Film and TV

Degrassi: Next Class Season 3 Premiere Recap: We Survive

Tristan isn't smiling. What does it meaaaan?!
Tristan isn't smiling. What does it meaaaan?! F2N
Every week, we're recapping season three of Degrassi: Next Class. Whatever it takes!

The second season of Degrassi: Next Class ended with a whopper of a cliffhanger. On their way to an away volleyball game, a bus with six of our main characters rolled unexpectedly and violently on the highway. The footage was brutal, with the bus upside down and the fate of the students too early to call. It's the kind of infuriating end to a season that most "annual" Netflix shows can't get away with without major backlash. However, the usual logic of the binge-worthy Netflix rollout had to be reworked for a show as prolific as Degrassi and because of that, we've had three new (albeit short) seasons in one year.

That's why it's a little funny that the show would choose to set the beginning of its third season approximately 10 weeks after the crash, at the start of a new school year. The urgency to launch the next set of episodes seemed diluted by the quick breeze-through of what happened to those on the bus. Perhaps we didn't really need to see the nitty gritty of the aftermath, but considering how many lives it affected, it seems like a disservice to what obviously shook the school to its core.

That said, here we are, and despite all scientific logic, everyone made it out alive with varying levels of injury. According to a montage of online videos, Jonah broke his leg, Grace broke her arm, and Maya broke both her wrists. Tiny has a neck brace, and Zig appears to be unscathed. It's Student Body President Tristan who took the brunt of it, landing in critical condition, comatose and fighting for his life. It's unclear if he's getting better or worse, but the doctor isn't coming by as frequently and has expressed that it's been a very long time to be in a coma at this level. Unlike other tragedies that have occurred on Degrassi, the person either loses their fight right away (J.T.) or the prognosis is clear and they're able to move forward (Jimmy). Sitting in limbo would be hard enough for any teenager, but it's especially taxing on Tristan's already troubled boyfriend, Miles.

click to enlarge Who run the world? - NETFLIX
Who run the world?
Meanwhile, back at the school, newly elected Student Body President Zoë is frantically getting everything organized on the first day back. Over the summer, they raised over $60,000 to support a group of refugees from Syria, who will be arriving for the new term. In spite of such an awesome achievement, Grace feels the need to remind her that while she's focused on creating a safe space for the refugee students, she's not out of the closet yet. She reminds her again and again during the episode. Uh, cool down, Grace. Homegirl is kind of busy, okay? At any rate, Zoë insists that it isn't an issue, because she can (mostly) be out at school and she will tell her mom (eventually).

Everything is running smoothly with the welcome, until the Queer-Straight Alliance decides to stage a kiss-in, protesting the fact that their office has been taken over by the Syrian prayer room. How much space does this school have? Weren't they sharing lockers a few season ago? It's all well and good to stand up for your rights, but did anyone, like, ask? They seemed to jump right into a protest, which felt pretty silly. Zoë reminds them that they have a new space, which is a converted janitor's closet (enough said). They accuse her of being homophobic until she boldly informs them that she can't be, because she's gay, too. They back down at this point, but they still don't have a proper office, so the fight isn't over yet.

Later on as she's running errands for the Welcome BBQ, her notifications start blowing up. It turns out that Vijay has decided to put her on blast, calling her a "hateful gay" who wants to strip away their rights. It's mega harsh and especially troubling since they tagged her for the world - including her mom - to see. This isn't the first time Vijay has been an online instigator and it really treads the line of online bullying if you ask us. Hopefully that will be addressed somewhere down the line.

Zoë panics, and in the rush to handle the situation, she loses control of the car and runs into a fire hydrant (literally the oldest trick in the book). She has to lie to her mom once again about why she was distracted and that becomes the last straw. At the BBQ that afternoon, she proudly proclaims Degrassi a safe space, because if someone like her can come out as gay, anyone can be themselves. It's nice to see this plot move forward without it dragging on like last season. Zoë's overdue for some uninhibited happiness.

click to enlarge Reunited and it feels so good. - NETFLIX
Reunited and it feels so good.
Elsewhere, Shay and Tiny are reunited after a whole summer apart while he went to science camp in California. These two lovable nerds find each other in the parking lot and share a kiss like no time had passed at all. However, this was all in plain view of Shay's BFF and Tiny's ex, Lola. It's been a long time since they broke up, especially in high school terms, but she's still pretty burned by what she sees as Shay's betrayal, even though Lola dumped him in the first place.

Later on in class, Vijay and Baaz admit they didn't even remember Tiny and Lola dated. OUCH. Furious, she pulls up a set of their couple photos, well past the usual purge window of a dead relationship. She comes across one where she's kissing him on the cheek and decides to post it under the guise of a TBT to her old pink hair. Oh, Lola. It doesn't take long for Shay to catch wind of it, and they get into a Twitter battle in front of the whole school, so to speak.

It just so happens that Mr. Perino (how is he still there?) is teaching a lesson on social media and the law, which sounds ridiculous but is probably good for kids to know these days. Given this development, he puts Lola on trial for misuse of Hastygram, Twitter, et. al. Her defense claims that, legally, she had every right to post as photographer and owner of the photo. The prosecution claims that it was all meant to provoke a response from Shay (which, yeah OBVIOUSLY). This instead provokes a response from Lola, who blurts that she still thinks Shay stole Tiny (she didn't). After a tense moment, she gets frustrated and tells the class to "Go to Hell!", a relatively minor offense that gets her thrown into detention anyway.

click to enlarge Partners in whine - NETFLIX
Partners in whine
Meanwhile, Miles is also on the warpath. Earlier in the day, he had been told that his photos and videos of Tristan in the hospital had gotten some complains from the students who saw it in the Degrassi community page. He was blocked from posting and asked to move on. It seemed very harsh and sudden that he be told to essentially give up on his boyfriend, specifically from Esme (who was clearly the narc, based on her reaction).

He feels like the only person fighting for hope. He starts ripping down the "safe space" posters in anger. On her way to the office, Lola intercepts him and hides him before a teacher sees his vandalism. They commiserate about how it isn't fair that they have to make everyone else comfortable while they're in pain. "We have to care about everyone's feelings, unless our feelings are hurting their feelings, then we're not allowed to have any feelings," explains Lola. In her own Lola way, she gets through to Miles, who is ready to fight back.

In class, Miles gets up to do a visual presentation of "What I Did on my Summer Vacation." (Really? This is an assignment for seniors?) Despite the criticism, he displays a photo of Tristan, just after the accident, and describes the doctors carving a hole in his skull. WHOA. The class stirs and the teacher puts a stop to it, but not before Esme looks him in the eye and calls him a sadist. "Just because everybody leaves you doesn't mean he's leaving me," he says, vengefully. She bursts into action, pouncing on him before her new boyfriend, Zig, intervenes. Considering they dated off an on, he probably knows something we don't about our troubled Esme. She seems poised for a moment this season for sure.

After school, Lola and Miles are tucked away in detention, making a pact to listen to the other's pain. "I'm so glad I've found someone who understands my grief," says Lola. Um, yeah, about that. Miles' boyfriend is holding on by a thread and you're sad because you broke up with your boyfriend in order to pursue boys on Teender. Yeah, no, it's not the same, and Miles is so utterly alone that he believes her. Their tone is awfully flirtatious, which would be utterly obnoxious considering how far Miles has come. No matter how much depth they try to give her, Lola is a wrench in everyone's business.

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Ashley Harris is a longtime professional fangirl. You can usually find her out at concerts, movies, and live theatre, or glued to the latest Netflix revival.
Contact: Ashley Harris