Before Friday’s episode of Degrassi aired, I wasn’t sure what to think about Adam and Fiona’s relationship. On the one hand, I thought it would be awesome for the show to portray Adam in a positive and mutually beneficial relationship with a girl who likes him for who is he, and, for this reason, I dreaded the way the storyline with Fiona seemed set to play out. Of course the girl hooking up with the trans guy would turn out to be a lesbian.
On the other hand, the storyline between Adam and Fiona is so uniquely complicated that I was honestly a bit shocked to see Degrassi tackling it in the first place. To see any show tackling it, really. Watching Degrassi do so with such integrity was inspiring, and I loved how the show has treated both its characters and its viewers with such respect.
Someday I’m confident Adam will be with a girl who actually likes him for who he is, but Fiona is not that girl. As this episode revealed, she — like many viewers, I’d guess — was still seeing Adam as a girl, not for the guy he knows himself to be.
So let’s go back to that.
The episode opens on what many of you accurately predicted to be a dream sequence. In it, Holly J tells Fiona she’s “luminous,” they exchange “I love yous,” and then, just as they move in for the kiss, Fiona wakes up in a sweat. Cue the Degrassi theme song.
Back at school, Holly J comes up to Fiona at her locker (while she’s checking out her hair in a mirror that, uh, mirrors her hair) and tells her that she looks “luminous.” Fiona wants to hang out, but Holly J admits she hasn’t hung out with her boyfriend, Sav, enough lately, so they agree to have a sleepover soon instead.
Spotting Adam over Holly J’s shoulder, Fiona calls him over. She owns up to being awful to him before and thanks him for helping get her to rehab. She also admits to missing him, to which he responds simply, “Well, that’s good,” before turning to walk away. She stops him with an invite to come over later for a movie, though, and he agrees with a smile.
Later that night, as Adam sits next to Fiona on the couch, he asks about her alcoholism. She explains that the alcohol “masked some bad feelings” and begins to list some things she had been feeling bad about. Adam tags “being with me” onto the end of her list, an addition that Fiona denies vehemently.
“You kissed a female-to-male trans kid, that’s why you freaked out,” he offers, perhaps trying to give her a way out before things get much further. “Being close made me freak out,” Fiona amends, “because I thought you’d see the real me.”
Sure enough, the closer they get that evening, the more Fiona’s “real me” peeks out. During a make-out session, she begins to un-tuck Adam’s shirt. “You’re so soft,” she says. It’s a loaded statement. Adam takes it well enough when she’s just stating a fact, but when Fiona says she likes it, he’s suddenly not so neutral anymore.
“I’m going to get a six-pack someday soon,” Adam swears, but Fiona tells him not to. “It’s so much better that you’re both,” she says. “Both what?” Adam demands suspiciously, sitting up abruptly and pulling away from her. “I told you, it doesn’t bother me,” Fiona tries to reassure him. “I like that you’re the best of both worlds: boyish and girlish.”
“No, I’m not, Fiona,” Adam retorts. “I’m a guy — why would you say something like that?” He questions whether she actually likes him or whether she just likes that he’s “stuck in a stupid girl’s body.”
When Fiona asks why it can’t be both, Adam responds, “‘Cause you’re using me. Face it, Fiona, you want a girl.” And, refusing to be a doormat, he walks out.