Abbott Elementary “Open House” Spoilers Ahead
Abbott Elementary finally returns after a three-week hiatus with the kind of episode that feels intimate and personal, giving us more insight into the private lives of our favorite characters.
The series continues its heartwarming streak through an open house. Janine, in particular, is having trouble with a specific student and waiting patiently to meet her mother to discuss how they could make more progress. The school’s super intendant is also visiting to check in, allowing us to finally understand how on earth Ava has this job. And in an episode that thematically looks into mother/daughter relationships, we have the chance to meet Ava’s daughter, Taylor (Iyana Halley).
Abbott Elementary’s “Open House” is Janine’s most personal episode, more than anyone else’s, as we see a glimpse into her desperation to earn her mother’s attention. A look into her text messages shows us that she is the one constantly reaching out while receiving nothing in return, not even a measly heart or a thumbs-up emoji. This arc then shows us why Janine is so adamant about giving all of her students the proper attention they deserve and her colleagues as well.
It’s also an intriguing showcase of how she views Barbara, referring to her as her work mom. At the same time, Quinta Brunson shows us, with the most subtly heartbreaking expression as she meets Taylor, that she wishes she could be familiar with such a dynamic. We know Janine cares a lot, and much of this episode lets us see more of why her adoration for teaching is as heightened. She wants people to have the kind of attention she ultimately does not.
To then see a conflict arise with Barbara and Taylor about her job, then following a resolution where she learns that Barbara is still proud of her daughter no matter what made for a heart-crushing scene.
Brunson took my heart and ran with it this week, particularly in the end when Barbara invites her to dinner after a successful open house. Her expression gives us the right amount of insight into her childhood, but simultaneously, the scene continues to exhibit Barbara’s heart and how much she cares for Janine.
As we also learn in the episode, the only way that Ava secured the job as principal instead of Gregory is because she caught the super intendant cheating on his wife and blackmailed him with the information. However, as it turns out, he divorced his former wife and is now married to the woman he was caught cheating with, leaving Ava in a bind that forces her to prove she deserves this job. Ava can succeed when she sets her mind to something because that’s precisely what “Step Class” showed us, but is she fit to be in charge of an entire school? That’s questionable.
Abbott Elementary’s “Open House” changes the course by boldly showing us that a tremendous change is coming soon. Could Gregory replace Ava? Will he and Taylor find something more after getting drinks? Is Janine going to be more respected in the school? A lot can happen in the next few episodes, and with the show’s renewal, we’re confident we’ll see it all.