Panel 2: The mysterious boy is revealed to be Jesse Mukwa. Did the artist for this one even look at how Jesses Mukwa was portrayed just last month? He looks 2-3 years older and unlike the May Jesse, who seemed to not care about Liz leaving as long as he got her stereo, the June Jesse is a bitter teenager with severe emotional problems due to his broken family and his unhealthy fixation on his teacher. Where did this mom and dad leaving backstory come from anyway? I suspected it was the case since he lived with his aunt, but I am pretty sure this is the first time it has been mentioned. There is no mention of it in the monthly letters that I can find. Well, there’s nothing like introducing a whole new plot, just as Liz is about to leave Mtigwaki.
Panel 3: Liz makes a superb leap from the panel 2 desk to catch Jesse by his shoulder while leaning on some unseen object by Jesse and makes a very odd statement. “It’s not your fault that people have to leave Mtigwaki.” I would have expected, “It’s not your fault that people have to leave.” or “Just because you care about someone doesn’t mean they can stay with you their whole lives, even if they want to.” Or “What did you expect? That I was going to be your teacher forever, you punk kid?” Symbolically for Liz, I guess Jesse does represent Mtigwaki. Then Jesse calls her on her last statement, “These things just happen.” This is good, because he is absolutely correct. In this strip, things never just happen.
Panel 4: Jesse magically transforms from a sullen teenager into a pointy-eared pre-teen. Then he lays his smackdown on Liz, by quoting her. I guess behind her is some sort of column or corner in the room. I am not sure why walls suddenly decide to appear in the last panel, unless it is supposed to symbolize the wall that has come between Liz and Jesse.