Despite what the preview may lead you to believe, there is some development and touching moments in this holiday episode.
Review (with Spoilers)
Topic 1: An Ava Christmas (Ava, Topanga, and Auggie)
For reasons unexplained, Ava spends Christmas with the Matthews.
As noted either earlier this season or in previous seasons, Ava pretty much is a mini-Maya. It is just, rather than her finding a best friend who is like a sister, she found a potential boyfriend. Which, granted, both she and Auggie are too young to really date, but remember she is still at that age where she is impressionable. Much less, she isn’t an idiot.
What I mean by this is, she has seen what happens in a bad relationship through her parents so she emulates Cory and Topanga since that is a good relationship. She emulates that so she can keep Auggie and have access to his family which brings her stability and love. Love she desires and needs so, as we have seen over the past seasons, she has adapted. She has toned down the reasons Topanga would have to kick her out and tried to let them into her life so that they understand why she shows up so much and doesn’t want to leave. She noted, again I can’t remember when, that in the future she wants to take care of the older Cory and Topanga and while she doesn’t say because she loves them or anything like that, you know he saying that is her way of saying thank you. For, without obligation, they took care of her without her having to ask.
Topic 2: Secret Santa (Smackle, Farkle, Maya, Riley, and Zay)
As you can imagine, any holiday dealing with family and togetherness is Riley’s favorite. Problem is, she likes having a Secret Santa tradition which reveals how much everyone doesn’t know each other. However, this year things are different for Riley has everyone explain why they gave someone their gift.
I’m still recovering from the tears of knowing Ava’s family life is still probably messed up. Those emotions aside, this section of the episode also got to me. For the reasoning behind the gifts, well except Zay’s, were touching. It reminded you of each person’s journey, be it how far Maya has come as a character, how far Smackle has come, as well as a reminder of the relationship Farkle and Riley have that has been on the backburner since Smackle became semi-regular and the love triangle ended. Making for a segment where it felt like the characters who have really grown on the show were showcased, alongside the desperately needed to be developed, Zay. Who I really do wish was the one written to give Maya a clock. If just to push the idea him and Maya could become a thing.
Now, the co-stars aside, what about the leads? It can be assumed Maya got Lucas in Secret Santa, due to her signature nickname for him being held back, and a wicked smile, meaning Lucas got Riley. Which I think is a necessary matching at this point for the relationship between those two has sort of gone nowhere since his decision. Plus, and maybe I might have been mistaken, but it was made to seem that Lucas went to Texas without telling Riley. Which is an odd thing to do, so I can only fathom that he was looking to get or bring something or someone to her as a gift. Likely to remind us that he does care about Riley, but beyond the way Riley feels about Farkle.
Topic 3: A Christmas Maya (Maya)
Can it be a semi-serious episode which doesn’t have Maya dwelling on how something good in her life will end? In this case, Shawn seeing her and Katy’s Christmas crazy and being scared away.
I love Maya, she is my favorite character on this show, but I grow tired of her either carrying the emotional weight of the show and/or her always having this constant fear terrible things are around the corner. Granted, it has been established Kermit’s abandonment still reverberates in her psyche but surely Shawn has proven himself right? Surely they have talked to the point she knows his past, how he will be present, and how he will be part of her future. Wasn’t that said and done during the wedding episode? Must she still distrust Shawn and have selective memory when it comes to her misery as Riley does when it comes to times she matured? As Smackle mentioned, there is so much else she can focus on when it comes to fixing herself.
Things to Note | Question(s) Left Unanswered
- Katy got some kind educational permit so Maya could go to the same school as Riley when she was a kid. Explaining how they likely live in two different neighborhoods but go to the same school.
- Does anyone else ever question Maya’s upbringing at times? She makes her home, possibly former home at this point, seem like they were in the projects yet look where they live. Unless they have moved since then, I don’t get it? Much less, unless Topanga is paying Katy way past minimum wage, or Katy lives in a rent controlled housing development, how did she afford her apartment all this time? Especially in Manhattan?