Abbott Elementary Season 3 Episode 9 Review: Alex

Spoilers

Abbott Elementary was on a little spring break, but we’re back with a brand new episode, and Janine has big news.

A few significant things are happening in Abbott Elementary Season 3 Episode 9. Janine is offered a full-time job for the district now that her fellowship is ending. Gregory is fretting about a student who is missing a ton of school. Barbara, Jacob, Mr. Johnson, and Melissa are caught up in some AI-related drama.

This episode (like many others before it) was full of great quotes. We stayed laughing for almost the entire half hour.

It also felt more fast-paced than previous episodes, and whether that’s because the season is winding down or because they’re trying to set up several new storylines, it made for an entertaining installment. There’s some chatter about when Abbott Elementary will end, so we hope this new pace doesn’t mean anything final is happening.

A lot was happening, but the main reveal was about Janine’s decision to take the district job.

Everyone has been counting on Janine to return to Abbott Elementary after the end of her fellowship. Ava cracked many jokes about how much she dislikes Janine in this episode, but we know that’s not entirely true. It will be a big deal if Janine goes through with this career move.

Janine: As you all know, my fellowship at the district is coming to an end.
Ava: Ooh, girl, don’t remind me. My doomsday countdown clock is set to the day that you’re back.
Janine: Stop.

Gregory took the news particularly hard. The way he found out was awful, and it really seemed like there was a better way for that to go down. Janine didn’t need to drop that bomb while they were at Alex’s house trying to convince a kid to return to school.

Janine and Gregory’s relationship goes back to the beginning of the show, so it’s a little weird that she wouldn’t have made a point to tell him in a more organized and respectful way.

And while we’re talking about this, let’s be real for a second: she’s not actually going to take this job.

Janine talks about how hard the decision to take the job has been, but it feels like she rushed into it. And even before she faltered in her choice at the end of the episode, there were hints that she wasn’t all that sure about what she wanted.

Thank you guys. This was not an easy decision to make. I mean, I hemmed, and I hawed…heck, I almost pussyfooted.

Janine

Let’s not forget that this season, Janine has had more than one emotional moment when thinking or talking about the kids in her class. She obviously misses teaching and the impact she knows she has on her students. We saw it most recently in Abbott Elementary Season 3 Episode 8.

She talks a big game about the difference she’ll be able to make at the district but come on. Her heart is in the classroom, and it always has been.

She loves her Abbott Elementary coworkers, and from an audience perspective, the show feels a little weird without Janine at the school anyway.

We’re pretty sure Janine will ultimately decide to return to Abbott, and Ava will have to fire the replacement she hired (surely she’ll get in trouble for the questionable hiring practices she used anyway, right? Right??).

Gregory was excellent in this episode — we already know how much this man cares about his students, but he went all in for a student who isn’t even in his class anymore. He was even willing to break protocol to show up at this kid’s house. We love Gregory and the love he has for his students.

We got a glimpse of something else we’d been missing — Janine and Gregory’s friendship. Seeing them work together again was a good reminder of their chemistry. I still maintain that they should stay friends, and this episode gave a great example of why.

There isn’t a lot of romantic tension between them, but they care a lot about each other. Watching them work together toward a common goal brings warm and fuzzy feelings. It feels like old times.

Outside of the Janine/Gregory storyline, the other teachers at the school are dealing with AI drama, and it’s a hoot. Who can blame Barbara and Melissa for using AI to respond to tons of emails from Jacob? We’re mad we didn’t think of it first.

Jacob: Well, well, well. If it isn’t the autobots. Or should I say decepticons?
Ava: I’m already not enjoying this conversation.

Jacob is one of the best characters on this show, and Chris Perfetti’s comedic timing is always perfect. He shined in this episode. Jacob went through quite a few emotions: sadness about Janine leaving, outrage at Barb and Melissa, embarrassment for using AI to reply to Mr. Johnson, and humility when he apologized to everyone.

It was an excellent example of Chris Perfetti’s range as an actor and a comedian. As always, the rest of the cast gave terrific performances, and we got a delightful episode.

Regarding Ava, we’re a little confused about what’s going on with her. We’d seen a lot of character growth with her earlier in the season, but suddenly, she seems like the old Ava again — insensitive, unprofessional, and immature.

Granted, she’s still funny as ever, but we’re bummed to see the regression in her character development. Is she putting up a front to hide that she’s upset that Janine wants to leave Abbott? Or are we just supposed to ignore all the growth we’ve seen from her leading up to this episode?

Hopefully, that will be cleared up in the coming weeks.

Thanks for joining us to unpack another great episode of one of our favorite comedies! Don’t forget that you can watch Abbott Elementary online if you need to get caught up, and we’ll see you next week!

Haley Whitmire White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

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