Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22 Review: Franklin Institute

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We've been waiting for Janine and Gregory to face their feelings for one another all season, and it finally happened inside the Franklin Institute's walk-through heart on Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22.

Was this the result we were hoping to see? Not quite.

But it is where they need to be right now, whether we shippers like it or not.

Group Buddies - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22

Students and teachers were equally excited about their overnight field trip to the Franklin Institute. 

Barbara was there with what appeared to be half of her bedroom in tow, including her C-Pap machine, while Melissa got to mock a museum volunteer who had the unbelievable gall to be from somewhere other than Philly. 

Barbara's Overnight Bag - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22

And Ava shared her views on alien life on Earth which held enough truth to be thought-provoking despite Ava somehow painting the picture of drunk aliens on a lazy river. 

But who wouldn't be thrilled to go on an overnight field trip? As Gregory pointed out, this had all the makings of a Night at the Museum adventure.

Janine: I’m happy Ava paired us up as group buddies.
Gregory: Now, don’t ever leave us behind. I need you to have my back in case someone casts an ancient spell and all of the exhibits come to life. I’m counting on those tiny fists for very precise blows.
Janine: Wait, so you did watch Night at the Museum?
Gregory: Yeah, I take all of your recommendations seriously. I want to know why you like stuff.

Having now met Janine's mother and seeing how Tariq took Janine for granted, it isn't a stretch to believe that Janine may never have had anyone take her likes or dislikes seriously.

This small interaction about a movie highlighted how Gregory likes Janine for Janine. He's interested in her and not what she can do for him, like her mother manipulating her into paying for a cell phone bill or Tariq using her as his free Uber driver.

Is Janine Selfish? - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22

But when she crosses paths with Maurice, and he calls out Janine for being selfish, it really throws her for a loop.

Maurice: So, for clarity. You don’t think you were being selfish?
Janine: No.
Maurice: So it’s normal for you to invite a guy to his favorite barbecue restaurant just to break up with him in front of his friend who you kissed but didn’t actually date?
Janine: I didn’t think of it that way.

Janine has never thought of herself as selfish because she isn't. She generally does her best to take care of everyone else. Allowing herself to go on vacation was new for her. And she even gave up her massage to help her mother, even though her mother would likely never do the same for Janine.

But over the last two seasons, Janine has begun to realize that she matters. Not only as a daughter, a girlfriend, and a teacher but just for her. She is important enough to take the time and care she needs for her own well-being.

And that level of awareness is what has gotten us to this healthy, needed, incredibly frustrating place.

Looking For Distance - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22

Janine was so disturbed by her encounter with Maurice that she immediately began distancing herself from Gregory. She hurt Maurice without meaning to, and now she's worried she could hurt Gregory too. 

Given how happy Janine had been only moments before about being group buddies on this field trip, Gregory was so confused that he confided in Jacob.

And Jacob's advice was spot on in this Abbott Elementary quote.

Jacob: You two have done everything but tell each other how you feel. You have to tell her how you feel.
Gregory: There’s no real going back after that, is there?
Jacob: Nope. But there might be a lot of good stuff on the other side.

Everyone knows how Janine and Gregory feel about one another, and everyone is talking about it except for Janine and Gregory.

Confiding in Jacob - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22

So Gregory was brave. He took the plunge and began this heartfelt conversation in, of all places, the giant walk-through heart exhibit at the Franklin Institute. And to his credit, he wore his heart on his sleeve.

Gregory: So this morning, you seemed really excited to have our classes paired together, and then you talked to Maurice, and now things feel different.
Janine: Yeah, that wasn’t about you.
Gregory: Yeah, well, it sure seemed like it was.
Janine: Okay, Gregory, don’t worry about it. Just forget it.
Gregory: I don’t want to forget it.
Janine: Why not?
Gregory: Because I like you, Janine. I have feelings for you and…

Even when Janine told him to forget it, giving him an obvious out if he wanted one, he continued and admitted that he really liked her and has feeling for her.

He put it all out there, and for an introvert like Gregory, that was huge.

And even though the chaos of Barbara being mistaken for an alien could have given Janine the cover to run from this conversation, she didn't.

Gregory Is Brave - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22

The two cleared the air and now know what was obvious to everyone else. Janine and Gregory like one another and have since the moment they met, despite the obstacles.

Janine: So if you liked me for that long, then what was the whole Taylor thing?
Gregory: You were in a multi-presidential term relationship…
Janine: Okay, but then I wasn’t.
Gregory: Are we really going to do this?
Janine: And then Amber?
Gregory: Hey, she asked me out, and you was giving me nothing.
Janine: Kissing you was giving you nothing?
Gregory: You called it a whoops.
Janine: You could have said it wasn’t a whoops.
Gregory: Look, I didn’t think it was an accident or a mistake. Besides, you started dating Maurice. We were both all over the place. But we’re here now.

And now they know where they stand with one another. They've gotten to the other side of sharing their feelings, but where has it gotten them?

Unfortunately, they're still in different places.

Janine is just beginning to figure out who she is on her own, without Tariq, and without being responsible for anyone but herself. As much as I'm rooting for Gregory and Janine to become a couple, Janine needs to be single right now. She needs to gain confidence in herself and her choices.

Ready To Fight - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22

Janine needs to do something that is not in her nature. She needs to be selfish.

I think I did the right thing. I want to continue the path I’m on. I actually think selfish is good for me, for now. Gregory is great. He’s the greatest, actually. I guess I’m not ready for him, but that’s okay. I’m okay.


Where does that leave Gregory? I'm not sure, other than he and Jacob have progressed to bro hugs, which I'm here for. 

He says he's happy he took Jacob's advice and was honest with Janine. It's moved them forward but didn't get them where he hoped. But forward is better than backward, and it is certainly better than being stuck where they were.

But when Gregory says he's ready to plant something new, what does that mean? Will it mean a new romance for him since Janine isn't ready to go down that road yet?

An Honest Conversation - Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22

I hope not. It was bad enough when these two were in other relationships when they didn't know how each other felt. Now that they've been honest about their feelings, watching them with other people would be maddening.

With Jacob still dubbing them the "After School Crew," it seems like they'll be staying in the friend zone as we head into Abbott Elementary Season 3.

So what did you think, TV Fanatics? Was Janine and Gregory's honesty a big enough step? Will this pair become a couple sooner rather than later, and how disappointed would you be if it doesn't happen at all? 

Hit that SHOW COMMENTS button below to share your thoughts on this season 2 finale. And remember, you can watch Abbott Elementary online here at TV Fanatic. 

Franklin Institute Review

Editor Rating: 4.6 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.9 / 5.0 (10 Votes)

C. Orlando is a TV Fanatic Staff Writer. Follow her on Twitter.

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Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 22 Quotes

Janine: I really wanted to apologize for how things went down at Bone Town.
Maurice: You ever notice how people say they want to apologize instead of just apologizing? It’s wild.
Janine: Well, I’m sorry.
Maurice: It’s all good. Gregory told me not to pursue you, and I did anyway. So, I guess we’re both in our selfish eras.

Janine: I’m happy Ava paired us up as group buddies.
Gregory: Now, don’t ever leave us behind. I need you to have my back in case someone casts an ancient spell and all of the exhibits come to life. I’m counting on those tiny fists for very precise blows.
Janine: Wait, so you did watch Night at the Museum?
Gregory: Yeah, I take all of your recommendations seriously. I want to know why you like stuff.