Abbott Elementary – Season 2 Episode 17 “Mural Arts” Recap & Review

Mural Arts

In Abbott Elementary Season 2 Episode 17, Jacob struggles to understand his class’ newfound obsession with a show about sock puppets.

The teacher can barely contain his excitement when Mural Arts, a group that helps students paint murals at their schools, comes to Abbott. Jacob encourages his students to choose a mural design that will represent their legacy. He’s disappointed when they choose a design that features the sock puppets.

Jacob doesn’t think the design is meaningful enough, so he puts the Mural Arts project on hold for a day to give them time to come up with a new one. When the kids won’t budge on the sock puppet idea, he comes up with an idea of his own.

But Mural Arts is all about letting the students drive their own art project. Since Jacob won’t let them do that, the Mural Arts team members decide to leave Abbott.

Later, Melissa and Janine help Jacob realize that, while helping students prepare for their future and their legacy, he also needs to let his students be themselves in the here and now. Melissa convinces Mural Arts to return to Abbott, and the students are able to paint the mural they wanted.

One of Jacob’s suggestions makes it in too. The mural ends up displaying not only the sock puppets, but also a mosaic featuring the kids’ dreams for their futures.

While Jacob works on the mural project, Janine and Gregory worry about hurting Maurice. Janine insists that her kiss with Gregory meant nothing. But she still decides to break up with Maurice, feeling that she can’t like him that much if she finds herself kissing someone else.

Both Gregory and Janine decide to together tell Maurice the truth. But that leads into an awkward breakup Gregory is present for–which causes Maurice to assume that Gregory and Janine want to be together.

Meanwhile, Barbara and Melissa worry about what will happen to Abbott if it becomes a charter school. When Ava learns that Legendary Charter Schools are kicking out kids who bring down their test scores, she decides to join in with Melissa and Barbara in their fight.

The Episode Review

While this episode is a bit light on comedy and heavy-handed with its moral lessons, I can’t fault it for its character development. Abbott has a way of taking its characters through learning arcs without denigrating them, and this episode was Jacob’s time to learn he doesn’t need to control everything.

I love to see Ava put a foot forward in standing against Legendary Charter Schools, as well, and I look forward to more character growth for her during that journey. To truly stand up to Legendary is going to take more than a few “subtle” phone calls, however. It’s going to be a big fight as we approach the season 2 finale.

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