‘Heartbreak High’ Season 1 Recap: Did Harper And Amerie Reconcile?

Sex Education, a Netflix UK production, sets high standards when it comes to teenage comedy dramas that talk about the growing need for teenagers to know about safe intercourse, sexual orientations, and gender identities. The show managed to aid many students who were going through several bodily and mental changes because of puberty. Following in the footsteps of Sex Education, Heartbreak High was an Australian Netflix original that covered the story of a few teenagers navigating through many difficulties during their time in high school. The show was a reboot of a 1994 Australian show of the same name. Heartbreak High discusses the relationships of teenagers with their lovers, friends, and parents and how all of them mold their lives.


Spoilers Ahead

What Was ‘The Map’?

Season one begins with establishing the close friendship between Harper and Amerie, who have been each other’s pillars of support from a very young age. They gossiped about several relationships burgeoning in their school, and to keep track of them, they developed a system, that in jest they called ‘the map.’ The map was a well-kept secret for many years, and it kept expanding as many relationships formed and ended. Harper and Amerie were proud of it until everything came crashing down one fine day.


The high school one day was made aware of the map that included the names of every girl and boy, and most of them were embarrassed about their secrets being outed. A lot of boys and girls’ sexual orientation was out in the open, and most of them were bitter towards the person who put it together. Amerie kept her mouth shut until she was forced by the school principal to come clean about her role in putting together a shocking piece of art that embarrassed the students and the school.

What Were SLT’s?

Amidst all the chaos, Amerie’s best friend Harper had not just shaved her head but cut off her friendship with her. Amerie and Harper’s other friends, Missy and Sasha, chose to side with the latter. Amerie felt abandoned, and almost everyone in the school was aware of her role in drawing the map. When the whole school went against her, Darren and Quinn, who were two of the many openly gay students in the school, decided to become her friends.


The school principal, however, formed a small classroom, which would be headed by Josephine “Jojo” Obah, who would take charge and offer them several lessons through a curriculum named ‘Sexual Literacy Tutorial,’ which is abbreviated to SLT, and ofcourse the teenage children gave it a funny twist. These lessons were introduced to teach the students about pleasure, consent, orientation, flirtatious messaging, and sharing intimate information and images. This show is a mirror image of Sex Education and the kinds of topics they discuss with teenagers and adults. In the case of Heartbreak High, which takes place in a fictional school named Hartley High, issues related to only the teenagers are discussed in detail through circumstances and situations. It was obvious right from the start that Harper had a horrible experience at a music festival she attended with Amerie. Something changed that night, which made her cut off her ties with her best friend. This subplot took a long route to finally disclose what happened to Harper.

Were There Any New Friendships Or Relationships Formed?

Harper and Ameri were classic frenemies post their falling out but both rescued each other in difficult situations. The friendship between Harper and Amerie had turned sour. Apart from Harper and Amerie, Quinn was in a relationship with Sasha, and Darren was in a relationship with an unstable classmate, Cash. Sasha and Darren were new to being in love and having genuine feelings for their partner, but this made them walk through the fire. Their respective partners were very different from their expectations, and this caused friction one too many times. Instead of focusing on heterosexual relationships, Heartbreak High was about all kinds of relationships, which was a refreshing change of pace.


Season one is eight episodes long, and each episode discusses many concerns, including indigenous culture and how they were treated badly for centuries. Since Amerie was like every other teenager, she had a crush on a basketball player, Malakai, and he was responding to her interest. The show also focused on how, from a young age, girls are criticized for having enjoyed intimate pleasure more than men. It was also interesting to watch how young men deal with their attraction to boys and girls of their age. Two main male characters eventually come out as bisexual, but their confusion and hesitation are portrayed masterfully by the makers.  

Even though the last two episodes of the show were chaotic, they did a brilliant job of talking about the repercussions of trauma and how they affect the relationships around affected people. Harper was a classic example of a young woman acting out based on the trauma she faced at home and choosing to suppress it, lashing out at people who disagreed with her instead of attending therapy or just talking about it. Her breaking off with Amerie abruptly was a sign of trouble, which no one caught on to until matters at Harper’s home worsened.


What Happened To Harper At The Music Festival?

The season finale of Heartbreak High ended with Harper disclosing her traumatic experience on the night of the festival. As Amerie drifted away from Harper, the latter’s water was spiked by the men whom Cash worked for. A bunch of miscreants and criminals managed to kidnap Harper and attempted to assault her. A scared Harper was helped by Cash, and she escaped the agonizing situation. Harper asked for Amerie’s help, but she wouldn’t open her door, and she was forced to go back to her place only to be confronted by a schizophrenic father. She was attacked mercilessly, which led to her eventually separating from her father and briefly being a part of the foster home.

The ordeal put Amerie in a lot of pain, and she blamed herself continuously for not being with Harper at the time of her need. Amerie could get why her best friend cut ties as she acted insensitively towards her only best friend of many years. Amerie tried to help Harper by filing a police complaint, but they could never help due to a lack of evidence against the accused. Amerie convinced Cash to help Harper out of her misery, and he was helpless initially. 


Cash soon found the courage to find a video from the night of the kidnapping, forwarding the same to Amerie. Amerie finally showcased her true friendship by taking this video to the police, who managed to make a few arrests based on the conversation in the footage. Harper and Amerie reconciled by the end of the first season. The show ended with Harper and Amerie setting a car on fire that belonged to one of the kidnappers who could not be arrested because of a lack of evidence against him. Harper, sadly, was dealing with her father, whom she had attacked mercilessly for going after her under a schizophrenic spell. She felt guilty for having beaten up her father in self-defense. 

The first season was a lighthearted comedy mixed with some drama about teenagers who seemed more mature than their characters in several shows and movies. Despite the show being too much like Sex Education, this show was renewed for season two, which indicates it earned good numbers and has enough followers because of the topics they discussed.


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Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan
Smriti Kannan is a cinema enthusiast, and a part time film blogger. An ex public relations executive, films has been a major part of her life since the day she watched The Godfather – Part 1. If you ask her, cinema is reality. Cinema is an escape route. Cinema is time traveling. Cinema is entertainment. Smriti enjoys reading about cinema, she loves to know about cinema and finding out trivia of films and television shows, and from time to time indulges in fan theories.

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