Episode 2 starts with the fall out of the theater department’s protest from the pilot. Principal Ward informs Mr. Mazzu that all of the things that they burned would come from the department’s budget, which left them with nothing. Mazzu’s problems extend past the theater to home, where he and his wife have to deal with their son, Gordy, and his bad behavior. Gwen has her own problems at home that she has to deal with. Her parents are having issues because of her father’s infidelity and this is affecting Gwen’s life at school as well as at home. Simon is also having issues at home; his parents are not happy with his choice to participate in the provocative show. His own doubts cause him to struggle with his own feelings about his role. His best friend Lilette and Robbie appear to have a budding relationship, that turns out to be one sided. Tensions rise between Mazzu and head football coach, Sam Strickland, over how Robbie Thorne uses his practice time and some issues Gordy is having off the field.

 

Observations from Episode 2 “Most of All to Dream”

  1. I don’t like to make predictions, I’d rather just enjoy where the story takes void of any expectations, but I can’t help but make them when they seem obvious. I think Simon is gay. The doubts and concerns he displays throughout this episode seem like ones of someone that is trying to keep a secret. He’s concerned that people would interpret him studying with his love interest in the show as a date. He took a girl out that he wasn’t interested in as an excuse to not go and study. It would be an interesting plotline for his character and would make for some great scenes between him and his parents.
  2. Speaking of Simon’s parents, they frustrate me. I couldn’t imagine anymore cardboard and stereotypical characters than those two. They are dull and bland and overly religious. They don’t have any depth or nuance to them, their purpose just seems to be the overly religious parents that don’t show any tolerance. These characters don’t reflect all religious people and it’s tiring to see the same stereotype over and over again. Hopefully this changes but it doesn’t look promising.
  3. This episode was paced much better and didn’t feel nearly as overstuffed as the pilot. I wasn’t that surprised by it, however it is still a good sign that the show is finding it’s footing.
  4. Robbie Thorne is an interesting character for me. I think the actor that plays him, Damon J. Gillespie, is very talented but he seems to lack the charisma that this character needs. Robbie Thorne is the “Mr. Everything” of this school. He raps at pep rallies, he’s the star quarterback, he can sing and he’s incredibly popular. This character is usually very charismatic and he isn’t. He feels more reserved. I think it works for him because it’s a different take on a played out character but I’m not quite sure yet. This budding relationship with Lilette, played by Auli’I Cravalho, appears to be the main relationship of the show, which will bring a lot of attention to these characters. If they don’t work, the show will feel a little flat. So far it’s working but it’s definitely something that will have my attention.
  5. The most interesting character so far for me is Gwen Strickland. In the pilot she was presented as a mean girl that was the antagonist to Lilette’s protagonist. She always seemed somber and upset, which made her dull and uninteresting to watch. In this episode she was a star. We got to see more of why she has that demeanor and the struggles that she deals with. That pain was beautifully shown in the final scene of the episode when we get to hear her sing. It was a captivating scene and the best scene in the two episodes of the show so far. More importantly it showcased Gwen as one of the most interesting characters and Amy Forsyth as one of the better actors on the show. If Rise hopes to be successful it is going to need a star to emerge, Amy Forsyth showed that she is more than capable of being that star.

Image Credit: NBC

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