Airdate: January 20, 2017
The Matthews are moving to London! Well maybe… possibly… we don’t know yet, Topanga (Danielle Fishel) hasn’t decided. As Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) try to grasp what could happen to their friendship if Riley moves away they enter into Cory’s (Ben Savage) classroom and see the worst thing possible written on the chalkboard, Belgium 1831. You know, the lesson that Cory as tried to teach his class multiple times over the years but more important life lessons got in the way. Well, now it seems like life wants them to know it now. As Cory explains to the class, the Netherlands were a collection of states that thought they would be together forever (*nudge), until Belgium made the decision to leave (*nudge*nudge). Becoming its own independent country, ready to meet the world on its own (*nudge*nudge*nudge). Cory wanted to save this lesson until they were ready to learn about what it’s like to leave each other but, as life will have it sometimes, some lessons come earlier than expected.
Cory asks the class how would they know if they are ready to leave or stay? And of course there are two perfectly good choices, you realize what you have in your life right now and what it means to you. Or you consider the wonderful opportunities a new place can offer you. Neither option is 100% perfect, but they have the possibly of impacting one’s life forever. Cory tells Riley that he know Topanga will not make any serious decision like this without consulting everyone important in her life.
And everyone important in her life she got. When Cory, Riley, and Maya enter the Matthews’ apartment they are greeted by every great character that both Girl Meets World and Boy Meets World has introduced to us over both shows. So many emotions coming out in one shot. Topanga is determined to get the opinion of everyone in that room before she can come to a decision.
First, is Shawn (Rider Strong) and Katie (Cheryl Texiera). Shawn reminds Topanga about their decision to leave Philadelphia for New York City. How that choice changed is life forever. Because if he didn’t he would not have met his wife Katie, nor have Maya in his life. Someone he now sees as a daughter to him. For him, leaving was the best choice, he got to rewrite a bit of his history. With Mr. Turner (Anthony Tyler Quinn) in the room as well, Boy Meets World fans are able to witness this glorious reunion between the two characters. With Mr. Turner being a father figure to Shawn in high school, it’s beautiful for Shawn to show him what he has made of his life, to show that even after years have passed, the support he gave him was impact. Shawn gives Maya some paper, adoption papers to be exact. The Matthews get to witness a family being formed, one that included their greatest friends. Now that Maya and Shawn, the best friends, may be okay without them, maybe it can be okay to leave.
Next is the parental advice. Because no matter how old you are you never really stop needing guidance from your parents. They are still that much older than you to know more about the world than you do. There can be no surpassing them. Again, Cory and Topanga are reminded of all the times they have left, for college and NYC. But this may be the greatest move of all. Auggie (August Maturo) gets advice from aunt Morgan (Lily Nicksay, Lindsay Ridgeway -> remember they both played this character during Boy Meets World, so it’s funny that they are both back playing the part). Because they both share the role of being the youngest in the family, Auggie is told that his parents will not make a decision without considering what is best for him.
The Matthews turn to Mr. Feeny (William Daniels) for guidance next, because what important decision can be made without consulting the man that has been giving them life lessons from the very beginning. It was over the backyard fence in Boy Meets World and now it’s the kitchen table. Without really giving a position on where he stands whether they stay or go, he reminds Topanga that she has always been the best decision maker when it comes to important matters.
For some comedic relief, they send in Eric (Will Friedle). Always the one needed to lighten the mood, and boy was it needed after Feeney. But he also gives the best advice out of everyone, Eric in his infinite wisdom tells Topanga that listening to her heart will tell her what to do. That she needs to go to her quiet place, and decide what is best for her. And with that advice, Topanga leaves the apartment.
At Topanga’s the gang meets for a possible last time. Smackle (Cecilia Balagot) uses this opportunity to tell Riley that because of her and how she has changed because of her, she has come to understand sadness. Sadness because of how much she cares about Riley, an emotion she did not understand until then. Zay (Amir Mitchell-Townes), the most underrated/underused character in the show, tells Riley that he will make sure Lucas (Peyton Meyers) is okay if she leaves. Riley tells Zay how much his friendship means to her, that she never felt her group of friends was complete until he came into their lives 😦 . Farkle expresses his feelings to Riley, that no matter where she is in the world, he will always care for her. Stopping the train of farewells coming out of everyone’s mouth, Maya tells them that “life” will not let Riley move away because she still needs her, that there is no replacement for Riley in Maya’s life. It is at that precious moment that “life” would have in-it-for-the-long-game-Josh enter Topanga’s to join them. Understanding the role that Josh could possibly play in her life, Maya comes to the realization that Riley could actually leave her.
Lucas excuses himself from the group so that he and Riley can talk outside. He tells her that no matter what happens in life, she will always be his first girlfriend. She tells him that he holds the same spot in her life. Showing the importance of firsts in one’s life. No matter how much time as passed, or how many people you date, you only get one first boyfriend/girlfriend. How you choose to hold that importance is up to you, for Riley and Lucas they take that title seriously.
It is time for Riley and Maya to move to the bay window, but they find it already occupied. Auggie and Ava (Ava Kolker) sit by the window, two young kids that are faced with the serious possibility that Auggie may have to move away. In a some-what similar position that Riley and Lucas are in, these two love birds will always remember each other because of who they were in one another’s life.
After that heart-aching goodbye, come Riley and Maya. The relationship between these two was really what this show was about. Boy Meets World focused on Cory and Topanga and how they managed to stay together during high school and college, but Girl Meets World chose to centre their show on the friendship between two girls. A relationship that can easily be torn apart because of high school, boys, or simply just growing up. But Riley and Maya made it through all of it. Every obstacle that could of potentially split them up they cleared by a mile. But now it seems they have reached a hurdle that no friendship can truly be unchanged by. This goodbye surprisingly hurt more than watching Cory and Topanga break up.
Cory, Riley, Maya, and Auggie all enter Topanga’s where they find, unsurprisingly, Topanga. This is where she chose to go after Eric told her to find her happy place. She tells them all the positives that can come out of moving to London, but with all those positives in going, she can only find one positive in staying. She tells Riley and Maya that she was envious of the bay window, and what that spot meant to their friendship. They grew up because of the conversations they had there, and she always wanted similar to that for herself. She tells them that she has always loved running the coffee shop, getting to watch Riley and her friends talk and plan what the next steps of their lives. Topanga’s coffee shop is Topanga’s bay window, and she does not want to leave it. The Matthews are staying in New York City.
Back in the classroom, Cory asks what Belgium 1831 has taught them. And since Farkle has always known what Belgium 1831 was and how it could play into their lives, it is fitting that he be the one to rub the lesson off the board. He knows that him and his friends are not quite ready to learn how to move on away from each other. And because Riley is staying in NYC, they do not have to.
With everyone now in Topanga’s Cory tells Riley and her friends the same speech he gave to young Josh during Boy Meets World. That the world is out there for them to become a part of. It can deal you some hard hands, but also can give you great friends and family. Those friends and family that the world gave give you help you find your place in it. Riley and Maya know that through everything the world will throw at them, they will always be together. Thunder. Lightening. Done.
FAVOURITE LINE(S) FROM THE SHOW:
(because it is the series finale, I think I can get away with more than one)
“I did my best. I hope you remember me fondly.” – Riley
“I hope that wherever you are, that you get to keep on being Riley.” – Lucas
Riley: “Girl meets world.”
Maya: “Now I get it.”