Last week we saw the show end on some high notes. Lou is back in the game with new vigor and hopes to make the show great. Gwen and Gordie are connecting. Sadly, Simon is dealing with his own sexual desires and Robbie ran off the stage. Sexual tension dominates this week’s episode as various characters are dealing and/or confronted with their own reality.

The Show

The show within the show continues to struggle this week. At the beginning of the episode, ticket sales have finally spiked, but it is due to a highly provocative video what was released highlighting the sexuality in the play.

Rise Video

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Lou and Tracey find out about the video and choose to do nothing at first; finally, they are getting a break. Things are going better until shit hits the fan. The principle watches the video and is irate. He demands it to be taken off the website. On top of that, Simon’s dad begins a strong effort to stop the show and the PTA is joining the cause as well.

The name of the episode is “The Petition,” so it was already assumed this would happen, but with only nine days until Showtime what will they do (can you see me biting my fingernails as I write this <read with deep sarcasm>)?

Sasha’s Baby

We found out a couple of episodes that Sasha is pregnant. She is dealing with the consequences of her sexual encounters and she continues to flounder around, unsure what she is going to do. She starts this episode at the doctors for a checkup and see’s the baby for the first time.

Sasha's Baby

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She’s sent in a whirlwind of emotions. She asks Michael if he’ll be the godparent and then he begins to tell her that she has a bright future. Eventually, she makes her way back to the teacher Tracey. Tracey shares her story of giving up a baby when she was younger and that she will be there for her no matter what she chooses.

I also think this plotline has been done so many times in other shows that something original would have been nice.

Simon’s Big Surprise

The one plot point I really appreciated was what I call Simon’s Big Surprise. As mentioned before, Simon’s father Robert has decided to rally the PTA to stop the show. He signs the petition, which causes Simon to confront his mother. The mom said it’s a mistake and that she “will take care of it.”

A couple of scenes later we see the confrontation take place.   So much is revealed here. That the two never touch. That the marriage is a mask for the father. Moreover, it goes further to say that the dad is hiding behind religion, god, and morality.

Simon's Dad

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Could it be that the father is secretly gay as well? The dad refuses to own anything, but the implication here is powerful. I once worked in a homophobic church and left the church due to its hard-lined beliefs against homosexuality. I appreciated the authenticity and struggle of the father as he wrestles with what his church says versus what he knows deep down is right.

An Affair in the Open

Vanessa and Coach have been hot and heavy for a whole episode. Last week, Gwen saw the two together at the motel and at the beginning of this episode, she tells Lilette. Of course, Lilette confronts her mom, since that is the relationship they have, and her mom says that the coach and she have something special. A couple scenes later, Vanessa shows up to the coach’s office and reveals that the kids know and they don’t have to hide anymore. Unfortunate for Vanessa, Coach has his eyes set on fixing his family, and Vanessa is heartbroken.

Vanessa and Lilette Fight

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So what is a mom supposed to do? She runs back to her daughter for emotional support. The parentified daughter is asked to help the mom pick up the pieces of her broken heart, but thankfully Lilette lets her mom have it and refuses to “be her girlfriend” this time. Mom gets pissed off and leaves the apartment.

The results of a secret affair are plainly seen here. Vanessa is left heartbroken and alone. There could not have been another option for the writers. The negative choices have to have negative consequences and sadly this is what happened to Vanessa.

Robbie’s Mojo

Robbie shows back up to rehearsal and apologizes for how he stormed off. He looks defeated so Tracey tells Lou he needs to help him get his “Mojo” back.

Lou ends up taking him to Coach Strickland and releases Robbie from rehearsals for the week so that he can play in the game on Friday. Coach does not promise anything but tells Robbie that he needs to prove himself in order to play.

The rest of the scenes for Robbie are he on the field, working his ass off to play. He ends up eliciting Gordie’s help one night as they run plays deep into the night. Coach comes out and tells Robbie that he will be starting in the game.

The Game

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I am not sure how I would have written it differently, but as predicted, Robbie comes out and wins the football game in the standard fashion. Seconds left. They are behind. Takes the ball in himself. Victory! I wish they had worked harder to find a less obvious choice for Robbie to find his mojo, since this one seems typical and something we have seen so many times. In a completely predictable conclusion, he finds his mojo and we anticipate this will transfer over to him being good in the play next week.

Finishing it up

In typical Rise fashion, the last couple of scenes are lined up with a song. The song of the week is “Whispers” and we get a glimpse of Vanessa driving alone. Coach alone in his motel room while Robbie takes Lou to visit a woman that I assume is his mom.

Principles office

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The great twist at the end was that the principle called Tracey into his office. The principle is getting heat from the district for the play and he needs the play to be cleaned up. Tracey asks why Lou isn’t there and the principal says that he doesn’t trust Lou. He continues by saying that he knows Tracey wants to take over the department and if she helps him out then the department is hers.

Will Tracey be a spy and work to thwart Lou’s vision? Will this create more chaos in the show or will she stand by Lou?

Overall, there were some good parts to this episode, but most of the scenes and plotlines have been played out in other shows. I am hopeful that next week we will be able to see some of the more subtle plotlines play out and see more depth in the character development.