Written by Mandy
Sean and Ellie are standing in front of a school bus, though it is unclear whether or not they used it to get to school. Sean flips through several newspapers plastered with his face and headlines about how he is a student hero that saved the day. The Degrassi Community School shooting is all over the news. Sean asks Ellie to confirm the coolness of making the front page, and it’s obvious from her answer of “yeah” that she really means, “you have got to be kidding me, but hey, I’ll be supportive because you like my ferret.” She is amazed that it’s Monday and the news outlets are still talking about the shooting. Oh, you sweet Canadians, the U.S. will talk about a school shooting for years and years. A few days should be a blessing.
Cut to Raditch, giving a speech in front of video cameras and TV reporters. “Today is a day of reflection. Counselors will be available, students can talk, express their feelings. After which, it’s important we get things back to normal.” As he’s finishing that sentence, the pushy!insensitive!reporter from “Time Stands Still 2” runs toward Sean and Ellie. She yells, “Sean Cameron! If I could just talk to you for two minutes on camera.” Ellie grabs Sean by the arm and encourages him to ignore her. Pushy!reporter tells Ellie, “Your boyfriend is a hero. All I want to know is what it feels like.” Sean has a genuinely dumbfounded look on his face as he turns around. He starts to stammer and realizes that girls are looking and pointing at him. Lots of girls, and they aren’t giving him the “go away, greaser” look. Sean looks into the camera and tells the reporter, “I guess I’m about to find out.”
So begins yet another foray into what I like to call “what can go wrong with a theme song when you try too hard to appeal to the youth market” or simply “breaking what isn’t broken.” The theme music is here again.
After commercial, the cameras finds a group of Degrassi’s finest, sitting in a circle. Paige is speaking about how helpless she feels. She is thinking beyond herself though, she’s talking about the possibility that Jimmy will never recover or walk again. Hazel is sobbing into a tissue as Ms. Sauve explains that Jimmy needs hope, and that’s something they can give him. Behind her, Sean is making faces like he is completely bored with the topic at hand.
In another room, Snake is saying that there is no excuse for what Rick did. There’s a Trauma and Grief Counseling Services flip board set up, with the Degrassi Community School logo across the top – which makes me wonder how fast they worked to get that set up. Snake continues on, letting the classroom know that labeling Rick a monster isn’t going to help the students understand why it happened. Toby is the first to speak up: Rick was bullied, really bad. Craig tells Toby not to make Rick the victim. Toby tries to explain himself, saying, “I’m not, just think how he must have felt.” Toby now has the attention of the class.
Snake asks the room, “Do you ever feel that desperate or angry? Then you need to talk to an adult before it reaches a crisis point.” Toby asks the obvious question. “What if nobody listens?” Snake pauses to look at Toby and tells him to keep trying, someone will. Craig asks if they are supposed to rat out their friends, while looking right at Spinner. Spinner gives his typical “oh wait, did I do that?” look before glancing away and realizing this is partially his fault. Snake says that it’s not about getting people in trouble, but getting people out of trouble.
Marco is wearing a painted mask and talking about how he is shaken up and wants to turn back time. Ellie’s across the room, and it becomes clear that Marco isn’t being overly dramatic. Ms. Sauve has set up some sort of grief counseling exercise. Marco passes the mask back to Ms. Sauve, who asks who wants to go next. She picks Sean, asking him to repeat three phrases: I am, I want, I need. He doesn’t want to, but takes the mask while muttering how stupid it is. He puts the mask to his face as he uses the three phrases to express, “I am Sean Cameron. I want some chocolate milk. I need the stupidity to be over.” He laughs as he takes the mask off and hands it back to Ms. Sauve. Everyone else in the room is obviously upset with his answers.
Ms. Sauve tells him that he doesn’t have to use the mask, which honestly is a bit of overkill, but she would still like to hear from him. He explains that he was faced with a situation and he dealt with it, end of story. Ms. Sauve, noticing he is uncomfortable despite the tough guy act he is putting on, lets Sean know it’s perfectly normal for people who witness violence to experience guilt. He is offended by this, and lets her know that he stopped Rick from killing people and he’s sleeping like a baby. She won’t let it go that easy though, and reminds him that Rick did die. Sean simply replies with, “luck of the draw.” He’s had enough of Ms. Sauve and he leaves the gymnasium.
Snake is sitting with his head in his hands, fingers pressed firmly into his eyes. Sean knocks on the door to his classroom and Snake invites him in. He’s glad Sean’s there today and that he’s not going through it alone. Sean asks, “Through what? The bullet missed me.” He paces back and forth as Snake continues, explaining to Sean that he was involved in something horrible and he hopes his friends understand that. Sean says everyone’s been great and as Snake asks if he’s letting himself deal, Ms. Melodrama herself bursts in the room.
“Dad, I can’t take it. Everybody’s staring at me everywhere I go,” cries Emma. She sees Sean and puts her arm on his back, saying his name. She then wraps her arms around him, saying she never got to thank him for saving her life. She cries dramatically and keeps repeating the same words. Sean is looking at her like she’s lost her mind the whole time this is going on; it’s the look he’s been giving most of the student body and faculty all day. Snake tells Sean, “We all need some closure, that’s what today’s all about.” Sean pushes Emma gently back at the waist and walks out of the room. Snake and Emma watch him walk off before Emma looks worriedly back at her dad.
Jay is sitting back against his car and Alex is trying to convince him to go to the counseling session with Sauve. She’s trying to rationalize with him, it’ll only take an hour. Jay says it’s 60 minutes of Sauve going “blah blah, it’s ok to cry.” Alex tells him that he may not need to talk about what happened, but she does, and she walks off. Crazy Jay warns her to watch what she talks about.
Ellie and Sean walk right by Alex, and Ellie is telling Sean he never tried to make the session work. As he’s making fun of the masks, pushy!insensitive!reporter walks up to Sean and asks for the interview. Whether he talks to her or not, she’s going to put together a piece on him. Fed up with the reporter, Ellie tells her to do what she wants because they don’t get cable. As Sean and Ellie walk off, the reporter says the words she knows will catch Sean’s attention. She simply states, “Well, Sean’s mom does. We interviewed her yesterday. She had a lot to say.” Sean and Ellie both turn around shocked.
On a monitor screen, we finally get to see Sean’s parents. They are describing how Sean’s had his problems but nothing like “this kid,” referring to Rick. They kind of remind me of the people you often see being interviewed after a tornado has hit a town – the first locals to describe the twister. Sean and Ellie are watching this in a news van, listening to the interview with the reporter looking on. The reporter is heard on screen asking his parents if it was a surprise to hear that he was a hero. His mother is saying that he always was a strong boy, no fear, and that used to get him in to trouble all the time but it looks like it saved his life this time. Sean looks like this type of critiquing from his mom is nothing new and Ellie looks completely uncomfortable.
On the monitor, the reporter says Sean saved a lot of lives, and of course the mother breaks down into tears almost on cue – saying she couldn’t stop thinking about what if he had shot her Sean. (An aside here – how many rounds of ammo did they think Rick had in his backpack? He saved Emma, Spinner, Alex, and Jay – that’s about it. This wasn’t a Rambo-type backpack Rick was carrying around.) His mother continues to cry. “What if I never got to see my baby again? I miss him. I love him so much.” The anger is evident on Sean’s face as he watches this. He’s surely wondering if he’s the baby she’s referring to, considering she’s been missing for four seasons of the show.
Emma walks outside and notices Jay’s car, its stereo pumping out loud music. He’s leaning against it when he tells her, “Just running the battery, Greenpeace. Pollution free.” She explains that it’s still noise pollution, but that’s not why she’s there. She asks for Sean, and Jay points in the general direction of the news van. Emma is surprised Sean would be talking to the reporter, and at that moment Sean walks out of the van with a monitor over his head and slams it to the ground. Sean walks off from the news van, Ellie trailing behind him. The reporter tells him that his parents clearly love him, and Sean tells her, “I’m full of love today.”
Jay tries to slow him down, and Sean tells him to shut up and move, with the reporter’s cameraman capturing this all on film. Sean tells everyone in the general vicinity he’s driving and tells Ellie to get in to Jay’s car. Ellie want him to just calm down. Sean tells her, “You wanted me to express myself, this is me expressing myself.” Ellie gets in the backseat of the car as Sean turns to Emma. “Emma, are you coming or what?” She thinks about it for all of two seconds before climbing in the backseat with Ellie. Jay gets shotgun, no pun intended. The reporter is standing there, looking at her damaged monitor and Jay asks where they are heading to. Sean says, “Wasaga Beach. Home,” They pull out of the school parking lot.
Danny and J.T. are playing basketball when Toby walks up. He catches the ball and says their names. J.T. says, “Hi” and grabs the ball from Toby. Danny says, “Bye.” Toby tries again, saying he just got Draco’s Quest 2, if they ever wanted to play. The other two boys are making it obvious they don’t want to hang with him, but Toby catches the ball on the rebound again. J.T. tells Toby that he’s trying to cut down, and snatches the ball back. Toby raises his voice a bit, and reminds J.T. that he was there during the shooting. J.T., ever the sensitive one, says to Toby, “So what do you want me to say? Okay, I’m sorry. I’m sorry you became friends with a psycho. You knew what Rick was like.” J.T. turns to walk away, leaving his one-time best friend standing there in shock. Toby yells to him, “I didn’t know he was going to bring a gun to school.” J.T. turns around again to address Toby, “Really?” and then he walks off. Toby is left standing alone on the court.
Wasaga Beach is obviously a tourist spot – people on the beach, kids playing, boats on the water, guys playing football, people shopping, and teenagers buying junk food at the concession stands. Sean and the rest of his traveling companions pull up a long driveway to a small house. Jay, always tactful, asks if it’s a lunchbox or a house. Sean replies that it’s where he was born. Ellie again tells him that maybe he should cool off a bit. Sean reminds her they have been driving for two hours, he’s cool – and he slams the door to Jay’s car for emphasis. Ellie yells to Sean that he’s not cool enough, and Emma jumps in. “Let him go. He should have done this years ago.” Emma’s being a busybody know-it-all? I am shocked!
Sean knocks on the door and his mother yells for the person at the door to “hold their horses.” She opens the door and immediately softens. She tells him that she heard what happened, and as she goes to touch his arm, he pulls away. “I know,” he snarks, “That was quite the performance.” He imitates her from her interview, repeating her words about missing him and how he was her baby. She starts to interrupt but he raises his voice as he tells her, “During the next interview, try telling the truth. Like how you gave up on me, how you booted me out of your life. Stop playing the poor abandoned mother role because nobody’s buying it. Especially not me.” She shakes her head and simply says, “Okay,” and walks back inside the house, shutting the door. Sean turns around to face his friends and takes a deep breath.
Ellie and Emma are being buried in the sand by Jay and Sean. Emma tries to get up and Jay holds her shoulders down a bit, saying, “Yo, Cameron – this sprout’s about to get loose.” Flirting much there Jay and Emma? Sean’s attention is instead on someone who is riding a Jet Ski. The guy pulls up to the beach and Sean can’t take his eyes off him. Jay finally asks, “Who you checking out? All I see is some guy.” Sean tells them the guy is Tyler Bishop. Emma immediately remembers and says, “He’s the kid you deafened.” Sean explains it was in one ear and the guy jumped him – the guy thought he was tough, Sean was tougher. Jay asks, “So he got half deaf while you got sent to Toronto, to Tracker, to student welfare? If you ask me, this guy owes you.” Tyler doesn’t seem to notice them as he puts in his hearing aid and walks off.
Jimmy’s locker is decked out in flowers and homemade cards, including the one that was in front of the school the night of the shooting with his picture and the word “Why?” Toby is looking these over as Manny walks up, noting that she didn’t realize Jimmy had so many friends. Toby reads off some of the names – including the always heard of, but never seen Heather Sinclair – and tells Manny that a lot of those are from strangers. “People who don’t even know Jimmy care about him. My own friends won’t even talk to me,” Toby tells Manny. She puts her hand on his shoulder sympathetically and he continues, “I have to go to Rick’s visitation tonight, but I can’t face his mom.” Manny says he shouldn’t have to go alone, and asks about J.T. Toby says, “What about him?” She looks off, realizing that J.T. is still as immature as she was when she dumped him.
At Wasaga Beach, Tyler is working the Jet Ski rental stand. Jay and Sean head towards him and it’s clear there’s going to be trouble. Jay asks what it’s going to cost to rent one of “these things.” Tyler recognizes Sean immediately and is silent, so Jay takes the opportunity to make a deaf joke. Tyler grabs Jay by the jacket and pushes past him to grab Sean. He’s yelling at Sean that he never thought he’d be stupid enough to come back there. Ellie screams at them to stop it as Jay pulls Tyler off Sean. Tyler starts running his mouth at Sean, telling him that, “The papers think you’re some kind of hero, wrestling gunslingers.” Sean says he didn’t think he could read. Tyler tells him that he saw his picture and recognized the eyebrows.
Sean is visibly trying to cool off as Tyler asks, “Pissed? Go on, sucker punch me in the other ear and flee town. That’s your move, isn’t it?” Sean tells the others it’s time to go. But Tyler doesn’t know when to quit because he says, “Or do you kill and run these days? Because a kid died this time, didn’t he, hero?” Sean rushes up to grab Tyler, but he’s held back by Jay and Ellie. Tyler tells them it’s 60 bucks for 60 minutes. He looks at Sean and says, “It’s free for you, trailer park boy. Wouldn’t want to take your lunch money again.” They walk off from the rental stand with Tyler smiling smugly. I can see why Sean hit the bastard in the first place.
Ellie walks slowly up to Sean, who is decked out in a rather form-fitting bodysuit (which should have a certain group of people squealing), and tells him that it was fun meeting Tyler. Sean never looks back at her, just answers, “Good times.” Ellie goes on to say, “He got a lot off his chest.” She says his name to get his attention. He answers with a “What?” and she continues by saying, “Your stories don’t really mesh.” Sean turns around, shaking his head, and looks at Ellie while saying, “So you believe him?” Ellie stands there, saying she doesn’t know what to believe because she’s trying to understand what he’s going through but he won’t even talk to her.
He walks up to her quickly and tells her angrily, “You want me to talk? Fine. When the gun went off, my hand was covered in warm liquid. I thought I had pissed myself, but I realized I was drenched in Rick’s blood.” Ellie looks shocked and Sean has begun to cry as he continues, “And then when he fell to the…” She tries to touch his arm and says his name again. He pushes her arm away and says, “No.” She screams his name as he runs to the water, grabbing one of the jet skis. He yells at her, “You’re not doing this to me.” She yells his name one more time as he gets on the Jet Ski and takes off.
He’s riding it wildly, in circles and as fast as he can. He doesn’t have much control over the Jet Ski and suddenly he falls off, going head first into the water. Ellie is yelling his name from the beach as Emma and Jay get up. Tyler goes running past them, into the water, which is where the rest of them should have been going considering Sean is floating face down, but hey – let’s leave that to the boy he deafened and not those that care for him. Tyler rides another Jet Ski out to Sean’s and jumps in the water. He swims out to where Sean is and pulls his floating body from the water.
On the beach, Emma and Jay look at Ellie, who is watching the whole thing go down with this kind of shocked look. Tyler pulls Sean onto the shore, and he isn’t conscious. Emma is the first to run up, telling Sean to wake up and massaging his chest. Personally, I think she just wanted the chance to cop a feel while he was wearing the wet suit, but that could just be me. Ellie and Jay run up as Sean rolls over and coughs up some water. He asks what happened. Ellie tells him he nearly drowned, but Tyler saved his life. Sean looks over at Tyler, who is sitting on the beach next to him, and does a floppy hand gesture. Tyler nods in approval. Apparently this is the guy code for, “Okay, we’re all good now, thanks for saving my back.”
Back at the usual hub of teen drama, J.T. and Danny are walking out of the school. Manny yells out J.T.’s name. He answers, “Manny, how are ya?” She tells him she’s alright, “better than a certain best friend of yours.” J.T. says, “Ex-best friend, and that was before he joined forces with Hell Boy, who I know is a superhero, but whatever.” Danny interjects by stating Toby is a geek and always has been. Yes, the boy who uses an ironing board for a diving board and has only J.T. as his immature equal, is calling someone else a geek. Manny tells J.T. what someone has needed to tell him since he hooked up with little Danny boy there, “You out geek them all, James Tiberius Yorke. But Toby was always there for you.”
J.T continues to joke. “Tiberius is a family name, alright?” Manny keeps going. “If you hadn’t ditched him for Webster here, he would have never hooked up with Rick.” J.T. decides to go the smart-ass route by expressing outrage that Manny would lecture him on ditching people. He’s still bitter. She pats him on the shoulder and says, “Now I remember why we broke up. You just can’t be the bigger man.” With that, she walks off and leaves him with his thoughts and Danny. They both watch her go and Danny starts to comment. J.T. tells him, “Don’t say it.”
Sean Cameron fangirl moment begins now, as he sits on the beach with his wet suit halfway off. Emma walks up and shakes him by the shoulder, saying his name to get his attention. She tells him that maybe he needs to see a doctor. He tells her that he’s fine, just thinking. She asks him what he’s thinking about what and he apologizes to her. She asks what for, and he says, “For last year, you know. For everything I put you through. Everything. I’m sorry.” She tells him its ancient history and suggests they should get going. He tells her they have a pit stop to make first and he gets up to leave the beach. (An aside here: Ellie is his girlfriend and yet has spent most of this episode as far away as she can be from him. Emma, on the other hand, has been right there to be “supportive.”)
Sean walks up to his parents’ house again and knocks. This must be the pit stop he was referring to. His father yells, “Door,” to which his mother replies, “You have legs, don’t you?” Ah, the happy household. His mother comes to the door with his father this time. His father says immediately, “So how long till the cops get here?” Sean turns to walk off and his mother grabs him, telling him his father didn’t mean it. Sean tells his dad that he is there with friends, that’s all. His father says, “It’s been over four years, no calls, no nothing, now here you are. You expect us to believe it’s just for kicks?” His mother attempts to make peace by saying, “What I said to that reporter lady, it wasn’t lies. I can’t cry on cue, Sean. I mean, we’ve made a lot of mistakes, but sending you to Toronto, that was the best thing we ever did. How else were we going to keep you out of jail?”
Sean starts to cry and he tells his mom he knows. His dad asks why he’s back. Sean tells his dad, “That kid at school, he was going to shoot my friend.” Sean’s dad is listening instead of being stand-offish as Sean continues, “So I grabbed the gun and it went off. I think…I think…I think I might have killed him.” Sean bursts into major tears as his mother holds him, crying and saying, “Oh Sean.” Sean keeps crying into her arms, telling his parents, “He died. He died. He died.” His father comes up and puts his head against Sean’s. His dad tells him, “It’s okay, kid. It’s alright. You’re home. We got ya.” Sean continues crying as his mom and dad both hold onto him, telling him it’s going to be alright.
Rick’s picture is on top of a casket, and I must add that they could have picked a much better picture of him. That looks like a photo taken during the “Mercy Street” episode where everyone was trying to kick his ass. Was that his student ID photo blown up? Come on now, Mrs. Murray. Do your dead son some justice here.
Speaking of Ms. Murray, Rick’s mom is standing at the casket, her arms across it. People are crying as Toby and Manny walk in together. Toby sees Mrs. Murray at the casket, staring at the picture of Rick and crying. He tells Manny he can’t do this. Manny tells him it’s okay, that he can just leave. As they turn to go, Mrs. Murray is hugging someone and sees them. She yells out to Toby. He turns back around and she walks up and hugs him. Toby briefly hugs her back. She tells him, “You were always such a good friend,” and she cups his face as she says, “such a good friend.”
Toby mouths what appears to be “thank you” when J.T. appears. J.T. tells Rick’s mom that he wanted to say he is very sorry for what happened. Mrs. Murray asks if he was a friend of Rick’s. J.T. looks briefly over at Manny before saying appropriately, “It was a tragedy. I’m very sorry.” Rick’s mom shakes her head and walks up to hug him regardless. She walks back off to care for the rest of the people at the funeral. J.T. turns to Toby and tells him, “It doesn’t matter what I thought of Rick, it still shouldn’t have happened.” Toby nods in approval and walks towards the front of the funeral chapel. Rick’s mom is back at his casket, staring at his picture. Where the hell is Mr. Murray? We never see him, and you would think that despite his busy schedule, his son’s funeral might be a time he took a day off from work. I think most places of employment would understand, “Hey, my son was going to shoot up a school and ended up dying, so I need the day of his funeral off, okay?”
Sean walks away from his parent’s house, his hands jammed in his pockets. He seems surprised to see Ellie waiting for him. He walks up to her and tells her that he told them everything. She suggests that they go back to Toronto. He begins to tell her something and she interrupts by saying, “You’re staying, aren’t you?” Ellie pleads with him, “Sean, please, I love you.” Sean tells her, “I love you, too, but Ellie…” She glances down and asks, “Well, when are you coming back?” Sean looks down and Ellie sighs.
Emma and Jay are hanging back together on the other side of the car, and Jay yells to Sean, “Yo, Cameron – get in the car.” Sean is fighting tears as he says, “I’m staying. I’m staying. For the first time in my life I need to be here with my parents, to deal.” Jay, actually showing some emotion, asks if he is sure about this. Sean nods his head yes, his eyes still tearful. Jay tells him, “Okay man, see ya,” and they hug. Ellie is shaking her head and crying as she gets in the car. Emma looks out from the backseat window at Sean, who immediately tries to put on his tough-guy face as the three pull away without him. He watches them drive off and is nodding his head, as if he has made the right choice, as tears fall down his face. He looks back to his parents’ house, now his house again, as the tears stream down his cheeks.