In the season finale, the staff of Abbott take the students on a field trip (an unsanctioned one at that) to the zoo. Because Principal Ava (Janelle James) didn’t fill out any paperwork, some extra help was enlisted to chaperone the students. Jacob (Chris Perfetti) brought his boyfriend Zach (Larry Owens), Barbara (Sheryl Lee Ralph) brought her daughter Taylor (Iyana Halley) and Janine (Quinta Brunson) brought her hilarious boyfriend Tariq (Zack Fox) along to lighten the load each teacher had to take on.
While on the bus on the way to the zoo, Tariq receives an email from the F.A.D.E. program. They want him to move to New York for a year to do a F.A.D.E. tour and record an anti-meth mixtape. Tariq is ecstatic and Janine shares his excitement until Tariq mentions that they’re moving to New York City which catches Janine completely off guard.
Throughout the episode, Janine talks to her co-workers about the potential move and what she should do next. Gregory (Tyler James Williams) admits that Janine was part of the reason he realized Abbott was a special place. Jacob told her how he couldn’t imagine Abbott without her. Barbara, who is distraught about a lizard she has been coming to see since she’s worked at Abbott being retired, feels like she’s somewhat in the same position. As Janine explains her feelings about her moving situation, Barbara takes it as Janine wanting to quit teaching and admits that she’s been considering it herself.
All of this is put to the side when one of the kids ends up missing. Barbara takes charge and gives all the staff members jobs to do to ensure that they find the student. Once Janine finally finds the student, he is on a hot air balloon that is about to take off. This would be perfectly fine if Janine wasn’t afraid of heights. While in the air, Janine talks to the student (who happens to be afraid of going from the first to the second grade) and gives him some very sound advice that also could be applied to her own situation.
Janine emphasizes how some of the best things can be scary and how change is good. The conclusions she reached while talking to the student in the balloon lead her to finally have the conversation she was dreading having with Tariq the whole episode. Janine tells Tariq that she believes they’re going down two different paths in life and they should take a break. She convinces him that they need to figure out who they are without each other.
The episode ends with Melissa (Lisa Ann Walter) reassuring Barbara that no one would ever treat her like the lizard she had been in her feelings about and that she would only have to retire when she felt it was time. After breaking up with Tariq, Janine feels content with her situation. Barbara gives her credit for coming such a long way. Janine feels like she belongs at Abbott and things will work out for the best for her.
Does the breakup with Tariq open the door of possibilities for Janine to be with Gregory (who is now officially a full-time teacher at Abbott)? Or will Gregory’s relationship with Barbara’s daughter Taylor continue to blossom? How long will Ava be able to keep her job as the principal? Who will be the next big special guests? These are all questions that we were left pondering at the end of the episode and ones we won’t be able to get the answers to until next school year. Let us know what you thought about this season and what you expect or want to see for next season.
It’s Summer Break: “Abbott Elementary” Season Finale Recap
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