Season 4, Episode 13: “Semper Fidelis”

This is a big episode for multiple reasons.

Boner and Mike are studying for their Science final. Boner’s freaking out and really thinks they need to get to studying. Mike, on the other hand, doesn’t care and is just screwing around.
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Boner then gets into how he’s been thinking and wants to tell Mike something, but Mike cuts him off and we don’t get to hear what he has to say.

A week later, The grades are being sent home from Boner’s and Mike’s first semester at college.
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Turns out Boner called too and wants him and Mike to open their grades together. How they’re doing it is like how a teacher sometimes have you grade your test, by someone else in the class grading it. Boner looks at Mike’s and sees he got all D’s, while Mike looks at Boner’s and sees all F’s.
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The episode seems like it should’ve started here. I know they needed the setup, but I think they could’ve still done it while still starting it here. The pacing at the beginning of this episode is just a little awkward. Maybe it’s just because of the subject matter.

Mike comes home from Boner’s and lets everyone know he got all D’s. Here’s a recurring theme that really annoys me about this show. How Carol and Ben constantly makes jokes about Mike’s grades. Yeah, he doesn’t try. I get it. It was funny the first few times, but now it’s just annoying. The Seavers are about to have dinner when Boner walks in. He lets everyone know that he’s enlisted in the marines. He’s on his way to tell his folks, but decided to stop at the Seavers on the way. Mike is shocked and he hates the idea. He thinks Boner is throwing his life away.
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After dinner, Mike heads over to Boner’s to try and further convince him that this is a huge mistake. Boner doesn’t see it like that. He sees it as him finally putting his life in the right direction. With this, he’s not just “getting by.” Something Jason brought up to Mike earlie when they were talking about his D’s. It’s coming full circle. Boner also doesn’t like how Mike’s not being very supportive. He’s his best friend after all. As far as Boner’s parents, they love the idea and that Boner will be fighting for their country.This is also the first time we ever see them.
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Mike leaves with things still unresolved with Boner. Boner isn’t changing his mind of joining and Mike still doesn’t like the idea.

Mike comes home all upset. Jason and Maggie come down in the kitchen to talk. They don’t see the problem. Jason and Maggie agree with Boner actually and that his decision is a good decision for him. Mike thinks they’re acting like Boner’s got the jump on Mike in terms of his future.

Two weeks later and Boner’s about to leave for training camp. He comes in his uniform. They didn’t give him one, but it’s his dad’s. He says goodbye to everyone. Interestingly enough, when he talks to Carol, he brings up what could’ve been between them. Remember that school dance episode? They showed signs of them liking each other. It was right after Carol broke up with Bobby. After that episode and how big of a deal they made Carol and Bobby’s relationship, they dropped it. Before leaving, Boner heads up to Mike’s place. I have to hand it to Kirk Cameron and Andrew Koenig here. While I think the writing falls a little flat here. The sorta awkwardness that should be there comes off in the writing, but I just don’t think what they have to say is that interesting. It sorta just drags the scene out. From their performances though, I feel what’s going on with their characters. They make it feel like this is a scene of two really great friends saying goodbye to each other. Mike and Boner apologize to each other for the way they acted towards each other. Mike still calls it stupid at first, but he more thinks what Boner is doing is good. It’s a situation where he doesn’t totally agree with it, but he sees how it’s beneficial towards him. Boner is really looking forward to tomorrow. He finally feels like he’s on the right path. They have a hard time saying goodbye. Mike walks Boner out. Then Boner walks Mike back to the stairs. Then Mike walks Boner back. They hug and Boner leaves.
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Mike then thinks about what Boner and Jason both said about getting by, and he finally decides to take his future in a good direction. Let’s hope this sticks. Remember that episode where Jason and Mike were on the plane and Mike said he was gonna act different? He never really did.

Now, like I said at the top, this was a big episode. 1. Boner left the show. According to IMDB, this is his last episode. 2. This leaves a big impression on Mike. The episode felt a bit like it was trying to make a big impact instead of just actually worried about doing it, which I think is a problem. I also thought the pacing of it was a little weird at the beginning. There was a lot of awkwardness in it. I thought it could’ve just been tighter if they structured it differently. The episode did make me feel the impact of losing Boner. He’s been in the show for a while, but of course they had to put that sappy music in it.

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