How is it that shows with 20, hour long episodes a season rush the development of wlw relationships, yet Atypical have provided us with the best build up there’s been for a long time in just 10, 30 minute episodes?
When season 2 of Atypical introduced us to Izzie, it quickly became clear that the connection between her and Casey was strong. They started out as enemies (as all the best relationships do), but it didn’t take long for them to realise how much they craved each other.
There’s no denying that Casey and Evan are a great match, but Casey and Izzie understand each other on a whole new level. They relate to each other’s struggles and understand how hard it is to stay put together for the sake of their family. Once they established that mutual bond, there was no going back.
In such a short space of time, we saw them grow pretty close pretty quickly. Their defining moment came with the “forehead kiss” in which we saw Izzie expose her longing to just be close to Casey. The brilliant thing about this scene was that we also saw something awaken in Casey through her body’s reaction to being so close to kissing the girl in front of her.
The turning point then came in their final scene together in the series. As Casey reminds them both of how much she loves Evan, she also lets another wall drop around Izzie as she admits that “sometimes a thing feels so right.” This scene is so utterly tender and intimate which represents that innocence of queer love that we rarely see portrayed. It’s not sexual, it’s not dramatic; it’s just intimacy in its purest form.
It was a hefty cliffhanger that Atypical left us on and fans have been waiting for the new series to drop ever since. Thankfully on November 1st it came back into all of our lives and the wait couldn’t have been more worth it.
Episode 1 of Season 3 picks up where it left off with the two and after a small time jump, we see them reunite for the first time. The scene has an awkwardness to it as neither character has figured out how they’re supposed to navigate their relationship. In the classic way a girl will speak to her best friend that she’s in love with, Izzie says to Casey “it’s so nice to have a friend like you”. She still isn’t sure exactly how Casey feels and doesn’t want to lay her cards on the table only to get hurt, so she uses the word friend one too many times just to make her intentions extra clear.
Inevitably things get more and more confusing for Casey as she spends time with both Izzie and Evan. In what seems like an attempt to avoid what she’s feeling for Izzie, she emphasises her relationship with Evan. Izzie meanwhile is busy planning her future with Casey, as she maps out a plan for them both to attend UCLA together.
Episode 5 is a new turning point as Evan doesn’t attend Paige’s dinner party and Casey takes Izzie as her “date” instead. Their chemistry is so palpable that Zaheed’s friend Gretchen even thinks they’re dating. Things develop when Evan arrives and Izzie outlets all her frustration onto him for not showing up for her family. This leads to a fall out between the two girls (which thankfully doesn’t even last a full day, as obviously they can’t stay away from each other).
The fact they’re not speaking hits Casey hard, especially when Izzie doesn’t show up at school which makes her frantically worry about what could be wrong. Even though Izzie eventually texts Casey to say where she is, Casey goes out of her way to drive over to her house just to “drop some clothes off”, which is just code for I wanted to see you but needed an excuse.
Thankfully they resolve things at the end of episode 6 when Izzie apologies for acting out over Evan. In a brutally honest moment she reveals that the reason she acted as she did was because she was jealous. Casey’s taken back by Izzie’s confession and asks her why, and it’s hard to tell if she genuinely didn’t realise how she felt, or is just shocked by the honesty. “You know why” Izzie whispers.
It’s the perfect confession really, because to actually say the words “I like you” is too much. It’s too real. Once you say it you can’t go back, and when you’re confessing to a love that’s out of the norm you’ve been raised on it’s even harder.
That night Izzie stays over and the gay panic Casey feels is even more intense. As Izzie moves closer to her in her sleep (was she really alseep though?) she can’t handle the closeness (and likely feels guilty about Evan) so resorts to sleeping on the floor. Naturally the next day Casey’s response is to freak out and avoid Izzie, which only makes her mind more frantic and ability to run impossible.
That evening she goes to the track to run alone and is confronted by Izzie, who calls her our for avoiding her and acting out. She’s got it in her head that Casey’s freaked out by the confession and doesn’t feel the same way. Casey quickly silences her with the kiss of the century and proves exactly how she feels. Everything they’ve been through has built up to this moment and the relief they feel is visible through their uncontrollable grins that appear between each kiss.
Unfortunately things get complicated after the kiss. Casey has Evan on her conscience and is keen to talk to him before things progress further with Izzie. When they have that conversation it’s as sad as anticipated because Evan really was the perfect boyfriend, but Casey can’t deny the connection she feels with Izzie. Although it’s heartbreaking for Casey, it gives her the freedom to give into her feelings completely.
One of the most memorable moments of the series then comes when Sam catches the two sharing an awkward kiss in the doorway and asks Casey if they’re a couple. As anticipated, he sees no reason why it would be a problem and likens them to two gay penguins; which gives Casey the backing and acceptance she was hoping for.
When they’re alone they can be intimate, but being that close in public panics Izzie who isn’t quite ready to come out to the world. During a very close dance (shout out to Brigette and Fivel’s chemistry in this scene), Izzie freaks out and reminds Casey that she doesn’t want everyone to know her business. She’s so at war with herself here because there’s no denying how she feels about Casey and her identity, but the thought of other people knowing that is terrifying because what if they don’t accept it? Her brain’s response to go and kiss a guy at the party isn’t the right one, but you can see her self defence mechanisms working to control people’s perceptions of her.
Casey’s rightfully upset and even more confused by what’s going on between them, so she responds by avoiding Izzie and concentrating on her upcoming race.
Izzie seizes her moment to confront Casey in school, but Casey makes it pretty clear that she doesn’t want to be messed around anymore. Knowing she doesn’t want to lose her, Izzie proves that she cares more about Casey than what people think of her by kissing her in front of the school.
After winning her race, the coach puts the option of UCLA on the table for Casey but only if she gives up everything in her life to train. Would this include Izzie, or can the two chase their dream together? After some deliberation she decides to do it and tells Izzie what she’s been offered. This is the final scene they share in the series and it’s a heartwarming note to end on. Izzie apologies again for how she’s been acting and reminds Casey of how talented she is, not wanting to get in the way of her shot at a future. The thing is though, Izzie is a part of Casey’s future.
“I’m not easy…”, Izzie admits. “I’m not looking for easy” replies Casey.
It took a lot for them to reach this point, but they got over the hurdles and came out stronger because of what stood in their way. Atypical came through and delivered their storyline perfectly throughout Season 3, not letting it be sidelined or rushed once. We got the longing, the pining, the tension, the kisses, the drama and the romance that all of us could ever have hoped for.
When the actors and creators care about the relationships they’re building, especially when it’s LGBTQ+ representation, the end result is always 100x better because of it. It’s incredibly important to tell these stories right because there’s so much more weight to them. There’s responsibility there that can’t be ignored and the audience who are glued to a pairing like Casey and Izzie long to see a happy ending for those that represent them.
Atypical went above and beyond this season and we can thank them by making some noise about the show online and doing everything we can to get it renewed.
Casey and Izzie’s story is far from over and the next chapter for them is already longly awaited.