Mr. Garaboski survived Vietnam and Mrs. Garaboski, but he couldn’t survive teaching the kids at John Quincy Adams Middle School. Which is to say, he’s retired, not dead. Cory introduces the class to their new English teacher, Harper Burgiss, whose leather jacket and respect for Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns immediately endears her to the students. The principal isn’t too happy with her so far; her first lesson violates the school policy against comic books. Seriously? This is how I know that some people have way too much time on their hands. He demands that she teach To Kill a Mockingbird instead, clearly not noticing her name.
Harper puts together an awesome lesson, exploring the ideas of heroes and villains in a more complicated world and whether or not good and evil can change. Can I be in this class? Principal Yancey comes in and fires her. “You think there are heroes and villains? There are only kids who come and go. Do you really think you’ve affected anyone?” he asks Harper. Um, he’s the worst? Maya and Riley fetch Cory, who comes to Harper’s defense: “If you fire her, you have to fire me.” Principal Yancey obliges, though Topanga later points out that teacher dismissals have to come from the state—Yancey has to bring the case before the superintendent.
ENTER MR. JONATHAN TURNER! Principal Yancey quickly realizes his mistake when Cory explains the kind of teacher Mr. Turner was: “You wore a leather jacket to work every day. You taught comic books. You rode a motorcycle.” Turner clears Cory and shadows Harper, which leads to him finding her more impressive than Cory after seeing the student presentations. “She did that in two days! Shape up, Matthews.”
In the end, Harper returns, and Turner insinuates that the principal was fired. We get a peek at Turner’s visits to the Apartment Matthews, where Auggie asks if Cory was a good student. When Turner replies in the affirmative, Topanga is immediately on him: “Why did you lie to my kid?” Anyway, Turner still loves Shawn like a son. AWWW.
This was one of the best Girl Meets World episodes to date, and definitely the best appearance from an original cast member they’ve pulled off. There was no weird reasoning behind it or awkward relationships involved. Bonus: we received confirmation that Mr. Turner didn’t die all those years ago! Plus, Harper is a great character, and I love a good quality new teacher storyline.
Boy Meets World Throwback Factor: HIGH again! This week brought us the return of Mr. Turner, who we haven’t seen or heard from since his motorcycle accident in season four! We didn’t even know if he was still alive! My favorite part was when Topanga demanded to have the A- Turner gave her removed from her records. He relents, of course.
Episode Rating: 9/10.