Abbott Elementary’s new school year got off to an unexpected start by revealing that one beloved teacher has taken on a different job.
The Season 3 premiere picks up five months later on Career Day, and Janine now works for the school district! To understand how that big change came to be, the episode cuts back to five months ago, when a trio of school district ambassadors (played by The Other Two’s Josh Segarra, Atypical’s Kimia Behpoornia and Never Have I Ever’s Benjamin Norris) visit Abbott for Development Day.
More from TVLine
While Ava dismisses Janine’s suggestion that they bring back Career Day, Segarra’s Manny is impressed by Janine’s ideas and offers her a fellowship that would allow her to implement change district-wide. Janine, initially, rejects the job since it would take her away from her students, but Manny says she could still come to Abbott twice a week. And the more she thinks about it, the more Janine starts to come around to the job. (All the positive reinforcement from Manny also doesn’t hurt.)
After learning the news, Gregory says it would be weird not to have Janine at Abbott, and that he will miss knocking on the wall to chat with her. “You really gonna leave us?” he asks.
Cut to the present day, and things are now weird between Janine and Gregory. So what happened to cause that awkwardness? Ava cues up security cam footage from months ago that reveals an interesting conversation between the two, in which Janine confesses to still having feelings for Gregory and wanting to explore them. Gregory, however, has put a period on that out of respect. It seemed like the right thing to do to move on, he explains to Janine, who replies that she “wasn’t saying they should never…” Gregory counters that her changing her mind right now makes him think it would be safer if they were just friends. While Janine tries to play it cool, her face as she walks away is mad, Ava describes with a laugh.
But those two simply can’t stay apart, especially not after Gregory geeks out over the radishes he going to grow, courtesy of the botanist Janine got for his class’ Career Day presentation. Gregory says he missed their friendship and that he was giving her space because he thought their conversation was the reason she left. Janine assures him that she respected what he said and only left because she wanted to try working for the district.
Elsewhere in the premiere:
* Janine’s Career Day brings a major Philly cameo: Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts appears via video during the Eagles marketing director’s presentation to Melissa’s class. Hurts not only talks to the kids and entertains them, but he also helps Melissa’s boyfriend Gary propose. Unfortunately, even Hurts’ star power can’t get Melissa to give marriage another try, and she and Gary break up. Hurts is then joined by his teammates Brandon Graham and Jason Kelce, who to tell him that he’s late to practice and that he needs to stop with the proposals. “As a man with an all-women’s management team, I support a woman’s right to stand up for what she wants or doesn’t want,” Hurts tells Melissa.
* Ava tries her hand at being a strict, by-the-rules principal after using Harvard’s free Wi-Fi to get her degree in education from Grand Canyon University in association with Education Connection. But it turns out that Ava being a good principal is even worse than her being a bad one. After losing their free periods and the ability to go off-campus for lunch, Barbara, Melissa and Jacob try to “reset” Ava by luring her with money, Usher tickets and even Gregory’s “big guns,” aka his biceps. When none of that works, Barbara realizes they just need to play Juvenile’s “Back That Azz Up” to successfully get the old Ava back.
* Mr. Johnson’s Career Day presentation for Jacob’s class is a treasure trove of wild details, like that Mr. Johnson was elected to the State Senate after the incumbent, also named Mr. Johnson, passed away just before the election, and that he lived in Sicily before becoming an American citizen.
Abbott Elementary fans, what did you think of the supersized premiere? Grade it below, then hit the comments!
Best of TVLine