1. Matty isn’t going to be in the dark for much longer.
Remember that clandestine kiss Jenna and Collin shared at the end of the midseason finale? Don’t expect Matty to be clueless forever. “He starts to realize what’s up,” Beau Mirchoff said. “And he mans up for a change. For all of Matty’s confidence, he’s extremely insecure as well. He kind of realizes he’s a good person and a good catch, genuine human being, and he deserves someone who can treat him with respect.”
2. But no matter what, Matty will be there for Jenna in her time of need.
“If Jenna keeps spiraling down, I think Matty is mature enough to look beyond their relationship and see Jenna as a person, and help her as a human being,” Mirchoff continued.
3. If they want to make their relationship work, Jenna and Matty will have to fight for it.
“It starts with Jenna,” Mirchoff offered. “She’s obviously confused with everything and where she’s at in her life. She’s kind of experimenting with things. Jenna’s kind of the pivotal piece … Matty is in love with Jenna and wants to make it work. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to rekindle that relationship.”
Ashley Rickards seemed slightly less optimistic. “Oh, there’s always hope,” she said. “I think what doesn’t kill them makes them stronger, whether that’s as friends or together, we’ll see.” Be strong, Jenna/Matty shippers.
4. Matty and Sadie will lean on each other.
Not like that. Well, probably not like that. Mirchoff didn’t rule out the possibility of another makeout sesh, but it’s really more about the friendship. “They’ve known each other forever, and they get each other,” he explained. “Matty’s the only person who truly understands Sadie, and knows that she just puts on this façade. You get to see them kind of battle through their turmoil together and help each other, and they grow together.”
As Molly Tarlov noted, Sadie will be somewhat pleased to see Jenna lose it — but she has to be there for Matty, too. “Sadie’s relationship with Matty will become a lot more prevalent because she feels very protective of him,” Tarlov said. “So we’re going to see a lot more of Sadie and Matty together.”
5. Sadie’s mom is also back in the picture, but in a less supportive capacity.
You know who Sadie won’t be leaning on? Her mother, whom you’ll recall isn’t exactly maternal. “We’re also gonna see vulnerability because Sadie’s mom comes back,” Tarlov teased. “If you remember from Season 1, she’s not exactly the sweetest lady, so there’s a huge thing that happens there.”
6. And Sadie needs some help, because she’s being pursued by a really cute guy.
Austin, the adorable but odd guy she met in the first half of the season, will be playing a more active role in Sadie’s life. “He just won’t stop, and she’s gonna be a little bit more of a girl,” Tarlov revealed. “He doesn’t really get social cues. He doesn’t comprehend. It’s kind of perfect for Sadie because she’s so nasty, and someone who doesn’t pick up on that is a perfect fit for her. He just keeps showing up.” There are complications, though, including the fact that Austin is Angelique’s brother, and Angelique is Collin’s girlfriend, and Collin is making out with Jenna. Also…
7. Sadie and Lissa like the same boy.
It was bound to happen eventually, right? “Lissa just loves boys, and Austin’s really cute,” Tarlov said.
“There’s definitely some boy stuff happening between Sadie and Lissa,” Greer Grammer confirmed. “There’s kind of a new boy that they set their eye on, both of them, which is fun to have that dynamic come into their relationship.” But it could end up being a good thing: Tarlov suggested that vying for Austin’s affections might actually push Sadie to reveal her true feelings. And that’s not something she’s great at.
8. Boys aside, Lissa may finally be coming into her own.
“She’s had to deal with actual things and kind of think for herself, which she’s not that good at,” Grammer said. But she’s no longer blaming herself for the death of Ricky Schwartz. “If it was her fault, she’s that gullible that she believed every single word Sadie told her,” the actress continued. Phew.
9. OK, let’s just spell it out: Jenna is headed down a dark path.
“Jenna takes a little bit of a trip,” Tarlov disclosed. “She’s come undone a little bit.” Rickards put a bit of a positive spin on it, saying, “We get to see a very human side of her, and I think she’s gonna be a lot more relatable.” But that doesn’t mean viewers will agree with the choices she makes.
10. Poor Tamara will be caught in the crossfire.
“Tamara’s kind of caught in this middle between holding on to secrets that her best friend wants her to keep, and then telling her boyfriend everything, which would result in her boyfriend telling his best friend, which would be Matty,” Jillian Rose Reed said. “So Tamara’s kind of this middle man, and she doesn’t really know what to do.” Well, we know this about Tamara: She’s terrible at keeping secrets.
11. And her relationship with Jenna will be tested.
“Tamara and Jenna have been friends forever, so I think out of everyone in the group, she takes it really really hard,” Reed said. “This is her best friend who she’s seeing go down a really bad path. She wants to be there for her. She wants to be the shoulder for her to cry on. She wants to be the person she can talk to, and she tries.” But there are limits, especially as Jenna continues to isolate the people who love her. “There is a moment where [Tamara] says, ‘This is too much. I can’t do this. I can’t watch her break the heart of another one of my friends that I’ve grown to be close to.’”
12. There may also be problems for Jake and Tamara.
It’s been smooth sailing so far, but there might be trouble in paradise. “The first 10 episodes are that slow burn, and pretty much all hell will break loose in the back 10 episodes,” Brett Davern teased. “Jake and Tamara have a huge bump in the road in their relationship. I’m not gonna say what it is or anything, but it’s there, and their relationship is definitely tested.” Can’t any relationships on this show just be stable?
13. When it comes to helping Jenna, Val’s tactics aren’t working.
Val has never been a good guidance counselor, but she’s managed to help Jenna in the past — however accidentally. Now that things are taking a more serious turn, however, she may have to rethink her approach. “Her tactic always seems to be: When someone pulls away, just pull them in closer, as close as you possibly can, and smother them with your love and affection and guidance,” Desi Lydic said. “And at some point, that doesn’t work with Jenna. At some point, Val has to create her own boundaries and draw a line.”
14. Also stepping it up: Jenna’s parents, who can’t continue to rely on “peerenting.”
“I do think we’re gonna see Lacey and Kevin be a little bit more parental than in the past. It’s gonna be interesting to see Jenna respond to that,” Rickards explained of this new phase in the parent-child relationship.
Nikki DeLoach noted that it won’t be easy for either mother or daughter. “Lacey’s never really had to discipline her daughter,” she noted. “But with that said, I think you have a natural instinct as a mother whenever you see your daughter really in trouble or moving toward trouble to get in the way of that and try to protect her as much as possible. Lacey kind of naturally steps up to that.”
15. That doesn’t mean Lacey and Kevin will necessarily make the right choices.
“I think they have to unite and form — as they say on the show — a unified front as parents, because the situation becomes rather dire with regards to Jenna, especially in the second half of the season,” Mike Faiola explained. “Things take a very dark turn. So they do have to unify and deal with her collectively. Otherwise they’re not going to be effective as parents.”
But will they be effective? That’s a more complicated question. “They make a really hard call, a really tough call when it comes to disciplining her,” DeLoach revealed. “After the fact, they’re both just sitting there at the kitchen table wondering, Did we do the right thing? Did we not? Did we just put our daughter on the streets?”
16. Luckily, Lacey has Val. And vice versa.
We’ll see more of these friends supporting each other as they both struggle to get through to Jenna. “[Lacey and Val] definitely need each other, to support each other and inevitably get each other into more trouble through that process,” Lydic said. “Between the two of them, they’ll never quite figure it out, but they’ll have fun along the way.”
17. Regardless of how you feel about her in the second half of the season, Jenna is doing what she thinks is right.
“Moment to moment, she’s just trying to make the best choice that she can, as she sees fit,” Rickards said. “And she has to make the wrong choice to know what the right choice was.”
18. Those choices will lead Awkward to its darkest place yet.
“It’s intense,” Davern admitted. “There’s a lot of heavy storylines. Awkward really just goes to a place it’s never really gone before. It’s still funny. It’s still a comedy. It’s still everything the fans love. But these next 10 episodes are breaking new ground. It’s ground that we haven’t really approached before, and people are going to love it. Or hate it! I don’t know. I hope they love it. I love it.”
19. Though it’s going to be divisive, a lot of people will relate.
It might be tough for some viewers to see Jenna in a new light, and to watch a normally lighthearted show take a turn. Still, DeLoach thinks many Awkward fans will find the storyline relatable. “Maybe some of our younger fans who haven’t been through that yet will witness that and go, ‘I don’t like that. I don’t know what that is yet,’” she said. “For those people, we have other great, amazing stories that we’re also telling besides just the Jenna one. But for a lot of our older viewers, I think that they’re loving what is being written this season. It is more complex and the stories are a bit deeper, and they’re not always happy-go-lucky, but this is life. And that’s definitely the life of a teenager.”