Speechless – S-H-Shipping
By: Taylor Gates
Dr. Miller (Marin Hinkle) calls a school assembly to kick off Homecoming week, even dressing up as Lafayette from Hamilton and rapping about inclusivity to welcome new students to the school. One of these new students is Nora (Jessy Yates), who also has CP. A couple of girls tell JJ (Micah Fowler) they think the two of them would make an adorable couple, but JJ thinks the fact that people are shipping them just because they’re both in wheelchairs is dumb. Kenneth (Cedric Yarbrough) agrees but can sympathize, as people always try to hook him up with their only black friend.
Nora also thinks it’s dumb but figures they should use it to their advantage. She proposes that they engage in a fake relationship so they can give the people what they want and quickly move on. Kenneth likes this plan, as it would make other girls see JJ as dateable. JJ agrees to give it a shot.
Nora and JJ find out they have been nominated for homecoming king and queen. Nora is excited—if they win, they can dedicate their speech to telling everyone how stupid they’ve been. JJ doesn’t want to call anyone stupid, as these people are his friends. All he wants to do is meet some girls and eat candy and tells her she’s going to have to educate them by herself.
A cute girl named Stacey (Madison Mae) tells JJ she’s a little disappointed he’s off the market, as she wanted to introduce her to her cousin who is also in a wheelchair. This is the final straw for JJ, and he tells Nora he changed his mind and wants to give the speech after all. Their plans are ruined when the two of them are not crowned. Instead, a stereotypically hot white couple takes home the titles. JJ and Nora think this is actually progress since they’re not being handed things simply because of their disabilities. She winks and loudly says they have to break up because she’s jealous of Kylie Jenner constantly emailing JJ.
JJ and Nora remain friends and introduce Kenneth to Nora’s physical therapist, who they think he’ll have a lot in common with. Kenneth thinks she’s so beautiful that he doesn’t even care if they stereotypically set him up just because they’re both black.
Dylan (Kyla Kenedy) crashes a student council meeting about pranks, sharing some of her favorites she found in past yearbooks. She’s disappointed that the meeting turns out to be about how to best ban pranks. She tries to convince them to loosen up, but they refuse. She assures them she won’t be voting for any of them again.
Maya (Minnie Driver) panics when she sees Ray’s (Mason Cook) door shut and a sign warning the family to keep out, thinking he and his girlfriend Taylor (Sedona James) are having sex. However, when she bursts in, she just sees them talking about their 401k plans. Although Maya is relieved they weren’t having sex, she tells Jimmy (John Ross Bowie) she’s concerned that Ray is weird and worries far too much about the future.
Ray and Taylor continue making life plans. They decide to move to a place with solar energy and low tax rates. Since Taylor is her disabled brother’s only sibling, he’s going to have to live with them, and they’re worried about having enough space for both him and JJ. They could have JJ live with Dylan, but Dylan’s husband would also have to be okay with it. When both Dylan and Kenneth complain to Ray about not being able to do any homecoming pranks, JJ thinks that Kenneth and Dylan could be meant to be and decides to propose the idea of them getting together when Dylan turns 18.
Both Dylan and Kenneth are horrified by this, and when Maya comes in the room, she tells Ray he needs to stop stressing about things years down the line. Maya tells Ray that she and Jimmy feel responsible for the way he turned out. The next day, they’re going to take him and Taylor mini golfing and teach them to loosen up.
Dylan decides to let go of the prank thing and participate in decorating for homecoming, still feeling down about her epic plans being ruined. However, when she sees a banner saying that the class of 1967 will be back that weekend, she gets an idea and cheers up. She finds the group of pranksters she read about in the yearbook and begs them to help her pull off the best joke in Lafayette history. After some pleading, they agree to help her out.
They take all the old Viking stuff and decorate Dr. Miller’s car with it. At the game, they tell Dylan she can have the honor of driving it across the football field, which she does with pride. When she gets out, she sees that all the other pranksters have left and she realizes they played her as well. This makes her respect them even more, feeling honored to have worked with legends. One of them streaks while Dr. Miller chases Dylan around the field.
Taylor and Ray constantly communicating over something as dumb as mini golf is driving Maya and Jimmy crazy. Maya and Jimmy tell them that plenty of things happen in their relationship that they don’t care to examine or talk about. When Maya brings up how Jimmy mysteriously stopped wanting to vacation to Vegas one day, however, Jimmy gets sad and Maya gets curious, pressuring him to tell her what happened. He reminds her that the last time he was in Vegas, Maya was at home taking JJ to the doctor and finding out he had CP. Jimmy found out on a pay phone and will never be able to make up for the fact that he left her alone during the scariest moment of their lives. Taylor and Ray move onto another hole to let Jimmy and Maya talk alone, and Ray actually starts doing a great job when he stops overanalyzing and starts having fun with it.
Ray and Taylor spend $6 on popcorn and sit at the first seats they find at the homecoming game, celebrating the new, spontaneous them. Ray tells Taylor he loves her, and Taylor tells him it’s way too soon to be saying that. Ray tries to play it off by saying they’re still going to have to be more planned in some areas of their lives and he was just using that as an example.
That night, Maya tells Jimmy she hates that he’s held onto guilt for so many years. She tells him nothing would have been different had he been there with her and JJ—it was just one night, and he’s been there every night since. Although Maya doesn’t hold it against him, Jimmy still feels bad.
The next day, Maya shows up to Jimmy’s work with a pair of plane tickets to Vegas. They realize they could take some advice from Ray and Taylor and talk more sometimes. Jimmy gambles and earns some money for their hotel room.