In the third episode of Rise season 1, titled “What Flowers May Bloom,” Lou and Tracey disagree over their vision for the show, and Lou starts to regret his choice to do Spring Awakening when he learns about Simon’s situation. Meanwhile, Lilette sees another side of Robbie, Coach Strickland tries to help Gordy with his drinking problem and Lou’s wife, Gail, grows closer to Maashous.

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Lou Once Again Takes Tracey for Granted

As the episode begins, the students are rehearsing when Simon makes his announcement about transferring to a new school. He says that they’ll need to find a replacement for him in the show and that he’ll miss everyone. An angry Lilette pulls him aside and yells at him about keeping her in the dark about this. They’ve been best friends since the second grade, and he didn’t give her so much as a heads-up that he’s leaving.

Later, Simon makes up an explanation for why he’s transferring schools in the middle of the year, but neither Lou nor Tracey buy into his story. They all know why he’s really leaving. The next day, Tracey and Simon share a sweet moment where she says that those involved in the theatre department are basically her family and he is a big part of that. Simon echoes her sentiment, and she tells him that she’ll miss him.

Lou holds the first production meeting, where he shares his vision for the show. Tracey tries to tell him that they don’t have the budget for his stylized vision, but Lou shuts her down because he wants them to “dream big.” The next day, Tracey comes to Lou with many different ideas of how to make at least part of his vision work on their small budget, but Lou won’t hear her out. He wants this show to be “special” and not look “second-rate” like all the previous productions, aka all the shows Tracey has worked on in the past. (Once again, I wonder if the writers are intending for Lou to comes across as so entitled and annoying.)

When Lou stops by the prop room, hopefully with the intention of apologizing for insulting all of Tracey’s hard work over the past decade, she points out that she knows every single prop in that room. The theatre department is her life and her family, and maybe it shouldn’t be that way, but it is. Tracey points out that she has tried to support Lou, even though he strolled in and took the job that should’ve been hers. She sucked it up because the kids and the theatre come first. She also points out that it’s his fault that Simon is leaving. He knew he’d be stirring things up with the show and his casting choices, and now this is the result. Tracey tells Lou that this isn’t just about his vision. He’s messing with people’s lives.

Lou Tries to Talk Simon’s Parents into Letting Him Stay

Tracey’s words must have hit home because Lou decides to pay a visit to Simon’s parents to try and get them to change their minds about letting Simon stay at Stanton. Alas, Simon’s parents are not swayed by Lou’s argument. At school the next day, Lou tells Tracey that he talked to Simon’s parents, but he doesn’t think it will change anything. He then apologizes to Tracey for his role in Simon’s departure. She says that change is hard and they’ll just have to take things day by day.

After learning that Mr. Mazzu talked to his parents, Simon apologizes for lying about his reason for leaving school, but he didn’t want Mr. Mazzu to feel bad. Lou says he will do anything to keep Simon at Stanton, including editing out some of the show’s more controversial elements. Simon tells him that the show is about the truth and nothing is more sacred. He doesn’t want Mr. Mazzu to change the show for him or for anyone else.

At home, Simon talks to his sister about changing schools. She’s upset that he won’t be at Stanton anymore. She likes seeing him in the shows, and it’s breaking her heart that he won’t be doing them anymore. Simon’s mom is visibly upset when she observes this exchange between her children.

As the episode comes to an end, Simon’s mother pays Lou a visit at home. She’s clearly on the fence about sending Simon to a new school, but she needs to know that Mr. Mazzu believes in something, even if he doesn’t share her beliefs. Lou gives her a little speech about believing in the kids he teaches and wanting to help them grow up in the sun instead of the shadows. I guess their chat is enough to change her mind, but how will Simon’s dad feel about it? Will Simon’s mom be able to convince her husband to let Simon stay at Stanton?

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Welcome to the Family, I Guess

Lou’s son, Gordy, is having trouble adjusting to Maashous staying with their family and sleeping in his room. Lou’s wife, Gail, wants Lou to do something about this little arrangement, and Lou claims he will handle it. Later, Gail has a conversation with Maashous about what life is like in the foster system. Maashous says he’s learned never to get too comfortable in one place and to not expect much from anyone. We get a better understanding of why he feels that way when Lou goes to see Maashous’ foster mom and he realizes that she doesn’t know or care where Maashous has been the past few days. (Given that Maashous had been sleeping at the school until Lou brought him home, it seems like it’s been more than a few days since his foster mom paid attention to his whereabouts.)

Later, Lou comes home to see that Maashous is really fitting in with Gail and their daughters. Gail has decided that they can’t send Maashous back to his foster home. She says they’ll figure something out, and Lou is pleased by her decision.

While Gordy seems distant throughout most of the episode, he seems to come alive when he arrives home to see his family playing a game of football. Maashous asks him to tag in since the girls are apparently winning. Gordy joins the game, finally having some fun with the rest of his family.

In Other News

— After seeing Robbie kiss another girl, Lilette has decided that Robbie is a player and she wants nothing to do with him outside of the show — that is, until she sees him with his mom. Lilette is impressed by the way Robbie cares for his sick mother, and she appears to change her mind about him. They flirt a bit when Robbie drops her off at her house, but they have yet to share their first kiss. (I’m enjoying this slow-burn romance, but since we have such a short season, I expect that their romance will heat up very quickly in the next episode or two.)

— Gordy learns that Coach Strickland’s teaching style is very different from his father’s. Unlike Lou, Coach Strickland doesn’t want to make Gordy talk about his feelings. He says Gordy can just do his work and keep busy, and maybe one day he’ll feel better.

— Things are still tense between Coach Strickland and his wife, thanks to his affair with Lilette’s mom. Alas, Coach Strickland is still clearly hung up on Lilette’s mom, and he ends up visiting her under the guise of giving her some silly present. He asks how she’s been — you know, since he went back to his wife — and she says she’s paying the price for getting involved with someone in a messy situation. They’re both sorry for the affair and the problems it caused, though they also both clearly still have feelings for each other. Later, Lilette’s mom goes to see Coach Strickland. She returns his present and tells him not to contact her again. She needs to start setting a better example for her daughter, and she can’t do that if she keeps up with whatever their relationship is.

What did you think of this episode of Rise season 1? Are you getting bored of these fights between Lou and Tracey? Do you think it’s a good idea for Maashous to stay with Lou’s family? Will Lilette’s mom be able to stay away from Coach Strickland or will their feelings for one another win out? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.

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