It is the last day of seventh grade and Kevin is excited about the prospects for summer vacation. He has it all planned out – biking and camping with Paul, and finding ways to spend time with Winnie. Sure, Winnie and he had a tumultuous relationship the past year due to gossip and misunderstandings, but now, Kevin sees their relationship is on the brink of becoming something. Kevin has high hopes that Winnie will finally express her feelings for him when the two exchange their yearbooks for the other to sign. The yearbook statements will cement their romantic relationship- according to Kevin’s fantasies.
Just like most of his experiences in seventh grade the past year, things do not go according to Kevin’s plans. First, he finds out that Paul will be gone for the entire summer, as the Pfeiffers are going to the lake. Hearing this news is the first bad start to Kevin’s vacation. However, Kevin thinks that at least Winnie will be around. He sees Winnie across the cafeteria writing in his yearbook and Kevin gets solace and excitement in that. He thinks that Winnie is writing a long note, and therefore decides to be just as bold and say something poignant. He writes her a long note and then puts “I love you” at the end of it. When he gets his yearbook back from Winnie, he expects to get a heartfelt note that expresses her sentiments just like he did for her. Instead, he is disappointed to read that she has just written “Have a Neat Summer”- the same generic statement he had earlier put in another classmate’s yearbook. The bell rings, signaling the end of the school day and year, and Kevin thinks that his summer vacation is already a bust, without even having left school.
The first day after school is over, Kevin is lounging around and bored, and whining that he has nothing to do. His father overhears that and makes Kevin clean out the garage. As Kevin is cleaning, Winnie stops by and naturally, Kevin is not too thrilled to see her. He calls her out for her “neat summer comment” in the yearbook and then tells her that he didn’t mean anything that he wrote. While he is yelling, Winnie kisses Kevin. She then runs off after that. Kevin is left perplexed by the kiss. He had been waiting to kiss her all year but didn’t expect the kiss. He gets a newfound energy though, and excited o see Winnie at her parent’s annual summer barbeque in the evening.
When he gets to the party, Kevin expects to have time to talk to Winnie. Instead, she is busy throughout the party, playing a go-between her parents. Kevin thinks that Winnie is avoiding him after the kiss, and confronts her when he finds her alone, staring out in the air. He yells at her, and calls her out on legitimate things she’s done to him that year- how sometimes she acts like she likes him, and other times she doesn’t. Winnie doesn’t address his concern but looks at him sadly and says he has to go away for the summer with her mom. It is after this statement that Kevin realizes something is wrong- Winnie is going only with her mom and not her dad. Kevin then looks around and notices couples dancing to slow music. Everyone is dancing- expect the Coopers. Both look miserable and are on the opposite side of the yard. Kevin concludes that Winnie’s family is falling apart. He goes to find Winnie sitting in front of her house, and sits with her. At one point, Winnie says “I miss my brother.” This simple statement reminds us of his death, and how the grief from his departure may have caused a rift in the Cooper marriage.
This episode was a good way to close out the season and to transition to the next one. I finished the episode feeling sorry for Winnie, a sentiment I usually do not feel for her given her behavior towards Kevin sometimes. For Season 3, I hope to see that Winnie and Kevin come to understand each other a bit more; they are both long-time friends yet becoming teenagers and having hormones has prevented them from communicating more directly and caused them to have a volatile relationship. I look forward to seeing how their friendship hopefully grows after their past experiences.