I saw this episode early but debated about holding off until Friday when it airs. But I just have so many feelings I want to share nooooow. So I'm starting this review now. You don't like it? Lump it! Take it down the street and dump it!
But, seriously, don't click this link if you don't want them spoilers.
Holy bananaphone, guys! This episode rocked! This episode rocked my world! This is a gamechanger! The game done changed! You thought we were playing basketball? Well, lookagainwe'replayingbaseballbecausewegotagamechanger!
I don't even know where to- I don't even know how to begin! Let's start with the things I didn't like. There are two.
#1. Maya's big "Herrrrr" impression of Lucas. I don't have anything to say about it. I just didn't find it funny.
#2. I also dislike how fucking dipshit Cory Matthews lied to his fucking students. That story about Iceland? That's not true. That's a myth. Do your homework, writers. Jesus Christ. You telling them all about how we use only 10% of our brains next week, Cor? Or about how one time you heard there was a kid who ate pop rocks and then drank a can of Coke and he EXPLODED? Mr. Turner, fire him.
Anyway, that's it. Everything else about this episode was goldilocks. And I'm going to present to you all the things I liked abut it by doing a TOP 5 EPISODE MVP COUNTDOWN because I want to hit on a number of characters and aspects of this episode that were good and this is how I'm choosing to do it.
HONORABLE MENTION: Cheryl Texiera as Katy Hart. Her impersonation of Riley wasn't as spot-on as I think they wanted us to think it was, but she was great in this episode. I really like Katy a lot, and this was a good use of her. When she showed up my first thought was "Hey Katy, how's it going with Shawn? You know that guy you went on a date with two months ago? Any updates there?" but they did give us enough updates to know that things are still progressing and getting serious with them. And this was a very good way to handle it - Shawn can't be in every episode. Shawn can't be in most episodes. So, using Katy to at least give a sense that Shawn's story is ongoing is a very good way to go about things. Good work. And, yeah, Cheryl was great in this episode, but had a small part and there were so many people good in this episode.
NUMBER 5: Danielle Fishel as Topanga Lawrence-Matthews. Also a small part, but Topanga was great in this episode! From"Hey Riley, random question, but have you seen every piece of black clothing I own?" to "Aw, sweetie, you're really scraping the bottom of the Halloween barrel, aren't you?" Topanga was just a lot of fun here kind of just hanging out and cracking wise. I like snarky Topanga. I'm a little sick of her whining about how her husband likes Shawn better than he likes her though. Either let it go or dump him, Pangers.
NUMBER 4: Corey Fogelmanis as Farkle Minkus AKA Donnie Barnes. Ultimately, Farkle is probably the character most affected by this episode, but I can't say I didn't enjoy the rest of the kids better since the Donnie Barnes character was just a regular person who introduced himself a lot.
At first I was a little annoyed by this plot because it felt like Farkle had already made the decision that he was going to be himself many times, and it was annoying to see such a drastic version of it when I thought he'd made his peace on this issue already. But the way they ended it was a very good move - he's not really going to be Donnie Barnes, that was just a brief moment of insecurity, but he is going to change his look because... well, he wants to change his look. There's nothing wrong with that. That's an age where you start thinking about how you dress and present yourself, and it's not "not being yourself" to try to present yourself better and be a more appealing and attractive person. That final scene with Lucas gave me confidence that Farkle is still going to more or less be Farkle, but that he just wants to dress a little cooler (which I commend) and maybe he's going to be a little less "Laaaadddiiiesss....." (which I also commend.)
I am, however, worried about the fact that I think this episode was shown earlier than it fell in the production order, and that we're going to see earlier episodes where he's acting like the old Farkle and invalidating these decisions. Either way, very cool that in Farkle's case this didn't get reverted back to status quo by the end of the episode.
NUMBER 3: Peyton Meyer as Lucas Friar. It's a shame he only wins the bronze, because this was Lucas' episode bar none. It was a very good move to have everyone but him change identities, because it allowed him to (for once) be the character we, the audience, identified with. His increasing frustration with the situation was very funny, and I just really enjoyed everything he did here with no qualifications. Meyer's performance in this episode wasn't as good as Rowan or Sabrina's, but Lucas was probably my favorite character.
NUMBER 2: Rowan Blanchard as Riley Matthews AKA Morosha M. Black. Again, I like that we got two character changes here - one that'll kind of take and one that won't take at all. Obviously Riley was never going to be able to keep Morosha up, but she was SO much fun and Rowan was a riot the entire episode. "You can find her in the yearbook. Keep in touch and have an awesome summer." was my favorite line of the episode. The one major way Riley and Cory are alike, is that they both are central characters who are most effective when supporting characters get the dramatic storylines and leave them to be comic relief. Rowan is slowly but surely proving herself to be just as indispensable to this show's comic identity as Ben Savage is. Sabrina may be the best actress on the show, and Maya the most engaging character, but Riley's funnier. And still, all this comedy was coming from a real emotional place. Riley's life usually works out exactly how she hopes it will, which has reinforced this sunny worldview. The idea of Lucas and Maya obviously threw her for a loop. I'm looking forward to seeing more of that.
NUMBER 1: Sabrina Carpenter as Maya Hart. To me, Maya was the emotional centerpoint of this episode. Farkle's change wasn't as focused on, and Riley's change and Lucas' reaction was mainly played for laughs. Maya was the one that was taken seriously, as she seemed very strongly effected by these changes in her friends, and by the end was left solely aware of certain revelations that should play out in the rest of the series to come. The final scene with her and Riley, keeping silent on the fact that she seemed to have just discovered what most of the audience (and, apparently, the rest of the school) already knew was very good moment.
So, what exactly does this all mean going forward? Is the show cutting bait on the Riley/Lucas thing, realizing that Maya/Lucas is clearly where the story is headed whether they planned it that way? The only actually stated revelations here seem to be Maya's understanding that Riley/Lucas just doesn't seem right. At the moment, that doesn't seem to also include the idea of Maya being with him instead. But they didn't do the Maya/Lucas best couple thing for no reason either. I expect further developments in "Girl Meets Semi-Formal" next week.
Okay, Sean. What do you got? I feel like there were things I'm forgetting to address. OH! Here's one. I wish they'd had Topanga and Maya try singing "Tomorrow" to reawaken the old Riley. Because I'm now thinking that not only is Riley's father Eric, but her mother has gotta be Corinna from "Shallow Boy."
I'm amazed that no one on this blog has ever drawn a line between Corinna and Riley before now. You get an A+ for that.
I'm still not impressed with Rowan Blanchard. She only has the one voice, which was just barely pitch shifted down for Morosha. Don't get me wrong, I love everything they wrote for Riley. This was a truly beautiful script all around, and if I were only looking at the script I would agree with Riley/Morosha at number 2. And I would maybe agree with Lucas at number 3. But neither actor delivered for me. Fogelmanis, on the other hand, is looking like the strongest (young) male actor on the channel, a SKYROCKET improvement from when this show started. I hope he continues on this trajectory.
So yes, I would put Farkle at number 2, Riley at 3, and Lucas at 4. We've seen Farkle struggling with his identity before, but unlike Christian, I don't think that's a bad thing. No one his age is capable of overcoming those issues after a single pep talk. It's an arc. This is further development. And it's interesting! I'm genuinely invested in Farkle's transition. Especially after that final scene, that was a home run.
Initially I thought the Shawn plug was lame, but you changed my mind. An update is good, you're right.
100% agree on Maya though. Maybe I would have enjoyed Morosha more(osha) if she hadn't been set up next to the amazingly perfect Maya-playing-Riley.
On Iceland, how could the kids think it's icy and Greenland green? DIDN'T THEY EVER SEE MIGHTY DUCKS 2?!
Christian claimed this was the best non-veteran episode, which uhhhhhhhh, yeah maybe. I give it an A for sure. If we're being completely unbiased, it's worth noting that we're coming off a week of mediocre shows and that thing called "Descendants." Maybe a whole lot of stuff would look good right now. It's certainly a contender though.
Yeah, I don't know why Riley/Corinna didn't occur to me before now. Girl Meets World is essentially Boy Meets World if Corinna had been the main character and not Cory. Also, when Cory dressed up as that female waitress he should have made his name be "Corinna" or "Corinne" and not "Cora" because that's a better femme-Cory name.
Hey, what did Zay win in the Yearbook I wonder? Most Likely to Fucking Vanish? I didn't like Zay either guys, but you can't just pretend he wasn't in the class. Tell us he went back to Texas or something.
Man, I thought Rowan was so much fun in this. I agree she's not as dynamic as she could be (although, in fairness, she's not written that dynamically, so, what's she supposed to do?) but I consistently enjoy her performances. Say what you want, but she's funny and that's usually all she's tasked with. And I guess I remain conscious that she's younger than the other three and cut her some slack. I also guess I wasn't concerned that she still felt basically the same as Riley when she was playing Morosha... because she was still playing Riley. This is Riley, a naive twit, playing a dark and disturbed character.
On the other hand, I guess I wasn't as impressed with Corey. I thought he was good in the episode and everything, but I think the wardrobe change did a lot of the heavy lifting here. He mostly just stood around and said "I'm Donnie Barnes." I did like the final scene, but I dunno. Is he the best young male actor on the channel (as far as we've seen)? Yeah, maybe. But that's the faintest of praise, as the young men on this channel seem to be consistently worse than the girls. It's true on every single show so far. Also, he's not better than Uriah Shelton, but I don't know if we're counting guest stars. (And also, shit, what the hell happened to Josh too? Where's he been? Did Farkle murder him for his stupid cap?!) I don't even know who his competition is. Liv & Maddie's pointless brothers? Anyway, the point is, all he did was play like a regular person and say his lines in a normal tone. He did fine and everything, he's not a bad actor, but I'm not sure what I was supposed to find impressive. Rowan, at least, was funny. And not just because she had funny lines, I think she, herself, was funny.
It's been a good 20 years since I've seen D2, mind reminding me what the Icelandic connection is? And what made you think the Shawn reference was lame - you mean, like, in a "Don't try to get mileage out of Shawn when you didn't bother to put him in the episode" kind of way?
You didn't touch on the Maya/Lucas and Riley/Lucas stuff at all, what'd you think? Like, both about what they did, and what it theoretically means for the show going forward?
Every bit of "I'm Donnie Barnes" was funny for me. I guess we just saw it differently.
The enemy hockey team in Mighty Ducks 2 is from Iceland, and there's a brief exchange between Emilio Estevez and his love interest about the Ice/Greenland naming thing. Also, I took you at your word that it was just a myth about the "let's trick people" naming story, but it seems pretty well founded from the logbooks of Erik the Red. Even on Snopes I can't find anything to prove otherwise.
Maya's revelation that Riley and Lucas are more like brother and sister is a solid direction that, unless my memory fails me, none of us predicted. Definitely happy with that. But now that Mucus actually seems like a possibility... I'm not sure I want it anymore. Everyone on earth knows they banter well, but they still suffer from having absolutely nothing in common. Like, do you think Maya and Lucas ever hang out without Riley? That said, they've got more than enough for a few dates and some hormone fueled making out, a la Shawn and Dana. I'll eat my socks if that happens though.
NOW THAT I MENTION THAT, they could do a scene with Shawn and Maya where Shawn calls back his dalliance with Dana, the whole "we had nothing in common but I made the effort to blah blah," applying it to Maya's theorized situation with Lucas. That could be great.
I guess? I dunno. I actually don't think having tons and tons in common is the hallmark of a good relationship. Cory and Topanga don't have a lot of common interests. Shawn and Katy are very different too. You can't have nothing in common, but if you're already making a friendship work and you have enough between you to sustain consistent banter, I kind of think that's enough in common right there. No, I don't think they hang out without Riley, but that's not because I think if they did they'd have nothing to say to one another. Just because Maya like art and Lucas like sports, it doesn't mean they can't sustain a conversation. Most girls I've dated haven't liked half of what I like, and I haven't liked half of what they like, but that was never a problem. Meanwhile, look at Shawn and Angela, they had a lot in common, both in terms of interests and having common parental abandonment issues, and they were a horror show.
And is that really what tore Shawn and Dana apart? Their differences? That Valentine's episode kind of implies Shawn just ultimately flaked out like usual.
And I think to have Riley and Lucas not work out because it wasn't what they thought it was, and then have Maya and Lucas not work out for more or less the same reason seems redundant. I'm not saying I need Maya and Lucas to up and marry each other (In fact, let's make sure that doesn't happen, okay?) But I think they have enough to like... date for a while. And I think the show could discover some interesting things about both characters by making it happen. Doesn't have to work out, but let's give it a season.
Oh, I also wanted to add that while Lucas and Riley aren't a good match, I don't exactly think it's because they seem like brother and sister. They just don't have a lot of chemistry or bring out interesting things in one another. It's not because they're so similar they feel related.
As for Iceland/Greenland - the Iceland thing is total nonsense. If you found something about Erik the Red then you didn't find anything about the naming of Iceland because they happened long before his time. It was named Iceland because of the ice at the top of the mountains or something, it wasn't a trick to keep people out. Erik the Red (probably best known as Leif Erikson's papa) did found Greenland, like Cory said, and he did name it Greenland in order to make it more inviting, but A) There is green in Greenland and he probably was just referring to that B) It wasn't some diabolical ploy, it was just "Well, here's the country I'm founding, gotta name it something, may as well make it a nice name." And this is the first I'm hearing that everyone died. Where are you seeing different? I looked it up to make sure and everything.
Yeah, I guess humor is just subjective! I didn't find Farkle particularly funny in this one. Certainly not compared to Riley, who cracked me up. EITHER WAY! We can agree this was a very good episode, and Sabrina's the MVP, so I guess what's to argue about!
"..haven't liked half of what I like," yeah that's half, which is different from Maya and Lucas. They have nothing, unless they want to talk about Riley. "enough to like... date for a while," isn't that what I said? And when I mentioned Shawn and Dana I was thinking of how it started, not how it ended.
I think the biggest problem is that it's trendy to be shipping Maya and Lucas. It was fun in like the second episode of the series when we were being rebels about it, but now this hype train is getting too crowded for a jerk like me.
I'm giving up on Ice/Greenland.
I'm not prepared to say that Maya and Lucas have nothing in common. The very fact that they enjoy this witty banter relationship proves they have something in common. I don't think two people without a single thing in common could sustain such a dynamic. Clearly they have a common sense of humor, and that, my friend, is a lot. They're also both strong, independent, loyal, apparently have occasionally destructive impulses that they try to control. So, what exactly is it so diametrically opposed about them? Their hobbies? We have no idea what all their hobbies are. I doubt Maya's only interest is art and cutting holes in her jeans, and I bet there's more to Lucas than sports and sheep herding. If they both like going out to eat, seeing movies, and hanging out in Central Park, they'll be fine. What did Cory and Topanga have in common?
I don't know. I just think they have this fun Hercules and Megara vibe.
I do have a similar issue of not liking when something I liked starts becoming popular and I stop feeling unique for liking it, but there's also something to be said about vindication. I remember I thought Ron and Hermione were going to be the go-to couple from Book 1 and everyone was like "What? No way. She'll end up with Harry." and so when Ron and Hermione became canonical, I felt pleased with myself. If the show itself sees what I see in the characters and their dynamic, I find that to be good news. Also, do Harry, Ron, and Hermione remind you of Cory, Shawn, and Topanga or what?
Your responses are getting sparser, so you may be just about done (But reply if you're not!) In case you are, I'll throw my scores up:
Episode Rating: A
Episode MVP: Sabrina Carpenter (as stated)