‘Abbott Elementary’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 9 “Sick Day”

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This week on Abbott Elementary, another one of Ava’s schemes leaves Janine out sick for the day, forcing Ava to take over as a substitute teacher for her class. Read on to see what hijinks ensue.

Sick Day

ABC/Gilles Mingasson

Ava’s conducting another side hustle — i.e. pyramid scheme (hey it’s only a scheme if you’re on the bottom. And obviously she’s on top). Her product of choice? Eye masks (Ava the “Cold Man” Coleman). But she stored them in the fridge, leaving everyone’s lunch out in the sun. Janine eats her tuna salad sandwich anyway (despite Jacob’s warning about his Zimbabwe tapeworm story). Needless to say, she is indisposed the next day.

The cameras (why are they at her house while she has food poisoning?) follow Janine around all day as she valiantly tries to fight off her symptoms. She’s bummed about never having missed a day of work before now, but her illness keeps cropping up no matter how hard she tries to fight it. 

After multiple trips to the bathroom and some meds (pepto bismol, melatonin, and something Erica brought back from Mexico… baby, judging by the effects, that’s weed), Janine knocks out, half-nibbled saltines scattered all around her. 

When will you learn? When will you learn? That your actions have consequences

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After the unexpected consequences of Ava’s scheme, Janine calls in sick. Ava tries to find a sub for her, but it’s all in vain; the district has a widespread sub shortage — which she would know if she read the ATTENTION notes from the district, but that’s neither here nor there. After looking high and low, Ava’s forced to take on the role of substitute herself. It feels like some welled-timed karma from the inverse after she complained in the teacher’s lounge to everyone about how her job is harder than everyone else’s.

Ava is throwing Janine’s class all out of whack. She has set the children free to do literally whatever they want as long as they don’t bother her. Gregory is tipped off by this when a gaggle of children comes to his class at 8:30 for “recess” and lets Janine know. She calls Ava and implores her to give the kids their spelling test that they’ve had scheduled and follow the substitute binder that Janine left for a situation like this. 

Ava being Ava, she doesn’t listen, of course. She’s flipping through that binder like she’s Simone Biles, deigning not to heed Janine’s (very well thought out) policies left and right. The kids confuse the spelling test and drawing time. They miss Janine. Their routine is all out of whack. Ava gets tired and leaves the kids to Mr. Johnson… who goes on to rant about a conspiracy concerning humanoid lizards running around beneath Denver Airport.

Gregory berates Ava for giving up and explains to her the importance of keeping the schedule and keeping the kids on a routine. He guilt trips her into going back and following the binder’s instructions. She ends up having to print off more spelling tests, and in a “selfless” act, sacrifices her marketing flyers that she used up all the paper making that morning as fuel. She eventually returns and helps the kids through their spelling test. It seems she does have the right stuff (and a heart) after all. 

When Janine comes back, she asks Ava how subbing for her class was. Ava claims it was easy and the teachers complain too much as in the beginning of the episode. However, after her day in the shoes of a teacher, it seems she comes out a bit changed. Ava takes initiative to fix a few things around the school, including ordering more printer paper for the teachers and getting the fire alarm in the gym fixed (another memo she hadn’t looked at… but at least it was getting done).

Gossip! In the Teacher’s Lounge

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Janine’s absence prompts the return of Tasha, another teacher who abandoned the space because of Janine’s chattiness. Barbara and Melissa have noticed that it was quiet without her and begin to joke about finally having some peace and quiet (… but is it a joke though?). 

Jacob, ever the white knight, valiantly tries to defend Janine, pointing out problems throughout the day that she would’ve fixed. Everyone staunchly continues to make fun of how she would have handled things like fixing the broken coffee pot with her overbearingly caring flare and probably ended up making things worse on accident. The older teachers invite Tasha out for lunch. Jacob peeps what’s happening, and in an aside to the cameras complains how he doesn’t like it (they would NEVER let Janine go to lunch with them).

Sneaking into the lounge between classes for a coffee break, the trio realizes there are ants trying to invade the kitchenette. Tasha dips after realizing and Jacob reminds them how Janine would have swooped in to fix the problem. 

Janine returns, running Tasha out of the lounge. In a thoughtful gesture, Gregory gifts her some electrolyte-filled water to help aid her recovery after asking how she’s doing. Taking stock, Janine quickly realizes the coffee pot is broken and jokes about things falling apart while she was gone for one day and goes to fix it. Barbara and Melissa tell her they missed her. 

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.

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By Kenedi
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.
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