It’s officially Ricky’s birthday and also the opening night of Frozen. Big Red shows at Camp Shallow Lake with a cake ready to celebrate his best friend. Big Red introduces himself to Jet as “Ashlyn’s boyfriend,” and there’s still a lot they need to discuss. Ahem, Ashlyn’s crush on Val.
Ricky asks E.J. if they’re good after Camp Prom. E.J. doesn’t want Ricky to sweat it. As Ricky is blowing out his candles, he’s wondering where the heck Gina is at this very moment. Gina is trying to keep things very zen in the wake of her breakup with E.J. so she’s doing yoga. Val’s making the rounds and saying her goodbyes. Val gives Gina some advice before she goes. “When the right person comes along, you’ll know. The timing will make sense,” Val says. Right after that, Ricky shows up. Timing is always everything.
Ricky wonders if things are all good with Gina after last night. “I like to know where I stand with people,” Gina says. Last night is over. Gina is moving on. Ricky hesitates for a moment and doesn’t know what he should say. Ricky deflects and asks if this is about E.J. Boy, just tell the girl how you feel!
As Gina is walking back to the cabin, Emmy stops her. She’s scared she’ll forget how to sing when she gets up on stage. Gina encourages Emmy and tells her, “Theater is a family even when we have our setbacks.” Miss Jenn surprises Gina and has some words of wisdom for Emmy: “Now go out there and find your voice.” This leads to an epic solo moment with Emmy as she kicks off “This Is Me.” Liamani Segura is a STAR!
Nini Returns For Opening Night
Just before the performance, Channing drops some major bombshells. He has about 10 cameras planted around the theater to catch any and all drama. Tonight’s performance is also live-streaming on Disney+. Everyone begins to panic, especially when Channing reveals he has surprises planned.
E.J. vows to make tonight’s performance dramatic enough for Channing. Once Channing leaves, E.J. swears that he was just acting. “We’re theater kids, and we’re going to do tonight our way,” E.J. tells the crew.
One of the surprises Channing definitely didn’t plan is Nini showing up at Shallow Lake. She sits down with Miss Jenn to talk about how California is going. Nina reveals that she’s been writing a lot. She’s happy in California. However, one of her moms thinks that she should finish her senior year at East High.
Nini doesn’t want to disappoint anyone. She has until the end of the night to decide if she’s staying or going. Miss Jenn makes her a deal. If Nini meets her at the firepit after the show, Nini’s coming back to East. If she doesn’t, Miss Jenn knows the other answer. “Stay or go, you’re always a Wildcat,” Miss Jenn says.
Carlos performs a precious version of “In Summer.” During the performance, Big Red texts Ashlyn that he wants to talk. When they sit down, he says he’s been doing a lot of thinking the last few weeks. “Whatever you’re thinking, I’m probably thinking it, too.” Not exactly. Big Red is “more sure than ever” that Ashlyn is the one for him. “You’re my supernova, Ash,” Big Red says. Instead of telling him the truth about her feelings, Ashlyn tells Big Red she’s “never been better.”
Kourtney Lets Go Of Her Nerves
Ahead of her big performance, Kourtney’s nerves are getting the better of her. Alex admits that she has anxiety, too. She also sees a therapist. Alex tells Kourtney that you never really get over anxiety, you just learn to live with it. This is just what Kourtney needs to hear.
Kourtney’s performance of “Let It Go” is nothing short of excellent. However, right in the middle of the performance, Channing shuts off the lights. This plunges the entire room into darkness. Miss Jenn and the rest of the audience pull out their phones to shine on Kourtney. She gathers the courage to keep on singing. Gina turns the lights back on and warns Channing to NOT get her started.
After Kourtney’s epic solo, Nini heads out. She sweetly leaves everyone an opening night card. When Ricky finds out that Nini is here, he’s understandably stunned. Kourtney and Nini have a sweet reunion before Nini exits.
Channing is a man who doesn’t give up. Backstage, he tries to drum up drama between Ricky and Gina. Ricky is D-O-N-E. Ricky grabs Channing’s camera and tells him that he and Gina were just “faking it” during rehearsal. (That is a lie, but okay.) He orders Channing to get lost. After making sure Gina is okay, Ricky heads out to perform his gentle version of “What Do I Know About Love.”
Gina is watching Ricky as E.J. watches her. When she looks at E.J., Gina realizes that he knows about her feelings for Ricky. And with that, Ricky finally looks over at Gina while singing about love. This is prestige television!
E.J. asks Val for support as he calls his dad. E.J. finally stands up to his dad, but his words fall on deaf ears. E.J.’s dad hangs up on him. Val comforts E.J. after the heartbreaking phone call. Meanwhile, Kourtney asks Ricky about his card from Nini. He awkwardly says that Nini forgot his. After the opening night is over, Miss Jenn runs to the firepit to find Nini. Nini’s not there, but she left a note. She’s heading west.
Corbin actually recognizes Miss Jenn from the first High School Musical movie, and it may just be the greatest moment of her life. Channing’s obsession with the documentary comes to a stop when Corbin finally sticks up for the Shallow Lake crew.
It’s the last night of camp, and Gina feels like the end of something. It’s also the start of something new as well. Corbin begins singing “Everyday” from High School Musical 2, and everyone joins in. Suddenly, E.J. announces that they’re trending in Brazil. Jet also hands Ricky an opening night card from Nini that he found. Nini bought him his lottery ticket.
Ricky & Gina Have Their Epic Moment
One month later, the cast assembles for the premiere of the documentary. There’s a red carpet and everything. Corbin pulls everyone aside to show the first full-length trailer. The trailer is straight out of Bravo. The footage is taken out of context, romances are teased in a big way, and Jet even confesses his feelings for Kourtney. The trailer ends with Big Red revealing that he’s bisexual.
Everyone is speechless. The crew bolts from the auditorium, and it’s just E.J., Corbin, Ricky, and Gina left. Gina tries to apologize to E.J., but he says that “we all saw this coming.” A heartbroken E.J. tells Ricky, “I’d fake slap you, Ricky, but you’re my brother.”
Corbin thinks this is a good time for him to exit, so it’s just Ricky and Gina left on stage. Gina’s never been one to hide her feelings, and she doesn’t do so now. She tells Ricky that E.J. may have seen this coming, but she didn’t.
“God, Ricky Bowen, you have been a surprise since the day we met,” Gina says. You weren’t the plan. You were never the plan. Plans change. And if you want me to shut up, I’ll shut up. But I don’t have maybe feelings about you. You aren’t a maybe. You’re a yes.”
She always wants people to know where she stands with them, so that’s what she’s just done with Ricky. Now she’s going to walk out of here with her head held high, and she’s not looking back.
Not unless Ricky stops her. As she walks away, he grabs her arm. “Wait,” he says before kissing her. Ricky and Gina finally get their place in the spotlight… together. When they pull away, Gina goes back in for another kiss. SCREAMS!!!! “Don’t get me started,” Ricky says. And that’s a wrap on HSMTMTS season 3!