It’s Maya’s fourteenth birthday and her mother forgot about it. She stops Riley from going out the window to confront Katy, distracting her with the friendship rings (a present from Riley) she just unwrapped. “I’ll never take this off until I die,” Maya seriously says. Riley’s thrilled. “You’ll probably die before me since you’re older. Should I tell the people not to take it off of your dead corpse body?” she asks brightly. Maya is touched that Riley would do such a thing for her. This is a well-written friendship, people! Riley then freaks out because with Maya dead, there will be no one to tell the people not to take hers off her dead corpse body.
Shawn’s waiting with hugs for the girls in the living room. Cory and Topanga walk in wielding Maya’s birthday cake, talking about how they’re concerned about Maya’s mother forgetting her birthday, oblivious to their guests. Topanga notices first. “Okay Maya, I’m not going to turn around because I’m embarrassed, but you know how much I like your mother… because at least she’s not Shawn’s mother!” Cory says cheerily. “What a cuckoo! ‘Uh, it’s Tuesday, I’m gonna run away!’” Cory’s lack of tact doesn’t affect his and Shawn’s wonderful reunion—but Cory is wondering how they were so lucky as to see Shawn again so soon. “I’m doing a photo essay. ‘Weekends in New York for Under $100.’ It’s impossible, can I stay here?” Shawn explains. FINALLY! Someone drops some New York reality on us all. I still say the Apartment Matthews is a sham unless Topanga is making six figures, maybe more. Topanga is shocked to hear that Shawn has a key, but is mollified by Cory’s declaration that she has the key to his heart. Riley and Maya are prompted by this bit of cheese to ask Shawn about the key to his heart. Cory, Topanga, and Shawn start telling the Angela purse story (what a good throwback!), but the girls aren’t impressed. “So basically he fell in love with the concept,” Riley points out. “Doomed from the start!” Maya declares, going on to assume that Shawn was the one who couldn’t commit. Shawn, frustrated, wonders why everyone assumes that he was the one who left when he’s the one being constantly left by others. Another piece of common ground for Maya and Shawn.
Riley calls for window time with the Parents Matthews. She wants to know just how good Cory is with schemes—Topanga assures her that he is the best, since when he believes it something you can’t find someone with a stronger will. Cory’s retired, so if Riley wants him to scheme it it better be the be-all, end-all of schemes. “I want Shawn to be Maya’s dad,” Riley says calmly, exceeding Cory’s expectations.
Cory’s in. They’re going to need a cutting-edge tech guy (enter Farkle) and a distraction in the form of a pretty face (enter Lucas). With a plan in place, they return to a peeved Maya and a shocked Shawn. During Shawn’s window time with Cory and Topanga, he’s disappointed that Cory hasn’t been a father figure for Maya (frankly, I am too). Shawn wants to team up with Cory to fix things between Maya and her mom. Cory declines assistance, but he and Topanga direct Shawn to the diner where Katy works. During Maya’s window time with her friends, Lucas distracts her with a rope trick and ties her up so she can’t move.
Shawn finds Katy, who asks him what he wants. “I’ll have some birthday cake,” he says, giving her pause. “What kind of mother are you?” Katy is furious and tries to kick him out, but Shawn decides to keep with the talking since she doesn’t like him anyway. Katy realizes that Shawn is the Matthews’ friend that Maya won’t stop talking about.
Riley details the plan and infuriates Maya, who thinks that Shawn will be driven away by her mother. Riley unties her and asks if Maya wants to return her friendship ring. “I am never giving this friendship ring back as long as I live,” Maya practically growls out. “Wow, you said kind of a nice thing in a really mean voice,” Riley says happily. Maya explains that people only get mad like this when something matters to them.
Despite their antagonistic start, Katy and Shawn find common ground: they’re both terrible at relationships but don’t want to be. Katy doesn’t want her daughter to get too close to Shawn because he leaves all the time. Shawn realizes that Maya’s dad left Katy without prompting. Katy doesn’t want to tell Maya the truth because she wants Maya to think well of her father. Her friend shows up with a locket intended for Maya’s birthday, one that Katy needed to work one more shift to pay for. Shawn understands what’s going on, offering the last fifty dollars she needs in exchange for being the one to take the photo of them for the locket.
“Happy birthday, everything you know is wrong,” Shawn says, barging into the Apartment Matthews with Katy. Katy is annoyed that he’s telling her the truth, but Shawn believes that Maya deserves to love the parent who stayed. “She’s one of us,” he tells Maya. Katy explains the extra shifts, telling Maya about the locket. When Shawn offers to get it from her purse, she shoots him down with a “You can’t go through my purse.” Riley and Maya, thinking of Angela, shout “Let him!” We might have a new couple soon, and I support it. Though I wonder if they would ever bring Angela back to cause some drama…
While Shawn pats himself on the back, Cory declares Riley to be his new scheming partner. Shawn approaches Maya to be his new partner in crime. The episode closes on a dazed, happy Riley, who is tied up just like Maya was. She requests that Maya say one word to her, and Maya complies with “Goodnight!” She ducks out the window. At least she scratched Riley’s nose before she left! A+ episode, Girl Meets World. Key takeaway: Shawn should come around all the time.