Degrassi Wiki
Degrassi Wiki

A New Start are the first and second episodes of Season 1 of Degrassi High, and the forty-third and forty-fourth episodes of the original Degrassi series. Both parts aired on November 6, 1989.


Joey looks in the mirror at home and tells himself that he'll be the coolest guy at Degrassi High; he tries on various hats, decides on one and heads out. At their home, the twins are getting ready for school when Erica runs to the bathroom to be sick. Heather brings some breakfast upstairs for Erica and says that she should eat, but Erica insists that she isn't hungry. Heather asks if she was sick again and suggests that Erica go see a doctor, but Erica insists that she's fine. At Arthur's place, he grabs some toast and says goodbye to his dad in French, putting a beret on as he goes out the door.

Students head to school, Erica and Heather arrive, as does Spike with Emma in a carriage; Liz is with her. Spike is glad to finally have a full time high school, and wonders why they didn't send the students to Degrassi before. Heather and Erica talk to Spike; Heather talks baby talk to Emma, but Erica just stands back and looks at her. Spike and Liz head off to put Emma in daycare at the school. Tessa and Scooter look around in the halls and she comments that it's going to be great there, and the school is so big. Tessa isn't looking where she's going and bumps into one of the her students. Dwayne looks around at all the new students arriving and tells his friends that there are too many little kids and the place is turning into a kindergarten. At a table in the hallway, Alex is asking the student behind the table why he has to pay 20 dollars. The student, Claude, explains that it's for the Student Activity card, which pays for things like the school paper; Alex promises not to read the paper, but is tot he has to pay anyway. Maya pays for hers, then Caitlin; Claude seems to be interested in her. Tessa is still looking around, and bumps into Dwayne; she apologizes and keeps going. Dwayne tells Tabi and Nick that it's time for initiation to come back... unofficially. Elsewhere in the halls, the twins tell Lucy and L.D. that they made 500 dollars each working in California, and Heather tells them about Erica's boyfriend, Jason; she says that he was really good looking and was a camp counselor; Lucy and L.D. ask Erica why she didn't tell them about him, and Erica tells them that Jason turned out to be a real jerk. Erica walks away and Heather pulls Lucy and L.D. aside, telling them that Erica's not a virgin any more, and adding that she only knew Jason for two weeks. In another part of the halls, Joey, Wheels and Snake are talking about the Zit Remedy; Snake comments that they can't have the band because Wheels sold his bass; Joey suggests that they need a new name as "Zit Remedy" just isn't catchy enough. Dwayne approaches and tells Joey that this used to be a real high school, before all the little kids showed up, then blames Joey, Snake and Wheels for burning down the Junior High. Joey says that they didn't do it, but Dwayne just says, "You were there," and then tells them to watch out for initiation; Snake helpfully points out that, according to the pamphlets, initiation has been banned; Tabi tells him that they don't read hand-books, and the three of them leave. In another part of the school, Yick sees Arthur and asks about his summer, and comments on the beret; Arthur says that everyone in France wears them; he asks about Yick's summer, and finds out that Yick hung out at the mall and made some new friends; he also got his ear pierced. In the classroom, Spike tells some students about Emma being in daycare at the school; other students look at a magazine with a Dude advertisement in it featuring Simon... all the students are chatting, except Erica. Alexa announces that she and Simon are officially going out. Mr. Walfish comes in and introduces himself, telling the students to find seats, and that he'll be teaching Communications as well as being their homeroom teacher. Heather whispers to Erica, asking if she minded her telling Lucy and L.D. about Jason; Erica tells her to never say that name again.

Promo A-New-Start.jpg

At night, at home in bed, Erica is crying. Heather asks if Erica's okay, and turns on the light, asking what's wrong. Erica says that everything is fine; Heather wants to help and tries making a joke, but Erica won't talk. Heather turns out the light; Erica starts to talk in the dark, telling Heather that she can't tell anyone, especially not their parents; Heather promises, and Erica tells her that she thinks she's pregnant, as she has all the symptoms. Heather asks if she and Jason used anything when they had sex, and Erica says, "yes... mostly." Heather says that Erica has to go to a doctor, but Erica is afraid that a doctor would tell their parents, so Heather suggests that Erica do a home pregnancy test. The next morning, the twins go to the drug store and buy a pregnancy test.

At school, Snake asks about Basketball sign up and then sees Dwayne, Tabi and Nick; they put Snake up against the wall and Dwayne tells him that they can get him now or later, but it gets worse later. They drag Snake off, shouting. Outside, Wheels and Joey are talking about the announcements, and Wheels says that the teacher making the announcements sounds like Mr. Raditch, but Joey is sure that it can't be him. Joey is suggesting new names for the band, and comes up with "Barf Bag" but Wheels isn't fond of that one; Snake arrives covered in flour, and says that Dwayne and his friends got him.

At home that night, Heather asks Erica what she's going to tell their parents if she is pregnant, and Erica says that she won't tell them anything. Heather points out that they'd notice, as Erica would begin to show, but Erica tells her, "not if I had an abortion." Heather is shocked, and says that abortion is wrong; she calls abortion clinics "killing centers" and points out that their minister and their parents all believe that abortion is wrong. The timer goes off and Erica checks the pregnancy test; it's negative. She and Heather hug; Heather tells her that if she ever has sex again, she should use a condom; both of them laugh and hug.

At school, the next morning, Walfish assigns chapter 1 of Lord of The Flies; Tim and B.L.T. make fun of Simon, calling him "The Dude" and Alexa comments that it's wearing thin. An announcement comes on over the PA system, and Michelle comments that it sounds like Mr. Raditch. Some girls come up to Simon and ask for his autograph, which he gives them; Alexa doesn't look happy as she watches him signing and talking to the girls. Lucy and L.D. look for a place to eat lunch; they look out into the quad and note that it's filled with older students, but then say that they have as much right to eat there as anyone. As they head into the quad, they see Melanie and Kathleen tied to the flagpole, with bras and underwear on outside their clothes; the two girls shout for Lucy and L.D. to help them and they start out to untie Melanie and Kathleen, but then some older students stand up and glare at them, so they back away, leaving Melanie and Kathleen tied to the pole. Meanwhile, Dwayne, Nick, and Tabi ambush Wheels and initiate him. With that, Joey is the last of the trio about to get initiated. In the hallway, Heather asks Erica if she has a tampon; Erica doesn't have any with her, as she still hasn't had her period yet. Heather comments that this is the second period that she's missed, but Erica is sure that it will start tomorrow. When Erica still isn't sure, she takes another pregnancy test, this one says: Positive.

When Heather asks what the test says, Erica lies and says it was negative. Later that day, after a debate in class angry abortion, Erica visits a clinic where she's confronted by a mob of protesters who try to tell her not to go in. Frightened, she runs inside, there she has a talk with one of the women who tells her its perfectly safe to have her baby aborted and that it is completely her choice.

At home, Heather confronts her sister about where she has been since the debate in class. Erica comes clean to Heather that she lied about her test being positive and that she went to the clinic to make an appointment to have an abortion. Heather is furious with her sister and refuses to stand by her when asked to accompany Erica on the day of the procedure, which causes Erica to burst into tears.

At school, Heather watches Erica leave to go to the clinic. Desperate to stop her sister, Heather turns to Spike for help, saying she might know what to do since she is a mother already. Spike tells Heather that it was wrong for her to abort Emma, and that it isn't her place to know the answer because that was best for her. After her talk with Spike, Heather realizes that while she thinks abortion is wrong, this is Erica's choice, not hers.

Catching up to Erica outside the clinic, Heather tells Erica that she believes she's making a huge mistake, but she is her sister and she has to stand by her during this. Together, hand in hand, they walk through the mob of angry protesters into the clinic.

  • Tessa, Bart, and Dorothy, who were in Grade 7 the previous year, are added to the Grade 9 class, so that the characters can be involved in the new series.
  • The Zit Remedy consider the Barf Bags and Three as new names for the band before settling on the Zits.
  • Ms, Avery lost her job due to the fire in the Degrassi Junior High finale Bye-Bye, Junior High and will be working in the Resource Center (library).
  • The character featured in the final freeze frames for this episode was Erica (1), and Erica and Heather (2).
  • Erica's abortion in this episode was the first instance of abortion.
  • Writer Yan Moore noted in a contemporary newspaper article that they avoided doing an episode on abortion because they felt there was no grey area with the debate, and they feared that they wouldn't portray it correctly.
  • During production of the episode, the cast were given both pro-life and pro-choice monologues to read convincingly, but some cast members strongly disagreed with the monologues and refused to read them.
  • In the United States, PBS cut the final scene of Erica and Heather being swarmed by pro-life picketers on their way to the clinic. PBS defended the decision and claimed the edit would make the ending more poignant, but Kit Hood, co-creator and director, responded angrily that they had made it an American-style ending and requested his name be removed from the credits.
  • The building used for the shots of Degrassi High School is part of Centennial College in Toronto.
  • Erica buys her pregnancy test at the same drugstore where Spike bought hers, and where Joey bought condoms (and everything else in the store) for his evening with Liz in Degrassi Junior High.
  • This episode marks the first appearances of Claude Tanner and Patrick.

v - e - d

DH Season 1 Episodes

A New StartBreaking Up is Hard to DoDream OnEverybody Wants SomethingNobody's PerfectJust FriendsLittle White LiesSixteenAll in a Good CauseNatural AttractionTesting One, Two, Three...It Creeps!!Stressed Out