Awkward., Ep 4.21: “Sprang Break: Part 2” is a solid season finale

Cayden Boyd, Ashley Rickards

Cayden Boyd, Ashley Rickards

Awkward., Season 4, Episode 21: “Sprang Break: Part 2”
Written by Mike Chessler and Chris Alberghini
Directed by Peter Lauer
Airs Tuesdays at 10pm EST on MTV

From Jenna’s acceptance into college to Matty meeting his biological father, last week’s episode of Awkward. saw many storylines of the season come to a head. With major concerns out of the way for a number of characters, this week’s season finale sees the group deal with the aftermath and try to figure out their place, in a satisfying finish that leaves a fair amount of promise for the series’ final season.

It’s interesting to see Sadie’s anxiety over leaving become explicit in this episode. For one, it gives a clear reason for her increased attitude issues over the past two episodes, rather than simply being another character aberration. It also adds another dimension to Sadie’s imminent departure. Her excitement at leaving the town behind to go elsewhere makes sense, both in light of the way she has treated others, and her own troubles over the past few years. However, despite her mostly negative experiences, there has been some rays of sunshine in her high school life, and for her to brusquely dismiss them would have seemed odd as well. As the next season comes around, whether or not Sadie feels nostalgic for any other aspect of Palos Hills will be worth keeping an eye on. Her friendship with Matty has been a particularly unyielding aspect of the past four years, to the point that she was willing to team up with Jenna to help Matty earlier in the season, so how she feels about that will be particularly worth watching.

Lacey’s pregnancy also adds a promising wrinkle as the season wraps up. While much of the season seemed to point to the idea that Jenna would stay at home while Lacey went off to college, Jenna’s acceptance and Lacey’s pregnancy could have been a way to re-establish the status quo. But Jenna’s speech seems to indicate that she is unwilling to settle for the status quo, which means the family has one more challenge to face, rather than one less. How they deal with it, and how it affects Jenna, will be particularly intriguing in the show’s final season. Her insistence that her mother go to college despite the pregnancy is the culmination of the journey towards maturity that Jenna has taken over the past few episodes. Unlike her other actions, however, this is one that she’ll have to deal with for a long time, and how strongly her resolution holds will go a long way towards determining whether she’s truly ready and committed to helping others or not.

While not as strong as previous finales, this is nonetheless a satisfying end to the season, managing to stay in line with the uptick in quality seen in the past few episodes. The imminent return of the Jenna-Matty storyline, however, is a weak point of the episode, as it serves to only retread well-worn ground, and hopefully the show’s final season avoids going down that road once again. Both Tamara and Jake’s storylines also feel oddly tacked on, but both have potential. Jake’s time with Gabby is intriguing in light of his previous concerns about his image, and gives the character a more substantial storyline than he’s been given in some time. Tamara’s rushed engagement also has the chance to allow for some character growth, as her unwillingness to consider the impact of her actions has been a trait that has been largely unaddressed in the show. Despite a shaky season, there are a fair number of compelling storylines set up over the course of this finale, and how they play out will be worth tuning in for when the show returns for its final season.

– Deepayan Sengupta

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