The third season of Degrassi: The Next Generation (shown on cable channel The N) opens with Emma sitting on her front porch, reading a book. Spike calls “It’s time,” and Emma repeats it to herself before frantically rushing inside. Cut to Snake, covered in paint, similarly reacting. They both rush into the living room to find an enormously pregnant Spike huffing and puffing – sure signs of impending labor. Emma checks her pulse as Snake calls the midwife, and then they both run around like Wile E. Coyote grabbing mattresses and plastic drop cloths (ew) until finally Snake trips over his own feet in all the excitement and breaks a lamp. Spike stops her labor act and tells them it’s just a drill. “Again?” Emma asks. Guess that’s what she’s been doing all summer. Snake laughs good-heartedly. Spike tells them that having a home birth is a huge deal, and she’s sorry if she’s putting Emma out. Emma responds snottily that she’s sorry to get in the way of Spike’s perfect delivery. You know, I treated my mom the exact same way when I was a teenager.
Open credits. Same song, “Whatever it takes, I know I can make it through,” but different clips. My, how the kids have grown. Looks like Marco and Ellie will have bigger parts this season. Aaah! Aaah! JT’s hair has grown out to look like Meg Ryan’s in every movie she’s ever been in. Yikes. Craig has gone punk rock. Mmm. Craig. Joey and Caitlin are hanging out together. Caitlin is back! And Sean is dressed like Eminem. That doesn’t bode well for him, methinks. When the Degrassi logo comes up, it’s on the back of Marco’s jean jacket. I’m always sad when the song is over. It’s really catchy and uplifting.
Emma is now living in the basement, and she’s still in bed, pouting. Spike hobbles down the stairs to get her up for the first day of school and reminds her that the baby shower is tonight at Joey’s. Amanda Stepto is making her voice sound all tired and put-upon, but it sounds kind of like she’s stoned. Emma is annoyed that she has to attend the shower. Obviously, she’s getting sick of her world revolving around the new baby. She is practically screaming PAY ATTENTION TO ME, but no one’s buying it. Spike shakes her head in irritation. Emma’s alarm goes off and coincides with the warning bell at Degrassi community school.
All the extras are pretending they’re happy to see each other on the first day back from summer break. Craig takes pictures of Paige and Spinner smooching in the parking lot. Paige says “Here it is, start of Grade 10, and I’m just glad I have you to share it with.” “Me, too, honeybee,” Spinner replies. Marco and Ellie watch in horror. I gag. (My cat chews and sucks on her favorite fleece blanket, uncaring about Degrassi at all.) Craig tells Marco and Ellie that he bets they have pet names too, and takes their picture. That Craig is so sensitive and understanding. Ellie pretends to shoot him with her camera.
Emma and Sean are walking to school together. She’s bitching about how everything in her house is baby, baby, baby. Sean tells her she should talk to her mom. That’s pretty good advice, for a guy who’s dressed as if he’s going to throw up in the bathroom before the big rap battle.
Hazel, Paige and Spinner stop by the office to see which homeroom they’re going to get. Hazel wants Armstrong because he’s “so cute,” and Paige harshes her buzz by reminding her that Armstrong’s a teacher. They all have Snake – Mr. Simpson if you’re nasty. Marco says it could be worse, they could have Miss Kwan, who is walking by. Spinner says she’s the pain of his existence. She fires back that the word he’s looking for is “bane” and says that she’ll see him in Grade 9 English. Again. Oh, burn. Spinner expects them all to laugh at the “big, fat, failing dummy.” Paige, totally out of character, tells him that no one is laughing. Except his ex-best-friend Jimmy, who happens by. Jimmy is really, really mean. Paige tells Spinner that it’s okay to fail English, but not Gym. I think she should probably encourage him to get some tutoring or something, but at least she’s trying to comfort him.
Ms. Hatzilakos’s class. She’s handing out locker assignments. JT’s hair is truly awful. Toby asks him which fine ladies he’s going to go after this year, and JT says there are just so many. He mentions Ms. H., and also the “tangy” Miss Kwan. Manny tells him that he’s charming as always. There’s a new kid! Chris Sharp. He’s obviously supposed to be the hip-hop kid. Has someone told Sean? Miss H. calls Emma by Snake’s last name, and she gets all indignant, talking about feminism and demanding to know why anyone would call her that. New Kid Chris looks at her like she’s crazy. She sort of is.
Paige, Hazel, Spinner and Marco are walking down the skankiest school hall I’ve ever seen. They call it The Wasteland. I’m guessing that’s where the Grassy Knoll kids from Clueless have their lockers. Paige has, apparently, been exiled there, and she’s not happy. This is the Paige we know and love. She screams as a rubber rat springs out of her locker, then she stomps off. Spinner tries to convince Hazel to give Paige her locker. Hazel says she’d rather die. Spinner tells her that their four-month anniversary is coming up, and can’t Hazel give it to him so that he can give the locker to Paige? Hazel suggests he buys a pony instead. Heh. Marco just follows along, picking trash off his shoes. Since when does Marco hang out with Spinner all the time? Are they new best friends now that Jimmy is out of the picture? Does Marco have a crush on Spinner?
Mr. Simpson is starting an insect club. I have no idea what that means. Emma is looking at an 80s yearbook. Craig rushes over to see, and is daunted by the sight of Joey with hair. Ashley sidles up to him and looks at a picture of Spike over his shoulder. She likes Spike’s 80s hair so much that she wants it for herself. Craig teases that he’ll take the book away, and Ashley kisses him on the cheek. Aww! They both catch Emma looking at a picture of Shane McKay, and after some huffing, Emma confesses that he got her mom pregnant and then took off. Emma says she only met him once, when she was three. She says Shane is a doctor. There is a flashback to a very small girl, watching Spike argue with “Shane.”
Caitlin rushes down a hallway, wondering why she took her job. I don’t even know what it is she does, so I can’t answer her question. Joey is with her, and tells her that she took it to move back to Toronto and also because she misses him. Caitlin says he’s full of himself. Well, yeah. He might have lost his hair, but he’s still pretty hot. Joey says they have to get going so they can get ready for the baby shower, which she suckered him into hosting. She hands him the stuff to decorate and tells him he’s on his own. Joey tries to act indignant but it does him no good.
Snake is painting again, and singing a song I don’t recognize. Emma interrupts to bitch about how he must have told the front office that she took his last name. Snake doesn’t know jack. Spike comes in with a sandwich and says that the office just got confused. Poor Snake puts his foot in his mouth by saying that the office knows Emma is his daughter. “But I’m not your daughter,” Emma says. Snake looks like someone punched him in the gut. I feel really, really bad for him. Spike wants to know what’s going on, and Emma says she only has one father – and he isn’t there. “Shane?” Spike asks, incredulously. Snake pops open a Sprite-like beverage as if in shock that someone would say the name. It’s poor dramatic timing. Spike says he hasn’t had anything to do with her in ten years. Emma says, “11,” and tells her that a lot can change in that length of time. She wants to know where Shane is. Spike refuses to tell her and forbids Emma to go looking for him. Emma’s face does a little melting thing of disappointment and she leaves the room. One day Spike is going to have to tell Emma the truth, Snake says. Spike’s fetus can probably see where this plot is going.
Baby shower. Someone is carrying a bag that says, “Welcome Baby Jack.” Guess the fetus is Jack. Spike tells everyone that she’s having a home birth. All the original Degrassi High girls are there! Caitlin, Liz, Heather and Erica. Caitlin gets cake on her bum, and some woman tells her to use club soda to remove it. They have a conversation about how Caitlin knows Spike, and therefore Joey – who she explains is an on-again, off-again love of hers. Since she just moved back, they’ll “see” where it goes. Turns out, the strange woman is Joey’s new girlfriend, Sydney. Oops. Caitlin looks chagrined. Syd and Joey go off to do something with snacks.
Caitlin tries to find out why Emma is being a brat. Emma tries to find out what Caitlin knows about Shane. Spike breaks it up before Caitlin can cave, which just makes Emma more curious. That night she goes to Dogpile.com and uses the Canada people finder to try to find Shane. She finds a Dr. McKay and smiles.
Marco pimps in front of his mirror. Spinner tells him about a big trading scheme that he’s come up with so that Paige can eventually get Hazel’s locker. He calls it “Operation Locker Storm.” Emma tells Sean that she’s found her dad, and he opts to go to Grade 10 shop instead of going with her to see him. She huffs off. If it sounds like she’s doing a lot of huffing this episode, it’s because it’s true. Sean just lost major points.
Spinner gets JT to switch to a locker that is Grade F for quality, and Grade A for ladies. JT likes the sound of that. Spinner moves on to Chris, for whom he has found a locker next to the audio lab. Chris is excited that he doesn’t have to carry his LPs back and forth. See? He’s the hip-hop one. Hazel is a harder sell. For her, Spinner has a locker in The Lanes, Degrassi’s coolest corridor. Hazel says it’s only cool for guys, and she wants to keep her current locker, which is by her office (bathroom) and has natural lighting. He finally gets on his knees and begs. She says yes, so he runs and jumps and yells. Oh, Spinner, what happened to you?
Emma catches up with Craig, who’s going to art class. She asks if he would rather go with her to find her dad, because Sean won’t go and Manny’s mom will kill her if she skips. Craig would never be my third choice for anything, I’m just saying. Craig says that Joey – his legal guardian – won’t be thrilled if he skips either. Emma says she thought he would understand, since his dad is dead and all. He changes his tune and agrees to go. They have a quick montage where they take public transportation to find Emma’s dad. They stop in front of a big house and Craig encourages her to go knock on the door. The man who answers the door is black, and very obviously not Emma’s dad. She looks confused.
Back at Casa de Baby Jack, Emma and Craig try to find out Shane’s real address. A lightbulb goes on over Emma’s head and she realizes that Snake is the president of the alumni association. She goes through the alumni file on their computer, and finds an address.
Spinner unveils the new locker to Paige by leading her through the halls with his hands over her eyes. He says that he knows it’s early, but wishes her a happy anniversary. She opens her eyes as he throws open the locker. Paige looks cranky and asks if the locker is her gift. Without Hazel’s stuff in it the locker is dingy and has peeling paint. Spinner tries to sell it to her by pointing out that her office is “right there.” Paige admits that the location is perfect, but that the locker isn’t. Spinner looks crushed. Paige tells him he’s sweet for trying. Jimmy saunters through the hall whistling, and pops the lock on his locker using a remote control in his watch. That’s over the top, even for a rich kid like Jimmy. His locker, of course, is absolutely perfect. Paige says his locker is prime real estate, and Jimmy tells her to keep dreaming. Paige tells Spinner that she wants him to work a miracle and get Jimmy’s locker for her.
Craig and Emma have to go a long way to find Shane. It’s another traveling montage! Craig takes pictures of Emma on the train. It is unclear how they get from the train station to the hospital. Emma frets again about how she doesn’t know what to say, and wonders what she’ll do if Shane hates her. Having seen the old series, of which Shane was a relatively main character, I’m guessing hate isn’t going to be her problem. They go inside and ask a nurse if she can tell them where to find Shane. She looks like Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Nurse Ratched furrows her brow and asks if they have an appointment (they don’t), then she tells them to wait right there while she runs off for some emergency. Craig finds Shane’s name on a room assignment board and tells Emma to go find him while he distracts the nurse.
The room is easy to find, and there’s a man inside, pacing back and forth and rotating a plate of food a quarter turn clockwise over and over again. Emma asks for Shane. The pacing man says that’s him. Emma looks like she’s going to cry and says that he was supposed to be a doctor, not a patient. Shane says that she has pretty blond hair like Emma, his daughter, and shows her a picture from when she was a baby. He says that Emma doesn’t love him, and gets weepy. Emma tells him that his daughter probably doesn’t know how to find him, and that, actually, she is Emma. Shane hugs her and tells her not to cry, that everything will be okay, because daddy is here. It might be the most poignant moment in the two seasons of this series. I get choked up.
Spinner and Jimmy are at an outdoor skate park. There sure are lots of new sets this season. They must have gotten a budget increase. Spinner asks Jimmy if they’re okay now, after he stole Jimmy’s iPod last season and almost sold it. Jimmy says he guesses, so Spinner thinks it’s okay to ask him to give up his swank locker to Paige. No dice. In return, Jimmy wants Spinner to tell everyone that he’s whipped, and that he has no backbone. He has until noon the next day. Spinner, like an idiot, agrees.
Emma asks Shane how long he’s been in the hospital. He says, “About since I fell, and hit my head.” Emma is shocked by the news. I’m not, because I remember that episode. Shane says that his head is okay now. He eats French fries, and smiles at her crookedly. Nurse Ratched rushes in with Craig and asks her what she’s doing there. Emma says she’s Shane’s daughter, which doesn’t make any difference. Shane, it appears, has routines he must follow. Nurse R. says that it’s time for Emma to go, and Shane throws his food on the floor and yells that she’s staying. The Nurse hands him some knitting, which calms him, and Emma rushes back to give Shane her address. She promises that they can write to each other. He smiles after she leaves.
Emma says that Spike is evil and that there’s no reason why she shouldn’t have told Emma the truth. “My father is brain damaged!” she yells outside the train station. Craig says that at least she has a father. He says that last time he checked, she had two. Craig, of course, doesn’t even have one. Well, except for Joey but that thought derails the “Poor Craig” train of thought. Emma should hug him, but she doesn’t. They find out that the last train just left. They’re stuck in Stouffville, which is apparently a long way away from home.
Caitlin and Joey are picking up the remnants of the baby shower. There is a leftover gift, which Caitlin says is cute until she learns it’s from Sydney. Then she pops the head off and says it’s cheap. Joey says she’s jealous. Caitlin says that he has a big head. We’ve been through this already once this episode. Joey asks his daughter Angela if he has a big head and she concurs. The phone rings, and it’s Craig asking Joey to come pick them up.
Joey says this is a great way to start the school year, and asks what’s in Stouffville. Emma says, “My dad.” Joey, who knows damn well what happened to Shane, looks alarmed and gets in the car. Spike and Snake are waiting at home for Emma. Spike is knitting. She demands that Emma start talking right now and Emma says that she lied to her. She found Shane. She accuses Spike of leaving him in a prison. His parents put him there, but Emma wants to know why Spike didn’t stop them. She was only 16. Snake covers his mouth in horror. Spike has a pain in her stomach, which makes Emma even madder. Snake wants to be rational, but Emma’s not having it, so he yells at her to sit down. She says he can’t talk to her like that, because he’s not her dad. Emma runs down to her room and cries.
It’s a new day at school. All the kids are in math class. Jimmy tells Spinner that time is running out. He elects to fulfill their bet by pretending to want to solve a problem at the chalkboard. The teacher calls him Gavin. I always forget that Spinner isn’t his first name. Instead of solving the problem, he says, “I have no backbone.” The class laughs. “I’m whipped, I’m totally spineless, my girlfriend runs my life.” Paige is not amused. Jimmy says Spinner can have the locker. Not that it matters. Paige tries to burn a hole in Spinner with squinty eyes.
Spike is knitting and listening to classical music. The doorbell rings. I’ll give you three guesses who it is, and the first two don’t count. It’s Shane. He says, “Miss me?” It’s like something out of a horror movie.
Snake stops Emma at school and begs her to listen to Spike’s side of the story. He tells her that when Shane found out Spike was pregnant he wanted to be involved but his parents wouldn’t let him, so he took acid and either fell or jumped off a bridge. He says that Spike took Emma to visit him once. There is a return to the flashback, and Emma remembers that Shane wasn’t the doctor in her memory. Snake says that Spike was worried that Shane would hurt Emma. He throws her a coin, and asks that she call her mom.
Shane is in Spike’s house, looking at pictures. He asks when she married Snake, and accuses her of not telling him. She says she didn’t have to. Spike stands next to a phone and looks nervous. Shane says Snake doesn’t have to be her husband, and if he wasn’t, they would be married. He looks very earnest. It’s heartbreaking. He kneels in front of Spike and puts his head on her belly, and says the baby could be theirs. Spike is creeped out. As well she should be. She reaches for the phone, but he grabs her arm and says she can’t call anyone. At school, Emma dials from the payphone and gets a busy signal. Shane wants to stay with Spike, and says that it’s his home. She tells him it’s not and he goes crazy, breaking things and yelling “no.”
Spinner and Paige argue in the hall. Paige asks why he would say something so horrible, because it humiliated her. He comes clean about the deal with Jimmy and she berates him for it. He actually stands up for himself and says he doesn’t know how to please her. He asks what she wants from him. She says nothing and shoves him before stalking off.
Emma walks home from school. Spike notices that Shane cut his hand, and offers to get ice for him. He won’t let her. She says he has the phone, so she can’t call anyone. She smiles sweetly and asks if she can at least look at it. Shane is smitten, but when she gets close, Spike grabs the phone. Shane shoves her and steals it back. Spike moans in pain and grabs her stomach. I sort of saw this coming from a mile away. Also, Spike’s pregnancy seems to be pretty fragile. I’m surprised she’s not on bed rest. Emma comes home and asks Shane what he’s doing. Spike tells her that the baby is really coming this time, but Shane says she’s a liar. Emma tells him that Spike is her mother, and if Shane hurts her, she will never speak to him again. He doesn’t want them to send him away, but gives up the phone when Emma gives him Spike’s knitting.
Joey happens to be in the school office when Emma calls. He runs out to get Snake, who’s with his insect club watching a butterfly. Everything is quiet until Joey yells that Spike is in labor. Snake hugs Liberty (her first appearance all episode) and runs off yelling that he’s going to be a father.
Principal Raditch is in the chemistry lab yelling at Spinner. The Degrassi Code of Conduct says that students must ask permission to change lockers. Everyone will have to go back to their old spots. Spinner feels like crap already. Paige shows up and asks if she can sit by him. He says he just wanted to make her happy by giving her the perfect locker. She says she doesn’t need the perfect locker until he points out that she could have taken Hazel’s. Busted! She admits that it wasn’t good enough. Spinner says it’s just like him. She says that she doesn’t hate him and apologizes for being demanding, adding that he should feel free to say that she wasn’t. He grins and says that he never noticed. Has he learned nothing? They kiss, and Jimmy heckles them from the doorway. Paige says that he’s sad and lonely and jealous. It’s funny because it’s true.
Liz, wearing a doctor Halloween costume, tells Spike that the baby is fine. Spike apologizes for not telling Emma about Shane, and says that Emma is really important to her. Snake runs in, snapping pictures like a loon. He asks what happened to the ransacked house. Shane says hello from the couch, where he is still knitting. Snake looks disturbed. Apparently, Shane is going to sit on the couch knitting while Spike has the baby on a mattress in the living room.
Emma and Shane sit on the front porch. Shane has fixed Spike’s baby hat, and says that she’s not so good with the knitting. Nurse Ratched pulls up in a large SUV and says that it’s time for Shane to go. He goes without a fuss. Emma gives him a picture that Craig took of them. She doesn’t hug him, either, even though she should. What is up with Emma and not hugging at the appropriate times?
The baby is born. Snake introduces him to Emma. Spike apologizes again for not telling her about Shane. Liz tells Emma to join Spike and Snake on the mattress so she can take a picture of the new family. I wonder what happened to the plastic drop sheet. Is it safe to sit on the mattress? Did they change the sheet? Emma snuggles down and tells baby Jack that he looks just like their dad.