(In earlier posts, I set out some ideas for future episodes should GMW come back..  Now I'm going to expound on one of those posts..  I've added a plot summary here for "The Half-Truth Shall Set You Free".. 

Judge for yourselves..)


In class, Cory discusses the 1950s anti-communist witchhunt led by Senator Joe McCarthy, in which McCarthy falsely accused people of being subversive, and resorted to unethical and sometimes illegal tactics to deny them due process of law; among these methods were the frequent use of the "half-truth" (a statement that is actually true, but does not tell the whole story).  Cory asks his class if anyone has ever accused them of being something they know they're not, or of doing something of which they know they're not guilty.

Later, Maya finds out that her Uncle John (Katy's much-older brother) will be paying a visit from Cleveland, and he arrives sooner than expected (he is a disabled veteran confined to a wheelchair).  When he visits the gang at Topanga's, Maya and Shawn are happy to see him, but Katy is not, which doesn't go unnoticed; when Shawn later asks Katy why she's unhappy to see John, all she says is that John is responsible for the death of their father Roy, whom she never got a chance to know.  Maya confides in Shawn that there has to be more to this story and the two go see John to find out what it is.  At first John is reluctant to talk about it, but eventually tells Shawn and Maya the whole story: 

Living near Tulsa, Oklahoma in August of 1982, John killed their father, shooting him twice in the chest with a 12-gauge shotgun, but John strongly emphasizes that he acted in self-defense.  He then tells them about Roy, an unrepentant troublemaker with a significant criminal record, including drunkenness, petty theft, and especially domestic violence.  When John had grown big enough he finally decided he could stand up against Roy and testified against him in court, which empowered his mother Angela to do the same; right after the judge sentenced Roy to six months in jail, he warned John that once he got out he would come after him, but John warned Roy that he would be waiting.  Despite the fact that John and Angela moved to a different place, Roy escaped from jail two weeks before he was due to be released and made good on his threat to hunt them down, but John also made good on his warning that he would be ready for him; armed with the shotgun, John gave Roy a chance to walk away, but Roy refused and was about to shoot John, which is when John shot and killed Roy (though Roy's gun discharged, wounding John in the shoulder, from which he recovered, and still bears a scar which he showed Shawn and Maya).

John later testified before a grand jury that the shooting was in self-defense, and Angela suppported John's testimony, saying that John acted in her ​defense as well; the court ruled in John's favor, and the judge ordered the case dismissed with prejudice.  But even though John was legally exonerated, he became a social pariah in and around Tulsa,  so he and Angela agreed that the best thing to do (especially for Katy, who was born shortly after the killing) would be to permanently leave town.  Just days after graduating high school John moved his mother and sister to Possum Trot, Arkansas, legally changed his last name to Beckett (using most of the letters in his original last name) and then enlisted in the military, but sent allotment checks back home to Angela to help in raising his little sister.

Shawn later asks Topanga to gather more data about the shooting and subsequent investigation, which confirms to the letter what John told Shawn and Maya.   Shawn then goes to Katy and shows her the information Topanga gathered.  Remembering that John told him that Katy was born soon after he killed Roy, Shawn points out that if it weren't for John, neither Katy nor Maya would have lived- in short, John saved her life as well as his own and their mother's.  Katy is brought to tears by this news, but doesn't know how she'll be able to face John, but then the two are visited by an unlikely source-  Chet Hunter, Shawn's late father and spirit guide (whom Katy can now see as well as Shawn); Chet tells about how he has briefly met Roy, who now regrets the way he lived his life and that he deserved to die the way he did.  Chet then tells Katy that while she has Shawn, Maya and her extended family, she is the only family that John has left and that she should make the effort to reach out to him.  Before he leaves, Shawn asks Chet how it is that Katy can see him now; he simply replies that the two are now one and departs.

Realizing that Chet is right, Katy (with Shawn and Maya in tow) runs to see John, but he has checked out early from the hotel where he was staying and was on his way to the airport to head home.  They catch John right before he boards and Katy tells him she now fully understands what happened and why, and wants John to be a bigger part of her family.  John tries to apologize to Katy for killing Roy, but Katy, realizing that John had no other choice, tells him that no apology is neccessary; the two siblings tearfully reconcile, and John decides to stay in New York for an extra week.

During his extended stay, John grows closer to Katy, Maya, Shawn and their extended family, including (of course) the Matthews, Lucas, Farkle, Zay and many of Riley and Maya's friends.  He is then informed by Cory and Riley that Jonathan Turner has offered John a position at Abigail Adams High School as head of the Media Arts department and general manager of the high school's radio station.  John says he needs to think about it, but after only a few seconds he accepts, but now he is faced with the task of going back to Cleveland to gather his belongings to move to New York, so he asks if anyone wants to go with him to help out; he gets little response, but when he adds incentive in the form of free passes to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, almost everyone agrees to go along and make it a family road trip.


-Katy's birthday is revealed to be October 8, 1982, the same as actress Cheryl Texiera, who plays Katy.

-Evidently, Gammy Hart, who lived with Katy and Maya during the events of  the Season 1 episode "Girl Meets World: Of Terror", is not Katy's mother but ex-mother in law; the ongoing storyline lends creedence to the idea that Gammy decided to stay with Katy and Maya as a strong show of disapproval to Kermit for deserting his family; little is known of Gammy's whereabouts following Katy and Shawn's wedding.

-Before hiring on at AAHS, John worked for a midwestern media group in Cleveland; he is a voiceover announcer, writer, producer and host of his own radio show where he gave himself the nickname "Lonesome John"; his media connections were how he was able to procure free passes into to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum.  Cory mentions John's credentials, including bachelors degrees in communication and history.

-Maya's nickname for John is "Uncle Ironside" (named after the Raymond Burr character). 

-By the end of the episode, John feels comfortable enough to give nicknames to some of the others, including:

  • Riley - "Gidget"
  • Maya - "Batgirl"
  • Lucas - "Red Ryder", "Luke"
  • Smackle - "Izzy"
  • Farkle - "Linus"

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