See also The Substitute from the original series.
The Substitute is the fourth episode of Season 2 of Saved by the Bell (2020) and the fourteenth episode of the series overall. It was first released on November 24, 2021 on Peacock TV. This episode shares the same title as The Substitute from the original series Saved by the Bell.
Zack is the new substitute teacher at Bayside. DeVante meets Nadia's parents.
Mr. Kim teaches his class about John Locke. His slideshow is interrupted with a picture of Mac in a pool. Mr. Kim is angry and threatens Mac if the next slide isn't about John Locke. He clicks to the next one and sees that it's the right one. Just then, a call on the PA summons Mr. Kim to the office to retrieve his diarrhea medicine. Mr. Kim abruptly quits and leaves the room. Mac goes up front and dismisses the class. Daisy is angry with him for doing that.
Zack picks up Mac for a weekend. Together, they fish, skateboard, ride a roller coaster, and surf on green screen. They're interrupted by Delores coming in to vacuum. Zack says they can go to the real beach and Delores goes with them.
Zack reads Mac a story and tells him it's time for bed. Mac had a great weekend. It's fun having him home all the time. Zack says not having a job is the best. He doesn't understand why people complained about the historically high unemployment rates when he was governor. Mac doesn't want to go back to school and asks Zack to write him a note. Zack says school is important. That's where he'll meet the love of his life. He doesn't want to be single in college. Mac wants them to keep hanging out. Zack agrees that would be fun.
Daisy, Lexi, Aisha, Jamie, and DeVante are sitting in a booth at The Max. Daisy complains about having to come up with ways to get the volunteer hours they need for the Spirit Competition. She wants to make the talent show a charity fundraiser so those hours count. DeVante agrees to do it, but Lexi stops him when she hears that Mac has signed up. She says Mac wins every year and even DeVante can't beat him. His talent is hard to explain. Jamie tries, but Lexi says you have to see it to understand it. But seeing it will make you understand even less. Nadia approaches the table and asks if DeVante needs a ride to her house after school. He says no and asks if he can bring anything. She gives a suggestion for her stepmom and leaves. After she's gone, Daisy warns him that those candles are expensive. Lexi says that meeting parents is where a lot of rich kid/poor kid relationships go sour. She offers to do an etiquette montage with him, but he says he's good. Nadia's family may be rich, but they're still Black. Lexi gives him a rich person pop quiz about money which he fails.
When Mac arrives at school, Daisy sucks up to him and asks him to drop out of the talent show. He says he won't, but she tells him no one else will sign up if he's on the list. He agrees to drop out. As they take their seats, Toddman comes in and mentions Mr. Kim's early retirement. Colt says that Mr. Kim quit, leaving with a curse-filled statement about hating all of them and their parents. Toddman says they all got the email. He introduces their substitute, Zack. Mac's excited to see him and says he and his dad are gonna run the place.
Lexi summons DeVante for a meet-the-rich-parents montage. DeVante is still not worried and has to leave right away to make it on time. He shows her on his phone. It only takes 17 minutes by car, but his grandma's car died, so he has to take the bus, which takes almost two and a half hours. Lexi tells him to go and she'll do the montage with Spencer instead. After DeVante leaves, Spencer says he needs to leave too as his aunt's in the hospital. Despite this, Spencer walks around with a book on his head.
DeVante rides the bus.
Lexi quizzes Spencer on utensils.
DeVante is still on the bus.
Spencer recites a tongue twister. When he finishes, Lexi slaps him and says he did better.
DeVante startles awake on the bus.
Lexi lip syncs to a song.
A middle-aged woman peeks on DeVante's phone and notes that he's really late.
Lexi proclaims Spencer ready. She asks if he wants to go to The Max. He says no because his aunt just died.
It's dark out when DeVante arrives at Nadia's house. Dr. Coleman answers the door and tells him he's an hour and a half late.
Zack and Mac joke about him doing homework. Mac's making a plan for tomorrow, which includes selling hall passes he's made. Zack says he can do better and produces a stack of real hall passes. He throws away the ones Mac made. They can sell the real ones for twice as much and split the profits.
Dr. Coleman asks DeVante about being in the school play. DeVante tells the story about deciding to do the play after doing it last year. A butler comes up and puts a salad in front of DeVante, who is shocked that they have a "Geoffrey." After a moment, they all laugh. They call him that too and intentionally sought out a Black, British butler. The butler reveals that he's not really British, but they pay him so well that he fakes it. DeVante tells Mrs. Coleman to be careful or there will be a light-skinned woman in her place. She says that's already happened. She's his second wife. Dr. Coleman says DeVante is funny. If only he could make it to dinner on time. DeVante starts to apologize, but Dr. Coleman laughs. He remembers being young and taking the bus. Nadia says she's offered to drive him, but he never lets her. DeVante doesn't want Nadia to have to drop him off in his neighborhood and then drive back home by herself. Nadia suggests giving DeVante the Volvo. Dr. Coleman says it's a great idea. He can drive it home tonight. The butler brings a key.
DeVante finds it weird, but Asiah thinks it's great. He feels like a charity case. Daisy would feel weird, but she also likes the seat warmer. DeVante says he's going to give the car back and Daisy and Aisha yell at him because they don't want to go back to the bus. DeVante stops Daisy as she goes to get out, worried she'll spill her drink. However, just as she opens the door, Spencer rides by on his unicycle, running right into the door and leaving a huge dent.
Mac and Zack draw a crowd as they sell the passes. Jamie says Zack's the coolest teacher they've ever had and Mr. Dewey has a "SLUT" tattoo on the inside of his lip. Zack says it was Mac's idea. Lexi says they're so much better than the crappy ones Mac usually sells. They're running low on change, so Zack sends Mac to the cafeteria to get more.
Mac runs into Jessie and Slater in the hall and asks him if everything is okay. He says he's just having fun with his dad, but they know how Zack is. They encourage him to put up healthy boundaries. Mac says he's okay just as back down the hall, Zack starts doing the worm. After Mac walks away, Jessie compliments Slater for encouraging Mac to set healthy boundaries and asks if he's been going to therapy. He denies it and says it's a sports thing.
DeVante is working at The Max and comes to wait on Aisha and Lexi. He needs money fast and they were hiring. He needs $500 to fix the car. Lexi says she knows a great money-making scheme, but Aisha interrupts and asks why he didn't just tell Nadia and her family. He doesn't want to feel like a charity case. He just needs to fix the car and give it back. DeVante hides his uniform under Lexi's coat when he sees Nadia walking toward the table. She asks him to give her a ride home after the talent show and he says he will.
Zack teaches the student, using pop culture references. He finishes and takes questions from the students. A girl asks if he's seeing anyone. Mac says his mom. She asks if it's serious and he tells her they're married. Colt asks him about being the King of Bayside and asks how they beat Valley in the Spirit Competition. He tells them the competition is stupid. He doesn't even remember doing it when he was in high school. Once they leave school, they won't remember most of the things they do there. They'll remember the friendships they made. Mac asks if he's feeling okay. An announcement comes on calling Mr. Morris to the office to get his diarrhea medicine. Mac laughs until Zack says that's for Mac. Daisy asks if he forgot he and his dad have the same last name. He did.
Backstage, people get ready for the talent show. Gil finds Mac, who is pouting, and introduces himself. He thanks Mac for giving someone else a chance to win. Mac remembers that he would win. He would be the best. He decides to join after all. To Daisy's frustration, others immediately start dropping out, including Spencer and Jamie and Lexi. Gil apologizes. Daisy's worried they won't get their spirit hours. If they don't have at least two acts, they can't count the time.
Toddman welcomes the audience to the show and introduces Mac's act, Inherent Wonder 3: Arise. Mac steps onto the stage.
Daisy asks the adults if they'd be willing to perform. Toddman says the Birchwood Boys broke up and then started a new band called the Birchwood Boys without him. Daisy asks Slater to do a dance like he makes them watch in gym, but Slater doesn't want to follow Mac's act. He points to where Mac is hovering on the stage. Gil offers to perform if they can't anyone else, despite his crippling stage fright. He has no talent, but he can recite pi. Zack says if things are that bleak, he can pull something together.
Mac finishes and the audience applauds. DeVante feels connected to his great-grandparents.
Zack goes onto the stage and flips a half-full water bottle, which lands upright on the stool. Everyone applauds.
Daisy can't believe Gil was willing to sacrifice himself to save the show. He says he did it for her and kisses her.
Mac is angry and declares war.
DeVante arrives at Nadia's house. He made her ride in the back seat. She says he's been acting weird, but he denies it. He tries to make her get out on the driver's side, so she asks him what's going on. He goes around and tells her the car is dented. He tells her he got a job to pay for it and then he'll give the car back. She tells him $500 is nothing. It's no big deal. She once accidentally blew up her dad's boat doing a gender reveal for an Animal Crossing villager. That was a big deal. She can put this on her car. He was stressed out all day and she can just put it on her card. Everything is so easy for her. He tells her to keep the car. He's going to take the bus in two and a half hours when it arrives.
Daisy tells Aisha about her moment with Gil on the bus. Aisha and Daisy are both upset with DeVante for giving the car back, but DeVante says he had to. It ruined his relationship with Nadia. He tells them what happened. They tell him the Bayside kids don't have to think about money the way they do. It sucks that Nadia didn't think about that. A $500 emergency would bankrupt a lot of people. Greg pokes his head over the seat behind them and says when he broke his arm, he didn't tell his parents for a week because he was worried about how much it would cost. When he hears what happened to DeVante, he laughs. The entire bus boos him. Daisy defends him and he tells him it's not easy dating someone without any problems. Daisy and Aisha both turn against him, citing several examples of the struggles of Black women.
Mac tells Mrs. Zoracki all she has to do is tell his dad she's the new US Government teacher. Mac's taken care of the rest. Mrs. Zoracki deduces that he hates his dad. Mac says he doesn't. He's always wanted to spend more time with his father, but doing so has made him feel bad about himself. His dad is better than him at everything. As long as his dad is at Bayside, Mac will always being in his shadow. Mrs. Zoracki understands.
In the hallway, after Mac has walked away, Zack takes off the Mrs. Zoracki disguise sadly. Jessie comes by and deduces that he was trying to prank Mac. Zack was the one who got pranked instead, in the heart. Jessie suggests just talking to Mac.
Nadia waits at The Mac for DeVante. When he comes out, he apologizes to her for what he said. She understand why he said it. She was happy when the Douglas kids came to Bayside. Before that, there were only five Black kids at Bayside. Now she has friends who understand why she needs a warning before they decide to shoplift at Brandy Melville. Then she ended up doing the same thing to him. She has privilege and ignored that. She shouldn't have asked him to buy her stepmom an $85 candle. Their relationship will be more complicated than they thought, but they agree they still like each other. DeVante says they should try talking about things first. And she should ask him first before giving him a car. She asks if he wants a car. He says yes, but he also wants to keep working at The Max until he can get one of his own. He can borrow hers until then. He gives her some flowers out of his pocket.
Zack tells Mac he's not going to be his government teacher anymore. It was nice to be in a place he felt like a winner, but Bayside is Mac's now. They make plans for a green screen moon party. After Zack has walked away, Daisy celebrates that Mac's plan worked. Mac says he didn't win. His dad was one step ahead of him the whole time and let him win. Mrs. Zoracki is an anagram for Zack Morris. He taught Daisy to anagram the letters in the names of everyone she meets to make sure they don't reveal their true identity. It's still nice the this father cared enough to let him win, but Mac wanted to stop feeling like he was living in his father's shadow. Even when his father's not there, Mac still can't beat him. Mac spots something in a nearby cabinet of awards and pulls it out. It's a picture of his dad from the 1991 Spirit Competition. Bayside came in second. That's why Zack pretended he didn't care about it. If Mac wins, he'll be out of his father's shadow forever. Toddman comes up behind them, upset because Zack left right as Toddman was ready to name him Teacher of the Year.
- Haskiri Velazquez as Daisy Jiménez
- Mitchell Hoog as Mac Morris
- Josie Totah as Lexi Haddad-DeFabrizio
- Alycia Pascual-Peña as Aisha Garcia
- Belmont Cameli as Jamie Spano
- Dexter Darden as DeVante Young
- John Michael Higgins as Ronald Toddman
- Elizabeth Berkley Lauren as Jessie Spano
- Mario Lopez as A.C. Slater
- Matthew Sato as Gil Vatooley
- Mariah Iman Wilson as Nadia Coleman
- Abraham Rodriguez as Spencer Buckley
- DeShawn Cavanaugh as Colt Cassidy
- Brandon Marcel as Greg
- Jill Basey as Delores
- Christopher Guyton as Dr. Coleman
- Kalilah Harris as Mrs. Coleman
- Andrew Hwang as Mr. Kim
- Kris Ann Russell as Mrs. Zoracki
- Gabby Sanalitro as Middle-aged woman
- Mark Anthony Williams as Butler
- Katie Rose Law as Cute Girl
Notes and Trivia
- This episode title is a reference to an episode with the same name The Substitute from the original series Saved by the Bell.