Semi-Formal

Josh Radnor was wrong. Not every kid in school is some kind of professional dancer.

PLOT

In the school hallways, Riley tells Maya the semi-formal dance is this weekend and Lucas still hasn’t asked her. Maya points out that Riley has been obsessing about this for ten months now. After Maya has been slamming her locker shut every day for ten months, Riley wonders why Cory always yells after Maya’s locked slams shut. Maya explains that her locker backs on to the wall holding Cory’s blackboard. After Maya tells Riley she will keep doing it until Cory comes out, Cory emerges from his classroom covered in a cloud of chalk dust. As Cory chases her down the hallway, Maya says she’ll stop.

In class, Cory talks to the class about the upcoming dance and teaches them the concept of etiquette. When Lucas talks about the dance, Riley asks him if he’s going to the dance which he has failed to talk to her about in the last ten months. Cory interrupts Riley and Lucas’s conversation to show the class a film strip. Riley tells Farkle she just wants to be invited to the dance, but she turns down his invitation.

At home, Eric enters the apartment dressed like a secret service agent. Eric tells Cory (code name: “Underpants!”) that has been followed by a guy ever since he became a senator. When Cory lets the stalker in, he explains he’s actually Eric’s secret service detail. After the agent tells Eric to reveal why he’s in town, Eric says he’s in New York to meet an evil business that is trying to buy his vote over an oil pipeline.

Back at school, Riley tells Maya she thinks Lucas is waiting for a big moment to her to the dance. As Maya lists all the extravagant gestures she doesn’t think Lucas is about to do, they come true and happen to Riley. She finds balloons in her locker, is handed a bouquet of flowers, a disco ball drops down from the ceiling, music starts playing, a banner drops down, and Yogi skates by. Just as Maya thinks it might actually be happening, a boy goes to stand next to Riley to get her answer but it’s not Lucas. Riley says yes to the invitation, before realizing it’s Charlie Gardner, not Lucas who asked her out.

After Riley’s surprise invitation, Maya gives a running commentary (imitating the narrator/commentator from Legend of Korra). Charlie can’t believe Riley said yes. He says waited ten months for Lucas to ask Riley out, but when Lucas never did he figured there was a problem. Charlie tells Riley she’s the kind of girl who deserves to get swept off her feet. Riley tries to get out of the semi-formal dance by saying she can’t go because she has to babysit Auggie. Lucas walks up behind her and is disappointed to hear she can’t go to the dance. Lucas is even more upset to hear Charlie asked her out, saying he and Riley have an unofficial thing going on. Lucas just assumed he and Riley would be going to the dance together.

At the bakery, Eric waits for the businessman. When his old friend Jack Hunter walks up behind him, Eric is happy to see him for the first time in ages. When Eric sits Jack down and explains how he’s waiting for the evil corporate representative, he slowly realizes it’s Jack. As an idiot genius, Eric already knows Jack left the Peace Corps after signing up with Rachel, he then joined an evil company and hasn’t been the same ever since. Jack remembers how the biggest decision they had to make as kids was which one of them should be with Rachel. When Eric wonders why Jack’s now working for an evil organization, Jack recalls how when they were kids the biggest decision they had to make was who should be with Rachel. Jack says he didn’t know life was preparing them to make the right decisions later, but then you get a little older, face another choice and make the wrong decision. Now, they’re both in a position to influence the world.

At the bay window, Riley needs Maya’s help with her semi-formal double booking, but Maya’s all out of advice. When Cory and Topanga come to check on them, Riley’s parents are disappointed to learn she lied to Charlie to get out of the date. After Riley explains she had a vision in her mind of how the semi-formal would go with Lucas asking her, Maya says that Riley didn’t do anything wrong. When Maya says Riley’s just confused about what to do, Riley again asks Maya what she learned about her relationship with Lucas when she was pretending to be her. Maya dodges the question and tells Riley to go do the dance. Cory and Topanga agree Riley should go to the dance, saying it will be punishment enough for lying as Riley will have to face Lucas and Charlie.

When Riley and Maya arrive at the dance, Riley’s hopeful the big turnout means she won’t run into either Lucas or Charlie, but they’re already there to see her. After Farkle asks Riley for a dance, Maya dances with him instead to let Riley make her decision. Lucas and Charlie bicker over who was in the wrong, but they say they like each other and have formed a new friendship. When Riley wonders what she’s supposed to do, Lucas and Charlie explain it’s up to her.

Eric takes Jack to the school dance, saying he’s taking Jack back in time to their school dance. When Jack sees Cory, he runs over to say hi. After Riley asks her dad for advice about her double date dilemma, Jack can’t believe that Cory has a daughter. When Jack wonders what it’s like to be a father, Cory says he can find out by taking care of Riley’s question. Jack tells Riley about how he and Eric both liked the same girl, Rachel. She liked Jack like a boyfriend and Eric like a brother. When Riley asks if they still see each other, Jack says he hasn’t seen her in years, but Eric talks to her all the time. Jack tells Riley to keep her friends around as long as she can. With a lot to think about, Riley goes back to dance with her friends. After Jack says keeping Eric around was always the best choice he ever made, Eric goes on stage to introduce a special treat for the kids after their work to get him elected: the band Sheppard. The band starts performing one of their hit songs, “Geronimo”. As the kids dance, Lucas and Charlie are both dancing around Riley. When Lucas spins around, he’s suddenly dancing with Maya, while Riley keeps dancing with Charlie. After Riley apologizes to Charlie that things didn’t work out as he planned, he says it’s okay since he’s there dancing with her. Farkle says they’re all dancing and Lucas say they’re all friends.

The episode ends with Eric recording a public service announcement with Riley and Maya about global warming, imploring people to help save the North Pole.

REVIEW

It’s an interesting story. Once again the episode is playing on the Riley-Lucas-Maya love triangle again, though as mentioned in the previous recap, it doesn’t come into play until the Texas Trilogy, but the episode did introduce a wild card in the storyline, Charlie Gardner, he’s alright but half the time, he came of a creep, even Lucas points this out later on. Will Friedle returned (he also wrote the episode) and, while he and Matthew Lawrence have not missed a beat after all these years, there subplot didn’t really feel right, but it was still good to see them together again. Overall, it was an enjoyable episode. the subplot with Eric and Jack may have been wasted, but at least we got a catchy song out of it.

When we return, the New Years Eve update, a spoiler-free review of The Force Awakens, followed much later by a spoiler heavy review, and more recaps.

Happy Holidays!

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