Awkward., Ep 4.03: “Touched by an Angel” has Jenna seeing beyond herself

Ashley Rickards, Molly Tarlov

Ashley Rickards, Molly Tarlov

Awkward., Season 4, Episode 03: “Touched by an Angel”
Written by Jenna Lamia
Directed by Jay Karas
Airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on MTV

Jenna’s forced silence in last week’s episode showed the importance of having someone who listens. This importance was driven home by the reveal of Matty’s adoption, and that his quietness had nothing to do with Jenna, as she had feared. The revelation emphasized to Jenna how self-centred her thinking had become. This week’s episode sees her try to willingly be there for others in need, including Matty, in an entertaining episode that highlights the difference in how Tamara and Jenna handle similar situations.

Jenna seeking self-respect while trying to expand her viewpoint to include others is an interesting conflict. Over the course of the show’s run, it has been clear that, while Jenna has kept herself as the centre of focus, her self-esteem has not necessarily benefitted. However, if Jenna is intent on being there for others the way Valerie has been there for her, it’s likely she’ll have to put her own feelings aside, atleast temporarily. How Jenna manages to deal with this, and keep herself together while also trying to help others to the best of her ability, promises to be a compelling aspect of the season. It will be particularly noteworthy to see how she deals with the issues of strangers vs. the issues of her friends, and if there’s a difference in how she’s affected by the difference in treatment.

The post-breakup behaviour of both Jake and Tamara serves to accentuate the difference between Tamara and Jenna. This difference in how the two handle things is becoming more stark both with Jenna’s attitude change and the absence of Ming. It will be intriguing to see how the relationship between the two is affected in light of this. With Jake not around, Tamara is more likely to lean on Jenna for emotional support, and her ongoing stress may mean she would be unable to reciprocate when Jenna needs a friend. As Jenna shows this week with Matty, while she is inclined to help, she is also working on putting herself first, which means that Tamara taking her for granted may not go over well. How Tamara is affected by this decision, if it ever gets to that point, will be worth keeping an eye on.

Overall, this is another fun episode, and one that effectively highlights Jenna’s continuing attempt at maturity. The peer mentoring segments are an interesting study in power, and it’s very telling that Sadie makes over her mentee while Lissa is made over by hers. Angel is an enjoyable character, and hopefully she pops up again, especially since she might prove helpful to Jenna’s quest for self-esteem. It’s good to see Valerie and Lacey spending time together, and it’s amusing to see the latter grapple with the side effects of a cheap wax. How Jenna handles her relationship with Matty, particularly with Eva seemingly supplanting her friendship with him, as well as how Sadie and Lissa’s relationship continues to evolve, will be worth watching for over the course of the season.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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