A brief analysis of the GM ACM Riarkle moment in context, considering the Smarkle moments...
The way I see it, Farkle did have a moment involving real, hardcore feelings brewing up, during the “Menorah Monologue”, but it may not have resulted in him thinking, “Oh wow, now I have feelings for Riley…“
The Menorah Monologue moment most likely resulted in Farkle thinking, “Whoa…Riley really loves and cares enough about me to research my cultural background? She actually understands that I’m going through an identity crisis, right now, and got me a gift to help me figure out another way to grow into whoever I want to become and will accept me for whoever that is? She totally gets me…Wait, what are these feelings I’m feeling?”
The moment he set the menorah on the table, he pushed those feelings out of his mind to address Zay about the present he bought him. After that, he went back into boyfriend mode for Smackle.
Again, with the added context I did not have before I saw the episode, objectively speaking, I believe Farkle did feel feelings, in that moment. Whether or not they were romantic feelings for Riley, of the “Oh my God, I might be in love with Riley” persuasion, is unclear - but they did impact him. He did emote in a way that one would emote if they were feeling more emotions than they knew what to do with - like, I saw that face on Ross on Friends so many times, when he was having moments with Rachel. I just don’t think that Farkle has an understanding of what these feelings are, yet, especially considering the fact that he snapped out of them.
But we have to remember - having feelings is not a choice, but choosing whether or not to acknowledge them is.
Knowing what basically goes down in the Smarkle moments in S16 and in GB/IDF, I’m pretty positive that the Menorah Monologue moment, among a couple of other Riarkle moments to come, is something that Farkle will be reflecting on - This isn’t over.
Metaphorically, Riarkle is like a small, flickering flame inside a candle’s wick that needs more oxygen to light the room. We need to be patient for that oxygen. The oxygen is acknowledgement. Nothing can happen until both Riley and Farkle acknowledge their feelings.