Rehearsals continued on for ‘Spring Awakening’ during the March 20 episode of ‘Rise.’ Robbie and Lillette discovered their chemistry, and Gordy’s life took another shocking turn.
After the events of last week’s episode, with the kids demanding Lou return as the director of Spring Awakening, Scranton High’s principal is now ready to step back and let Lou fall on his own. Since the kids burned the costumes and set pieces, the drama department has no production budget. The show is already off to a shaky start, and this doesn’t make things any easier. Also, Robbie is struggling to learn his lines. He’s being pulled back and forth between show practice and football practice, creating tension everywhere. Lou goes out to the field to confront Coach Strickland about Robbie. It doesn’t go well for Lou. Robbie’s got to prep for the game and football rules, so…
Simon’s parents are adamant that he pull out of the play. His dad calls Spring Awakening “trash.” Their pastor is supportive and doesn’t lean one way or the other. Simon is clearly feeling the pressure, but he knows this show is going to be something special. Meanwhile, Lou is staying at the school late when he gets a call that Gordy’s been in a car accident. Gordy swears he wasn’t drinking and driving. He says he was just going for a drive in the middle of the night, but Lou and Gale think the whole situation is sketchy.
With the production budget completely gone, Lou has to find a way to get some money for the show. He doesn’t want to beg at the council meeting, but Tracy knows Lou has no idea what he’s in for. At the meeting, Lou makes a big speech, but it doesn’t make an impact. Coach Strickland and the football program ask for a $117,000 jumbo tron, and everyone’s suddenly ready to write the check. Tracy gets fed up with everyone at the meeting. All the other departments get money, except the drama department. “The arts is what separates us from the apes,” Tracy says. “What does football do but gives these kids concussions?” She says it will cost $20,000 to produce the show, but they’ll make it work with $14,000. Later, Lou snaps at Tracy. “I need you to support me and not be a liability,” he says. And with that, Tracy rightfully storms out.
Lillette gathers up the courage and asks Robbie to run lines with her. He agrees, but he decides last minute to ditch her when another teammate wants to continue practicing. The next day, Robbie is pretty clueless about his lines at practice. Lillette doesn’t let Robbie off the hook about ditching her. If he wants to run lines, he can catch her during her break.
Gwen’s mom is still harboring major hatred towards her husband over his affair with Lillette’s mom, and she takes that anger and directs it towards Lillette getting cast as the lead. At the Mazzuchelli dinner, Lou tries to get Gordy and Maashous to connect, but Gordy is NOT having it. He’s angry at the world and taking it out on everyone around him.
At rehearsal, Simon and Jeremy’s connection is made abundantly clear. They almost kiss, and Simon’s really thrown off by his feelings. Jeremy asks Simon whether or not he wants to study together. Simon agrees, but he backs out while feeling vulnerable. He asks Annabelle out on a date instead. Gwen continues to perform way too big for the group numbers. Lou asks Gwen to give him a little less. She walks off in tears. After this tense moment, Michael comes up to Lou and admits he feels weird changing in the utility closet. He wants to change in the boys’ room. Lou has no problem with this and wants to know if Michael needs help with telling the other guys. Michael say he can handle it on his own.
Gail still believes that Gordy’s been drinking. She wants to involve the school to know for sure. Gordy has a genetic disposition to alcohol abuse since Lou’s father was an alcoholic. Lou confronts Gordy once again at school, and his son swears he’s stopped drinking. Lou doesn’t want Gordy to continue to shut everyone and everything out. Gordy believes that his father looks at him as a “huge disappointment” because he’s not an artist, photographer, or musician. “I’m not the new kid you brought in to replace me,” Gordy continues. “I’m not like you. I’m not like anyone in this family.” Lou tells his son that he doesn’t need to be artist to be loved, but Gordy doesn’t believe him. Lou goes to the principal for help. They go to Gordy’s locker and Lou finds booze. Lou is crushed.
Lou and Gail try to figure out what to do about Gordy. They consider sending their son to a rehab program. Lou doesn’t want to send him there, but Gail’s running out of patience. Coach Strickland steps up and wants to help. He’s willing to work with Gordy to get him back on track.
Lillette brings herself face-to-face with Gwen to settle this tension between them. Lillette admits Gwen was right about her mom. “I just wanted you to know I’m not my mom,” Lillette promises. Robbie shows up at the diner this time to run lines with Lillette. They’re so cute as they practice. He even holds her hand! At next practice, Robbie and Lillette’s chemistry is FIRE and perfectly in tune.
Michael goes to change in the boys’ dressing room, and he’s totally expecting pushback. But the guys are totally cool and normal about it. The smile on Michael’s face is enough to make your heart melt. After rehearsal, Gwen confronts Lou about why he didn’t cast her as Wendla. “I saw something in Lillette, that’s all,” Lou says. He notes that playing Else is about channeling pain, betrayal, and longing. He wants Gwen to dig deep inside of her and expose those emotions. “I think you can be extraordinary,” he continue. Isn’t that what we all want? For someone to just believe in us? She gets up and sings. It isn’t hard for her to channel the pain she’s feeling at the moment. Her feelings are just below the surface. Lou is blown away by her performance.
When Lillette walks out of school, she sees Robbie kissing a girl. This turn of events completely blindsides Lillette. Maybe Robbie’s not the guy she thought he was. Simon goes on a date with Annabelle, but he couldn’t be more bored. When he gets home, his parents reveal that St. Francis Prep had an opening and they’ve enrolled him in a new school!