‘Abbott Elementary’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 4 “The Principal’s Office”


Abbott Elementary is back with another side-splitting episode. Gregory fights to balance the concept of discipline within his teaching philosophy while Janine meddles in Melissa’s life to reunite her and her sister. Read on to see what happened in “The Principal’s Office.”

Cold open: Barbara lets her choir voice loose leading the kids in a hilariously extra rendition of Happy Birthday for one of the students, much to her classes chagrin.

Ah, No He Don’t Mess Around

Gilles Mingasson/ABC

In Gregory’s class, one of his students, Micah, keeps cutting up, talking out of turn (and speaking in an Australian accent? The power of Bluey — or Blue-ish as Gregory called it). Gregory can’t control him, and his outbursts are getting to the point where even the other children are getting annoyed.

“Do you know how hard it is to annoy a first grader?!?”


In the break room, Jacob is tipped off to Gregory’s bad mood when he asks for sugar to put in his coffee (not the whole packet, just one single taps worth — still enough to warrant a red flag). Gregory tells him about his issue with Micah and Jacob suggests that if he’s truly at his wit’s end, he should send Micah to the principal’s office. Gregory admits its a good idea and tentatively thanks Jacob, who immediately tries to play it cool and fails, accidentally picking up Gregory’s coffee and drinking it to hide his smile.

Micah continues to act up and Gregory makes the tough decisions o send him to the principal’s office. He asks Janine to watch the class, and Janine agrees despite them getting into a little tiff about if that’s truly the best course of action. However, Micah returns from Ava’s office with an axolotl toy, causing he other kids to want to go the principal’s office, much to Gregory’s chagrin.

Back in the teacher’s lounge, Gregory laments how Micah’s bad behavior was rewarded by Ava; she also gave him a lollipop, literally making Gregory take candy from a baby. The others wonder why Gregory expected Ava to do something and Jacob comments that sending the kids to Ava just lets them get out of the classroom and the teacher gain control. He maintains that discipline is an integral part of a child’s development.

“When I was a kid, if I did anything childlike — yell, run around, just generally have a zest for life —, I would be put on time out, and I would have to reckon with the fact that I had committed a failure of character. And that is how I became the well adjusted man that stands before you today.”


Gregory decides to take the issue to Barbara, and asks her to talk to Ava and get her to actually discipline the kids. However, Ava calls Gregory himself into the principal’s office (to a chorus of “ooooooooh”s that is familiar to anyone who attended elementary school ever). Once there, he argues with Ava about her approach, and wants to go back to his class, saying that the incident was embarrassing. Ava counters that that’s how every child feels after being sent to the principal’s office; they’re crying and practically shaking by the time they get there and Ava provides a relaxed environment to calm them down (how is she supposed to watch Below Deck if they’re crying so loudly???).

Gregory enlists Mr.. Johnson to try and active his “dad voice” so the students will listen to him. Barbara overhears him and advises him that discipline does have a place in the classroom, but he can either have his students respect him or fear him, but not both. Gregory reflects on how his father’s strong discipline made him feel as a kid and how it influenced his upbringing. 

Next time Micah has an outburst during a lesson, Gregory switches the whiteboard to the other side with Bluey stickers to make the lesson more interactive, bringing Micah under control. At the end of the day, Ava teases that Gregory didn’t send anyone to her office that day but that he could stop by any time. After telling her he’d have to be high to do that (which Barbara thoroughly enjoys to the chagrin of Ava — burn), Gregory goes to drop off a discipline report in her office since “work Ava” is leaving the building. He sits down in Ava’s chair to imagine himself in the princpal’s role when he gets a call from his dad, which he answers too casually (Pops? In this house, it’s Lt. Colonel Dad, Sir). The contrast of the man Gregory is trying to be with his father’s vision of him continues to prevail. I feel like this will continue to be a big part of Gregory’s journey moving forward this season.

Hey good lookin’, what you got cookin’? How ‘bout cookin’ something up with me?

Gilles Mingasson/ABC

Meanwhile, in the break room, Janine is lamenting about  Tariq and making a truly horrible lunch (ramen noodles and pork rinds).

“You eat like you took a cooking class in prison.”


Janine’s mom never taught her or her sister how to cook and Tariq used to take care of meals before they broke up. Melissa offers to help her learn how to cook and tells Janine with an already heavy air of regret to swing by her place tonight. In true Jacob fashion,, Jacob worms himself into an invite, citing the need for help with his wine parings (Zach is embarrassed when he orders “the second least expensive bottle”).

Arriving at Melissa’s house, Jacob and Janine see a picture of Melissa and her cousin Vinny… Vin Diesel. Her cousin is Vin Diesel. She tells them to mind their business… and promptly cusses them out when they don’t follow instructions. Home Melissa uses salty language apparently. 

The lesson starts off on a bad note, with Janine bringing a shallot instead of an onion. This leads Jacob to go out to gleefully “haggle with the local vendors.” When Melissa starts talking about the importance of not using the wrong ingredients, the topic of sisters comes up — Melissa’s sister Kristin Marie was disowned by her after she ruined a family recipe and brought it to their Nana’s wake — which Melissa immediately tries to shut down. Our ever-persistent Janine goes on to talk about how she and her sister aren’t really close anymore after her sister moved to Colorado to escape her mom.

After that, Janine makes it her personal mission to get Melissa and Kristin Marie to reconcile. Melissa’s open to it, but insists her sister has to come to her.

Back at Melissa’s house for another cooking lesson, Kristin Marie shows up. It turns out Janine made a batch of the “sacred Schemmenti gnocchi” and dropped it off at her school under the guise of it being from Melissa. Kristin drops it on the counter and questions, “Are you trying to [BLEEP] poison me?” Oh Janine, why did you think this was going to work? You made spaghetti for the teacher’s lounge once. he two begin to argue about their respective abominations of food.

The next day, Janine apologizes to Melissa, stating that with her problems with her sister, she just wanted to try and fix things between the Schemmenti’s considering they were so close geographically unlike herself and her sister, especially over something so trivial. Melissa informs Janine that the problem wasn’t actually the potatoes, it was that Kristin Marie left her family high and dry when their Nana got sick, leaving Melissa to take care of her alone. Then, she spontaneously showed up at the wake with her bad dish which just felt like the nail in the coffin. Melissa said she did miss seeing her sister though, and it was kind of fun arguing with her like old times.

In the outtakes, the camera crew is seen touring a wine-drunk Melissa’s house as she shows them pictures of her and Kristin Marie comedically fighting throughout their childhood. Wine and tears spill alike.

The Emmy and Golden Globe award-winning show Abbott Elementary airs on Wednesday nights at 9 p.m ET/ 8 p.m. CT. Check out all of our other coverage on the show here (including episodic recaps) and stay tuned for more updates.

Kenedi is a college student with her sights set on attending medical school. When she isn't hard at work, Kenedi enjoys reading, watching her favorite shows, and listening to music. Some of her favorite fandoms include Supernatural, One Tree Hill, Bones, Abbott Elementary, Percy Jackson, and Scrubs.

Leave a Reply


Related articles

‘Abbott Elementary’: Season 2, Episode 22 “Franklin Institute” Synopsis

A new synopsis has been released for the season 2 finale of Abbott Elementary titled “Franklin Institute.” The episode is...

‘Abbott Elementary’: Season 2, Episode 21 “Mom” Synopsis

A new synopsis has been released for season 2, episode 21 of Abbott Elementary, titled “Mom.” The penultimate episode of...

‘Abbott Elementary’: Taraji P. Henson Joins Cast for Special Guest-Star Role

Abbott Elementary's cast just keeps getting more and more stacked. Following the guest appearance of Ayo Edebiri as...

‘Abbott Elementary’: Season 2, Episode 20 “Educator of the Year” Synopsis

A new synopsis has been released for season 2, episode 20 of Abbott Elementary titled “Educator of the Year.” The...