In this episode of Rise season 1, titled “This Will God Willing Get Better,” Lou and Tracey lead the cast through a series of rehearsals during tech week, but said rehearsals do not go well. Meanwhile, Maashous learns of something that could drastically change his life, Michael reaches out to a former friend, and Simon’s struggle with his feelings for Jeremy begins to impact his performance in the show as well as his relationship with Annabelle.

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Lou Lashes Out During Rehearsals

It’s tech week, but instead of taking things slowly as Tracey suggests, Lou decides that they’ll do a full run-through of the show. It does not go well. During one of their rehearsals, Robbie is performing the scene that is the emotional climax of the show. Alas, he’s having a lot of trouble with the scene, and Lou is very disappointed. Apparently, Lou is disappointed about everything right now because the show isn’t coming together as flawlessly as he assumed it would.

Now that he’s riding the bench during football practice, Robbie needs things to work out with the show. Alas, he is still struggling with his performance, and Lou’s so-called advice isn’t helping him. It only adds to the pressure he’s feeling and makes it harder for him to perform during rehearsals.

When Lou once again tries pushing Robbie during rehearsal, they both end up having a break-down of sorts. Robbie storms off-stage, yelling that he lost everything because of the play. Lou also storms off, though only to the prop room. Tracey tries to get him to calm down, but Lou ends up ranting about how the show sucks and he made a mistake in choosing to do Spring Awakening. Tracey tells Lou to get over himself because the kids are out there giving it their all and many of them have bigger problems than he does. Alas, Lou is only concerned about his own sense of failure, so he abandons his cast in the middle of rehearsal.

Eventually, Lou returns to rehearsal, only to see that his cast managed to pull it together all under Tracey’s direction. I wonder if Lou will finally start to realize that the biggest problem the show has is his lack of experience and his unwillingness to listen to anyone else.

(One of my favorite things about this episode is that both Robbie and Tracey call Lou out on his selfishness. According to Robbie, “Not everything’s about you, Lou!” Unfortunately, Lou refuses to take their words to heart and continues to make everything about him and his problems.)

Lou is also upset in this episode because no one is buying tickets to the show. The principal tells Lou that the theatre department’s budget for next year will depend on how well the show sells out, so the fact that it isn’t selling at all is a big problem. After trying and failing to talk up the show during one of his English classes, Lou ends up buying 30 tickets himself, but it barely makes a dent.

Michael Reaches Out to An Old Friend

Michael finally gets a bit more screen-time in this episode as he tries to reconnect with his former best friend. When Michael sees Sasha arguing with her boyfriend, he tries reaching out to her. Alas, Sasha doesn’t want his help because she’s still angry that he basically disappeared on her a few months back. (Sasha is the girl I did not remember who was randomly featured in the last episode because she’s pregnant and she turned to Tracey for support.) Once Michael learns about Sasha’s pregnancy, he asks if she’s made a decision yet, but she says she hasn’t. They get into an argument, and Sasha tells him to keep quiet about her pregnancy before storming off.

Later, Michael sees Sasha arguing with her boyfriend again. He’s been pressuring her about getting an abortion, but Sasha isn’t ready to make that decision. Michael tries to get Sasha’s boyfriend to back off, but when the kid starts spewing transphobic comments, they end up getting into a fight. Sasha then gets angry at Michael for starting the fight. She tells him that she doesn’t even know who he is anymore.

After rehearsal, Michael apologizes to Sasha for the fight. Michael tries to explain that he only pulled away from her because he was going through a lot in discovering that he is trans, but Sasha doesn’t understand why he couldn’t talk to her about it. Michael begs her to give him a second chance because she’s still his best friend. In a rare happy turn of events, Sasha does just that.

Simon Starts to Figure Things Out

Simon is still struggling to figure out his feelings for Jeremy, but he gets a bit closer to that understanding in this episode. Early in the episode, Simon and Jeremy are really connecting on-stage. After rehearsal, Annabelle confronts Simon about his on-stage chemistry with Jeremy, but Simon claims it was just acting. Annabelle says she wants them to finish what they started at the steel mill when they almost slept together.

Later, Jeremy tries to talk to Simon about the kiss they shared. Simon is still in denial about his feelings for Jeremy. So when Jeremy confronts him about their relationship, Simon says that Jeremy has the wrong impression, and he puts their chemistry down to acting. Since Simon refuses to even talk about their feelings for one another, Jeremy ends up pulling away from him and that creates a disconnect between them on-stage.

Later, Simon and Annabelle are about to have sex when Simon realizes that he cannot go through with it. Simon tries to explain that his reaction isn’t about her. But Annabelle is hurt, and she ends up kicking him out. Simon may not be ready to admit that he wants to be with Jeremy, but at least he’s making progress in figuring out who he doesn’t want to be with.

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Maashous Gets Some Upsetting News

Maashous is still living with Lou’s family, apparently under the radar. We know this because when Maashous’ new social worker wants to meet with him, he has to go to said meeting with his foster mother because no one knows he’s living with Lou and Gail. When Maashous meets with his new social worker, she tells him that his mother is doing well and her parole officer thinks she’s ready to take him back. Because Maashous hasn’t lived with his mother since he was a kid, the social worker says the next step is for him to meet with his mom so they can get reacquainted.

Instead of telling Gail and Lou about this situation with his mother, Maashous takes out his frustration on the Mazzus’ broken dryer. After he accidentally breaks said dryer while doing laundry, he fails to own up to it and tries fixing it himself in the middle of the night. He then gets into a fight with Gail that ends with Gail telling him that one thing they never do in their house is lie to one another. (I mean, that’s nice in theory, but Gordy lied to his parents for ages, so lying isn’t exactly new to the Mazzuchelli family.)

The next day, Gail catches Maashous packing up his things because he assumed that their fight meant she would want him to move out. Gail says that even when she gets angry with him, she will never kick him out or stop caring about him. Gail tells Maashous that he’s part of their family now and she doesn’t want him to leave. (While this is a nice sentiment, I don’t feel like we’ve seen enough of Maashous’ connection with Gail and Lou to justify this idea that he is now part of their family. I also have to side-eye this family thing since Gail and Lou still haven’t told anyone that Maashous is living with them, so his foster mother is still listed as his official guardian.)

In Other News

— Despite the many problems that their affair created, it takes all of five minutes for Lilette’s mom and Gwen’s dad to resume their romantic relationship. During one of their trysts, Lilette’s mom ends up staying out all night. She sneaks back into the house, but Lilette catches her. She lies and says she went out early to get them breakfast. Lilette buys into her mother’s lie. She also thanks her mom for getting the job at the motel so she didn’t have to drop out of the show. Coach Strickland and Lilette’s mom clearly love each other and enjoy spending time together, but they really need to think about what all this sneaking around is doing to their kids.

— Gwen is still struggling with her parents’ divorce. Despite Coach Strickland’s gesture in getting the sign for the show, Gwen isn’t ready to forgive her father for his role in the divorce. She puts some distance between them because she’s no longer willing to pretend that everything is okay. However, later on, she decides that she’s been too harsh with her dad, so she goes to his hotel room to make it up to him. Alas, when she arrives at the hotel, she sees him with Lilette’s mom. How does Gwen react to seeing her father with his mistress? She decides to pierce her nose in an act of rebellion.

— Lou and Gail finally take Gordy to some kind of alcohol treatment program. At first, it seems like things are going well. But when they talk to Gordy’s counselor, the counselor says Gordy is showing up but not really doing the work. The counselor says that recovery is a lifelong process, and right now Gordy is only telling them what they want to hear.

— During class, Gwen catches Gordy watching her, and she wants to know why. Gordy says she calms him down, and I’ll admit that I’m starting to like them together. After her little act of rebellion, Gwen goes to see Gordy, and they share their first kiss. Gwen then chooses to blow off rehearsal to hang out/make-out with Gordy at the beach.

What did you think of this episode of Rise season 1? Will Lou ever get past his selfishness to become the director that his cast needs? Will Lilette find out that her mother is once again having an affair with Gwen’s dad? Will Robbie be able to step up his acting game or will they have to recast his role? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section section.

Rise airs Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC. Want more news? Like BuddyTV’s Facebook page.

(Image courtesy of NBC)

Megan Cole

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV