In science class, where Riley and Farkle, and Maya and Lucas are lab partners, they are told their mid-term experiment will be to figure out how to turn the sludge created from dropping a marble into a beaker of clear liquid back into a clear liquid. One person is supposed to drop the marble in the beaker after school, the other is to figure out the science the next day. Maya doesn’t want to do anything at all, so Lucas tells her all she has to do is drop the marble into the liquid. Riley, however, is offended when Farkle insists she drop the marble and he do the rest of the work. When she walks into the classroom to drop the marble, she sees that every single boy-girl team sent the girl to drop the marble so the boy could do the science. Riley is outraged, and refuses to drop the marble.
When Farkle comes to class the next day and sees that Riley didn’t drop the marble, he insists that they get different grades, because it’s not his fault that she didn’t do her part. Riley makes a feministic speech, and calls all the girls to join her in the bay window.
In the bay window, Riley has Topanga give the girls a little speech about how women tend to drift away from STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) because they think they’re supposed to, but that that they shouldn’t be afraid to pursue their dreams out of fear for how it will make them look.
In class the next day, the girls collectively call out the boys for not believing in them to do the science. Though initially objecting to the accusation, Farkle quickly apologizes for not helping Riley get better at science instead of just doing the work for her.
Back in science class, the girls and the boys are working on their projects separately, and they are all interested and eager to figure it out. Riley asks Farkle why he didn’t believe a girl could do the science, and he tells her that his decision to have her drop the marble and him do the science had nothing to do with the fact that she is a girl. He also tells her that upon studying the marble Riley didn’t drop, he has realized that it’s only mud, so he doesn’t understand why this project is such a big deal. Riley looks around at all the girls and boys working enthusiastically and realized that maybe the project was never about the sludge at all. As all the others have failed to turn their sludge into a clear liquid, Riley and Farkle point out that their liquid is clear because Riley refused to drop the marble. The teacher tells them that they figured it out: In middle school, girls tend to drift away from science, and usually when he runs this project, the girls drop the marble without even thinking about it, leaving the boys to do the science. He runs this project every year hoping to make the girls aware of their potential and keep them from drifting away from STEM subjects.
This was very good, and gives an excellent message for young women. The arguments and discourse led to some strong moments for the girls (mostly Riley). which makes sense as Rowan Blanchard assisted with the writing of the episode. Though the Auggie/Ava storyline (while it was connected the main story) wasn’t really necessary. Overall, wonderful episode with a very good message.
Next up, it’s a shark attack.