It’s Christmas time in New York, and The Matthews’ are getting in the holiday spirit. While decorating the tree, Topanga asks Cory that since they’re hosting Christmas for his parents this year is Amy going to be easy on her, Cory tells her it’s going to be hideous. Riley tells her parents that she want’s this Christmas to perfect for Maya, who is staying with them for the holidays, Cory tells Riley he wants this Christmas to be perfect for Topanga, but she knows he’s lying and really wants the day to be perfect for Shawn. Cory hears the intercom buzz, and rushes to the intercom to see if it’s Shawn, but it’s Maya, who makes fun of him, and calls him his boyfriend. Cory denies it, but Topanga pulls out a big “Cory and Shaw Forevah!” ornament and asks what they’re planning on doing with it, Cory grabs it it hangs it on his and Topanga’s wedding ornament, prompting Topnaga to look at the girls and tell them “My whole life”. Maya asks Riley about “Uncle” Shawn, Riley tells her that he probably hates her, but Cory tells her it’s not true. The intercom buzzes again and Cory again rushes in hopes to hear Shawn voice, but instead it’s Alan and Amy. Everyone eavesdrops on Alan talking to Amy about how an intercom works, while Amy talks about Christmas being a disaster.
After the intro, Auggie rushes to the door to let his grandparents in, Alan gives him $10 so he’ll like him more, Amy gives him a plate of cookies, and Auggie gives her the $10. Amy humors Topanga about the dinner, but Topanga tells her she heard everything she said, so they walk to the kitchenette to see what she did wrong. Alan thinks about the last time he had children in his home, his teenage son, Josh comes in, and realizes he still has one more kid in the nest. Maya instantly grows attached to him, much to Riley’s shock, and it seems he feels the same way, as he tells her she grew up gorgeous. Riley tells Maya she’s not going out with him, but she ignores her. While Cory’s talking to Alan, Shawn quietly sneaks in, with the studio and home audiences (myself included!) erupting with joy. Shawn tells Cory that he thought he’d be happier to see him, Cory turns and the two hug with Auggie stuck in the middle. Shawn says hi to Alan, Amy and Josh, and gives Topanga a hug. Riley walks up to say hi to Shawn, but he just says “Hey” to her as he walks up to Cory. Maya wonder what that was about, Riley tells her he probably not very talkative, but sees him and Cory chatting it up.
Later at the bay window, Maya talks to Riley about Shawn being her equivalent, while Shawn talks to Cory about Maya being his equivalent. Cory changes the subject and asks Shawn to move back to the city, and there’s an apartment available above the Matthews’, but Shawn tells no, and that him he can’t be his wacky neighbor. The girls come in, and the four compete in who’s the better best friends, but the girls win, thanks to their “telepathy”. Maya asks Shawn why he makes Riley feel bad, Shawn tells them he doesn’t mean to, but Maya tells him that he does, and she won’t let him hurt her friend. It’s in that moment that Shawn and Cory realizes that they really are the best of friend.
After the break, Josh and Auggie are putting Christmas lights and decorations on a sleeping Alan. Auggie asks what the difference is between a younger father an older father, Josh tells him, they’re prone to falling asleep during a party, Auggie points to Cory and Shawn who are also sleeping, and we get a callback to a joke from a Christmas episode from BMW’s fourth season. Riley and Maya wake Cory and Shawn (and Alan), and wants to know why Shawn doesn’t like to talk to Riley, and asks when Riley’s birthday is, but before Shawn can answer Cory tells them he knows. Over in the kitchenette, Topanga has Amy taste her butternut squash soup, and Amy was impressed she followed her recipe for both the soup and the entire dinner, with their differences resolved, they call the family for dinner… Which they devour within five minutes. Topanga berates everyone about it, even when Riley asks what they were having for desert. Shawn compliments the diner since he doesn’t get to have a lot of home cooked meals, it’s we learn what Shawn’s been up to since BMW ended, he works for a website called Hit The Road, where he goes to different places, and tells people weather or not it’s worth a weekend. Maya reveals that she goes on that website, and notices that he takes the pictures. As the two form something of a friendly rivalry, Riley still want to hear Shawn say her birthday, Cory tells her again that he knows, but Riley asks Shawn what she ever did to him, so he gets up, and asks the girls to come with him.
At the bakery, the three bond over pie, and Shawn finally reveals Riley’s birthday: December 8th. Maya still doesn’t think that gets him out the fog, since he abandoned his friends. So Shawn one-ups her by asking her, what time Riley was born, how much did she weigh, how tall was she (6:00 AM, 6 lbs. 8 oz., 21 in.). Shawn also tells the girls that he was at the hospital all night, and was the first person to hold Riley after her parents. Riley asks how he knows that day so well, Shawn reveals that it was the day he left New York. When asked why, Shawn explains that people loose touch with each other once they’re married and raising children. Riley asks if he left because of her, he tells her it has nothing to do with her, and her parents are the best people he knows. It’s then that Riley realizes that he does love her, because she’s the best of both her parents. Riley tells Shawn to look at her, when he does he realizes that she’s Cory with Topanga’s hair. Riley asks Shawn if seeing her reminds her of what he doesn’t have, which frightens him as he tries to get the check.
Riley and Shawn come in and she orders both Cory and Shawn to go in her room. When they do, they sit at the window, where Riley has them talk about why Shawn left. Shawn tries to escape, but Riley has Maya stand guard on the fire escape. Finally, Cory asks Shawn why he left, he tells him it’s cause he was preoccupied with Topanga and his then newborn, life changed when he had the kids, and he doesn’t know how to be the cool uncle. Josh and Auggie (sitting on his shoulders), come in and lets them know they’re opening presents soon, they also make fun of them for sitting in Riley’s bedroom window. Farkle comes in, expecting to see the girls (though one has to wonder why he didn’t see Maya on the fire escape), but instead sees the guys. Shawn was frightened to see Farkle as he thought he was his father. Cory formally introduces Shawn to Farkle, but he’s even more shocked when he finds out Stuart reproduced. Cory asks if he thought he cloned in lab, but Shawn and Cory really look at him and notice he looks very similar to Stuart. When Cory asks Farkle if he’s ever seen his birth certificate, he decides to leave, as he has some questions to ask his parents. Shawn asks Cory what it’s like to have children, Cory tells him his life started when Riley was born, Shawn realizes that Riley was right after all, he really did leave because it reminded him of what he didn’t have, and Cory encourages him to find someone to help him start his life. Riley comes in, pulls Cory away, brings Maya inside, and has her sit with Shawn and tells her to ask him about his parents. When Shawn and Maya asks what was going on, Cory and Riley tell their respective friends that they’ve got this as they head out. Maya asks him about his parents, and he tells her about Virna taking off, and Chet being in and out of his life, and Maya tells him about Katy being their for her half the time, and her father starting a new family. Shawn says he would never let anyone live like that, and she asks him twice if he wouldn’t, and he tells her no, until he realizes that she’s already living like that.
Later that night, as the family’s opening their gifts, Cory thanks Topnaga for the life and family he’s given him, and gives her gift (certificates to both a spa and dinner). Amy asks Alan what he got him, he throws her actual gift away, and tells it’s the same as Topnaga’s, and congratulates Cory on his life. Shawn announces his plans to take off to Upstate New York for an assignment, and offers to take Riley and Auggie with him. Riley asks if he wants to invite Maya, he does so, and Maya agrees, but not before inviting Josh, much to Riley’s annoyance.
Later at the bakery, Shawn gives Riley one of his cameras, so her and Maya can be inspired together. Cory and Shwn also adds that friends, old or new shouldn’t be apart too long. Riley gathers everyone for the traditional end of holiday episode Christmas card.
This episode is currently my official favorite episode, hands down! I enjoyed every minute of the episode, the returning cast members (and newbee Uriah Shelton) were outstanding, and the story itself serves as good starting point to bridge the shows together. And the scene with Farkle and Shawn was just priceless. Having said that, I did have some problems (one minor and one major) with the episode, Alan, Amy, and Josh were very underplayed in here (the worst offender being Amy). In fact, they only had a few scenes to interact with the other cast members. Another problem, was Shawn. Don’t get me wrong, I like Shawn he’s cool, I even cheered when came on screen, but it felt like the entire episode was focused more on him, rather than either the returning characters, or the main characters on GMW. Despite the problems, I still enjoyed, the episode. Next episode is January 9th, with Josh returning. Alright, and that was the last GMW recap for the year, I’ll see on New Years Eve for the end of year update.
Also, I recently noticed I’ve been misspelling Auggie’s name this whole time, I’ll start fixing the recaps right away. Happy Holidays everyone!