The last season of Degrassi: Next Class ended with a bus crash. It was truly a surprise for those who successfully heeded spoiler warnings across Degrassi's social media. It made for a huge shock — and an even bigger cliffhanger carrying the audience into the current season.
However, it was much harder to avoid Lola's bombshell storyline, as pop culture sites praised the show for their unapologetic portrayal of a teen faced with a major life choice.
In a way, it truly served its purpose in bringing the conversation out into the open, even if it meant fewer surprises once the fans binged their way to episode eight.
This is in no way the first time Degrassi has handled teen pregnancy. It isn't even the first time it has dealt with an abortion.
However, Manny's story in season three of The Next Generation didn't even air in the United States, only Canada, which caused some confusion as she dealt with the fallout later on. Even if you didn't stumble on the news about Lola online, it became very clear that this might be an issue in episode six, and was mentioned again in episode seven as she endured the waiting period for a pregnancy test to be accurate.
The time finally came, and as Frankie and Shay whispered outside the bathroom stall, Lola counted down the minutes for her results.
After initially telling her friends that she was all clear, she looks back down at the test after they leave to see an indisputable "YES." The frustrating part of the story is that it wasn't like other situations where they didn't know any better or disregarded advice. (Manny literally didn't know if Craig had used a condom, guys.) These students could really use a show like Degrassi to learn from.
Lola did do the right thing, technically. She was taking birth control, but she had been taking it the wrong way.
Should she and Miles have used more protection? Definitely. But it's hard to write this off as punishment for another "dumb Lola" mistake when she had the right intention.
After taking a night to do research and sleep on it, she decides that she needs to take care of the situation. She initially asks Miles to drive her downtown, although she doesn't tell him why. He shrugs her off as he needs to deal with issues with the play and had already told her that they couldn't pursue anything. In shock and alone, she's met by a frustrated Yael, who is still waiting on the slides they need for a history presentation.
As she lays into her for being irresponsible, Lola blurts out that she can't work on the project right now because she has to get an abortion. Taken aback at first, Yael offers to go with her to the clinic.
This is a significant departure from Manny's story, where it simply ends with her telling her mom she needs to go to the clinic. Walking through each detail of a controversial procedure is bold, but if any show is going to do it with grace and honesty, it's Degrassi.
The next day, Lola returns to school, feeling some of the side effects of the procedure, but overall, in good spirits. She begins her history presentation, but Yael's computer can't connect to the screen. Lola decides to just project from her phone, where her open web browser displays all of her recent searches, including information about abortions and other pregnancy options. She frantically disconnects and runs out of the classroom.
The rumors begin to spread, and Frankie and Shay are little help since they don't know the whole truth about the abortion. When the time comes to film her beauty segment for the nerd herd vlog, she's at a loss for eyelash advice. She's hung up on the fact that she doesn't feel bad about what she did. It was scary, but not difficult and she's not sad. In lieu of another makeup segment, Yael encourages her to express how she feels about her choice instead.
"My name is Lola Pacini," she says. "Yesterday I was pregnant and now I'm not, and I'd like to talk about it."
After school, Frankie and Shay watch the video and ask Lola why she didn't tell them. She explains that she felt judged by them and they admit that while they don't know what they'd do in this situation, they would support her all the way. The three decide to celebrate Lola's bravery, and Miles catches wind of their jubilation. When he asks why they're so happy, Frankie (who doesn't know her brother has anything to do with it) informs him about Lola telling her abortion story.
He goes white.
Lola walks away saying she'll take the father's identity to her grave. However, with all the rumors going around about them hooking up, odds are someone is going to do the math here.
She finds Grace and Jonah by the auditorium and tells them she wants to be part of the play. They immediately shut her down, because while she tried to defend her photos, she told Simpson that the script has a suicide theme, too.
While she isn't totally wrong (the lead does contemplate it), Grace sees this as a deliberate move to tank their play. She can't handle this on top of awaiting a lung transplant (which was news to Maya) and wants her out of her life for good.
Later that day, her ex-boyfriend Zig finds her by her locker. She tries to run away, but when he persists, she blurts out that Grace hates her. She admits that she's a crappy friend who keeps says.) She starts to talk about the old days when they dated and having a do-over, and before he knows it, she's kissing him — right in front of his girlfriend, Esme. He pushes her off, and Esme shoots daggers with her eyes as Maya runs away.
In the hallway, she sees all of her friends walk by and ignore her (or in Esme's case, bump into her).
She is utterly alone. She sits outside on a bench and watches cars go by, and for a split second, she imagines herself walking head first into traffic. She's interrupted from this daydream by Saad, who asks why she hasn't been around to take more creepy pictures. She explains that they didn't make her feel better, just feel something, which probably isn't a good thing (clearly).
She leaves school early and goes home, where she starts deleting all of her contacts out of her phone. Her mom walks in and starts yelling at her for ditching class again. She finally breaks down completely, terrifyingly telling her Mom that she can't find the old Maya, she's not there anymore. In that moment, she seems completely outside herself, and her mom can see it, too.
She tells her that they'll talk to her doctors, as something is seriously wrong.
Basically, Miles thinks he's Shakespeare, which is generous, but he's not wrong that these subjects have been and should be addressed in school.
He heads to the hospital to clear his mind and see Tristan, who is finally awake from his coma. He's still not able to speak, but he is making progress with the help of a walker and a voice machine to communicate. He encourages Miles to fight for the play, because while the play might be controversial, his overall theme is hope. Tristan's mom tells Miles that he's working hard to get out of the hospital so he can make it to opening night of the show.
That's the final bit of motivation Miles needs to save the play.
He finds student council president Zoë and begs her to help him convince Simpson to let the show go on. She has heard some of the rumors, and asks to read the full script. When she's finished, she agrees that the subject matter shouldn't be an issue.
However, it's not the controversial stuff that stuck with her. It's the main character's love interest, Hope, described as a girl with blue hair and an idiot savant (so, clearly Lola). She presses him to admit they hooked up, but he dances around it. She throws down the fact that Tristan has been through enough, and this is only going to fuel the rumors that Miles and Lola are an item.
For his boyfriend's sake, he should kill the play.
This sticks with him and he walks into the meeting with Simpson ready to concede. He even goes so far as to say that he'll respect the principal's wishes to squash the play if it means not hurting anyone. However, Simpson reveals the show can continue, with a few changes to make it more "high school friendly." Miles looks disappointed, having hoped for an easy "out" instead of facing what he's done. Zoë assures him that it will be okay, because Tristan doesn't have any reason to think they hooked up, right?
Except Miles told him, while he was awake from his coma, but possibly not at full brain function to process what he was told ...
... Or was he?