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Girl Meets World - Girl Meets Master Plan - Review

Ocean’s 11 typography can’t save an episode.

There’s heart and even a basic structure in “Girl Meets Master Plan.” Shawn is back in town, trying and failing to find a New York weekend for under a hundred. Maya is newly fourteen, trying and failing to have a birthday devoid of the usual pain and drama. Riley is all aglow, trying and failing to throw Shawn and Katy together for Maya. Katy is all a mess, trying and failing to protect her daughter—taking an extra shift to get her a real gift, hiding the truth of where Maya’s father has been.
And I like that “Master Plan” evades, at the last, misery in the failing—but also last-minute total success. Steps are taken. Shawn is farther down the path to important figure in Maya’s life, and has met Katy at least. But no instant love. No declarations of paternity. It’s as realistic an advancement as you can get, one that could go either way for Maya in the future (though hopefully, for everyone involve, the way of loads more Shawn Hunter).

Did it have to be so predictable though? Perhaps it’s because we’ve already seen how genuine Katy’s love for her daughter is, but from the start, it’s hard to buy that she has really skipped Maya’s birthday for no reason. Really? She wouldn’t have dropped a card, a note? Anything, in her quest to raise the money in time? Katy might be flighty. She can be impulsive and guarded and quick to lay down and surrender. But as we’ve seen in “Girl Meets Maya’s Mother” before, she loves her daughter. She’s busy and overly dependent on Maya’s strength, but not negligent per se. One can believe she skimped on the details, but on the day completely? Not easy for me.

And with that heart beating a little weaker for it, it’s hard not to fixate on the comedic failure of “Master Plan.” While it's arguably pointless by now to comment on the show’s weaker comedic hand, rarely has Girl Meets World so repeatedly committed perhaps its biggest sin: Beating a joke dead. The spy racket aesthetic parades across the screen long past its welcome—and then vanishes. Cory’s inability to turn around at opportune times, a franchise staple, lasts precisely two decades. (I know, I counted—don’t try to tell me otherwise.) 

It’s easy to see why by episode’s end—there’s not really a subplot in “Master Plan,” or even a runner with Auggie, presumably for contractual reasons. But why? As an A plot, “Master Plan” is a simple story. Maya has a birthday. Katy isn’t there. Shawn is mad. Shawn fixes it. Four basic beats, and twenty-two minutes sans commercials to fill—hardly a winning combination. Perhaps they simply couldn’t think up something thematically relevant, or some shuffling occurred, but it leaves “Master Plan” unfortunately a lesser episode for it.

About the Author - Sarah Batista-Pereira
An aspiring screenwriter and current nitpicker, Sarah likes long walks not on the beach, character-driven storytelling, drama-comedy balancing acts, Oxford commas, and not doing biographies. She is the current reviewer for Girl Meets World.