Awkward., Season 2, Episode 9: “Homewrecker Hamilton”
Written by Kelly Fullerton and Vera Herbert
Directed by Joe Nussbaum
Airs Thursdays at 10:30 PM on MTV
Betrayal is an emotion that never elicits a healthy response. Whether its from a friend or a romantic partner, the sense that pertinent information has been withheld, or continues to be withheld, can throw a person for a loop, and make even the most rational person act in a harsh manner. While Awkward. explored how Jake reacted to the news of Jenna and Matty’s consummated relationship last week, this week sees him having to come to terms with what he witnessed following Ally’s wedding, and the weight of multiple betrayals, and the show continues to prove its capabilities by making what could have been a predictable plot path into a continually interesting storyline.
The episode continues the dramatic tone associated with the disintegrating triangle between Jake, Jenna, and Matty that was set last week, wisely choosing not to veer into comedic territory. It was interesting to see that the writers chose not to attempt a romantic reunion of Jenna and Matty; rather, this episode reinforces the idea of the two of them as friends, to an extent. Not only does this prevent a rehashing of stories that have been done before, but it also adds to the dimensionality of all three characters involved, by showing how the consequences of prior decisions affect them, rather than having the plot dictate how they will behave on any given week. This helps add emotional weight to the proceedings, allowing the audience to get invested, rather than simply wait for the next plot turn.
Which is not to say this episode forgoes the show’s comedic elements; rather, other storylines and characters are mined for laughs instead, to good effect. It was good to see the return of Ming, who’d been sidelined due to the absence of Jenna and Tamara from school in the prior episodes, but her run-ins with the Asian mafia as a result of her courtship with Fred Wu provided a light-hearted alternative to Jenna’s story without being at odds with it. Similarly, Valerie’s single scene continues to prove Desi Lydic’s capability at turning the character’s ineptness into a source of charm, as her mediation between Matty and Jake perfectly fit the character. But Sadie was perhaps the strongest of the secondary characters this week; any fears that her relationship with Ricky would make her soft were washed away this week, as she ruthlessly went after Jenna at every available opportunity, right to the end. It will be interesting to see if the character ever feels she has taken things too far, for the end of this episode indicated she wasn’t anywhere near pulling her punches.
Overall, this was another fun episode of the show. The continuity and in-depth character and plot exploration is a major strength of the show, and this week proved why in spades. The clueless cheerleader at the pep rally was a nice addition that allowed for an outside perspective on the frayed relationships at the heart of the show, and the realisation on Jenna’s part that her parents are headed for divorce promises to be another interesting avenue for the show. How the events at the end of this episode, where Jenna’s long-private blog became very visible very fast, impacts the rest of the season will prove how well the writers know their show, and may be one of the more memorable aspects of the series if done right, which is a strong reason to anticipate next week’s episode.
– Deepayan Sengupta