On the previous episode of Girl Meets World, Topanga announced that she had been named partner in her law firm’s London office, meaning that if she accepted the job, her entire family was moving. This week’s episode opens on the bay window, where Riley is trying to keep herself in denial. Maya tries to make her face reality, which results in Riley announcing that they’ll be over if she moves.
The Apartment Matthews: Auggie laments the loss of life in New York, especially having to leave Ava. Meanwhile, Ava shows up dressed as Twiggy, ecstatic for the start of her life in London. Her mother said it was fine if she went with them, and Topanga is hesitant to find out how true that is.
Cory’s class: “BELGIUM 1831” is written on the board, as it has multiple times over the past three seasons. The United Kingdom of the Netherlands thought it would be together forever, but everything changed when Belgium decided to become independent in 1831. You see why they saved this particular lesson for this episode? Riley is worried that if she leaves, she’ll go the way of Carrie Abramson, a classmate everyone forgot about even though she moved down the street. Cory insists that he trusts Topanga to make her decision, since she won’t do it without the advice of her loved ones.
The Apartment Matthews: Topanga’s loved ones include Cory’s entire family, but not ONE HINT of her own. Where’s Peter Tork from the Monkees (AKA Topanga’s original father)? Where’s Annette O’Toole or Marcia Cross (AKA two incarnations of Topanga’s mother)? WHAT EVER HAPPENED TO HER SISTER NEBULA? Aunt Prudence? Whatever, I’ll move on. The best part of this little summit is definitely the fact that they’ve included both Lily Nicksay and Lindsay Ridgeway, both of whom played Morgan at different times in the lifetime of Boy Meets World without any explanation for it. It somehow works perfectly sans explanation.
Shawn, of course, doesn’t want them to move so far away, but also argues that new experiences lead to amazing things–after all, that’s how he ended up marrying Katie and having Maya. Technically, I’d like to argue that the reason he met Katie is that he went back to his roots and Cory pushed his family agenda on him, but I suppose the sentiment is nice regardless. Anyway, Maya points out that Shawn is not actually her father, which leads to his presentation of adoption papers. When Maya isn’t sure, Turner explains that he always regretted not officially adopting Shawn. “My parents tried to adopt Shawn but he preferred to stay the street urchin,” Cory says. Never change, Cory. “Daddy, I’m sorry for everything I’m gonna do. And also I’m going to go to London with them,” Maya says, accepting.
While Amy expresses her upset at Cory and Topanga taking away her grandchildren (mind you, it’s Riley and Maya that she’s hugging), both Morgans sympathize with Auggie over being the youngest, least-heard sibling. Feeny throws his two cents in, guessing that they’ll do just as well in London, while also throwing a bit of shade in Topanga’s direction for ditching Yale for Cory. At this point, Eric chimes in. “LONDON?! Who’s gonna play Topanga?” he asks, before explaining that Topanga should listen to her heart, then find her quiet place to make a choice.
Topanga’s Cafe: Riley’s impending departure is one of the first things that makes Smackle sad enough to cry. Zay promises to take care of Lucas. Maya insists that Riley can’t actually be leaving, because no one cares about her as much as Riley has. Josh arrives, since he knows the gang is struggling with the idea that Riley might leave. Maya’s spirits are lifted. “Life is trying to replace you. Life moves fast. Life did a good job,” she says, looking at Josh. Riley and Lucas talk outside about how they’ll always be each other’s first significant other.
Bay Window: Ava explains that her mother doesn’t actually want her moving to London. Auggie and Ava reaffirm their marriage and best friendship. They swap places with Riley and Maya so they can do their goodbye. Maya breaks down crying as she says goodbye to her best friend.
Topanga’s Cafe: Topanga sits in the darkness in order to make her decision. The entire family shows up to proclaim their support for whatever she decides. Topanga decides to keep the family in New York, as it has become the entire family’s safe spot, just like Riley’s bay window. The gang participates in a group flashback to the Boy Meets World days, during which Cory told toddler Josh that the world was going to teach him hard lessons, but also protect him. “The best thing that happens is to find out where you belong. We did. Now it’s your turn,” Cory explains. Riley and Maya do one last thunder/lightning handshake to take us home.
And that’s a wrap on Girl Meets World–at least, for now. Fans are currently lobbying Netflix to pick it up, but who knows what will happen there. As much as it had its problems–namely the fact that the plot tended to center around them moving from place to place talking instead of actually doing things–a show like Girl Meets World was good to have around. Besides the obvious nostalgia factor, having a show so devoted to the intricacies of female friendships that wasn’t afraid to tackle subjects like feminism, the autism spectrum, and consent is so important–especially now. Here’s to hoping that Girl Meets World finds legs on another network so it gets to grow, change course a bit, and continue being there for girls.
Episode Rating: 9/10.