Alexa & Katie’s second season enhances what worked the first season, but forgets developing most of the characters that fill out the cast.
|Cody||Jordan Austin Smith|
|Sasha||Alyvia Alyn Lind|
|Ryan||Nathaniel James Potvin|
|Cody||Jordan Austin Smith|
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Episode Summaries on Page 2
The Financial Struggles of Katie, And Alexa Being Less Clueless
It’s not that I relish in Katie’s struggles, it is just, with Alexa dialing it back about how well off her family is, it made you appreciate how hard it is to maintain that upper-class look. You know, beautiful house, two kids, and putting up the appearance you are living the life. In season 2, nothing has changed, but you learn to appreciate and how much of a struggle middle-class living is.
Take Katie trying to get to London. Yes, Jennifer can afford the house and is crafty enough to figure out ways to keep her kids fed and relatively entertained. However, $2000 isn’t something she can pull out of the bank. So, similar to how working class people do it, Katie wanted something and she sought a way to make it happen. She even organized her schedule in such a way to maintain getting straight As and make money.
Yet, as soon as things seemed okay, a freak accident made her broke again. In a strange way, that I can’t say the show intended, it shows you how messed up life is. All it takes is one bad thing happening, and you’re back to struggling again. Meanwhile, your neighbor could handle your problem and seemingly not hurt a bit. I mean that too since when Alexa decides to, somewhat last minute, undo all the reservations and fancy stuff she and her parents planned, not even Dave, who complains about most things, said anything. Thus presenting a slightly uncomfortable lesson in how unfair life can be.
How? Well, Katie works her behind off, bad things happen, and she has no safety net. Alexa doesn’t work hardly at all yet gets a party which may have cost $2000+.
It Sometimes Is A Very Emotional Season
When it comes to the struggles mentioned above Katie has with money, including Alexa dealing with her breakup with Dylan, alongside her leukemia diagnosis haunting her, the show gets a tad dark. Not so dark it isn’t appropriate for kids, but I will admit I got a little teary eyed. The lead actresses were given the kind of arcs where, when their moment of devastation hit; you had no reason to roll your eyes. Even with noting Alexa is privileged, all you saw was a young girl hurting and how helpless she was in the situation.
Ryan and Katie
These two goofy kids were as cute as ever this season. Mind you, it felt like we barely saw Ryan for most of the season, but what do you expect for a character whose life pretty much is dictated by his crush on Katie? That point aside, as they finally got together towards the end of the season, it was hard to now “Aw” sometimes. Even though all they do is hold hands.
Hannah and Reagan Are Still Utter Mysteries
Hannah is a bit dim, and Reagan is like Alexa with possibly less money, but a bit more ego. Okay, that was established in season 1. Season 2 doesn’t develop them at all. They still are around, Hannah makes a joke, Reagan does as well, and they seem to have their own separate thing going. Oh, Hannah notes she gets sick sometimes and awkwardly funny things happen but nothing that would make you feel you got to know her more.
Jennifer, Dave, Lori, and Jack Didn’t Have a Storyline
There was a whole lot of stop and go moments with these three. Jennifer going to school is still a thing but is barely talked about. There also were moments when she wanted to restart the band she had with Jack, but that died when she remembered the lyrics they had. As for Dave? He was around a lot more than in season 1, but he remains a mystery. We don’t get some hint of his culture, meet his parents or anything which would make him anything more than a goofy dad. Same applies to Lori. She is that stereotypical control freak, with an ego, and her job? Well, while Dave gets to at least mention he is still a pilot, Lori’s position goes poof!
As for Jack? Well, did we expect him to get a storyline? Him learning to tap seemed like it could have led to something, but that got shut down. Also, remember Robbie, Jack and Katie’s dad? Not a single word about him to maybe make that a thing for Jack to think about.
On The Fence
The Cancer Kids Got Greatly Reduced
On the one hand, the show barely comes up with stuff for the core cast to do, so why add in Megan talking about her recovery or Alexa taking Sasha under her wing? Yet, it just seemed like the way they got cut out was so drastic. Yes, it is noted Lori volunteers at the hospital, but Alexa going to the hospital for one episode seemed weird. Unless the purpose of indicating how depressing the whole chemo experience was supposed to act as a reason she avoids the hospital.
Between dating Gwenny and starting a band, Lucas had a decent season. It didn’t lead to much growth for him as a character, but at least he had things going on that lasted for more than one or two episodes. In fact, his journey to starting a band, and dating Gwenny, continued nearly the entire season.
But, even with that time length, it felt we barely got past the surface. With Gwenny, Alexa’s nemesis, he didn’t end up triggering us getting to know Gwenny better or exposing his insecurities, past one episode. Then, with the band, despite the whole issue of his bandmates being yes men, which gets called out once, they kind of revert right back to the way things were the following episode.
Overall: Mixed (Stick Around)
While there is an improvement, regarding Alexa and Katie’s part of the show, everyone else faltered a bit. Nearly everyone, but Lucas, got episodic stories that rarely drummed up any interest. Then, when it comes to some things which could have been multiple episodes, like Jack finding a hobby in tap, Jennifer wanting to relive her youth, and things like that, they just faded away. Leaving the show having a moderately sized cast with very little to draw you into their character besides the occasional funny moment.
Hence the mixed label, two seasons in a row. While I have to admit something drew me back in, after I thought I wouldn’t watch a second season, this remains a show which seemingly is still finding itself. It doesn’t want to court controversy or political messages, yet doesn’t want to seem sterile either. It wants to have two strong leads who are capable of being well-rounded but forgets about everyone else in the process. Making the season a bit lopsided. Watchable, even likable, but not something to analyze too much or else you’ll enjoy yourself less.
Episode Plot Summaries
Episode 1: Second First Day
|Introduced This Episode|
|Cody||Jordan Austin Smith|
With Alexa’s checkup days away, the whole family is worried – Lori especially. This leads Lori to freak out a bit and drown herself in tasks like Lucas’ college essay and Alexa’s upcoming sweet 16. As for Alexa? Well, to keep her mind off the results, she decides to spend the first few days of school doting on Katie who twisted her ankle, then hurt her arm, then fell down a flight of stairs – thanks to Alexa. Luckily, by the end of the episode, we learn Katie is okay, though a bit fearful of Alexa, and Alexa has a clean bill of health. She can even play basketball this year.
Episode 2: ChoreCats
Katie learns she, alongside Ryan, have been chosen to go to London for a week! The problem is, for them to take part in this acting training, Katie has to get $2,000. As we already know, between the house, two kids, and school, Jennifer doesn’t have that kind of money. So, Katie signs up for ChoreCats and joins the gig economy. Which, of course, no one checks if she is old enough to work because it’s an app.
Unfortunately for Katie, and Alexa who joins her on many a task, this method doesn’t pan out. Actually, after all is said and done, and they do 11 jobs through the app, they end up owing $5. But, despite hitting a little bit of a setback, the girls are not giving up!
Episode 3: #GWENCAS
|Introduced This Episode|
Alexa and Katie’s worse fear comes true: Gwenny is dating Lucas. Despite all they try to do, which Dylan doesn’t support at all, they officially become a hashtag. But, on a positive note, Katie gets a job at the Wired Café so she may make enough to support her London goals.
Episode 4: Tryouts and Latte Doubts
With getting cleared for going out for basketball, Alexa thinks she’ll jump right back into the game. Unfortunately, her muscle memory isn’t the same, and she is relegated to junior varsity. Mind you, this only comes about since the coach knows her potential. However, just being put on JV makes Alexa feel down until she visits the hospital and encounters Sasha. Currently, Sasha is going through chemo and just hearing Alexa is in maintenance and can be cleared to play basketball is exciting and inspirational to her. So, taking note of Sasha’s spirit, Alexa doesn’t see JV as that bad.
As for Katie? Well, her first few shifts are a bit rough. Luckily, while Barry can be quite tough on her, he is loyal to his employees. So when a rude woman insults Katie, rather than fire Katie to keep the customer, he keeps Katie and kicks out the customer.
Episode 5: PB Without J
With Alexa a sophomore and Dylan a senior, there is that looming issue of what will they do when he goes to college. But, in many ways, Katie provides an answer. For it is because Katie that Alexa often can’t spend quality time with Dylan and it makes him feel secondary. Also, it is because of Katie that Alexa and Dylan have that conversation about what to do when he leaves. Ultimately, the decision is for them to break up.
Episode 6: Shop ‘Til You Cry
|Writer(s)||Blake J. Williger|
The fallout from Alexa and Dylan breaking up causes Lucas to question what may happen between him and Gwenny. He especially worries about the state of their relationship when he misinterprets Gwenny attempting to console Alexa with a warning of how quickly, and easily, she could break up with him. So, after consulting Dave, who is engrossed in a flight simulator game, he decides to break up with Gwenny before she can break up with him. However, Lucas considers that to be a colossal mistake and decides to reverse the decision.
What about Alexa? Well, considering she survived cancer, initially it seems Dylan and her breaking up isn’t a big deal. Yes, she is sad, but it isn’t devastating. However, between Jennifer and Katie, eventually, she breaks down and cries.
Episode 7: Katie’s Beautiful Mind
|Director(s)||Jody Margoin Hahn|
It has been six weeks since Dylan and Alexa broke up and things are still a little bit rough for her. However, upon seeing Dylan again, since Katie needs help with pre-calculus, she tries to put her best foot, face, and outfit, forward. Not to the point the two reconcile and have thus become friends, but it seems they may no longer have nasty names for each other on their phone.
Speaking of Katie needing help with pre-calculus, with it slowly coming to the wire of her needing the $2000, she is taking extra shifts at Wired to make sure she has the money. Hence needing Dylan for though her friends help cover Drama, English, History, and more, none of them are all that good at math. Also, none of them, particularly Alexa, are good at helping Katie keep this secret from Jennifer any longer.
Yet, rather than be mad, she is quite proud of Katie for finding a way rather than giving up. Something which can’t be said for Dave and Lori when it comes to Lucas giving up on his band. For with the realization it isn’t going to work out, he attempts to freeze himself to death. Said idea is worrisome, but neither Lori nor Dave are necessarily trying to push Lucas to keep this band idea alive. They just don’t want him to become a jerk and a functional adult.
Episode 8: The Ghost of Cancer Past
It’s Christmas and while everyone is scrambling for the perfect gift, Alexa stumbles upon her hospital bag from when she first started chemo. In doing so, the usually jubilant Alexa feels a bit triggered, and this leads her to a dark place. One which leads to her flashing back to being sick and makes her a little bit depressed. When her feelings are discovered on Christmas Eve, this leads to the idea of Alexa maybe seeing a therapist. But, before that happens, just painting her room is done to try to change the mood a little bit.
Episode 9: New Year’s… Whoops
It’s New Year’s Eve, and the plan was for Katie to tell Ryan she liked him. You know, because they are both shy andclearly he wasn’t going to. Unfortunately, Katie gets cold feet multiple times throughout the night, and just as she creates the perfect moment, the latte machine catches on fire. Possibly messing up her chances to go to London.
Episode 10: Sweet Sixteen
After paying $2100 to fix the latte machine, it seems over for Katie going to London. That is until Alexa finds out and decides that, rather than spend a tremendous amount of money for her sweet 16, she’ll have it at home. Thus leading to Dave and Lori, assumingly knowingly, paying for Katie’s trip.
But that isn’t the only great thing to happen to Katie. Just before Lucas’ band, the Snickerdoodles, play, she confesses to Ryan and her feelings are reciprocated. Making it so those two crazy kids may have their first date in London. Can you think of a better beginning for them and end for the season?
Collected Quote(s) or .Gifs
Question(s) Left Unanswered
- How did Katie, a minor, find a way to work without working papers?
- What Was Cody’s Purpose? Especially considering Alexa didn’t take advantage of him previously knowing she had cancer.
- What happened to Lori’s job? We didn’t see her work once or hear about work (Did I forget her quitting?)?
- Outside of being cute, and easy to manipulate, what did Gwenny see in Lucas? Is it just those two things?
- Why didn’t Alexa get a job? Yes, she had JV, which I don’t think is even mentioned after episode 4, but she could have gotten something part time too.
- Did Alexa ever end up going to therapy or did they repaint her room and that was it?
- How good of a businessperson is Barry if a kid, who has only been working with him for, three months maybe, he gives them a key to his shop? One which, taking the handful of business classes I did, probably cost him a whole lot?
- Whatever happened to Jennifer trying to get out into the dating world again?