Awkward., Ep 4.13: “Auld Lang Party” closes out the calendar year

Beau Mirchoff, Brett Davern

Beau Mirchoff, Brett Davern

Awkward., Season 4, Episode 13: “Auld Lang Party”
Written by Sarah Walker
Directed by Mike Chessler
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on MTV

The end of finals in last week’s midseason premiere brought about the end of a major source of tension for the seniors, as college admissions officially went out of their hands. This coincided with the end of two major relationships that drove the season, as both Matty and Jenna said goodbye to their partners. This week’s episode examines how the two are adjusting to their new circumstances, closing the door on another brewing conflict while adding another baffling layer to a storyline gone awry.

Lissa’s storyline continues to be an odd one. The reveal of her parents as hypocritical in their religious beliefs comes as little surprise, though it does reveal Tyler’s adoption to be a cynical ploy, rather than an earnestly misguided attempt. It’s unclear where this story is heading, however, as neither Lissa’s parents nor Tyler appear to want to show Lissa the truth of the situation. While the discovery of her father’s closeted sexuality and the apparent lust her mother has for Tyler helps put their actions in context, two things remain unclear; why Tyler stands to gain from these actions, and why Lissa has been unable to see through these actions until now. The confusion has been further exacerbated by nobody else, especially Sadie, noticing these issues and telling Lissa. The show will have to work hard to bring a sense of coherence to Lissa’s season arc, and they’d perhaps do well to write it off at this point.

Jenna’s transition from a college-age boyfriend to a sophomore potential love interest is an intriguing turn, especially in what it says about her. Jenna’s relationship with Luke signalled, in many ways, her growing acceptance of the changes that were inevitable at the end of her last high school year. Her breakup with Luke, as well as her reconciliation with Matty, however, coupled with her time with Owen may signal a regression in how she feels about high school, a storyline that has the potential to be fascinating. With college entrances now out of the hands of Jenna and her group, her reluctance or desire to leave high school is likely to play a big part in her post-school decisions, and how her friends and parents react to any unexpected decisions will be worth keeping an eye on.

Matty’s reconciliation with his mother is an interesting continuation of the erasure of the season’s key conflicts. With the loss of Eva and the new bond between Matty and his mother, this leaves the former with no major issues to work through for the rest of the season, particularly as his choice of college remains an unknown. Tamara’s change in attitude post-finals is also fun to watch. At stark odds with her previous rigid attitude, Tamara’s insistence this episode on taking chances is a perspective that has the potential to shake things up, particularly with how it relates to Jenna. How long Tamara’s new outlook lasts, as well as how Jenna reacts to her high school life going well, will be worth keeping an eye on as the season continues.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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