“Recess” – Lost Leader (EPISODE REVIEW)
When a plan to retrieve a lucky baseball bat fails for the Recess gang, TJ blames himself for it going wrong, vowing to never be a leader again. Without their leader Gretchen, Vince, Gus, Mikey, and Spinelli struggle to come up with a good plan without him.
TJ’s distinct role has always been the leader, so seeing the poor guy beat himself up about it is sad. We know he really is the best leader for this rag tag team, but sometimes the smallest hiccup can make someone feel insecure. TJ is a selfless hero too, so of course he’d immediately blame himself for everything going wrong, especially when his failed plan resulted in a casualty.
It is fun seeing what kind of plans that the gang come up with by themselves. Each one failing to see the drawbacks if their wild ideas. However, it’s the flawed logic in their suggestions that highlight TJ’s importance. When it boils down to it, the gang need TJ for his clever imagination. The rest of the gang’s strengths aren’t suited for leadership, and they all have their own talents or skills that are better suited for supporting roles. TJ knows how to find the right balance of possibility and creativity; plans that make sense yet retain a child’s imagination.
You maybe wondering why this lucky bat is so important? Well, the gang’s rival Lawson bets that they can’t retrieve the bat, confident to the point where he’s willing to challenge them to a game the next day. This makes the mission more than just a simple rescue, it’s a race to outwit the cocky Lawson.
However, the gang do come to the humble conclusion that none of them are born leaders, graciously accepting the truth, and they instead focus on helping TJ. The gang put on an intentionally ridiculous heist for getting the bat, each kid doing something hilariously stupid as part of their fake heist. They do this while all acting like TJ is useless after all, and this makes Teej finally realise how hard he’s been on himself.
While this is technically reverse psychology, it’s all done out of love. The gang do end up confessing their true intentions by the end too, so Teej isn’t left feeling insulted. Sometimes, we do need our friends to make us see how silly we’re being when self blaming, and that our guilt is really actually uncalled for. A good friend’s sincere perspective can really help you see what you can’t see in yourself.
The episode concludes by saying that mistakes are human. This is a terrific lesson for perfectionists to relate to, because it teaches that high standard results can’t ALWAYS be consistent. Even the best of the best can miss the mark, and expecting 10/10 every time is unhealthy.
Interestingly, this was the last ever episode of “Recess”! Three straight video films kept the franchise alive shortly after (two of which were technically just feature length clip shows), but this was the last episode of the actual TV show. I think it’s nice that the series concluded with an episode that reminded fans why TJ was so important.
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