Abbott Elementary “Teacher Conference” Review: Where Flowers Bloom

ABBOTT ELEMENTARY - “Teacher Conference” - The Abbott staff heads to the Pennsylvania Educational Conference. Gregory reluctantly attends after a disagreement with Amber and bonds with Janine over their similarities. Jacob finds himself charmed by the Addington teachers. WEDNESDAY, FEB. 22 (9:00-9:31 p.m. EST), on ABC.
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

Abbott Elementary “Teacher Conference” Spoilers Ahead

What happens at PECSA will eventually come to light. Abbott Elementary Season 2, Episode 16, “Teacher Conference,” is what dreams are made of—an episode so great, you would’ve expected it’d to be a season finale. But thankfully, it isn’t, and that tells us that the finale might be even wilder. 

There’s much to unpack here, primarily with how it allows characters to grow in and out of their comfort zones. It’s hilariously punny, enlightening, and undeniably beautiful. It proves that not only are each of these characters in the right place, but this is where they could continue growing into better versions of themselves. Additionally, flowers, as an analogy of their view on teaching and themselves, is something only Quinta Brunson could pull off without sounding too corny. And while there’s still much progress to be made, each character is unknowingly gearing up for something bigger. In the words of Ms. Swift, they’re headed toward surviving “The Great War.” 

Abbott Elementary “Teacher Conference” | When at PESCA 

SHERYL LEE RALPH, LISA ANN WALTER in Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 16 "Teacher Conference"
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

As someone who hates the term what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, sign me up for PESCA. This conference is my jam in every way, and it’s clearly everyone else’s jam too. The episode allows both Barbara and Melissa to let loose with math-a-ritas while also allowing them to score an in with a supply company’s daughter. It also gives Melissa and Kristin an opportunity to maybe patch things up, which will be a lot more riveting to watch moving forward.

If last week’s “Fire” was about addressing fears and stepping forward to allow people to help when in need, then Abbott Elementary’s “Teacher Conference” is about reminding others why this all matters. And much of it starts with Jacob as he branches out with other teachers, allowing him to find like-minded people in a nerdy realm, only to realize that they’re not the kind of people he’d ever want to be around permanently. In other words, he finds a bunch of performative activists who don’t understand or care for inclusivity the way he does. 

There are a lot of changes coming to Abbott, and as Inspector Gadget came bearing news, I’m glad to see we’re finally going to start seeing the perils of “Attack Ad.” We’ve yet to witness the last of Leslie Odom Jr.’s Draemond, and it will test each of these teachers in a way that nothing has before while likely leaving them and Abbott better than ever. At least it’s easy to hope that way for now.

Where Flowers Bloom

QUINTA BRUNSON, TYLER JAMES WILLIAMS as Gregory and Janine in Abbott Elementary "Teacher Conference"
(ABC/Gilles Mingasson)

If “Holiday Hookah” was Janine and Gregory’s “Snow On The Beach” moment, then everything that we get in this episode is their “Labyrinth.” Only, it’s not a labyrinth, but a room where flowers envelop them in a moment where it’s hard to deny how desperately they both want each other. Gregory is no longer with Amber, which is good because the term opposites attract wasn’t made for them. But Janine is still with Maurice, and there are ways to go before the two of them understand that their adoration is worth the risk.

The gorgeous thing about Gregory and Janine’s relationship isn’t that they’re alike, but it’s the detail that they complement each other in a way others around them have yet to manage. Like flowers, each with different scents, times where they’re at their peak, Gregory and Janine orbit around one another as whatever’s necessary for the other to grow while allowing themselves to be better by their own agency. They evolve, they grow, and because they’re both so multifaceted, all their colors blend intricately together to create the kind of bouquet we can marvel at from all sorts of angles.

Gregory and Janine's first kiss in Abbott Elementary "Teacher Conference"

As we’ve been saying from day one, Gregory and Janine understand one another in ways others aren’t willing to. No, they aren’t the same person, but they know what the other needs to bloom, which they enjoy as well. She would’ve loved the LEGO flower, but he would’ve also loved an adventurous date planned. They work because even as friends, they listen to each other, pay attention to the little things, and care despite every flaw. The beautiful thing about how their relationship continues to develop is that, like flowers, they bloom naturally around each other. Gregory and Janine already like each other as they are, they care tremendously, and it’s how effortlessly synchronized they are with one another, even when they’re awkward, that works perfectly. The way she looks at him, and the way he only sees her beauty in a room overflowing with stunning flowers—it’s magic. Pure, unbridled magic.

Their bodies could dance and sway together despite how awkward they both are, and in a moment as intimate as seeing the joy in this room, it’s easy to lose themselves in the moment. It’s easy to lose themselves in the ease that they could find only in each other, even while they get tongue-tied. (Quite figuratively, here.) What we get in this episode is exactly the kind of kiss I expected from them—heated, sweet, awkward, and intimate. Of course, they’re going to deny it. Of course, they’re going to pretend it wasn’t a big deal, but one of these days, they’re going to realize that no matter where they go, all they want is to keep orbiting around each other. Wherever they go, their admiration and care for one another will continue to grow like wildflowers, bursting despite any weeds—a brilliant burst of colors and a deep understanding that’s impossible elsewhere. One day, they will both get it right about someone—and that someone will be the other.

After Abbott Elementary’s “Teacher Conference,” there’s only so little we could deny about various things. Changes are coming both in personal relationships and throughout the school, and knowing these writers, they will deliver some of the best episodes we’ve seen. 

Further Thoughts

  • “11! Star! Semicolon” is equivelant to Ron Swanson’s “Rectangle! America! Megaphone! Monday! Butthole!”
  • “No matter what I do, no one’s happy.” Gregory, honey, Janine is happy with that kiss. I promise.
  • EDM “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” is something.
  • Barbara and Melissa, only being here strictly for a spa day is everything.
  • “Good to see you again, Bilbo.” Schemmenti’s are wild.
  • Ava giving a conference about Janine is hilarious!
  • Also, these drinks sound fabulous.
  • “Everyone deserves to be someone who likes them as they are.” And that’s exactly it. Gregory and Janine both like each other as they are.
  • “Do I really love my internet provider? No, cause their network is unreliable.” @ Spectrum
  • “Last night, as the kids would say, is a film.”  I don’t know what this means, but I’m 100% going to start using it.

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


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