Written by Mandy
Season Four of Degrassi: The Next Generation opens on Paige, pouring bottled water on some object off-screen and saying, “I christen thee.”
This year Paige has gnarly blond locks and frosty eye shadow. She turns to Spinner and asks, “What’s your new baby’s name, Spin?” Spinner’s hair resembles something straight from the “Flock of Seagulls Styling Book for Men,” and he has the usual confused look on his face. (As audience members, we are totally not falling for this bad “ohmygod, Spinner has a BABY” thing.) Craig jumps in with the answer of “Sparky. It looks like a Sparky. Herbie?” Completing the triumvirate of Totally New Fashion on Degrassi, Craig has straight hair, and the universe is unsettled on its axis.
At that moment, a light bulb goes off in Spinner’s head and he slaps Craig on the shoulder. “The Lovemobile! That’s what this is, our Lovemobile!” To be fair, it was a dim light bulb, and it’s not clear whether or not he’s talking about himself and Craig, or himself and Paige. Lovemobile, indeed.
It seems as if all that waiting tables at The Dot Grill has gotten Spinner a new car, if by new you mean a red 1994 Chevy Corsica. He pulls Paige across the hood of the car for a kiss while Craig rolls his eyes and says, “And you call me a dork?” (No, no. Here at PopGurls, we call you sweetheart, and darling, and Stupid Boy Who Cheats.)
As Paige returns to christening the car – which should be about sex, but isn’t – Joey steps into the frame to let Spinner know he doesn’t own the car yet. There’s a little matter of payment they need to settle. Spinner pulls out a wad of cash: $2700 dollars, or 386 miserable hours waiting tables. He hands over the cash to Joey and as Joey shakes the keys to the car in his face, he congratulates Spinner. Spinner grabs the keys to freedom and hits the road.
Spinner and Paige hit the highway, listening to rock music with the windows down. It’s a little lackluster, frankly. Shouldn’t they drive to a 7-Eleven and get slurpees or something? Go pick up everyone they know and have a sing-along, like in the opening credits to That 70s Show? Instead, they follow all the traffic laws and eventually pull into Paige’s driveway.
The happy couple decides to go to a drive-in movie later – how retro!Spinner kisses her like a boy who only goes to the drive-in for one thing, and it’s not popcorn. Paige mentions that Spinner might want to pick up some breath spray, and they would continue to canoodle, except that a police vehicle has pulled up behind them. Naturally, we are supposed to assume that they’ve come for Spinner, and Paige “My Middle Name Isn’t Supportive” has the same reaction. She accuses him of speeding in the new Lovemobile.
Even though Spinner uses the “Nice day, isn’t it officer?” line, we are still not surprised when it turns out no one’s looking for him. The officer asks for Paige, and then hands over a clipboard. She looks genuinely confused, a look normally reserved for Spinner, and asks the officer why she’s receiving a notice to appear in court. “You pressed charges in a sexual assault case in 2002,” he tells her. The good mood is gone as she asks, “Really, now?”
[Before we get into the rest of this, I just want to say, this is the crappiest serving of a subpoena EVER. Is this how they do it in Canada? Wouldn’t Paige’s lawyer or counselor or someone have known this was coming? And isn’t she underage? Wouldn’t they have been required to tell her in the presence of a guardian, instead of interrupting a makeout session with her boyfriend? How insensitive can you be? –willa]
Cue the theme song, which is like broccoli – you either love it or hate it. This season it’s faster, has a slightly different beat and is missing the cool gospel choir. It’s as if they tried to make it more “now,” and instead made it sort of like 1992. Some characters are either noticeably absent or significantly diminished from the opening credits, like Terri and Hip Hop Chris. Apparently, they didn’t make it through. (heh.)
Here we are at the drive-in with the unlikely trio of Paige, Marco, and Spinner. Spinner, forced to sit in the backseat of his own car, is pouting. Somehow Paige missed the memo about the real purpose of drive-in movies, and she’s sitting in front with Marco so that she can actually see the movie. They are squealing and grabbing at each other. It’s a zombie flick, which we already know is on the list of things Marco doesn’t like (along with mean people and bad hair days).
Paige offers to go to the concession stand and when Spinner gets out to join her, Jimmy and Hazel are revealed to be sitting behind Marco, groping. Spin asks if they need anything for hydration or to keep up their stamina. Those crazy kids are all over each other, making sure the Lovemobile lives up to its name.
Spinner isn’t about to be out-loved, so he tries to reel Paige in for some smoochies. Something loud happens on the screen, and she uses it as an excuse to back away. She states she is “as hungry as Paris Hilton looks” and grabs Marco to assist in the search for popcorn. Poor Spinner, no love for him.
The next day, Marco and Dylan have a hot date unloading boxes. Dylan is heading to college and Marco is there to support his man. Paige is there because she’s family, and Spinner is there because Paige has him whipped. Spinner is still pouting about not getting some the night before. Paige hasn’t caught on and teases him: “Won’t you be the life of all of my parties, Mr. Pouty?” “Like you would want to party with me,” he passive-aggressive’s back.
Paige wants to know what his problem is, and Spinner snaps. She’s the problem. He explains that they are always with 3000 people, and if they happen to have a moment alone she’s inviting people over. She plays dumb and explains that Dylan is moving and Marco, being his boyfriend, is there to help. Spin finally gets the stones to voice how he’s feeling, that they are never alone and she makes him feel like a leopard. Wow, Spinner voices his emotions and gets immediately corrected with, “Leper, the word is leper.”
As Spinner walks off, Paige apologizes and says that it won’t always be like this. Really? It’ll be different, she says, when the trial is over. Dylan and Marco reappear from Dylan’s dorm and explain that the boxes won’t move themselves and someone has to go get the pizza. Paige heads off for food.
As she is walking back with the pizza (it’s not that big, really, for three growing boys), she catches a glance of a familiar visage across the lawn. It’s Dean. Yes, the Dean who raped her, and who will now be attending school with her brother. Woo! Rapist!Dean (R!D) is showing off his car to some coeds and Paige immediately starts having flashbacks to the night he raped her.
R!D, being the jerk he is, starts yelling for her stop. He wants to talk. He explains they are on public property and he’s not stalking her. Because that makes it better? Asshole. She explains that she’s not supposed to talk to him. He works what little leverage he thinks he holds over her by mentioning that, at the trial, dirty little details will come out in front of “[her] parents, [his] girlfriend, and [her] boyfriend.”
He explains that it was a long time ago (2 years after being raped, she should be over it – yeah, right), he apologizes and says it was a mistake. If he could go back…she cuts him off. She asks if there is a point to the conversation. He lets her know she could drop the case against him. They could forget about it.
Paige, in agony, explains that her brother’s pizza is getting cold. R!D asks if she will at least think about it, and maybe they will never see each other again. He’s really working it to keep the case out of the court system. Paige walks off, shaken up.
It’s the first day of school at Degrassi, and we’re treated to the usual site of extras hugging each other enthusiastically. Toby, Emma, and Liberty are heading into the building, regaling each other with tales of their summer break-ups. Emma and Chris, Toby and Kendra, Liberty and Towerz. This is the only time any of these characters will appear this episode, and it’s mostly so they can explain why their other halves won’t be showing up too much (if at all) this season.
Spinner and Paige pull up in the Lovemobile. On her way inside, Paige says “hi” to Ellie and Ellie compliments her outfit. Paige says, “New year, new look, new Paige.” Aside from the frosty eye shadow, she’s pretty much the same. In jumps Alex – you might remember her from the catfight with Emma last season – who is obviously playing a bigger role this year. She offers to Ellie that just because Paige talks to her doesn’t mean she has to talk back. Paige lets Alex know she’s leaving and Sean states that “As usual, I’m glad we’re guys,” to Jay. They do a weird thing where they wiggle their fingers together. Considering the amount of animosity between Ellie and Alex up until the season finale last year, it’s rather odd to see them together like old best friends.
Manny and JT are looking at the new 8th graders, remembering when they were so short, so new; etc. A very small boy asks JT where the principal’s office is and after he gets directions, the kid tells JT to head on out so that he can spend more time with JT’s girlfriend. (Score one for the kid with the mack daddy skills.) This is the only time you will see Manny and JT this episode.
Craig approaches his locker, which is covered with birthday streamers, balloons and pictures. This is a total flashback to when he went out on his first date with Manny, in Season One. He turns to see Ashley right next to him and calls out to her, but she walks away. [I can’t help it. My ‘shipper heart soared to see the two of them interact. Craig and Ashley 4eva! –willa]
He walks off, talking to himself about being unsmooth, when Marco walks in. If there was any doubt that Marco was a homosexual, this outfit confirms he is either the biggest metrosexual at Degrassi or gay, because no normal man can coordinate a blazer, hipster sunglasses, and blue jeans quite like that. Marco yells “Happy Birthday” and asks Craig if he knew how hard it was to find decorations with musical notes. For those of you just joining the program, this is a shout out to the fact that Craig and Marco are in a rock band together.
Spinner and Jimmy are talking by Spinner’s locker, and Spinner is trying to decide if he should hang up a picture of Mandy Moore in his locker or Hilary Duff. We here at PopGurls will always recommend Mandy over anyone else. Accept no teenage floozy substitutes! Jimmy is also all about Mandy Moore, because he saw her while he was in LA with the basketball scout. Spinner thinks he should hang up one of Hilary because she looks more like Paige, who interrupts to say that she would rather look like Lindsey Lohan. (Nice subtle remark about the Hilary/Lindsay war).
Jimmy asks if she is supposed to be at court today and she says that it’s actually tomorrow, but she’s not going. Spinner gets upset and tells Paige he can’t do “it” anymore. She rightly asks for a definition, and he says “us” and then stalks off down the hall. She asks Jimmy if she was just dumped.
For once, we see Paige running after Spinner. He explains that she said everything would be okay after the trial, and if she’s not going, there will never be an “after.” He says that it was just one night almost three years ago and she should have moved on. (Spinner’s not insensitive, he’s just dumb.) She abruptly tells him that she wants to go park somewhere that night, just the two of them. Spinner can’t refuse.
Caitlin was kind enough to send a video greeting to Craig from Thailand, where she is working on her AIDS documentary. She’s wearing a baseball cap with a stiff, flat bill, and it doesn’t quite fit her head. It’s not pretty. Joey hands Craig an envelope which contains a check for 10 thousand dollars. He starts to thank Joey, but Joey explains it’s not from him just as Craig realizes it is from his dad. Joey’s guessing that it’s meant to tide Craig over until he turns 18 and can receive his full trust fund. Craig looks a little steamrolled. Before Joey can be a good, soothing dad, little Angie demands that they eat cake. Huzzah!
Spinner and Paige are parked in a dark, quiet place. She asks him if everything is okay between them, to which he replies in the affirmative. What’s he supposed to say, in the face of possible gropage? They commence with some heavy making out. Paige interrupts to ask a question about the music playing in the car, but Spinner keeps on keeping on. The first flashback of Dean’s face comes into her mind. Spinner asks if he is doing everything right, and she says yes. Even if she hadn’t been raped, she would be lying, because no teenaged boy EVER does it right. As he moves his hand up her thigh, stomach, etc. (he actually gets a hand on her breast, shocking!), she has another flashback to Dean on top of her and starts screaming “no” and asking him to stop. Spinner tells her that she’s okay, but Paige comes to a realization. “No, I’m not. I have to go.” She means, “to court.” Spinner says he will go with her.
We finally see Paige’s mother, who surprisingly enough does not have the accent she faked last season. Spinner shows up to be supportive, but Paige asks him to go away. She explains that once he hears what happened, it will play like a VCR in his head forever and she will be alone in old age with her nine cats. He tells her that he will never break up with her, and she reminds him that he did yesterday. He explains that it was a test (nice, jackass) and that what she’s doing now is cool; he could never dump a cool girl like her.
Paige is on the stand first, and the defense is tearing her apart with questions. Dean’s attorney, a woman, starts off by asking why Paige went with Dean to the room upstairs at the party. The attorney asks if she finds Dean attractive. She asks if Paige slapped him when he put his hand down her blouse. She asked if she liked it when he had his hands on her breasts. Looking at Spinner, Paige admits that she did, at first. The attorney then asks Paige if at any point Dean ever held a knife to her throat, a gun to her head, a grenade? The counsel then holds up a condom and asks how he was able to open one of these and roll it onto his penis without offering her the chance to get away if she wanted to.
Paige tells the courtroom she ultimately said no. He was bigger than her, he was stronger, and she was afraid; she’s not sure how it happened. The counsel for Dean then asks how many men she has had sex with, and Paige’s counsel objects. Paige says, actually, she would like to answer it. She tells the courtroom, “That was my only experience and I certainly would not have chosen to lose my virginity upstairs at a house party with a guy I had only known for an hour.” Paige is really brave.
Craig is sitting in class, when Ashley comes up to him. She explains that she wanted to be friends but…he finishes her sentence, “[you] got sucked into some bizarro time warp last year.” She asks about his birthday and he lets it all out about how his dad is still trying to control his life from beyond the grave. He tells her about the check and how he is going to rip it up, even though Joey has advised him to invest it. Ashley tells him that his dad owes him. Does he have any idea how much fun he could have with that money?
Back in the courtroom, the judge is back quickly. The Justice applauds Paige for her strength and says that this is the kind of case that keeps her up at night. But because of lack of witnesses and physical evidence, she has to find the defendant not guilty. The look of shock on Paige’s face is horrible, and Dean shoots her a smirk as he hugs his dad.
In Paige’s room, she is dumping things out of her closet in a huff. There’s a knock on her door. She tells whoever it is to go away. It’s Marco. He asks her to come to Dylan’s dorm, for a party. Yeah, because everyone loves hanging with a wretched, badly dressed, rape victim loser. Marco tells her she isn’t a loser and no one else is thinking that. He sits and tells her he felt the same way when he was bashed. He wanted to change his skin. She yells that she just lost her case three hours ago, and Dean was found not guilty. Marco says he is sorry, and she tells him she’ll be down in a minute.
Spinner tries to comfort Paige on the way into the party and she basically bites his head off. Aww! He’s trying to be all sensitive! Paige grabs Hazel and tells her she came to party, not to stroll through the park. Hazel’s presence in this episode is strange, since she didn’t even go to the trial. She’s, like, bad window dressing.
Ashley and Craig hit up a music store to spend some money and are quickly drawn to a guitar. Craig holds it reverently. It’s a classic, 1969 Strat, and the clerk asks him to put it back, because it’s got a $4000 price tag. Craig explains he’d like to buy it, because he knows his dad would have hated it.
Back at the party, Paige is looking for a fight. Spinner tries to hug her and she throws his arms off. She is bumping into people, and Hazel has to pull her away from one girl she is trying to start a fight with. Cozying up to some strange boys on the stairs, Paige tries to play up the slutty reputation she thinks she has. She accepts what looks like a Jell-O shot, but is apparently tequila, and does a body shot with some random college guy in front of Spinner. He interrupts and drags her off.
They end up in a dorm room. I hope it’s Dylan’s. He asks what her problem is, but she’s all over him. She explains, as she starts taking off layers of clothing, that “I’m easy, everyone knows it. The judge, my mother, now you. Like Dean, you just get me alone and do whatever you want and no one will stop you.” Spinner looks away, but she pushes him. “What? You don’t you want me?” He tells her no, not right now, and she shoots back, “Why? Because Dean got there first?” Such a low blow.
Spinner yells that she has to let that go, and Paige goes ballistic. “You want me to just let it go, like someone was rude or stole my seat at lunch?” He just wants her back, as she was before. She screams that he doesn’t even know her, which he thinks is stupid. The truth, she says, is that Paige went upstairs that night and never came back.
She tells him that she never wants to see his face again, and so he leaves. Paige starts digging for her coat in a pile on the bed, and also finds Spinner’s car keys. A plan is hatched. This entire scene is brilliant, and well-played. Bravo.
Back at the Jeremiah household, Ashley and Craig walk in on Joey sitting at the table paying some bills or balancing his accounts, or something to do with money. A euphoric Craig cracks open the guitar case to show off his purchase, and Joey asks if it’s a Fender Strat. Craig tells him it’s exactly like the one Hendrix had. Joey assumes it set him back $400? $650? Craig explains it was four grand. Joey is stunned, but puts on a happy face and tells Craig to enjoy it.
Craig is jamming with the new guitar in the garage, when he’s interrupted by Joey, who asks Craig if he could help out with a little rent. The first thing Craig says is, “My dad’s estate gives you money.” (Ungrateful much there, Craig?) Joey explains that it’s only $250 a month and it’s barely enough to keep him in shoes and pizza. Craig wants to know if Joey would ask Angie to kick in for living costs. Joey explains that she’s 7 years old, eats like a bird, and didn’t just spend four grand on a guitar. Craig says he’s not so sure about that being the only difference, and walks out. [I’m glad to see that the trend of ending all scenes with someone walking off in a huff still stands. –willa]
Spinner is playing pool, still at the party, and Hazel is looking for Paige, since no one has seen her. Hazel is getting worried, but Spinner is pretending to be all not-caring.
Meanwhile, Paige is talking herself into a fraternity party. She works her way in by saying she’s there to see Steve, a 2nd year student who invited her, and she lies that she’s 20, but short. She immediately spots R!D behind the bar. She tells him she has something to say, and when he ignores her, she threatens to say it to everyone. Dean snaps back that he wasn’t found guilty, and that she has nothing to say.
Paige climbs up on the stairs and starts yelling, “Do any of you here know what your buddy is? Do you know what he does?” Dean is yelling for her to shut up and she keeps screaming, “He is a liar and a rapist.” Dean tells everyone that she’s an ex-girlfriend and drags her outside.
He pulls her onto the front lawn, and stops in front of his very expensive sports car. Paige jerks away from him. “You don’t get it, I was 15.” He tells her that he doesn’t recommend she pull something like that again, as he’s trying to get into that fraternity. She tells him, “This was my life, you raped me.” Cocky from his win in court, Dean says, “yeah.” She asks him if he’ll admit it, just like that. He admits that he must have done something wrong, because she keeps punishing him.
“You didn’t say that in court,” she spits out. “Well, I must have done something right if you keep coming back like this.” (Which is it? Did you do something wrong, and are being punished, or right, and she’s coming back for more?) She tells him she didn’t come back. On a roll, Dean says, “I can’t blame you for wanting some more of this.” Excuse me? “Listen sweetheart, go home and call your sad little boyfriend. If you want to have fun sometime, call me. You were good.” Dean walks off and Paige stares at his car.
Spinner walks around the corner in time to see Paige getting in the Lovemobile. She puts the keys in and starts the car. Spinner yells her name as she puts the car in reverse, and joyously slams it into Dean’s car, smashing the bumper. Spinner pulls her out of the car and she’s laughing. He tells her to get in a cab and go home. Spinner falls to the ground, looking at the wreckage as Paige walks off. After all Paige pulled and how horrid she was to Spinner, he makes up his mind to cover for her. Aww, Honeybee.
Enter the music montage. Paige is hailing a cab. Joey is waiting for Craig, who is walking into Sean’s house. Joey tries calling Craig again as Paige walks into her room and stares at herself in the mirror. Spinner looks at his car and can’t open the back door. This is the first time we see the extent of the damage to his car. The back windshield is gone, so he throws his bag in the broken window. Paige looks at her alarm clock and sits up with a smile on her face. End music montage.
Paige’s counselor is on the phone calling to remind her that they had an 8:45 appointment when Paige walks in all smiles, apologizing for being late. The counselor comments on how this wasn’t the Paige she was expecting to see, and Paige lets her know she has multiple personalities. (That would explain the first season.) The counselor wants to congratulate her on what she did, even though R!D got off. She tells her even though the justice system isn’t perfect, Paige found her voice again and is healing. She’s triumphed over her rapist because she’s been honest. The smile on Paige’s face goes away as she thanks the counselor.
Paige walks into class, right up to Spinner who is studying. She asks him if he’s okay. He shrugs and says, “I hope it felt good.” She asks about the Lovemobile, and offers to get a job to pay off the damages, whatever it takes. Ms. Hatzilakos calls Spinner’s name from across the room. As he turns to look, we see the Royal Canadian Mounted Police outside. He looks at Paige and in the next scene, Spinner is outside with the police, being put into a police car as evidence is gathered from his vehicle by other officers.
Craig and Ashley are having a discussion about the musical direction for Craig’s band when Snake walks in and scolds Craig for having fries and gravy near the computers. Craig lets him know he’ll be careful; no worries. Snake mentions he might want to tell his dad that, the no worries part. Snake lets Craig know that Joey has been calling around to find him. Craig tells Snake he doesn’t have a dad. Ashley realizes this is her moment to leave and books it out of there. It would break Joey’s little heart if he heard Craig say Joey wasn’t a dad to him. Craig feels that Joey would probably make him pay for the service, because he’s The Bank of Craig.
Snake then lays a little of the smack down on Craig. He tells him, “Joey stepped up when no one else was going to. That takes a lot. A lot of guts and a lot of commitment. And what you owe him is more respect than you are showing right now.” Snake takes Craig’s fries and walks off.
Paige is at home when her cell phone goes off. It’s Spinner. She asks where he is and he lets her know he’s at the police station. He is being charged with failure to remain at the scene of the accident, mischief, and dangerous driving. He tells her he’s scared. Paige says he didn’t do anything. Spinner explains that R!D called the police with his license plate number. He tells Paige he told the police he was the one who crashed the car. She’s been through enough and she’s safe – he wanted to tell her. Paige starts to say something else but the police let Spinner know his time is up; his mother is there, and he hangs up the phone.
Craig walks into Joey’s house, and Joey asks where he’s been. Craig starts off saying he’s just getting his guitar and his clothes. He lets Joey know he won’t be using any of his food, but Joey blurts out that he might lose his business. He didn’t want to worry Craig by telling him. Joey is trying to be the dad, but screwed up by trying to hit Craig up for money.
Joey explains his credit is shot and his bills are huge. Craig offers to give him the money. He’ll return the guitar and give him the entire $10 thousand. Joey refuses. Craig says he has to do something. Joey tells Craig he knows he wants to be a big rock star someday, but he’d like the dealership to be there in case he needs it.
Paige is walking to the police station when R!D storms out the doors. He says that her “boyfriend is dead.” Paige tells him she did it. He’s so tough that threatens to take her down. Oooh. We’re so scared. “Sorry to take away your fun” she says, “but I’m about to confess. That’s what good people do when they realize they’ve done something wrong.”
Dean lets her know the frat didn’t let him in because of what she said. She turns to walk off and he tells her he’s not finished with her. She tells him she’s very finished with all of this, especially him. She tells him it’s over and she’s got something very important to do. She walks in to the station and tells an officer that she is there to talk about something that happened last night.
Joey is working on selling a car to a woman who is rather iffy about the whole deal when Craig walks up. He tells her she would look great in it, and she heads to get her bag. Oh, the Craig charm is working. Joey tells him he’s a bargain at three times the salary. Craig says, “Three times free is still free.”
Paige walks up to Spinner, who is working on his poor Corsica. He asks what happened and she explains she lost her license and is probably stuck with a year of community service. Spinner asks if it’s teaching anger management. She is trying to make him laugh, saying she’s going to embroider “on probation” on all her clothes to give herself that bad girl edge.
He asks if she came by to make jokes. (He’s the one who made that “anger management” crack.) She explains she doesn’t know what to say except that she wished she never hurt his car or him. Spinner says okay. She also tells him she meant it when she said she’d pay for the repairs. She asks him if he would like to go out to a triple feature at the drive-in, sour candies on her. He hopes to have the car in decent shape by then. She goes to his tool box and grabs a wrench. She holds it out to him and says, “Wrench?” The show ends with both of them smiling at each other.