Every week, we're recapping season two of Degrassi: Next Class. Grab a hold for a doozy of a cliffhanger, y'all!
As we've made abundantly clear in almost all of our recaps, the Degrassi empire wasn't built on pleasantries and playing it safe. Many of the show's biggest moments came as a shock to the viewers, including [SPOILERS] Rick shooting Jimmy, J.T. being stabbed and killed, Cam committing suicide, and Adam dying in a car crash. What made those the most surprising was that they happened right in the middle of the regular seasons! Sure, they've had a few true-blue finale twists, like Clare's pregnancy, but they usually steer away from the predictable.
For that reason, we definitely did not see this finale coming.
Let's get through some subplot housekeeping first, though. We finally get a resolution to Zoë's dilemma this season. She's been muddling through her fake relationship with Winston, going so far as to help out with school-sponsored functions on behalf of her student council member boyfriend. Tristan and Grace have both called her on her B.S., but she stands firmly in her decision to play it straight (get it?) The thing is though, if your oblivious boyfriend isn't in on the con, he's going to move toward the expectations of a loving relationship. When he shares his cheerleader fantasy and tries to get down in the storage room, she noticeably winces. This isn't the first or even second time it's happened and Winston knows it. He backs off and leaves.
Later in the hallway, Zoë is clearly melting down, bogged by her own anxiety about
possibly definitely being gay. She opens up her Hastygram to surf the self-harm hashtag, which has been touched on a bit (but honestly, not enough) this season. After seeing posts from other people expressing their pain in the same way, she reveals a cluster of fresh marks on her leg that look as if she's dug her nail into her skin in the form of smily faces. She takes a photo and posts it. Grace sneaks up on her and sees the photo in her feed and confronts her. "It's a lot easier to come out than push people away," she explains.
Zoë decides that she's right and seeks out Winston before the fan bus leaves for the volleyball game. She tells him she's sorry and that he should stay behind and meet her in the storage room. Once the bus is loaded up, he goes back into the school to find Zoë dressed up as a cheerleader and ready to get it on. They start to get busy and she almost immediately starts shaking and crying. He puts a stop to it, asking her once and for all what's going on. Terrified, she finally says out loud that she's gay. This scenario has played out in a few ways for characters like Marco, Paige, Fiona, Imogen, and Miles, some of whom embrace this revelation and some who continue to hide it from the greater population. We'll see next season where Zoë falls on that spectrum.
Back at the Hollingsworth homestead, Hunter is newly sprung from the psychiatric ward, but not in the clear yet. For starters, he isn't allowed to have a cell phone yet, which means using the landline. That millennial crisis pales in comparison to his legal issues, which include a $15,000 fine and possible jail time for calling the S.W.A.T. team on Maya's house last season as a prank (this is an actual thing that happens.)
He might not be able to go back to Degrassi, but at the center of his worry is Yael, his not-quite-official ladypal. He's trying desperately to make up for losing his cool with her last season and she's been receptive, if he'd finally make a move already. He takes the opportunity of the entire school being out at the volleyball game to invite Yael over instead. He dresses up the living room with candy and candles, ready to impress. However, no sooner does he get that all aligned than Baaz and Vijay walk in, ready to sneak him in to the game dressed as the mascot. He nervously paces around, and when Yael walks in, the two boys get the hint that this is actually a date.
However, they don't take the hint to leave. Instead, they grill the two love birds, insisting they lay down ground rules for this possible courtship in regards to their nerd club. Things like, if they break up, it's definitely Hunter's fault. They insist that it probably will be anyway, because he's basically a ticking time bomb who could go to jail. This snaps something in Hunter and he kicks all of them - including Yael - out. After a talk with big brother Miles (who was, we hate to say, surprisingly helpful this season), he decides that it was a mistake, and they speed over to the game. It's there that he finds Yael and tells her how he's pushed her away, but he doesn't want to anymore. They lock lips, and the nerd world rejoices! We ship this one hard and hope and pray that it goes smoothly (but, this is Degrassi, after all ... )
Now, we're ready to get into the big end-of-season twist. It starts with the student body at a volleyball pep rally before the championship game against Northern Tech. We've said it once and we'll say it once more: When did people get so into volleyball? It's nice to see a less-mainstream sport in the spotlight, but is it really paint-your-face and rent-a-bus-for-fans-to-go-to-the-game-worthy? Apparently it is at Degrassi, and everyone is riled up.
Tiny steals Shay away from the crowd to "talk about physics." Regular ol' Romeo, that Tiny! They sneak off into a corner and start to kiss, until Shay's worried mind gets the best of her. Lola still doesn't know what's going on, and it's a cardinal rule in the girl world that you don't mess with a friend's ex. This frustrates Tiny, who was into Shay way before he was into Lola last season, but got shot down. He reminds her that Lola asked her permission to date Tiny and Shay said yes, so Lola should be able to offer the same courtesy.
Shay agrees and confronts Lola after class. She also reminds her about the permission granted and Lola wholeheartedly thanks her for it. Shay finally spits out that she'd like the same in return. Lola thinks on it a bit, admitting that they would look hot together and are obviously very well suited. For that reason, it's a hard no. Giving Tiny up was hard on Shay the first time, so it would be even harder on Lola to see them together after being together for eight months. Sorry, not sorry. This unnerves a typically calm Shay, who has given up a lot this season. She had to stand by Frankie during the racism scandal and then later, kick her off the team. She had to turn down a prestigious sports camp because she wouldn't apologize for participating in Lola's Black Lives Matter protest. She deserves to have her day.
During the match, she's getting super bossy on the court, diving in front of her teammates to get the ball, which often sacrifices points from the team. She refuses to communicate, which leads to a midair collision with Frankie. They call a time out and she spews out all of her frustrations. "I do the right thing, but what do I get in return?" she asks. It slips that Tiny is one of those losses and Lola overhears. She assures her that she's sure she will get over Tiny and meet a cute boy at the beach, so Shay should just go for it. Shay texts Tiny to come to the game. With newfound confidence, she gets back in the game and they win.
The girls are celebrating their victory, but there's a noticeable lack of blue and gold garb in the stands. They go to shake hands with the Northern Tech team, when the captain asks if Shay is okay. Confused, she says of course, they just won. "You haven't heard?" she asks, ominously. For about a minute, the camera pans around the room showing anxious Degrassi students, asking where their friends are. Lola is heard screaming, "WHAT?!" across the gym. Winston and Zoë ask what's wrong, and Frankie tells them the bus with the fans didn't make it. It wasn't a flat tire or something, the entire thing crashed on the highway. WHOA.
They check the bus list, which includes some major cast members: Grace, Tiny, Zig, Maya, Jonah, and Tristan. Lola pulls up a live feed from the scene, where the reporter shares that the students are being rushed to the hospital, one in critical condition. The girls huddle up together as Frankie assures them "It'll be okay, it has to be okay." Fade to black.
By the looks of the upside down bus, it's hard to believe anyone would have made it out alive. It sure didn't work out like that on Veronica Mars. It would be a ballsy move to wipe out that many characters in one sitting, but with Degrassi, anything is possible. Seems like it caught the cast by surprise, too, according to this behind-the-scenes table read of the episode below. Theories are swirling, but we'll all have to wait and see in 2017. Until then, we know you'll make it through!
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