Abbott Elementary Season 3 Episode 3 Review: Gregory’s Garden Goofballs


The word of the day is bureaucracy, and Janine has gotten a face full of it.

This week on Abbott Elementary Season 3 Episode 3, our favorite teachers have found themselves in some tricky conflicts.

We also got some out-of-character moments for more than one of our friends at Abbott.

The episode kicks off with a strange revelation — Tariq is dating the mother of one of Barbara Howard‘s students. We’re not sure how to feel about this since it means Tariq will probably be around the school more often.

Can’t we leave the past behind us? Clearly not.

Barbara starts mentoring Tariq throughout the episode, which, on the surface, is super weird, but maybe that’s naive.

Barbara’s soft spot for her students is no secret, so why wouldn’t she want to encourage Tariq to build a real relationship with his pseudo-step-child?

Even if he is being ridiculous about it.

Tariq didn’t even know the kid’s real name. Yikes. But to his credit, he did seem receptive to Barbara’s advice.

Over at the district office, we find that Janine is settling well in her fellowship. She’s preparing for a big presentation to request approval for an ASL interpreter for one of Jacob‘s students.

She gets the green light but is probably more shocked than she should be when she’s hit with the reality of going through the steps to hire the interpreter.

Throughout the episode, she grows uncharacteristically weary of the process. At one point, Jacob even tells her it’s no big deal if she can’t finish it. And our tenacious, hard-headed, never-say-die Janine decides to give up trying.

This is kind of a big deal for this character and this show. Have we ever actually seen Janine get this overwhelmed and quit before?

It shows a side of her that we haven’t experienced, and we’re not sure how to take it. She’s barely been at the district for any time, and she’s already getting burned out? That’s concerning.

Meanwhile, Gregory is in a bit of a pickle as several students (not his students, mind you) have taken to hanging out in his classroom, snacking, chatting, and…well, gassing the place up.

So we’re not shocked when he turns to Jacob and asks him to make the kids find somewhere else to hang out.

Of course, Jacob is more focused on the big picture that Gregory is missing.

Jacob: Wait, wait, hold on. Are you saying that in their free time, these kids are voluntarily choosing to come into your classroom?”
Gregory: You’re beginning to understand the gravity of the situation now.
Jacob: Oh my God! Don’t you see?
Gregory: See what?
Jacob: Gregory…you’re the cool teacher!

We believe it — Gregory has always been cool. Jacob is more jealous than we’ve ever seen him, and that’s saying something.

Gregory leans into his new status against his better judgment, and lo and behold, it backfires. Turns out, some of the advice he gives the boys leads to drama in the hallway.

Who could have predicted that getting involved in the social lives of prepubescent love birds could have unintended consequences?

One of the best parts of the episode is the side of Ava we get to see. Last week on Abbott Elementary Season 3 Episode 1, we witnessed Ava acting like a competent, committed professional.

This week, when she notices that the Deaf student, Imani, can’t keep up with her punchlines because of a delay on her transcription app, she takes action.

It’s really cool to see Ava getting into the thick of it here, advocating for a student.

She jokes that it’s because she wants her jokes to land, but she also points out that Imani “can’t learn on a delay.”

Behind her selfish, easily distracted exterior, Ava might just be growing into the kind of principal that the students at Abbott Elementary deserve.

So Ava arrives at Janine’s office and confronts her about the interpreter Imani needs. Ava is unimpressed with Janine’s excuses for not filling the position.

Between Ava’s pep talk (if you can call it that) and a much gentler one that comes from Manny, Janine springs back into action.

Manny — who we’re really starting to love, by the way — insinuates that Janine may have to bend the rules to accomplish things.

And that’s precisely what she does, which is, granted, a little out of character for Janine. But not as much as giving up entirely was, so we’re glad our girl is back.

We’re hopeful that the realization she came to — that the district won’t make things easy on her — stays with her as she continues her fellowship.

By the end of the episode, Imani has the interpreter, and everyone wins.

And don’t worry, Gregory has figured out his mess, too. He’s decided to set some much-needed boundaries and allow the boys to hang in his classroom.

He’s realized they’re just looking for connection and is happy to be that for them.

Even if it comes with farts. So many farts.

Lastly, back to Tariq. He’s honestly not our favorite character, but it seems like he will be around for a while.

We can’t tell if he’s joking when he asks Ava about starting a PTA. There’s no chance that would be anything but disastrous, right? Maybe Tariq will surprise us all.

Check back with us when Abbott Elementary returns for an all-new episode next week.

And in the meantime, hit the comments below to share your thoughts on where this season is headed.

If you need to get caught up, you can watch Abbott Elementary online.

Haley Whitmire White is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

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