Awkward., Season 3, Episode 8: “Rubbed Raw and Reeling”
Written by Jamie Dooner and Lauren Iungerich
Directed by Ryan Shiraki
Airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on MTV
With Jenna in a stable place in her life for the first time in the series’ run, it might be expected that she would end up sabotaging things by giving in to her own insecurities, and for a while, things were heading in that direction. However, Matty’s decision to put himself out there and learn to dance was an unexpected step that went a long way towards making Jenna feel secure, and this week’s episode explores how her newfound security holds up in the face of instability in her public and private life, in a poignant episode that strengthens an old relationship while fertilising a new one.
It is good to see Matty and Jake’s friendship back on its regular path this week, to the point that the two can joke about the time they competed over Jenna. Lingering rivalry between the two, especially with Jake in a seemingly happy relationship with Tamara, could have become tiresome, so it’s good to see the show not go down that route. It will be interesting to see how Jake reacts to any deterioration in Jenna and Matty’s relationship, as, with his reconciliation with Matty, Jake becomes the only person truly in the middle, and with a vested interest in the well-being of both parties.
The imminent love triangle between Collin, Matty, and Jenna, was also nicely built up to this week. While this could have felt like a rehash of the love triangle that dominated much of Season 2, the writers have done a good job to date of portraying the relationship between Collin and Jenna as fundamentally different from the one that Jake and Jenna have, illustrating Collin’s appeal to Jenna in the process. The idea of Jenna’s relationships needs evolving as she matures is one worth exploring, and how Collin and Angelique factor into the story promises to be fascinating.
Overall, this was another solid episode. Seeing Jenna have a supportive pair of parents this season really helps drive home the point of how different her life is this season, and how the support holds up through the period of self-doubt she is sure to undergo in the coming weeks should be interesting to see. Valerie continues to be a hilarious character, as this episode displays once again, and credit must be given to both Desi Lydic and the writing staff for managing to keep her character from crossing the line into grating. How Jenna deals with her newfound feelings and conflicting emotions about Matty, and how her relationship with Mr. Hart develops after her public reading are both storylines worth tuning in next week to see.
– Deepayan Sengupta