A whirlwind of emotions leads to a devastating conclusion as things become too much for too many.
This recap of Heartbreak High (2022) season 1, episode 6, “Angeline”, contains spoilers.
I mentioned this in a previous recap, but it’s worth reiterating — as someone with an autistic daughter, I’ve found the portrayal of Quinni’s autism in this show to be consistently accurate and well-observed. “Angeline”, which is the name of the book heroine she’s obsessed with, opens with Quinni in her bedroom, and the details — comforts, walls obsessively adorned with her favorite thing, strict to-do schedule pinned up on the wall — all ring really true for me. Apparently, Chloe Hayden had a hand in creating this character, and you can really tell. I also love how little details like her having two dads are just treated as totally normal and left unremarked upon.
Heartbreak High (2022) season 1, episode 6 recap
The episode is titled after Quinni because she gets a pretty significant subplot that is geared around all this. She’s attending a book signing that she has been planning every detail of for months, and Sasha keeps inserting herself into the situation, trying to go off-schedule, and sending Quinni into increasing levels of discomfort. She can’t think about anything else other than the signing; it’s vitally important to her, and Sasha thinks she’s just “overthinking it”. A stop at a gelato shop can’t hurt! Listening to Sasha and her friend natter right in front of Quinni’s face shouldn’t be a problem! Perhaps it’s because I have a personal stake in this kind of thing, but I felt for Quinni here more than I’ve felt for any character in anything for a long time.
Sasha can’t see how emotionally invested Quinni is in this book series and the ceremony of the whole event; she’s obviously disinterested, staring down at her phone and rolling her eyes the entire time, when all Quinni wants to do is share the moment (and her excitement) with her. When Sasha complains that she’s not out getting drunk and claims Quinni is “pulling the autism card”, Quinni rushes home upset and has a meltdown, clawing at her skin with her nails in frustration.
But anyway, elsewhere — Harper has chlamydia. And half of the school has turned against her. The other half thinks she’s pretty cool after what she did to Dusty, but that doesn’t count for much when the people whose opinions you actually value don’t want to give you the time of day. She’s also in major trouble for publicly bringing down the school’s reputation at the game, so her dad has been called in and she’s on library duty every day for the rest of the term.
And her demeanor doesn’t go unnoticed. After a game designed to emphasize the idea of a power imbalance that Spider for some reason finds personally offensive, Jojo takes Amerie aside to tell her that she thinks something is seriously wrong with Harper. As Amerie recollects a previous night out, with Harper worrying about whoever was texting her, being coy, and refusing to pop pills and party, Amerie realizes that Jojo is probably right — and perhaps she shouldn’t have just noticed now, but much sooner.
Thanks to Darren, Amerie ends up throwing a party that is attended by virtually everyone. However, Dusty is now beefing with Malakai because he snapped at Spider earlier and went to sit with Harper, so Dusty sets his sights on Amerie just to one-up him. However, Dusty has chlamydia, so Harper, tracking the shindig via social media, desperately tries to warn Amerie that she’s putting herself at risk by falling for his advances (Amerie is also extremely drunk to the extent that Dusty’s advances are looking incredibly suspect anyway.) Eventually, she just heads to the house and drops a cake on the pair just as they’re getting down to their underwear. Close call.
But Malakai hasn’t taken Amerie hooking up with Dusty very well. In fact, he’s out of his mind drunk, trying to jump off the roof and land on a trampoline. Luckily, Missy’s brother Jai, a character we hadn’t met until earlier but who nonetheless seems like a super nice guy, manages to grab Malakai from behind and wrestle him into calming down. Jai and Missy take Malakai away while telling everyone else off for their dumb voyeurism.
The late montage that “Angeline” pulls out is sad, seeing everyone alone and broken (although, of course, Darren arrives in Quinni’s hour of need.) Both Malakai and Dusty are sulkily handed their chlamydia medication by Harper. It looks like the episode is going to end there. But it doesn’t — instead, it ends even more devastatingly. When the kids get to school the next day, they find the SLTs classroom taped off as a crime scene, and the incest map underneath the tables updated with something new — Miss Obah apparently f*cked Amerie, and the police are there to talk to Amerie about it.
Spider? We’ll have to wait and see.