Rise Episode 10 – Opening Night

The season finale of any show aims to close up any holes revealed during the season.  We pick up this episode with the following list of holes to fill:

  • PTA, Principle Ward, and the district are pummeling the show. Will it be good or not?
  • Simon’s struggle with his sexuality, will he embrace it or continue to stay in the closet?
  • Lillette’s mom is gone, will they be able to reconcile?
  • Maashous’s mom now wants him back, what will happen with this relationship?
  • Tracey and Lou’s relationship is strained and they aren’t talking to each other, will this continue?
  • Gwen is still pissed at her dad and won’t relent her bitchiness towards him, will they ever be happy again?
  • Will Robbie finally find his passion in the graveyard scene?

Wow, that is a lot to cover and clear up in an hour show, but the writing team did a great job integrating the various plotlines together while the “Show” was going on in the background. Answers were given, each story arc was covered and new cliffhangers were presented in hopes for a season 2, but the audience didn’t respond to this show has officially been canceled. I was a bit disappointed at the resolution to some of the storylines, as they felt unimaginative and flat; but they were resolved.

The Show

The show. Last week we left off with the stripping down of the show.  Every scene that had something questionable is ripped away.  Lou begins the episode feeling defeated and the kids feel the same way.

principle
Photo Source: NBC.com

An hour before show time, everyone is getting ready when Principle Ward asks Lou to remove one last scene, the beating scene.  This scene is pivotal to the entire show and you can see the turmoil in Lou’s eyes.   Principle Ward leaves and Lou finally breaks. One by one, he tells the cast to put back all of the scenes that were originally pulled.  They question him and he decides to put it up for a vote, which they all unanimously agree to add back in the scenes regardless of the consequences.

Tensions rise as the show begins and Lillette is front and center, caressing her body while singing the intro song.  The rest of the play Principal Ward goes around and tries to get them to stop it, but fails every time.  Finally, the Superintendent tells Principle Ward to let them finish the show.

The Ward and the Superintendent approach Lou at the end of the play.  Lou is ready to be fired for disobeying the instructions.  The Superintendent tells him that the play was good and that he respects what he did.  A huge victory at first.  Then the Superintendent tells him that he has people he needs to answer too and that he cannot just sit back and not do anything.  Unfortunately, the drama program is going to be cut completely next year and this will be the only night the show is on stage.  Lou fights and tells them to fire him, but they don’t.  The consequences run much deeper than just him getting hit with it, but the kids are the ones that will suffer long-term.

Simon

Last week, Simon had a choice to make; does he embrace his sexuality or does he keep it hidden to keep the family together.

Simon finds out that his entire family will be present at the play, including his dad.  The plot thickens when we find out that Lou has decided to disobey Principle Ward, and goes back to the original version of the show.

Simon needs to decide if he is going to kiss the boy in the scene or please his parents.  He tells Lou that he can’t do the scene, and Lou gives him an out by letting him choose what he is going to do.

simon
Photo Source: NBC.com

The scene comes up with Simon and Jeremy.  Thankfully, he chooses to live his own life and he kisses the boy, thus revealing to himself and his family that he is attracted to guys.  I had hoped that this would be the resolution for his storyline.  Living a life for other people is not living YOUR own life.  I had struggled with living a life of integrity for years, and the stress/anxiety isn’t worth it.

Maashous

Poor Maashous.  He’s been tossed around from house to house for so long.  Abused, rejected and left to fend for himself, he finally has found a home that is loving and caring. BUT, the episode starts with him packing up his clothes to move in with his mom.

Mashous
Photo Source: NBC.com

He arrives at the theater and a new suit and tie are waiting for him with a note from Lou and family. To make matters worse, when he goes to thank them they are incredibly sweet and endearing.

The generosity was too much. The play goes on and by the end of the show, during the ovation, he has already left the building.  He couldn’t say goodbye to the only family that showed him kindness.

Lillette and Vanessa

Vanessa finally shows back up home.  Lillette is obviously pissed that she’s been gone for days on end. Vanessa apologies that she disappeared, but she needs to share her good news with Lillette. She finally found a good job as an office manager and that they will be moving to Philly.  Vanessa paints a great picture of them living in Philly, Lillette is able to get to New York for auditions.  Philly has a great theater. ETC. ETC.

Lillette is mixed.  Yes, Philly is good for her, but what about Robbie (her love).  She struggles throughout the episode to share the news with Robbie.  Making matters worse, Robbie confesses his love to her.

Lill
Photo Source: NBC.com

What’s a girl to do?  Well, she ends up saying that she loves him too, but that she has to move to Philly.  In typical fashion, he tells her to stay.  And that’s where it ended for these two.  We never know what she chose, an open hole for the non-existent season two to answer (oh well).

This storyline was very typical so I’m not too bothered by the way it all played out.

 Tracey and Lou

They aren’t speaking.  Lou accused Tracey of some harsh things.  Will they work it out?  Of course, they will.

In the world of Hollywood endings, Tracey can’t be the antagonist in the show.  The rift between the two causes Lou to feel unsettled, so he goes to her house to make amends.  He apologizes but Tracey still won’t go to opening night.

After a sequence of events, the dreaded prop master calls Tracey as he is frantically searching for the fake gun.  Since that scene was changed, she is wondering why he needs it and Tracey finds out that the show has been changed back to the original version. She runs into the bathroom to get ready.

She gets to the theater and storms into the lighting booth and confronts Maashous.  He tells her what happened and then she looks down at the kids and suddenly her mood changes.  The beauty of the production and the passion of the students overwhelm her.   Suddenly, Principle Ward storms in and demands for the show to be stopped, but they refuse.  Tracey has Lou’s back.

Gwen

She’s pissed off at dad still, for breaking up their family, which honestly is starting to get a little old. Coach Strickland continues to pursue his daughter.  He gets a new rental for them to live in and even gives her the room with a view of the River.  She’s ungrateful and storms out telling him not to go to the show.

Gwen
Photo Source: NBC.com

Being a stubborn man, he shows to support her regardless of her wishes.  She’s sharing her frustrating with Gordy, but Gordy steps in and convinces her to give her dad a chance.  He reveals how he treated his father during his drinking days and now is connecting with him.  Gwen smiles and says she will give it a shot.During the final ovation, Coach Strickland brings roses to his daughter and the two share a moment. They have a chance to work it out.

Robbie

Robbie’s mom is terminal, and his one wish was that his mom comes to see opening night. In the beginning, we see his mom in a car with Robbie and his dad, all going to the school.  How will Robbie be able to perform the dreaded graveyard scene? Will he finally connect with his emotions and be able to give a moving performance?

robbie
Photo Source: NBC.com

With his mom there, he finally connects.  He knows that her time is limited, so it’s her illness and the thought of losing her that finally digs deep inside him and brings out the pain.  The scene is emotional and I even felt it a bit while watching.  As he struggles to continue, Lillette and Michael come up to help him continue with his song.  Great job.

Finale

The season finale of this show had some good and bad points.  I appreciated that they made an effort to wrap up the loose ends and I really loved the inclusion of the music from Spring Awakening.  I had no idea how they were going to pull that off, but overall it was good.

On the other hand, some of the plotlines were easily seen and there weren’t many surprises in the show.  It felt that they put too much into one episode instead of closing some of the plot points in the previous show.

In the end, I did enjoy the show. I know some of my critiques were critical of the plotlines and some of the story arcs were too typical, but I am a huge fan of Spring Awakening and I enjoyed hearing the music. The writers also did a good job shadowing the musical with the lives of the kids, but not making it too obvious.  I am sorry to see the show go, so we wish you well Rise cast.  Cheers.

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