Jimmy, Spinner and Marco walk down the hall in order of height from right to left. Jimmy is explaining that the new Kid Albert CD is amazing. It has a totally new sound! They approach Craig, who is fixated on a flier posted in the hallway. He’s just standing there, staring, with his tongue pressed against the front of his teeth. When I pause, to recap the scene, it’s apparent to me that Craig and Spinner really DO have the same hair. And here I was, joking about it just last week. The boys sidle up to Craig, and Marco drapes himself over Craig’s shoulder.
The flier – apparently printed out on someone’s desktop laserjet printer – says, “Does your band have the HEAT to make HOT SOUNDS in T.O.? Win 2 days of studio time & record your own single!” The contest is called Hot Sounds in T.O., and the flier is for the regional semi-finals.
Craig thinks this is exactly the kind of exposure their band needs right now. Jimmy’s more interested in the limos, private jets and the “bling-a-dee bling.” Raging heterosexual Spinner focuses on the panties that may or may not get thrown at him while he’s on stage. Craig just wants to win. Ashley shoves her way through the boys, Ellie on her heels, and calls them all posers. She writes down the information off the flier. Craig says it’s cool that she’s signing up, because a little competition never hurt. He says it in that cute, playful voice he used to use back before he ruined everything. He even has a hopeful look on his face.
Ashley is having none of it. She snarks that nothing gets in the way of what Craig wants, not emotions, not honesty, not other people’s feelings. She glares at him and walks off. Jimmy is wearing another Triple 5 Soul hoodie, because I know that’s as important to everyone else as it is to me. Craig turns to the boys and somehow manages to sound surprised that Ashley still hates him. Good thing he said it loud enough for her to hear. She promises that her hatred will earn her band the win. Craig watches her walk away like a sad, kicked puppy. Oh, Craig. Don’t make me love you. Again.
I cannot tell if Jimmy is showing Triple 5 Soul brand loyalty in the opening credits. I’ll bet he is.
The meat of the episode opens with a cool shot above Craig, looking down at his empty notebook surrounded by crumpled sheets of paper. He’s working on a song. So far he’s got “subterranean, seismic, overloads the circuits of blah blah blah blah.” Poor thing has writer’s block. The rest of the band enters in the middle of a discussion that, I assume, is about whether or not Ashley’s band is going to blow them off stage. Marco has taken the affirmative, because Ashley has played the piano for 12 years, and Paige is just plain awesome. Spinner is about to say something about Hazel (who, last time she was part of the band, totally sucked) when Craig interrupts to assure them that he’s not going to let his ex-girlfriend beat him.
First, they have to rehearse. Craig wants to know if they’ve learned the song, and Jimmy says that they’ve been listening to it all day. Unless these guys play by ear – and I’m not even admitting that any of them can play – listening all day isn’t going to get them very far. Jimmy asks if the lyrics are ready to go, but Craig covers up the fact that they obviously aren’t by bitching that they need to work on getting the song down first. It is clear he’s in one of Those Moods. Everyone starts playing. It sounds like an experiment in making a lot of loud noise. Craig hates everything and yells at them all to stop, throwing a bottle at Spinner’s head when he doesn’t get the hint. He tells Jimmy that his guitar is out of tune, he wants Marco to play one note at a time on his bass, and he’s about to let Spinner have it when Jimmy tells him to chill. It’s just a song. No it’s not! It’s war! Anyone can see that! Craig wrestles Jimmy’s guitar away and sets about tuning it.
Time for the girls. Hazel, Paige and Ashley are talking about Terri being in the hospital. Apparently, Ashley hasn’t been to see her yet, but Hazel understands because hospitals are creepy. Paige says that Terri is 200 percent better now, pink cheeks and everything. She could wake up any day now. How is still being in a coma 200 percent better? Ashley agrees to go after they win the band competition. Incidentally, she’s wearing a t-shirt that says Now You Know in ransom-note letters with an army-inspired jacket. So cute! The bell rings, and I realize that we’ve walked into Ms. Kwan’s class. Ashley sits down next to Ellie, and Craig, sitting in the row behind them, stares at Ash.
Today in the hell otherwise known as English class, the kids get to read from their creative writing journals. Ashley volunteers to go first. The boys laugh as if whatever Ashley says will be stupid, and the girls smile as if whatever she says will be brilliant. Turns out, the boys are correct. Ash reads a bit of a new song she wrote, and it goes like this: Black, twisted agony/The fires of chaos burn on/Running for her tombstone/Before it’s too late/The blood runs cold from her veins.
Marco and Craig choke back laughter. Ellie and Ms. Kwan look confused. Ms. Kwan decides to hold the class discussion until they hear from more students. After class, Ashley can’t believe that no one had anything to say about her lyrics. Paige thinks it’s probably because no one understood what in the hell she was talking about. I don’t know what they didn’t get. It’s obviously, as Ashley soon tells us, about a girl who died in the Spanish Civil War. Jackass!Craig makes a surprise appearance by poking his head into the conversation and saying, “Yeah, I feel her pain.”
Ellie decides to be brutally honest. She thinks that Ashley should write about what she knows. Like, Hazel adds, your ex. You remember him. That tall, dreamy boy with the curly hair that you want to bury your hands in. Remember? Ashley re-writes the lyrics as she walks down the hall. I just can’t pretend to forgive or forget/I’m gonna make the day you met me a day you’ll regret. “I think Craig’s in trouble,” Ellie says.
Joey and Angie are unloading groceries from the back of the car. I missed Joey. He’s wearing the same violet shirt and lavender tie he always wears. Ang grabs the bag with the fragile eggs, and promises to be careful with it as she walks toward the house. Even a blind man can see where this is going. A cab pulls up and out pops Caitlin. Have we even seen Caitlin and Joey since “Holiday? Was Joey even around for the whole Craig/Manny/Baby debacle? Anyhoo, Angie is excited to see “Auntie” Caitlin, so she shows off by jumping down the front steps. The eggs, of course, break. Joey’s annoyed. Caitlin rushes in to cheer Angela up with all manner of niceties. Caitlin’s a big pushover. She goes so far as to do a cartwheel to make Ang laugh. She calls Joey a fuddy-duddy, and Angie says that he’s old and no fun. To prove a point, Joey does a handstand right there on the sidewalk. He is a fun machine! Until he falls very ungracefully and f’s up his back. Three guesses what the sub-plot is going to be, and the first two don’t count.
Ooh! It’s a new set! Craig is in a record store listening to something with headphones. Ashley arrives looking pissed off, as per usual. She tries to run when she sees Craig, but he is determined to make her stop hating him. He respects her too much for things to keep going on like this. I don’t know what that means, but if I were Ashley, I think I’d fall for it. She’d like to hear what he has to say. Not a bad start! He looks her in the eye and – Okay! Okay! I’m sorry. I have such a Craig/Ashley bias. These kids just look fantastic together! – And he apologizes for making fun of her song lyrics. She’s a good writer and musician, and it wasn’t fair.
Wah-wah-wah…Craig gets a whammy. Ashley thought that he was going to apologize for, you know, being a lying, cheating, baby-making sonofabitch. She can’t believe he’s just talking about her lyrics. He has no idea why she’s pissed about his apology. I have no idea how he can make naïve look that cute.
Caitlin and Angie are chasing each other through Joey’s house with blue blankets tied around their necks like capes. Angie throws herself on top of Joey, who screams in pain from his position on the couch. Caitlin tugs her off and says that Joey is a good guy. He is, you know. Joey tells Angela to go pack her Barbie suitcase, because she’s going to go stay with his mother until he’s feeling better. Craig can help out with the rest of the house stuff. Caitlin is offended that Joey doesn’t want her to take care of things. It’s not that she’s totally unsuited to domestic life. Joey just doesn’t want to take advantage. I’m sure she almost believed that. Not.
He says that sometimes Angie needs a firm hand. Caitlin thinks she is really great with Ang, and doesn’t understand what the problem is. Joey does a nice job of not digging himself into a hole, and tells Caitlin that she’s great with his daughter. She’s just more friend great, than parent great. Annoyed, Caitlin calls up to Ang to stop packing, and announces that she’s going to take care of everything. She’s still wearing the blanket, as if to say, “I am Super Caitlin!”
The Hot Sounds in T.O. competition is in rehearsal. In the Degrassi gym. Where everyone can watch everyone play. Huh. The boys are on stage, playing a pretty tight song that still has no lyrics. The girls sit in the bleaches and snerk. Craig is wearing the same shirt he was wearing in the record store. I’m going to assume this is a Saturday. As the song winds down, Coach Armstrong steps up to the microphone to wish them luck tomorrow night, and also to introduce Hell Hath No Fury – the new name for Ashley’s band. I think that’s way better than PMS, which is what they were called when it was just Ash, Paige and Terri. As they take the stage, Paige tells the boys that they’re going to play a song with actual words.
Ashley is wearing her Now You Know combo, which pretty much proves that it’s going to be impossible for me to ever figure out the timeline of any episode. The boys sit to watch the show. Ashley stares down Craig and starts to sing. This song is the price for breaking my heart/Should have written these words to you right from the start/You say it doesn’t matter, that it’s all in the past/But the pain doesn’t show, it’s disguised by this mask/I can’t pretend to forgive and forget/Gonna make the day you met me the day you’ll regret/Cause you’re the dust in my eye/You’re the rock in my shoe/Yeah you lie, lie, lie. Craig gets madder with every line of the song, until the camera tightens in on his angry face.
It’s breakfast time in the Jeremiah household. Super Caitlin is rushing around in a suit, serving breakfast to Joey and Angela. She has two curlers pinned to the top of her head. Women under 70 still put curlers in their hair? She hands Joey a tray with eggs, toast and coffee, and silences his protests by saying that she has just enough time to drop Angie off at school before her meeting. Like that’s going to happen. Angie doesn’t want her oatmeal. Joey tells her to shut up and eat it, but Super Caitlin starts offering her a buffet. Toast? No. Cereal? No. Angie wants pancakes with syrup. Joey says her name menacingly a couple of times. Super Caitlin doesn’t get the hint. She hunts for pancake mix while calling her office to push her meeting back. Angie bangs her spoon on the table, causing Super Caitlin to drop her phone in a pot of oatmeal large enough to feed an army. I hope Craig is hungry. Joey makes an unfunny comment about bacon.
Snake’s class. Ellie and Ashley are minding their own business, when Craig rushes in to tell Ashley that her lyrics aren’t cool. Ash is wearing a new shirt. And they’re in school, so perhaps yesterday wasn’t a Saturday. Fuck if I know what day it is anymore. Ashley says that self-absorbed Craig thinks it’s about him – it is – and Ellie calls him vain. The song is about him! (I wonder if he has an apricot scarf.) He gets all up in her grill, and accuses her of attacking him every time they pass in the halls, and now she’s going to perform that song. Paige pipes up that she doesn’t know what Craig expected, “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow?” The rest of this scene is too good not to type in word for word.
Craig: Ash, I swear, if you play that song in the competition…
Ashley: You’ll what, sleep with more grade nines?
Snake: Guys, settle down, please?
Craig: If you weren’t such a prude, I never would’ve been with Manny.
Ashley, in a whiny voice: But I thought you loved her.
Craig: Oh, you know what? Go to h—
Snake: One more word, double homework.
Craig slinks into the garage where the band is waiting for him. Spinner is wearing the same hoodie that Jimmy made fun of during that fateful episode when Spinner stole Jimmy’s iPod. Craig says he’s dropping out of the competition. Ashley’s already won. Spinner refuses to give up. If Ashley wants a war, they’ve got the ammo.
Seems he and Jimmy have been doing a little song-writing of their own. Marco looks horrified. They’ve written a little rap. It goes something like this: Our homey is a player/That is all/So why’d you have to go and kick his/Ball and chain/Ain’t that your name/Cause you’re a playa hater and that’s a shame/And chicks like you ain’t worth too much/So shut up girl and/Make my lunch/Yeah! Marco looks like he’s going to cry, and not from laughing like me. He and Craig make like a tree and leave.
Craig makes an oath that the rap will never leave the garage. Marco says that’s why Craig needs to write them some real lyrics, pronto. He wants to help. Craig’s blocked from the whole thing with Ashley and Manny. Marco is glad he’s not into girls. And with that, he throws back his head and lets out a mighty yelp. It’s a stress reliever, see? If Craig can just shout out his frustrations, he’ll get his mojo back. Craig gives a pussy yell. He has to do it like he means it. He tries again. He’s still got nothing. I think Marco should point out that it’s not an instant cure.
Back at Casa de Jeremiah, Super Caitlin is looking a little frazzled. Joey asks Ang if she enjoyed shopping with Auntie Caitlin (did she just give up on work completely?), and Ang says that was okay. Super Caitlin is not amused. Angie announces that she’s going to go out and play. Super Caitlin tells her that she needs to wash her hands for dinner. Angie says she’ll do it in five minutes. They embark on a classic battle of wills until Super Caitlin snaps and calls her “missy.” She demands that Angie wash her hands immediately. Angie puts down her toys, tells Super Caitlin that she hates her, and runs upstairs.
The big bulletin board in front of the school welcomes the judges and bands to the Hot Sounds competition. The girls walk in slow-mo down the hall in glowing orange light, accompanied by the sounds of thumping guitars. They are all wearing black pants and black shirts in various stages of cut-up-ness. On the shirts they’ve ironed on pictures of Craig’s head burning in hellfire. As they pass by Marco and the boys, the scene switches to normal lighting and time, and he asks them if it’s really Craig. Ashley asks him if he likes it in a snotty way. She’s cut the arm out of her shirt, and her bra strap is showing. She’s also wearing a studded belt, and her ever-present wrist cuff. She’s totally hot.
Craig is defeated. He gives up. And she cares why? He says that all she cares about is making his life a living hell. But he doesn’t have any idea what her life has been like for the last three months. Craig guffaws and rolls his eyes. You think her t-shirt is hard to deal with, or her song? She felt so bad that she wanted to die. Okay, he says. No, it’s not okay, it’ll never be okay. He’s sorry. A lot. He says it over and over and he gets a little bleary eyed. He wants to know how many times he has to say it. She wants him to say it until he means it.
Cue slamming guitars and angry chick music. The girls are performing their song to an audience that seems to love them. Especially the girls. We get some more lyrics we haven’t heard before. You’d better watch what you say/Cause I’m on to you/Mr. Nice Guy/Woah/Mr. Nice Guy/You’re so nice. The crowd goes wild.
The boys are listening from the hallway. Marco states the obvious. They’re good. And the boys are going to suck, because they are currently missing their singer. Liberty comes into the hall to tell them that they’re on next. She currently has them down as a rock quartet, and she wants to know if she should downgrade them to a power trio. Ha! They’d better hope that Craig shows up in the next 60 seconds, because she’s not holding up the show for them. This is a contest hosted by – as far as I can tell – a radio station, and yet Coach Armstrong and Liberty are running the show. Eh? Spinner says they can just use the crappy sexist lyrics. Marco looks like he wants to die himself.
Chris Woodward of the Toronto Blue Jays gives his cameo all it’s worth by introducing Downtown Sasquatch. Yeah. I don’t get it either. The boys take the stage, minus Craig. Spinner does a funny little bit where he tries to warm up the crowd by making devil horns and shouting WOO into the microphone. He doesn’t know what their song is called yet, WOO, but they’re going to play it anyway. The rest of the boys are dubious. It’s about to get ugly, when Craig appears in the wings. He’s ready to rumble.
He pulls a piece of paper from his pocket, and this is what he sings, straight to Ashley: I don’t know if you’ll forgive me/For being so blind/To how you felt/Don’t ask me why I couldn’t see it/It could take me years to figure out/And that’s not somethin’ I know much about/But there’s only one way to find out/Yeah, yeah, yeah/What I know is that I’ve hurt you, oh/What I know is that I suck/And what I know is that I’m sorry/What I know is that I’m a loser/And what I know is I screwed up/And then I threw away your trust/And what I know is that everything I touch just turns to dust. (This episode is like a piece of songfic.) The crowd goes even wilder. Ashley watches him, weepy, and she gets it.
Angie is still freezing out Caitlin, who is back to her plain old self. Ang won’t even open the door to her room. Joey is wearing an odd nylon Velcro thingy about his waist, but that doesn’t stop him from snuggling with Caitlin on the couch. She feels horrible, but Joey makes her feel better by saying that it could have been worse. Craig’s test of power was stealing Joey’s car. Mostly, Caitlin is horrified that her mother’s voice came right out of her mouth. It’s every woman’s worst nightmare. Joey is glad that Cait and Angie get along, but he thinks it’s good that Caitlin is trying to set limits. While Ang may not like Caitlin right now, in the end, she’ll respect her. Caitlin wants to get the like part back.
The boys erupt from the gym, hooting and hugging and in general causing a scene. They’ve won the competition! Or at least the semi-finals. Ashley interrupts the revelry, and not even to bring them down. She admits that they won fair and square. She turns to Craig, who looks scared to meet her eyes. She says, “Nice lyrics. They were just right.” She brushes past him, bumping his shoulder. He smiles.
Next week: Marco and Dylan take the first step in a new relationship.