Greek isn’t necessarily known for its subtlety. This half of the season has focused strongly on the idea of “change” and how those involved in the show’s various relationships react to it — do they embrace it and look ahead, or reject it and stay put in the present? The season finale, “All Children…Grow Up,” was no exception, as it focused on Spring Break (a vacation from real life), which had elements of fear (which keeps you from doing things you’re not ready for) and even Peter Pan (the only exception to the rule stated in the episode’s title). But even though the thematic stuff can at times veer into melodrama territory, what usually works so well with Greek is its ability to ground the issues in characters and situations that make them feel real, serious, and worth caring about, and that’s just what this episode did. So let’s get started — after the jump.
Even though we never actually saw them on the show when they dated freshman year (except in flashbacks), Casey and Cappie have always been the “it” couple on Greek. The writers gave them good obstacles and other romantic interests, but everyone knew that eventually they would have to get back together, and when they finally did and the beginning of this chapter, everything seemed to be right. But what if they were never really meant to get back together? If this latest string of episodes have shown us anything, it’s that Casey and Cappie aren’t the fairy-tale couple we’ve been led to believe they were, and that even though they love each other, their different goals and outlooks may be too great to overcome. The final scene between the couple seemed to solidify this, and while they had quite different emotional reactions, the message was clear: theirs was a college relationship that wasn’t going to be anything more.
Of course, there is still the ten-episode season four remaining to tie everything up, but I think that having them break up is the more realistic way to end things. Cappie — still affected, I’m sure, by his parents’ separation — was rightfully upset when Casey pretty much told him it was over unless he could grow up, and the series can’t end without these two coming to some kind of mutual understanding, but it seems that getting them back together in the very end would (1) make this whole stretch, with their differing outlooks on the future, not mean as much, and (2) represent a backing away from the kinds of real issues college students have to face. They both know that it’s time for Casey to move on to law school and that Cappie isn’t ready to leave CRU, so as Cappie said, “what other choice do we have?”
The other major recurring plot, the ΩΧ/ΚΤ rivalry, also did a good job in showing why Cappie is so content to stay at CRU. Losing three of his brothers after Evan betrayed him just tightened the bond between him and the rest of his house, and for someone with no idea what he wants to do after graduation, the ΚΤ brotherhood is the perfect reason to stick around. As we learned in “Camp Buy Me Love,” Cappie didn’t have a strong group of friends growing up since he moved around so much, so now that he has his brothers, he doesn’t want to lose them. Coupled with the fact that he’s also the president of the fraternity and the one everyone looks up to, it’s not a big surprise that he wouldn’t be ready to move forward. With Calvin as the new ΩΧ, it will be interesting to see how the lack of rivalry affects Cappie, but even he said he isn’t too worried, and maybe it will give him some time to grow up on his own instead of having it be because Casey wants him to.
It was nice to see Ashleigh get a real story this week. She has mainly been supporting Casey in her Cappie vs. law school struggles, so it’s easy to forget that she is also a senior getting ready to face the real world, but in this episode we saw that she too has ambition, even if she wasn’t too confident in it previously. She figured she’d graduate and get a job she doesn’t like because, hey, that’s life, but when she saw the chance to try for something she really wanted — being a ‘trend forecaster’ (“It’s like being cool and psychic”) — she went for it. While I don’t quite buy that she’d get hired on the spot in Myrtle Beach just because of that speech, her story did nicely contrast with Casey’s. Casey has always been the one with clearer aspirations and Ashleigh is “the fun one,” but when they talked about moving on after graduation, it was Ashleigh who said she’s ready for it. Casey, like Cappie, is so secure and comfortable in her role at ΖΒΖ that she’s scared to leave, but Ashleigh, thanks in large part to her best friend, has grown and matured and knows it’s time to venture outside of college and her sorority.
Evan and Rebecca also saw their relationship loose ends get tied up. Rebecca swallowed her pride and told Evan she was sorry and still cared about him, and when Calvin pointed out that he was going to lose her because he was also too proud, Evan realized that he had to stop blaming his parents and his money situation and just take the blame himself. I don’t know if it was the right move or not for them to get back together, but it did nicely move them both to a place where they could see that their immature deflections and façades were getting in the way of their happiness.
The episode was centered around Spring Break, arguably one of the most (at least stereotypically) fun times in college, yet all of this drama took place at the same time, and that balancing act is what makes Greek so good. Not only can it get us to care about whether the ΩΧ house loses their charter — an issue that probably has very low real-life stakes for most of the audience — but it can also turn Cappie from the person calling Evan “Evan Pompeo… of Grey’s Anatomy fame” to the one telling Casey, “screw it, it’s over,” or Dale from the quirky Christian roommate to the student who just wants to have a real college experience. It shows us real three-dimensional characters and gives us reasons to care about them and what they’re going through, even if the issues themselves seem unbelievable or of little importance, and I don’t know if there’s another show that quite occupies that space.
The season finale obviously did a lot of setting up for the final ten episodes, and I’m eager to see where those will lead. As long as Greek stays true to itself, though, and gives the characters believable motivations to resolve their problems, I’ll be happy.
Bits & Pieces:
- “I just find her really grating…” — Dale about Dana
- Casey pointed this out herself, but how did she get into GW and not CRU law school?
- “A lot of gratuitous flesh. It’s like the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric.” — Dale, commenting on the people at Myrtle Beach
- “Their only comfort is that I’m below the Mason-Dixon line.” — Dale after talking with his parents on the phone
- 4-phase revenge plan worked perfectly and was quite smart. If his grant project falls through, maybe he has something going with plotting paybacks. It also seems to keep him from being too annoying.
- “Just say sex! Good Lord, I’m from the South, not France.” — Dale to Rusty and Dana, after they keep using ‘saving money’ as a euphemism
- Even though I thought the overall idea of the break-up was handled well, I agree with Gawker that there were an awful lot of clichés