Awkward., Season 3, Episode 9: “Reality Check”
Written by Erin Ehrlich
Directed by Lauren Iungerich
Airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on MTV
Jenna’s insecurity has been a running theme throughout Awkward., and it hasn’t gone away this season, despite her personal life being stable. One of the sources of concern has been Mr. Hart’s English class, but Jenna baring her most embarrassing moment opened up a previously-unseen compassionate side to him, providing the illusion of complete stability, an illusion that was shattered moments later when Jenna’s friendship with Collin began to toe the line into something more. This episode explores how Jenna deals with this possibility of wanting more than what she has now, in a well-written episode that proves the show isn’t set to go down a predictable route this time.
Using Jenna’s fantasies and newfound feelings towards Collin as a way to strengthen her relationship with Matty, rather than test or weaken it, was a very interesting way for the show to subvert viewer expectations. While Jenna’s feelings towards Matty have been made clear throughout the show’s run, Matty’s feelings about Jenna have become more apparent this season, as he has been more open about them, and more willing to show affection, and the episode’s final scene, coupled with his willingness to learn dancing, are clear indications of a changed Matty. While Jenna’s concerns about how maturity will change her is at the forefront of the episode, Matty’s new behaviour is indicative of maturity on his part as well, and how he deals with any roadblocks in the relationship going forward is something to look out for.
Sadie’s continued disdain for Jenna, despite the continued deterioration of her own life, is also an interesting aspect. With Matty having been the only real friend of Sadie’s during her recent troubles, Sadie’s motivations for trying to tell Matty about the closeness between Collin and Jenna could reveal more about her than has been seen before. If she was truly bent on the continued destruction of Jenna, at the expense of the emotional state of her only friend, then Sadie may be a fundamentally irredeemable person, and it would be exciting to see the show possibly explore a character who has been established as such. If, however, her motivation was to keep Matty safe, then it may signal the beginning of Sadie’s attempt to change how she communicates with people. What she does from here on out will be crucial in determining which path she goes down, but either path is bound to be fascinating to watch.
Overall, this was another compelling episode. It was sad to see Fred Wu formally leave, and hopefully Ming’s rise to power will allow for his return. Speaking of Ming’s rise to power, how she handles her sudden rise to the top of the Asian mafia is worth keeping an eye on, as Ming has proven herself, in the show’s run, to be a fundamentally good person, and if and how her new power changes her will be very telling. Whether Jenna’s fantasies about Collin continue to haunt her, and how Ming handles her new position, are both storylines worth tuning in for next week.
– Deepayan Sengupta