Monday, January 11, 2021

Julie and the Phantoms 1x03 Review: “Flying Solo” (Double Trouble) [Contributor: Jenn]

“Flying Solo”
Original Airdate: September 10, 2020

How long have you and your best friend been close? My best friend — my ride-or-die — and I have known each other for almost 20 years. That’s 20 years of inside jokes, milestone memories, proms, college graduations, and so much more. I love my best friend because no matter how long we’ve been apart, whenever we hang out together it’s like no time has passed at all.

Julie and Flynn are ride-or-die best friends. They tell each other everything and most important of all, they don’t lie to each other. Except that Julie is lying to Flynn in “Flying Solo” and Flynn isn’t having it. Elsewhere in the episode, Alex struggles with anxiety and being a ghost.


“Flying Solo” picks up exactly where we left Julie Molina last episode — standing on a stage in front of her peers, awkwardly trying to explain why her band just disappeared. When Kayla (Tori Caro) asks if they were holograms, Julie blessedly finds her easy explanation. And luckily, everyone buys it without question. Julie even gets let back into the music program by the principal. There’s only one issue: Flynn confronts Julie about the band she has failed to mention, and Julie tries to lie. But she can’t. 

Flynn is floored. It’s one thing for Julie to connect with music and not be involved; it’s another thing for Julie to be lying to her about the whole thing. Flynn spends this episode hurt and Julie tries her best to navigate the situation. She can’t tell Flynn the truth because… well, the truth involves ghosts. There’s no way she’ll believe her. But she also can’t lie because it’ll drive a wedge even further in their relationship.

So eventually, Julie decides to tell Flynn that the boys are ghosts. Until she sees them with her own eyes, Flynn is ready to text Julie’s dad with the concerning news of Julie’s state. And then she meets them and realizes Julie was telling the truth. But I’m going to back up for a moment here because “Flying Solo” is rooted in Julie and Flynn’s relationship — one that Reggie and Luke learn a little bit more about when they dig through Julie’s dream box and discover a poem written about Flynn.

The boys turn the poem into the song of the episode, and Julie confesses that she wrote the poem when Flynn was helping her deal with her grief. It’s a moment we breeze past because the song itself is so upbeat. But I want to point out that Julie’s song is all about her connection to Flynn as best friends: when one of them hurts, the other does too. We saw that in the previous episode — the thought of Julie being kicked out of music made Flynn cry. It’s safe to assume that these two shared a lot when Julie grieved her mom’s death. Flynn hurt because Julie was hurt. “When I look at you, it’s like I’m looking at me,” Julie sings. 

I love this friendship. I love that “Flying Solo” includes silly inside jokes or references to gossiping together, but it also talks about how Julie’s life isn’t complete without Flynn in it.

And to prove that Flynn is, indeed, the ride-or-die best friend, when Luke asks Julie if she’s joining Sunset Curve (a thing he was trying to get her to agree to the entire episode), Julie almost says yes. And then Flynn steps in, saying: “I think you’re joining her band.” We’re going to see, in the coming episodes, exactly how much of a hype person Flynn is. She comes up with the band’s name, she works tirelessly to support Julie, and when the boys let her down, Flynn is there.

I love seeing this young but deep friendship as the focus of this episode. And I need more Flynn next season.


This episode focuses on friendship and also gives us more of a glimpse into Alex’s anxiety. While Reggie and Luke are stoked that the school was able to see them perform, Alex is a little less excited. He doesn’t understand the logic of what’s happening in his afterlife — there’s no manual or instructions on what to do or how to ghost. (I relate, Alex. I would like a manual for how to navigate my current life.)

He nervously paces the studio, trying to verbally process why he’s struggling. The truth is that he doesn’t handle change well. I too can relate, and I think it’s really wonderful that the younger audiences watching this are seeing a character who does struggle with anxiety. Alex decides that he needs to clear his head and decides to poof to Hollywood Boulevard where he meets Willie (Booboo Stewart), a — as Avril Lavigne would say — sk8er boi. And in fact, he reveals that’s how he died. Alex is immediately attracted and drawn to Willie, who is warm and also just a very chill presence to balance Alex’s nervousness.

The two decide to have a conversation so Alex can learn everything that Willie knows about their ghostly states. Aside: this is 100% a thing that you’d do as a person with anxiety! We’re fueled by information and trying to absorb all we can to make sense of the world and control it. Anyway, back to our plot — Alex learns a few crucial things from Willie. He learns that people who are alive are called “lifers.” Willie confesses that he’s never really known any other ghosts who can be seen by lifers randomly. And Willie explains that the reason they are ghosts and haven’t crossed over into the afterlife is because there’s some unfinished business. Willie’s not sure what Alex’s unfinished business is, but he suggests that since all the boys are still ghosts together, perhaps their unfinished business is connected.

Willie calls Alex a cute nickname and skates away, but never fear: we’ll see more of him later this season!

I really do love that “Flying Solo” starts shaping our characters a little further: this episode gives us more insight into Flynn and Alex, and we’ll dive deeper into Luke in the weeks to come.

For now, Julie and the Phantoms reminded us of the power of friendship and importance of connection. That’s a message I can fully relate to and support!

Hitting the right notes:

  • “Flying Solo” isn’t my favorite on the Julie and the Phantoms soundtrack, but I fully appreciate the song’s focus on the friendship between Julie and Flynn. Plus I loved hearing Madison and the rest of the cast talk about filming in that small space.
  • “I don’t think they can see us.” “I wish I couldn’t see you.” Let’s never stop talking about how Owen has the absolute perfect comedic timing and delivery.
  • “He’s so nervous he’s almost making me nervous.”
  • Our friend Allison mentioned this in our podcast episode, but I love that Willie gets the introduction that a traditionally “hot woman” would get with the iconic hair flip.
  • “But we’re not alone. Because we always have each other.” “Ugh.”
  • I really appreciate the subtle pain we get from Carrie in this episode when she talks to Nick about how hard she worked on her routine. While she is still an antagonist, that moment was a great reminder that she is also a human who worked hard for a year while Julie was grieving. While Julie is our heroine, it makes sense that Carrie would feel betrayed and upstaged by Julie in this moment. It does not excuse her meanness, but it helps us understand her character a little more.
  • I just love when Luke jumps up on the piano and starts singing a little bit of “Flying Solo.”
  • “Wow... who’s that?” Owen coming in clutch with the perfect deliveries.
  • “When she says ‘deep dish’ is she talking about like, pizza, or?”
  • “Get woke. These are sensitive times.”
  • The fact that Flynn brought eggs to Julie’s house to egg it is so perfect.

What did you all think of “Flying Solo”? Sound off in the comments below!


Post a Comment