Awkward., Season 3, Episode 19: “Karmic Relief”
Written by Erin Ehrlich
Directed by Erin Ehrlich
Airs Tuesdays at 10:30 PM on MTV
Despite Jenna finally making positive strides towards repairing her friendships last week, the suspension and eventual firing of Valerie proved that she still had some more work left to do to right the wrongs she had perpetrated during her sanity sabbatical. This problem seemed particularly troublesome, as there was no clear way for Jenna to rectify the situation, unlike fixing the issues she had with her friends. This week focuses on Jenna’s efforts to get Valerie reinstated as prom looms large over the group, in a solid episode that closes the book on a number of storylines, while opening up some intriguing new avenues for the show to go down.
Having Bailey as a romantic rival to Jenna is a very intriguing idea. While the show could have put Jenna’s new friend in a more villainous capacity, having the romantic interest be generated from Matty’s end puts Jenna in a position she did not foresee herself in, and how she handles herself moving forward will speak volumes, more so than anything else, about whether she has actually changed from her time with Collin. As Jenna will not only have to weigh how Matty feels, but in keeping in line with her rekindled desire to help others, she will also have to keep Bailey’s feelings in mind, what actions she takes from now on promises to be interesting, particularly as she doesn’t have anything to lose by alienating Bailey, so whether or not she chooses to do so will provide perhaps the clearest picture to date of the new and improved Jenna Hamilton.
Ming’s loss of control over the Asian mafia also opens up some interesting ideas. While the story of how Ming grappled with her newfound power remained sadly unexplored, the effect of her increased influence was nonetheless felt, and she was clearly growing comfortable with the change in her lifestyle. How she copes with reverting back to her old lifestyle, even with the presence of Fred, will be promising to see. How her friends react is also something to keep an eye on; while Jenna did not avail herself of the services of the Asian mafia, others in the group, especially Tamara, used them to get out of a few problems, and may have also gotten used to their presence. The possibility that Ming’s loss of control will lead to a rift between her and some others in her circle of friends is a strong one.
Overall, this is a strong episode, and one that hints at a compelling finale next week. The reinstatement of Valerie is a compelling aspect, and it’s good to see Valerie genuinely angry for a change. While she openly forgives Jenna at the end of this week’s episode, it will be worth watching to see whether the forgiveness on Valerie’s part is real, or if part of her continues to be resentful towards Jenna for the essay. Lacey’s search for purpose in her life also manages to be somewhat poignant as well as being funny. Her search for a life and validation outside her family is a natural extension of the character, and it should be interesting to see if she continues to follow her longing for a job, or a purpose outside the home, despite a lack of discernible skills. How Sadie deals with Matty’s new infatuation with Bailey, and Jenna’s reaction, as well as how the prom date goes for everyone, including Tamara and Jake, is worth tuning in for next week, as the season wraps up.
– Deepayan Sengupta