After last week's surreal-yet-hilarious "what if?" episode, "Awkward" is firmly back to reality for its Season 2 finale (Thurs., Sept. 20 at 10:30 p.m. ET on MTV).
All season long, our heroine, Jenna Hamilton (Ashley Rickards) has wavered between Matty McKibben (Beau Mirchoff) and Jake Rosati (Brett Davern), but the time has finally come to make a choice between the boy she lost her virginity to and her first real boyfriend.
But before Jenna could make a choice between the two guys in her life, she had to put herself first -- something that Rickards believes is a vital lesson for teenage girls to learn. "I think it is important -- the symbolism of Jenna choosing herself before making this decision between the boys," she told HuffPost TV on the red carpet for the show's finale party. "It’s important for girls to realize that you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else or they can love you, and that’s really what that represents. She’s started to mend a relationship with her mom when she crawls into bed with her, and that’s a beautiful moment. She’s really starting to heal herself from all the chaos that’s happened in these two seasons, to move on with a somewhat clean slate."
Still, Jenna will make a decision between Jake and Matty in the finale, Mirchoff promised. "She does make a definitive decision between Jake and Matty," he said on the red carpet. "I can’t answer exactly what Jenna’s feeling, but I will say both guys have their qualities and both guys have their faults. Who belongs with who, I don’t know. I will say that I believe Jenna makes the right choice for herself at that specific time ... Fans will be divided."
Davern agreed. "There will be resolutions made. Jenna definitely makes a decision and whatever decision she makes will change Jake, whether she picks him or not," he said. "I don’t know if it’s a decision she’ll stick with. It’s not as much of a cliffhanger as Season 1, but it is a bit of a cliffhanger. I think the whole thing with Season 2 is, did Jenna make the choice that she wanted to make, or the choice that she needed to make? That’s gonna be explored, and the thing with Jenna’s parents -- was her dad her mom’s Matty or her mom’s Jake? -- that gets explored in the finale, so we’ll have to see who she picks."
Despite Jenna's tumultuous relationship with her mother, Lacey (Nikki DeLoach), it's obvious that the apple doesn't fall far from the tree in terms of the Hamilton women's romantic dilemmas. "In the wedding episode, they were kind of hinting towards Matty being the Kevin [Mike Faiola] and Jake being the Ben [Kristoffer Polaha] for Lacey," DeLoach teased. "However, we may be surprised about where the show takes us in terms of that."
The season finale will bring about evolution for all of our favorite characters, including Tamara (Jillian Rose Reed), Jenna's romantically-challenged BFF. "For the last two seasons, she’s had this love interest that’s been really rocky, but through the end of the season, we’ve seen her realize that Ricky Schwartz [Matthew Fahey] is not the best for her," she previewed. "So this finale for her says, 'I’m done. That’s the past. I’m done with Ricky. I’m ready to move on to new things in my life and grow from those situations.' The end of Season 2 going into her summer break. She’s gonna do a lot of maturing."
Meanwhile, Ricky is currently hooking up with scene-stealing mean girl Sadie Saxton (Molly Tarlov), but even that dysfunctional partnership is set to shift. "There’s something big coming, there’s a definite change in their relationship," Tarlov teased. "I don’t know if our worst nightmares of what Ricky was going to do to Sadie will come true, but we’ll see."
And for fans who've enjoyed the hilariously bizarre banter between Lacey and vice-principal Valerie (Desi Lydic) as they've become friends, DeLoach promises there's more where that came from. "Lacey and Valerie’s friendship will continue on. We made up; there was a brief hiccup, but we’re good from here on out," she said. "It has been an unbelievable pleasure working with Desi, that’s one thing we both asked for and it’s been such an amazing gift."
Beyond that, the cast is already looking ahead to Season 3, which has been blissfully extended from 12 episodes to 20. "I’m thrilled that we’re having 20 episodes. It gives us so much room to play and really explore Jenna’s world even more," Rickards enthused. "Next season, maybe it’s a little bit more complicated than just a love triangle, maybe there are other things on the horizon ..."
"Awkward" airs Thursdays at 10:30 p.m. ET on MTV.
Who do you want Jenna to choose, Matty or Jake?