Awkward., Ep 3.14: “The Bad Seed” examines the effect of Jenna’s relationship

Ashley Rickards, Beau Mirchoff
Ashley Rickards, Beau Mirchoff

Awkward., Season 3, Episode 14: “The Bad Seed”
Written by Jen Braeden
Directed by Greg Guzik
Airs Tuesdays at 10:30 PM on MTV

Throughout most of Season 3, the relationship between Jenna and Collin paralleled the former’s increasing sense of maturity, and her changing tastes as a result. This provided an interesting setting to see how she would deal with the issue that closed last week’s episode, as a fight left her severing most of her friendship ties in favour of Collin. This week delves into how the loss affects Jenna, in a strong episode that takes the character to some very interesting places.

The exploration of Jenna’s increasing dependency on Collin, and the toll it is taking on her, is a fascinating aspect of this week’s episode. While the concept of peer pressure, imagined or real, is an important issue, it is rarely handled well, and this week stands as an exception. The show does a great job of not assigning blame for the situation on anyone; rather, the portrayal of a combined level of stubbornness, situation misreadings, and bad circumstances hold true to the characters and gives the entire situation an air of authenticity, making it more credible. It will be very interesting to see how Jenna’s isolation affects her, particularly as she began the year seemingly finally rid of the shadow of her perceived suicide attempt.

Ashley Rickards, Nikki DeLoach
Ashley Rickards, Nikki DeLoach

It will also be worth watching to note how the others react, particularly individuals such as Lacey and Valerie. While Lacey has tried to be a better mother to Jenna, how she deals with the current situation is likely to be a key moment in determining how far she has developed since she wrote the letter to Jenna in the first season. Valerie, meanwhile, despite a seeming lack of self-awareness, has shown a genuine care for the students in general and Jenna in particular on numerous occasions, and it’s likely that she will be able to determine Jenna’s current state of mind and offer help, and what kind of advice she offers up in exchange will say a lot about Valerie.

Overall, this is a great episode, one that takes the Jenna-Collin relationship in an unexpected new direction. Sadie’s isolated nature provides an interesting parallel to Jenna’s situation, particularly in how Sadie’s loneliness occurs from situations largely out of her control, unlike Jenna’s self-inflicted issues. It’s good to see Ally make a return as well, and how her relationship with Sadie develops, and what role Lacey plays in that, if any, will be interesting to watch. The show as a whole is heading down some very promising paths, and how the current situations and character relationships play out in the coming weeks will be well worth tuning in for.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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