Abbott Elementary “Fight” Review: Finding Comfort in the Uncomfortable

Abbott Elementary “Fight” Spoilers Ahead

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY “Fight” 2x12 During a day of touchdowns and missed plays, the Abbott Elementary faculty find themselves learning lessons in teamwork. Two of Janine’s students aren’t getting along in class, leading her to seek advice from her colleagues on how to help repair their friendship. Meanwhile, Melissa and Ava plot to bring down Mr. Johnson in fantasy football when “Abbott Elementary” airs WEDNESDAY, JAN. 11 (9:00-9:31 p.m. EST), on ABC. (ABC) TYLER JAMES WILLIAMS, JANELLE JAMES, ORLANDO JONES
©ABC

Abbott Elementary Season 2, Episode 12, “Fight,” sets up what can result in exemplary growth for all of our favorite characters, and it does so subtly through a showcase that’s all about learning how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable. It’s an episode where its depth is reflected both boldly and in the quiet corridors, making its success and latest renewal hugely earned.

Last week’s episode, “Read-A-Thon,” was primarily about teachers exhibiting the vital grace to help students grow for the better, and this week’s episode is about extending that same grace toward themselves. When Gregory’s father, guest-starring Orlando Jones visits Abbott to see how his son is doing, he discovers that he’s impressed with his landscaping skills. Simultaneously, in attempting to stop fights between two students, Janine (through Barbara’s help) learns she’s projecting her discomfort toward the students. Elsewhere, Ava and Melissa try to beat Mr. Johnson in his Fantasy Football drafts, only to learn that he isn’t working alone.

Abbott Elementary “Fight”

Barbara and Janine in Abbott Elementary "Fight"
©ABC

Somewhere during this show’s two-season run, we should’ve been able to predict that Ava would one day break up a fight that Janine is caught in the middle of. She might not like Janine, but we all know she’d prefer to be the center of everything, even when wearing designer clothing. Still, though Ava is the one to step in the way, it’s Barbara who helps Janine understand why the students fighting is bothering her so much.

As one of the most heartwarming relationships in the series, Barbara’s bond with Janine is unmatched. Barbara might not be able to bond with her as much as she can with Melissa, but she sees beyond what Janine externally conveys and knows when she’s in need of her help. (See, this is why she’s an example of a true Christian woman, usher squabble included!) Barbara’s advice to Janine is as correct as it can be because even though learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable is hard, it’s necessary. And while it’s also not something a human being can immediately achieve, it makes handling relationships a little bit easier. 

Openly Gardening

CHRIS PERFETTI, SHERYL LEE RALPH in Abbott Elementary "Fight"
©ABC

The same can be said about Gregory gardening in secret but realizing that he’s happier and better because of his time at Abbott. While he won’t be taking up his father’s offer to work with him, it’s entirely because even though he was gardening secretly, the changes in him are out in the open. While it was hilarious that Barbara and Jacob were both shocked to learn that none of them were doing the work properly, it’s also a clear showcase in Abbott Elementary’s “Fight” that no one’s reached a level of perfection, even when they think they have. 

However, like Janine, Gregory is well on his way toward learning to be comfortable with the uncomfortable, which ultimately means being able to stand his ground with his father. He doesn’t have to impress him to be happy or successful; at the same time, Janine doesn’t have to do the same for her mother or sister. The two of them could just be, understanding that relationships are complicated and frequently imperfect. 

Further Thoughts

  • “I don’t respect my elders.” We know, Ava. We know.
  • I also don’t know how to write in cursive, Jacob.
  • Everything we planted was a lie!?!?!?
  • “I thought it was because you’re dressed like a peony.” YES.
  • MOULIN ROUGE JR. Jacob would. He absolutely would. You know, show must go on!
  • Ava going to church is hilarious.
  • I also can’t do Toy Story 3 again, kid. And I also cry, Janine.
  • “Mr. What We Do In The Shadows” “Jordan Peele” TOO GOOD.
  • What in the earth, wind, and fire is happening here?
  • Cannot wait to meet Janine’s sister!
  • Someone beating Melissa Schemmenti in something feels wrong, but also weirdly right that it was Mr. Johnson?
  • WHAT HAPPENS WHEN JANINE AND GREGORY FIND COMFORT WITH EACH OTHER? WHAT THEN!?

Now streaming on Hulu or ABCWhat are your thoughts on Abbott Elementary‘s “Fight?” Let us know in the comments below.

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