SPOILER: Contains key plot elements from both Girl Meets the New Teacher and The Dark Knight Returns
This past week on Girl Meets World was probably the best episode by far. It had an amazing lesson of the week. A tie-in to one of the best works of literature in the past half a century. And to tie it all together a long anticipated cameo from the Boy Meets World days.
So the episode begins the the unseen Mr. Garaboski retiring (much like Commissioner Gordon) thanks to the antics of the 8th grade class behaving like Mutants. A believable scenario from a few episodes back in Girl Meets Rules. Anyway, a cool new English teacher who rides a motorcycle, wears a black leather jacket, has her students refer to her by first name of Harper, and tells them all to read Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns (in case you didn't already figure out that was the literary tie-in).
Tangent Wormhole: Now, I'm sure you know that Girl Meets World is on the Disney Channel. Disney owns Marvel Comics, and The Dark Knight Returns is a Batman story which is a property of DC Comics. Not to mention the fact that next year Warner Brothers who owns the rights to DC's films is coming out with Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice, which also seems like if it will have a similar plot to The Dark Knight Returns. Also, in the episode mentioned before Farkle exclaims "I'm Batman!" as the students rebelliously roam the halls. Should we be worried that there will be a legal dispute between these two Super-Powers? I wonder if much the the situation in this episode, if the writer/creator had to fight with the Powers-That-Be of Disney to get the script to pass.
Harper, like Batman wins the loyalty of the teenagers, and just as the Mutants they are converted into the Sons of Batman. However, Principle Yancy does not approve of her teaching methods, because he does not consider comic books as literature and they go against school policy. Just like Superman does not approve of Batman's method of crime fighting, and he enforces the fascist will of the President. So, he fires Harper for opposing him, and turns around to do the same to this tales Dark Knight's ally the Green Arrow (Cory) for sticking up for her. And with that the Justice League of Teachers are disbanded, only thank goodness Cory still has both of his arms.
Tangent Wormhole: This time around Principle Yancy is upset with The Dark Knight Returns for it simply being a comic. But had he actually read the book there is a good and believable chance he would have several more issues with it, along with several parents. I get that it's Disney channel, and so they had to keep the reasons for why Harper was in trouble appropriate, but I still tip my hat to them for even mentioning a book with plenty of mature subject matter. However, I still wish that they would have gone the extra mile and tackled the debate of censorship. But I digress, and who knows what's in store for future episodes?
Even though all looks lost for Harper and Cory, our Emerald Archer fires back with his Deus Ex Machina Green Arrow loaded with Kryptonite in the form of his old teacher Jonathon Turner! A Dark Knight in his own right has Returned from his days as Cory, Shawn, and Topanga's teacher at John Adams High in Boy Meets World, now the Superintendent in this show. He mentions to Yancy that he taught the X-Men for his first lesson, but he agrees to sit-in on her class anyway. During this class Harper is rescued by her "sidekicks" who give an impressive presentation on the graphic novel in question. Yancy still objects stating that regardless of what they have learned comic books are against school policy. To this Mr. Turner responds, still defending others from bullies all these years later, "Yeah, and you can hit a kid with a ruler in 19 states." Referring to the underlying historical lesson where the New York Board of Education in 1985 made it illegal for a teacher to hit a student with a ruler, which was acceptable before. Coincidentally, that happened a year before The Dark Knight Returns was released. Reminding us all that the world is always changing, and sometimes it is for the better. In case you forgot same-sex couples could only marry in a handful of states until a few weeks ago The Supreme Court ruled that it was now legal in every state of the USA.
The next day, Mr. Turner shows up in Cory's class to announce the decision on Harper's dismissal. He beats around the bush making us and the students believe that Harper has been let go. But then he introduces the "new" English teacher and (surprise!) it's Harper. Giving us and her students the joy we all felt after Batman survived his self-induced heart attack during his fight with Superman. "Sometimes you can beat Superman" Maya says. "Very good, Maya." Harper responds, "You get an A." As similar of a verbal reward as "Good Soldier."
In closing, we are in The Mathew's dining table (This new Bat Cave, now Cory and Topanga's where we used to come to Amy and Alan's) there are several heart-to-heart discussions, but one in particular where Maya asks Jonathan about caring for Shawn is really addressed. Possibly, hinting at Harper and Maya's future relationship. Maya would make a great Carrie Kelly/Robin. As we were lead to believe for years that Jonathan Turner could be dead, here he is alive and well thanked by his old pupils and looking around at his new "family". Perhaps he too thinks to himself, "This. This could be a good life."