Air date: March 11, 2016
This episodes beings with Lucas (Peyton Meyer) climbing through the bay window, acknowledging that we have put this triangle romance storyline on the backburner as other episodes have gone one. Not one mention of it since Girl Meets New Year. But this is the graduation episode, the season finale, so surely we will get some answers right? Reading a prepared speech off cue cards, Lucas is afraid that if he makes a choice between Riley (Rowan Blanchard) and Maya (Sabrina Carpenter) then things will change. But they have to face the reality of the situation and a choice ultimately has to be made. And unfortunately, Riley feels that the decision could have the power to change the friendship between her and Maya.
At the school, the lesson on the chalkboard is legacy, seemingly the last one that will be written. There is a goose in Farkle’s (Corey Fogelmanis) spot. Einstein Academy stole Farkle, and so they stole their mascot, the goose. Really this is just something to take our focus away from what we really want to know, Lucas’ decision. Graduation is approaching; Cory Matthews (Ben Savage) get the class to think about what they will leave behind.
Dinner at the Matthew’s apartment, Riley says that her father has not taught her enough. Topanga (Danielle Fishel ) advises Riley that the only way to solve the problem between her Maya and Lucas is to talk about it. Hoping that Riley will always come to her to talk things out in the future. Continuing to read off cue cards, Lucas comes to the Matthews apartment to say what he feels. Taking Cory’s guidance in not reading the cue cards, Lucas tells Riley and Maya that he wants this to stop. If they won’t make a decision then he will, and he decides that he just wants to be friends with them both. They mean too much to him to just pick one.
Back in the classroom, Cory continues his lesson on legacy but the class is not as focused on his lesson as he would like them to be. Trying to explain that a legacy is not just what one takes with them, but what they leave behind. With Cory attempting to bring the attention back to his lesson, the bell rings and everybody leaves. Except for Riley, expressing that she is not ready to leave. Maya uses her last moments in middle school to reach out to her art teacher, thanking her for believing in her. Her teacher advises her to continue to express her emotions in whatever way she can. Farkle does something similar with the science teacher, who also advises him to continue discovering what he can about the world. And then we have Lucas, thanking janitor Harley (Danny McNulty) for what he has done for him during his time at the school. Asking him for his advice in making life-changing decisions. He doesn’t quite get a straight answer from Harley, but is thanked for his appreciation of the work he does.
Riley does not want to leave. In conversation with her father she acknowledges the great time she had in middle school and her place in it. She also fears of what will happen next year and who she will be. Knowing that leaving middle school also means leaving her father as a teacher. She knows that she is not done learning from him, and she has an advantage of living with her teacher. But her classmates don’t have the luxury.
The core four pile back into their seats, to learn possibly the final lesson they will ever hear out of that classroom. Cory gives the gang some reassurance that they are ready to move on, that he himself has realized that they have outgrown middle school and are ready to move on. But they won’t be completely sure unless they pass one last test.
Cory questions them on the lessons that he has taught them over the last two years. What is the secret of life? People change people. Sneak attack? Pearl Harbor. Canada? Our greatest allies and the people right next to us. Within this test Lucas know that it is the people sitting in the room with him that have changed him the most. Knowing that he can always come to his friends in times of need. Riley and Maya call him out on this, asking how they can still be friends if they cannot even look at each other anymore. Lucas knows this is the truth, knowing that he has different feelings for them then when they first started as friends. Cory knows that it is this realization that makes them ready to leave, because he was wrong. In Girl Meets the New Year he taught his class that sometimes the smart thing to do is not to act on your feelings. But he knows that he cannot hold them back from what they are feeling.
To complete Cory’s final lesson, the gang decides to be guides for the incoming class of middle schoolers starting John Quincy Adams. The legacy they decide to leave behind is their bench, now known as the Friendship Bench. Where they had talked, laughed, cried, and grew up with each other. Some of the moments that made them the people they are came from that spot in the hallway, and now they leave it behind for new people to grow as well.
In cap and gown, everybody and their loved ones are on the rooftop. Including Zay (Amir Mitchell-Townes), yay!!! With everyone together, the class decides to reveal their class prank on Cory. And here comes the tearjerker part of the episode. The class prank is that they are taking the school mascot with them to high school. And that mascot is Cory Matthews. Riley meant what she said in that her father was not done teaching her and her friends. So with help from the her classmates as well as their parents (what’s up Minkus?) Cory is pulling a Mr. Feeny and is going to high school.
We end this episode where is started, at the bay window, with Lucas sitting between Riley and Maya. Both still feeling the same way about Lucas; and Lucas still feeling the same way about each of them. And this is where we leave them, still trying to figure it out. See you in high school everyone!
“You’re going to high school Cory, again.” – Topanga