In art class, the teacher is impressed by Maya’s painting, but much less happy with Riley’s finger painting of a purple cat. When Riley says the teacher favors Maya, she explains it’s because Maya’s art accesses places few can reach. When the teacher holds up Maya’s excellent painting of a closed door, Riley promises to get Maya through that door. The teacher then mentions this will be Maya’s last painting as the school board are stopping funding for arts and music. Zay is upset to hear ballet will be stopping and Farkle is unhappy that school plays will be ending, just as he’s about to finish his one year ban from starring in a school play.
Cory talks to the class about the Dark Ages, but Maya keeps interrupting to talk about arts class. After a few interruptions, Maya eventually sees the connection between the shuttering of the arts programs and the Dark Ages. Lucas speaks up, saying he wants Maya to be happy and complimenting her art, which causes the two to stare into each other’s eyes. When Lucas wonders who will do something about this, Maya is surprised that Riley rules herself out of coming to her best friend’s rescue. Cory refuses to step in as it’s bigger than him, too. Riley and Cory think artists should be the ones to get them out of the Dark Ages. After Cory asks Maya if she has anything to say about that, Maya says cut the art classes or don’t, she’s never been able to do anything about her life. Riley again insists that as the artist’s best friend, she won’t go crazy trying to fix this for Maya.
At the bay window, Maya is sure Riley will break first and try to fix everything. After Maya asks Riley if she believes in her, Riley says she doesn’t if Maya won’t believe in herself. Maya cracks first and says that even though she didn’t mean to believe in anything, she does believe in art. Riley is proud that something is finally important to Maya. After Maya asks if Riley has a plan, Riley says she has loads of plans. When Maya asks to hear the plan, they go to Topanga.
In the kitchen, Riley asks Topanga what the plan is. Topanga explains that it’s not a legal issue so she can’t wave her magic lawyer wand. The school has limited funds and is thinking logically about how to spend the money. Topanga tells them if their opponent is thinking logically, they won’t win by thinking logically as well. After Auggie pins a piece of his artwork to the fridge, Maya and Riley are certain they don’t want anybody to take away art from him or them.
Cory, Riley and Maya talk to Superintendent Turner in the art room as the custodians clear out the room. Cory paints Mr. Turner as the enemy, but he insists his hands are tied by the decisions of the school board. Mr. Turner explains he’s not in favoring of scrapping art class. Although Mr. Turner says he would get rid of Riley’s cat painting forever, he is impressed by Maya’s art.
At Topanga’s bakery, the kids look dejected as they think about how to save art class. Zay says his friends are more hard to watch than usual. He said he heard stories about them from Lucas; how Farkle was a kind, loyal genius, Maya was a blonde beauty, although when she heard this, she looked up and laughed and said, “Lucas talks about himself like that?” but Zay said he was talking about her, which embarrassed Lucas, and finally how Riley, the pretty brunette, never gives up on anyone or anything, and no sacrifice is too big for her friends. Zay claims they are giving up and are not the people Lucas described to him. When the guys wonder how they can think differently, Maya says they’re trying to save the creative arts so they should think creatively.
At the school board meeting, Mr. Turner gives an impassioned plea for the board to slow down the cuts and protect the arts. Unfortunately Mr. Turner’s great speech doesn’t change the reality of the school’s finances. When Zay goes up to address the panel, he admits he won’t be addressing them by showing great respect for their process. Zay explains they couldn’t reach the school board with logic, so they decided to think differently. Riley, Maya, Lucas and Friar, wearing fancy clothing, step up to address the panel, too.
When the chairperson wonders what the kids are planning, they start singing and dancing. The kids then start taking down all the art in the room – the same thing the panel is doing to them. Riley takes the chair woman’s scarf and does a dance to the loss of purple. Maya then addresses the panel to say she has information to add the harts and figures on which they base their decisions. Maya tells them how the U.S. ranking in math, science and reading has fallen steadily over the past fifty years. Maya suggests they cut math, science and reading as they stink at them, but are number one at cultural exports like movies and music. After Maya tells the panel their hands aren’t tied, they just think they are, the chairperson tells Maya her time is up.
When the panel calls for Topanga, she goes to the microphone and says she yields her time to the children, with Cory and Miss Kossal do the same. Farkle and Lucas do a show about how Farkle, even as a scientist, has great creativity. Farkle mentions again how he’d like to be Pippin in a school play, but there are no more plays. A panel member who is a big fan of Pippin is instead disappointed when Farkle starts reciting prime numbers. Judging by the boos, the public aren’t too happy either. Auggie takes up his art he removed his refrigerator, and he tells the panel they should make their kids remove their art, too, if they don’t want to be hypocrites. After another strange dance by Riley, Maya starts to sing but Lucas and Farkle cut her off.
When Zay asks the chair woman about her background, she admits she was an arts major at Princeton. Maya asks her if it hurts to be an arts graduate and then have her hands tied. She admits it hurts as one of the paintings the kids removed from the walls was one of hers. The kids ask her about her favorite book and movie, telling her to unread and unsee them. Maya asks when people stop being able to think creatively and tells them they know this is wrong. When the chair woman tells Maya she didn’t ask who her favorite artist is, she reveals it’s Picasso and asks Maya whose hers is. Maya says her favorite artist is all of them, anyone who ever tried, including her.
The chair woman mentions her favorite painting, Guernica by Picasso, which features adults going to war on horses with swords – except for one horse who was horrified at what the adults was doing. When she was younger, she made a promise if she ever went to war that she would not forget that horse. She thanks Maya for reminding her. When Maya thanks her for teaching her about Guernica, the chair woman promises they will slow down and think differently about the arts.
Back in art class, the teacher is again impressed by Maya’s work. Although Miss Kossal is not so keen on Riley’s painting of fifty million purple cats, the teacher still tells Riley to keep painting as it makes her happy – which is what art is all about. The teacher then gives the kids an assignment to visit any art museum in the city and to find something that inspires them, something they can never forget for the rest of their creative lives.
Very excellent episode, it had a great storyline, Maya had some good development here, plus we get to here her sing, which was neat. We get some more teasing for Lucas and Maya, and the message about how important the arts are in schools was very well written, and the show had some great comedic and emotional moments. Overall, it was a very enjoyable episode, with a great message, and storyline for Maya.
Next time, it’s Farkle’s turn in the limelight.