How is it that shows with twenty 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 ten thirty 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 have a different mutual understanding. 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 bond, there was no going back.
In a short space of time, we saw them grow very close very quickly. Their defining moment came with the “forehead kiss” where we saw Izzie longing to just be close to Casey. In this moment of vulnerability, we also see Casey let her guard down. They come so close to kissing, but the interruption causes them to break away.
The turning point then came in their final scene together in season 1. Whilst Casey points out how much she loves Evan, she also confesses to her other feelings in saying “sometimes a thing feels so right”. It almost feels like we’re intruding in on this moment. As their hands slowly edge closer together, you. An feel the tension building. It’s not sexual, it’s not dramatic; it’s just intimacy in its purest form.
It was a frustrating cliffhanger that Atypical left us on. Thankfully, it came back into all of our lives with a new season and the wait couldn’t have been more worth it.
Episode 1 of Season 3 picks up not far from where it left off. When we see Casey and Izzie meet up for the first time after “slushie night”, there’s certainly a change in dynamic. Neither of them knows how to navigate their relationship now, which leaves room for a lot of awkwardness. Just as any queer girl will say to her best friend that she’s secretly in love with, Izzie says to Casey “it’s so nice to have a friend like you”. She’s not fooling us, but she sure is confusing Casey. But Izzie doesn’t know exactly how Casey feels. It’s natural for her to not want to lay her cards on the table if it’s not reciprocated.
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 even more. Izzie on the other hand is busy planning her future with Casey, mapping 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. This leads to a fall out between the two girls.
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 in reply.
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.
That night Izzie stays over and Casey is hit with a classic case of gay panic. 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. Casey’s response to the situation is essentially to freak out and avoid Izzie.
That evening she goes to the track to run alone and is confronted by Izzie, who calls her our for avoiding her. She’s got it in her head that Casey’s freaked out by the confession and doesn’t feel the same way. Casey however quickly silences with a kiss and proves exactly how she feels. Everything has been building up to this moment and the content they both feel for finally getting there is palpable.
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 them 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 is terrifying. She really doesn’t help matters by going and kissing a guy, but it’s clear that her self defence mechanisms have taken over.
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 instead.
Izzie attempts 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. Atypical came through and delivered their storyline perfectly throughout Season 3, not letting it be sidelined or rushed. We got the longing, the pining, the tension, the kisses, the drama and the romance.
When the actors and creators care about the relationships they’re building, especially when it’s LGBTQ+ representation, the end result is always 100 times better because of it. It’s incredibly important to tell these stories right because there’s so much more weight to them. There is 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.
With the news that Atypical has been renewed for one final season, we now have to sit and wait to see how the rest of their story plays out. If the story so far is anything to go by, I think we’re going to be in for a very satisfying conclusion.
If you love the show, you can shop for Aytpical and Cazzie Merch here at Redbubble.