Season 2, Episode 10
January 21, 1991
Auditions are being held for Talent Night, and the acts range from dramatic poetry to singing hats. Joey is struggling with science - it's clear he's going to need some help. But the whole school is thrown into turmoil when a student commits suicide at school - especially Caitlin, since the student is her ex-boyfriend, Claude Tanner.
Degrassi is planning on hosting a talent show, which has been named Showtime. Lucy and Bronco are hosting auditions in the gym, and several students are planning to audition, such as Caitlin, Maya, and Claude. Caitlin and Maya head to the gym, discussing how nervous they each are for their auditions. The girls encourage each other and are then approached by Claude, who asks Caitlin if she is planning to try out. Caitlin informs him that he is and Claude says he is as well. Caitlin wishes him good luck and starts walking away. Claude watches her, hesitating, but quickly asks Caitlin if the two could rekindle their relationship. Caitlin turns towards him, scoffs and walks away. As she and Maya head into the gym, Caitlin whispers to Maya that she wishes Claude would leave her alone. Maya agrees, wondering why Claude hasn't given up, as the couple broke up over a year ago. Caitlin says she wishes that Claude would just go away, as the camera lingers on Claude standing alone in the hallway.
The auditions are underway, as Arthur and Dorothy perform a dance for Lucy and Bronco. Joey watches, chuckling, as Snake draws a face on Joey's stomach. Joanne informs Caitlin and Maya that the auditions are running late and that the girls may not have a chance to audition that day, but they decide to stick around to watch the auditions and see if they have a chance to try out before tomorrow. Caitlin says hello to Joey, who says hello back and calls her an "ice maiden" once Caitlin is out of earshot. Snake tells Joey that he needs to get over Caitlin, to which Joey replies that he got over her ages ago. Snake remains unconvinced and the boys decide to watch the rest of the auditions.
Claude enters the gym and asks Joanne when he's up. Joanne tells him that he's up next. Claude gets up on stage and announces that he will be performing a monologue that he wrote himself. He begins his monologue, and the fellow students grow increasingly uncomfortable at his serious, dark poem about death and how he wishes to die. Joey snickers at the poem, and Snake tells Joey to knock it off and to just let Claude finish.
"Autumn leaves, dying leaves.
The season of death
When winds blow cold, thoughts of death creep in as I sleep
I dream I'm in a coffin, safe from the life I don't want to live
I am not afraid
Soothing, black, and warm.
Soothing, black, and warm
Safe from the pain, and safe from the fools
Safe, soothing, black -"Bronco cuts off Claude, who tells Bronco that he hasn't finished. Bronco tells him he knows, and that the poem is good, but that it isn't quite right for the show. Lucy chimes in to tell Claude that the poem is a bit depressing. Claude defends his poem, saying that some things are serious. Bronco explains that people want to watch the show to have fun, and suggests that Claude come back tomorrow with another monologue prepared, something happier and more fun. Claude refuses, saying that it is either the poem he wrote, or nothing at all. Bronco apologizes and he and Lucy quickly look at their notes to see who is next.
Claude storms out of the auditorium, saying that everyone is "a bunch of sheep." Joey snickers again, though Snake watches Claude, worried. But the two quickly forget about Claude to perform their funny act. As they take the stage, Claude watches from the back of the room. He shouts that nobody cares, and quietly adds, "well, you'll see." Snake and Joey go on to perform their act, much to the delight of the students.
Joanne chases Claude while Bronco tries to distract the students and bring their focus back to the auditions. Joanne tells Claude that she cares about him, and that she thought his poem was good. Claude ignores her, and Joanne asks Claude if he'd like to come out with their friends to see a movie that weekend. Claude says no, and Joanne continues following him. She apologizes about his parents, who have been revealed to be getting a divorce. Claude says he can't live with his mother, as her new boyfriend doesn't like him. Joanne is shocked, saying that Claude can't stay with his father, who is cruel to Claude. Claude thanks Joanne for trying to be nice, but that he's fine and would like to be left alone. Joanne insists that Claude speak to her, that she'll listen, but Claude says she doesn't know what it's like to be him. He sadly leaves, leaving Joanne alone. She turns back to the gym.
The next day, Claude walks up to the school, holding his backpack in his hand. He enters the school and waits by Caitlin's locker for her to arrive, holding a white rose. Caitlin and Maya head down the hallway, and Claude sees. He hides the rose behind his back, and the girls pause their conversation when they see him. Caitlin says "Excuse me," to get past Claude to get into her locker and exchanges a look of disbelief with Maya. Claude reveals the flower. Caitlin refuses to take it, and asks Claude to leave her alone and to stop harassing her. Claude says, he won't bother her anymore and says he just wants to say goodbye. He simply walks down the hallway when Caitlin asks where he's going, but Caitlin just chuckles with Maya and says Claude was being a creep.
The students of Degrassi are all rushing to get to class, while Claude calmly just opens his locker. A student tells Claude that he'd better hurry or else he'd be late to class. Claude tells the student that he won't be going to any more classes, since Degrassi has never done anything for him. The student tells Claude that he's going to get in trouble, to which Claude snickers and says "No... I won't."
He crouches down to sift through his bag as the bell rings and the final lingering students run into their classrooms. Claude looks up and down the hallway and waits until the hallway is opened. He pulls an object wrapped in a towel out of his bag, and unwraps it, revealing it to be a gun. A small smile creeps onto his face as he gazes down at the gun. He nods slightly and walks off with it once he hears the sounds of a class beginning nearby, leaving his locker open. He slowly walks down the hall and into the boys' washroom.
In class, Mr. Walfish is speaking to his class about Shakespeare's Macbeth. The class gets into an enthusiastic discussion about the book, and Mr. Walfish says he'd like to hear from some new students. Snake raises his hand and when he is called on, he asks to use the bathroom. Snake leaves as the class chuckles at him. He walks right past Claude's locker without realizing that it's been left open. Unbeknownst to him, he is heading right for the bathroom that Claude entered.
Snake walks inside and heads for the urinals, but spots Claude's feet sticking out from the bottom of one of the stalls, with a pool of blood slowly forming on the floor. Snake stares at the scene before him for a few moments before slowly approaching the stall, unsure of what happened. He quietly asks, "you alright?" but hears no answer. He moves closer to the stall and slowly pushes the door open, only to find Claude, who has presumably shot himself in the face. Snake is horrified and backs away, gagging, before turning and running out of the bathroom, bumping into a sink in his shock.
He quickly dashes towards Mr. Raditch's office, stumbling over his words as he tells Raditch that he needs to quickly come to the bathroom. Mr. Raditch at first tells Snake to calm down, but grows more concerned as Snake starts telling him what happened. As Mr. Raditch leaves to see what Snake is talking about, he tells the school secretary, Janet, to call the police.
The rest of the student body is still unaware of what happened, and move on with their day. The auditions for Showtime continue, and Caitlin is excited to finally put on her dance. She happily performs for Lucy and Bronco, while the sounds of sirens echo around outside. However, none of the students notice the sirens and continue watching the auditions.
As the day continues, some students begin to notice something has happened, as the boys' washroom is closed off by the police, and students begin wondering what happened in there. Yick and Luke express their annoyance at having to walk across school to the other bathroom, and after Yick wonders aloud what the cops are doing, Luke suggests that there was probably a drug bust. A student tells Wheels that there was a stretcher and an ambulance in front of the school, and that it must have been something serious.
All the students are gathered in their classrooms waiting for their teachers to arrive. As the teachers arrive to their classes, they break the tragic news to the students of Degrassi. The students in Mr. Walfish's next class are goofing off and running around while Alex desperately tries to get them to sit down and behave before the teacher arrives. When Mr. Walfish arrives, the students get in their seats and listen as Walfish informs them that a student has passed away, and that it looks like a suicide. The students are silent, until Tessa breaks the silence by asking what student it was. Walfish sighs and says that it was a twelfth grader by the name of Claude Tanner. Caitlin is shocked as the other students look to her in horror.
Reactions are mixed around the school. Joanne is heartbroken that her friend has died, telling her classmates that he was so angry and unhappy at everyone because of his life. Nick scoffs, saying that a lot of people have problems yet don't go and kill themselves. Dwayne and Joey exchange a knowing look, hinting that Joey is still the only one in school who knows about Dwayne's HIV+ status. Joanne continues, saying that Claude would have eventually gotten over everything, and reveals that she too had been depressed the year before. Her voice cracks as she says that she should have done something. Nick pipes up again, asking what Joanne could have done. Joanne says that she knew something was wrong, and that Claude just wouldn't talk to anyone. Mr. Raditch assures Joanne that there was nothing more that she could have done, but Joanne still thinks there had to have been something she could have done. She begins to cry, and Trish comforts her.
Mr. Raditch begins explaining that you can't help anybody if they don't want help, and that the only things people can do is look for warning signs and try to help. He says that everyone feels overwhelmed sometimes, and that a lot of people think about suicide. He says that you cannot kill yourself, because once you do, there's no going back. Joanne continues crying.
Michelle says in class that she doesn't understand why Claude had to kill himself at school. Lucy whispers to Alexa that it was probably just to make everybody feel bad. Alexa gasps and Lucy stands by her words and tells the rest of the class. She calls Claude a jerk, and Alexa says she's being cruel. Spike agrees with Lucy, saying that Claude doesn't have to worry anymore, and that it's the rest of the school that now has to feel bad. As the class murmurs, Cindy says that Claude will be going to hell, as suicide is a sin, before breaking down in tears.
The teacher tries explaining to the students that there is no right way to respond to a suicide, and that it's normal to have a lot of different reactions and feelings. She tells the class that school will be let out early, and urges the students to speak about what happened, and that there has been a trauma team that was assigned to the school. She comforts Cindy as the class sits quietly to reflect on what happened.
Caitlin and Maya head out of the school together and Maya asks Caitlin if she'd like to go for a walk. Caitlin feels guilty about the suicide, because Claude tried to speak to her, but she told him to go away, and that she should have just spoken to him. Maya says that Caitlin only told him to go away because he was bothering her, and that she had broken up with him over a year prior, and that it wasn't her responsibility to speak to him. Caitlin wonders if she could have made a difference, but Maya insists that Caitlin wasn't the reason for the suicide, and that he clearly had a lot of problems. She wonders aloud why Claude didn't ask for help.
Joey waits by his locker after school and asks Tim if he knew where Snake was. Throughout the halls, students ask and wonder why Claude killed himself. Joey waits for a few more moments for Snake, unaware that Snake was the student who found Claude's body, before just closing his locker and leaving the school alone.
Bronco and Lucy head into the auditorium together so that Bronco can retrieve his binder. Bronco blames himself for Claude's suicide, saying that he should've just let him do his monologue the previous day. Lucy tells him that thinking that way is ridiculous, and that there's no way that Claude killed himself over the messy audition. Bronco ignores her, and tells Lucy that they need to cancel the talent show, that it wouldn't be right to have the show. Lucy doesn't want to cancel it, since it's not for another two weeks and tries telling Bronco that they put a lot of work into the show and can't just cancel it now.
Caitlin arrives home that evening as her mother is getting ready to go pick up Caitlin's father, whose care has broken down. Before she leaves, she asks Caitlin when she got a new boyfriend. Caitlin is confused and says she isn't dating anyone new. Mrs. Ryan smiles and says that someone sent Caitlin flowers. Caitlin hurries to open the package, smiling. The box contains a bouquet of white roses and a note. Caitlin reads the note and her smile fades as she realizes who it's from.
I'm sure you know by now. I just couldn't stand it anymore. I know you don't love me, but I love you. And I forgive you for how you treated me. Goodbye, Caitlin. Wherever I am, I'm thinking of you. I hope you think of me sometimes.
Love, Claude.Caitlin gets angrier and more upset as she reads, before crumpling up Claude's note and throwing the bouquet to the floor.
Joey has been having some trouble with science class. Before school one day, he tells Snake that he stayed up all night studying, but still doesn't understand the material. Snake tells him that he clearly needs help. Before Joey can ask Snake for tutoring, Snake quickly says he's too busy but suggests Joey ask Mr. Webster for help. Joey is not thrilled to ask "Webfoot" for tutoring, but agrees that it couldn't hurt to ask.
In class later that day, he asks Mr. Webster for the help, and Webster is impressed that Joey was mature enough to ask for assistance. He promises to arrange something that day, and Joey is grateful. Before the end of the day, however, Claude commits suicide and school is let out early.
- This episode marks the first school shooting in Degrassi history.
- This episode marks the first suicide in Degrassi history. The second time was in Bitter Sweet Symphony (2).
- The events of this episode would be brought up 22 years later by Archie Simpson while talking to Eli Goldsworthy in Ray of Light (2).
- David Armin-Parcells as Claude Tanner
- Stacie Mistysyn as Caitlin Ryan
- Pat Mastroianni as Joey Jeremiah
- Stefan Brogren as Archie Simpson
- Kyra Levy as Maya Goldberg
- L. Dean Ifill as Bronco Davis
- Anais Granofsky as Lucy Fernandez
- Irene Courakos as Alexa Pappadopolos-Dexter
- Michael Carry as Simon Dexter
- Andy Chambers as Luke Matthews
- Cameron Graham as Dale
- Krista Houston as Joanne Rutherford
- Maureen McKay as Michelle Accette
- Neil Hope as Derek Wheeler
- Siluck Saysanasy as Yick Yu
- Duncan Waugh as Arthur Kobalewscuy
- Kirsten Bourne as Tessa Campanelli
- Trevor Cummings as Bartholomew Bond
- John Ioannou as Alex Yankou
- Danah-Jean Brown as Trish Skye
- Rebecca Haines as Kathleen Mead
- Byrd Dickens as Scott Smith
- George Chaker as Nick
- Amanda Stepto as Christine Nelson
- Dan Woods as Daniel Raditch
|Bad Blood (1) • Bad Blood (2) • Loyalties • A Tangled Web • Body Politics • Crossed Wires • The All Nighter • Home Sweet Home • Extracurricular Activities • Showtime (1) • Showtime (2) • Three's a Crowd • One Last Dance|