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Abbott Elementary – Episodes 1.07 and 1.08 – Double Review


Abbott Elementary continues delivering its precious messages and with a new episode tonight let us do a quick recap of the latest two episodes of the show

1.07 – With the previous volunteer art teacher retiring, Janine recommends her old college friend Sahar to take the gig. Sahar, a local clearly too cool for school artist, comes in just in time for Melissa’s favourite art project of the year: reading Peter Rabbit and then making Styrofoam plate bunnies after. It’s a sentimental project for Melissa as she claims “it’s the first thing she did as a teacher that the kids liked” and has been doing it for 15 years. She’s so invested in it she even bought brand new copies of the book for the kids with her own money. Janine shares the excitement but Sahar wants to take a different approach as she finds the book dated. Janine being the beta in their dynamic sort of goes with her flow, but knows better than to aggravate Melissa and asks for time to try and break it to her with ease. Sahar ignores her and Melissa gets justifiably angry when Sahar negates her years standing tradition. A common ground seems to be met where besides the paper plate bunnies Janine and Sahar come up with an idea they should also have a larger art installation, by recreating the garden. Originally both Janine and Melissa are impressed by the result, but when Melissa notices that Sahar and the kids have used the new books to make the garden she loses it. Janine calms her down and tries to talk to Sahar about how she took it too far and they should both apologise to Melissa, and that’s when Sahar shows her true colours, berating Janine and calling her a conformist. It’s the last straw for Janine to send her on her way. She tries to apologise to Melissa, who’ll have none of it. She’s just proud Janine stood up for what is right and for being a real person.
Elsewhere Barbara and Jacob bond over a vegetable garden project, which they put in motion when they take note of the lack of nutritious options the cafeteria offers. Despite their best intentions their endeavour is futile as Devin, the cafeteria chef, sarcastically shoots them down every time they try to help. First he points out that the one zucchini they grew can’t feed the entire school, and a vegetable meal prep Jacob brings from home to help is a health violation. Still their vegetable garden grows... with some reluctant and stealth assistance from Gregory, who coming from a long line of landscapers, couldn’t stand seeing Barbara and Jacob kill all the plants.

1.08 – The return of Janine’s boyfriend Tariq (who comes over to the school to perform for a anti drug rally) coincides with her spiralling after she learns Jacob has failed to ever mention his boyfriend of two years to her... and worse refers to her as a “work friend”. She takes it rather personally, genuinely believing they were closer than that and makes it her mission to prove him, and everybody else who are revealed share this view, wrong. A rainstorm traps everyone in school for lunch which gives Janine the ripe opportunity to force bonding. Her plan backfires when everyone stars harassing over having had only one boyfriend ever. In the end Jacob apologises for calling her a “work friend” and tells her he does think of her as more than just that. However he did have a hard time talking to her about his boyfriend, because he feared it would result to him having to talk to her about Tariq as well. Janine gets the subtext that Jacob doesn’t exactly approve of Tariq, even if nothing is said outright about the situation. Jacob merrily explaining to dear his friend that outgrowing people is not a bad thing seems to be enough to get Janine thinking more deeply about her future with Tariq.
Meanwhile, throughout all this debacle, Gregory is having a hard time getting through to his kids. He’s really been pushing them but hasn’t seen any real results, a situation which isn’t at all assisted by his father pestering him to get a “real man’s job”. Firstly asking Barbara for help (who also recruits Melissa) they give him some excellent pointers over how to loosen up and make his lesson more fun and accessible to the kids. But it’s when he talks to Janine that he realises he really wants to be a teacher and totally gives into the practise. At Tariq’s showcase, after seeing his class being the only ones holding back, he starts dancing as a means to connect with them, and we later see him incorporating the dancing in the classroom as well, and the kids wonderfully responding to it.

And that’s all from the show so far! Tune in tonight for a brand new episode of Abbott Elementary!

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