For those fans waiting on the culmination of Janine and Mr. Eddies’ potentially tea-filled podcast interview, Episode 12 did not provide the tea.
Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 12, while light-hearted and fun, did not pursue a romantic storyline in any measure. Janine and Gregory existed in entirely different plotlines for the episode’s duration.
Those shipping their potential love match and that awkward non-hug of Episode 11 will be sorely disappointed.
The episode did, however, showcase the return of Orlando Jones, who the internet had deemed Tyler James Williams’ adult doppelganger years ago when he starred in Everybody Hates Chris as a child.
Episode 12 brought his militant landscaping father back to town for a large-scale lawn care job.
While in town, he seemingly wants to get a tour of his son’s beloved job, even though historically, he had despised and disapproved of his son working in education.
Gregory, known to be deeply afraid of his father, loosened up quickly upon his co-workers’ discovery of his interference in the school’s garden. His formerly hypercritical dad is pleasantly surprised and offers him a partnership.
Barbara: Everything we planted was a lie?
Gregory: No, some of the weeds were yours.
While it was great to see his father shine approval on Mr. Eddie, who is uptight as a running joke on the show, it was surprising to see the ease with which they interacted. Previous episodes had made their relationship seem tense and distant.
It was also evidence of his growing confidence as an educator that he could turn down the offer of a partnership despite it potentially angering his father. This shows that he has finally settled into his position as a teacher and wants to stay.
Student: Mr. Eddie, I accidentally brought my seed to my mouth and accidentally ate it.
Gregory: Well, let’s think about it. Did you also swallow a wet paper towel?
Gregory: Ok, let’s go to the nurse.
This kind of evolution speaks to his character’s future as less of a nervous, awkward young boy and more of a strong, decisive man.
In this episode, Ava and Melissa join forces to beat Mr. Johnson in Fantasy Football. The storyline isn’t the strongest, but it’s chock full of distractions and one-liners that only Ava and Mr. Johnson could pull off.
This episode could have easily been placed anywhere in the season for filler because it does not progress the overall story arc of the characters.
Somehow Ava and Melissa join forces on a Fantasy Football bet? This story was forgettable!
I’m a pacifist. Ya mess with me, I’ll pass a fist across your face.
Janelle James is typically astounding as Principal Ava. Her quick wit, sassy comebacks, and overt sexual harassment of Gregory are always a joy to watch.
This episode, however, had a muted Principal Ava. Yes, she was scheming, but not her usual “Make you IG famous” scamming schemes. It was Principal Ava Lite.
The episode also underused the amazing Chris Perfetti as Jacob. His role consisted of a weird mid-class discussion with Mr. Eddie and an even more bizarre secret handshake with Mr. Johnson- complete with a bird call.
The episode was an eye-opener regarding Janine’s character. We know she avoids confrontation typically (weirdly– her competitive edge came out in Episode 11), but we never knew why.
Previously we learned that she didn’t have the best relationship with her mother and sister, hence her attachment to Barbara.
But in this episode, we see that she was frequently placed in the middle of her mother and her sister’s disputes. Time after time, she tried to mediate between two of her students, and Janine continuously failed to bring about her desired result.
We see here the tenacity that we have grown to love with Janine. We also see some of her ego. She wants to win.
She wants to be the peacemaker. She is motivated to be THE problem solver.
I’m pretty sure that was I’ll beam you up. Like, clearly she’s a Trekie. She wants to beam her up on her ship. Her friendship.
Janine suffers from a lack of realism at the best of times and downright delusion at the worst. But the beauty is that she recognizes that she needs help at a certain point.
Enter Work Mama Barbara! She makes time for Janine and expresses to her that there are some disputes that she can’t fix.
This is a beautiful change from Season 1, where Janine relentlessly got on Barbara’s nerves.
There are so many instances in these two seasons where Janine blindly tries to fix things without considering the actual reality of those circumstances.
And even though it seems like she operates in an unrealistic reality, her character is hope personified. She believes she can, so she tries.
Only in America!
The beauty of this show is that there is always a moral lesson to be learned, and as Janine learns, the audience does as well.
The writers create a family unit of diverse and strange characters to tell stories we need to hear and allow us to laugh it off as we learn.
What would be nice for the viewers? Would you like to see progression in the romantic storyline? Are they going to make us wait five seasons?
It would also be nice to see more of the students. Episode 11 was telling as there was a possibly dyslexic child whose parents refused to acknowledge it. The passion behind Melissa’s communication with that child was evident and deeply touching.
What about you viewers? What do you want to see next for Janine and the teachers at Abbott Elementary?
Does Janine need time alone before entering another serious relationship? Drop your comments below!
Brandi Powell is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.