important episodes of the season, Zay is missing and Charlie is sitting in his chair. And, once again, there is no explanation about where the hell is the boy. Though perhaps I’m most mad about his absence because, sooner or later, I feel that Lucas and Zay need to have a one on one chat about this situation. For while Farkle is cool and all, I feel like Farkle need to be relegated to Riley, due to him knowing her longer, and Zay needs to be relegated to Lucas, since he knew him longer.
On The Fence
With Charlie rejected, I wonder what they may do with him now? A part of me wants him to exit stage right, because I doubt they will have both him and Zay become regular cast members but, then again, we know so little about Charlie it is like we were never given a chance to know him. Pretty much, thus far, all Charlie has shown is how intently interested he has been in Riley. To the point that, outside of his favorite movie snack, it is sort of hard to say we know much about him.
I kind of dislike how Lucas still largely remains sort of neutral in all this. He obviously has feelings for Riley, and might be developing some for Maya, and yet he is silent. Also, rather than Farkle show his intelligence and perhaps go to the epicenter of things, he picks on Riley. Which to me was a bit messed up since I’m just sick of love triangles never really trying to see how the person being chased feels, especially if it is a boy.
When it comes to Charlie’s method of approaching Riley, I wonder to myself what would have happened if he was honestly presented as a valid option. I mean, Riley did seem to sort of like him, but I do think the way he popped up and acted sort of socially awkward didn’t make him viable. Almost making his entire stint, thus far, seem like a waste of time. Unless he was truly made to present, as noted in the storyline summary, some sort of polar opposite to Lucas.