Episode 7 (for real): This Will God Willing Get Better
I feel like this title is missing some commas
PS: In case this is something I need to say for something that’s been kicking around in some form since the 19th century: Spoilers for Spring Awakening ahead, FYI
We start off with Mr. M and Tracey placing the poster for the show up on an easel in what I presume is the main lobby of the school, but doesn’t look like the main lobby for a school. I feel like this may be because there was a carpet and potted plants in the background. These are things that just do not mix with hundreds of teenagers trampling through so I don’t know where they are. There may be some schools out there with fancy pants auditoriums separate from the main building, but– I dunno, speaking from experience, small industrial towns in this area of the country don’t tend to pass a lot of levies for extra $$$s. (I’m not bitter). Also, there’s a lot of traffic behind them for a separate auditorium, and this is a lot of paragraph for some small detail, but I just want to know where the hell they are!
Anyway, Mr. M and Tracey are uncharacteristically delighted and taking selfies with the poster when Principal Whatever comes up to them. (I will call him that because not only did he just wave his hand and give Mr. M Tracey’s job, but also did not fire anybody or suspend any students for starting a huge bonfire out of the Pirates of Penzance costumes in the school parking lot.)
Seems as if Spring Awakening isn’t getting much interest in the way of tickets. Mr. M is sure it will all work out since they have a poster now. The title of this episode says otherwise. Later on we will learn that Principal W. has decided that the ticket sales for this show will determine the theatre budget for next year. This isn’t an established thing, it’s just something Principal W. decided just now. He says that Pirates of Penzance sold out the last time, so there should be no problem.
I just think this guy really wanted to see Pirates of Penzance. Perhaps, as principal, he fancies himself the very model of a modern major-general?
(Later Mr. M is shown doing his actual job of teaching English where he then tries to convince the class to buy tix, but it’s as awkward and unsuccessful as you imagine.)
In other Mr. M storylines, it is tech rehearsal week. Tracey gives us the run down of how this is some sort of nightmare portion of putting on a show. I guess where they figure out whatever will go wrong and try to get everything working smoothly.
Mr. M jumps right over her and is all: Let’s do it! The whole show! Go!
Tracey informs him that this is not how it works. They take it a portion at a time– But you know Mr. M. Go big or go home I guess. Murphy’s law quickly descends upon him. The band drowns out the singers, the prop master forgets his props, a lift is super noisy, and QB (Name Robbie!) has forgotten everything he ever learned about acting in this short time. Mr. M tells him he’s doing great anyway, I suppose so he doesn’t flee back to football. It’s basically a disaster. They go back to Tracey’s idea of working a bit at a time.
We will meet back up with Mr. M and his impending breakdown when we get to his son
Now for the kiddos
Lilette / QB / Star (Gwen!!): Well, Lilette herself doesn’t get a lot to do in this ep except trying to convince Robbie that he isn’t a terrible actor. I think deep down he knows that he isn’t at his best. He’s got a lot of football feels right now though. He’s still benched. Thanks, Mr. M for the amazing advice.
Anyway, it’s her mom that gets more focus this time. She does have an awkward encounter with Coach (Sam!) in the Motel walkway, where he offers to move to a different location if being there is too much. She says that’s not necessary, and the next thing you know the affair is back on! I’m not sure where we’re going here, because it seems like he does actually like her, he is still getting divorced, and yet doesn’t take the ring off. Maybe it’s the guilt trips that Gwen is throwing at him in a steady stream that’s keeping it on his finger, probably he’s just a cheating douche. In any case, these two seem to spend almost the entire episode holed up in his room, and Lilette only appears to ask where her mom has been all night one morning when she finally does return home.
Mom doesn’t tell her that she’s gotten back with El Cheatoh and just pretends that she popped out early to get Lilette’s favorite breakfast sandwich and coffee. Lilette is not suspicious at all, she’s just grateful beams proudly at her and thanks her for taking a job she didn’t want to help a daughter out. Oh, Lilette.
Later on, Gwen feels like she’s been too hard on her dad this whole time, not getting rides with him to and from school and giving him the cold shoulder for the divorce. She decides to bring him a piece of pizza and happens to see Lilette’s mom there. I presume he doesn’t get the pizza and the cold shoulder is back on. She hasn’t started taking it out on Lilette again yet. We shall see.
Meanwhile, Pregnant girl (Sasha!) is standing at her locker and her boyfriend is giving her money and telling her to take care of it. She hasn’t yet decided whether or not she’s keeping the baby. Michael (who wasn’t really in the last ep.) is watching this all go down and he tries to get her to open up, she’s not having it and doesn’t want to discus it with him, but he twigs on to her pregnancy pretty quickly. He wants to talk/help/be there for her, but she just brushes him off.
Later on at the pizza place — I forgot why they were all even there, but a bunch of them end up there at some point — Sasha’s boyfriend shows up and basically blabs her entire business to everybody because she’d sent him a text about how she wasn’t ready to decide quite yet. (He decided so that’s all that matters to him) Michael decides to stand up to him for her, boyfriend decides to get transphobic at Michael, and then Michael slams him up against a decorative glass window that is for some reason right in the middle of the restaurant. Everybody jumps up to prevent this huge fight. It manages not to escalate further than that, but Sasha is mad at Michael. He says he just wanted to help her, but she thinks he was just getting in a fight because it seemed like the guy thing to do and she doesn’t even know who he is anymore.
We find out through the course of this that Sasha and Michael used to be BFFs when they have a heart to heart in a stairwell later on. Sasha’s upset that Michael put distance between them. He was going through a lot of things too at the time realizing he is trans. She was just hurt that he didn’t tell her/give her a chance to understand. I think they made up.
Meanwhile again, we learn that there is a backstage lounge area with a toaster, because Simon is eating burnt toast and Barb (Annabelle!) is making plans to pick up where they left off at the steel mill. Her parents will be out of the house and they will be able to “Rock it” all night. (Her words. Who taught you this euphemism, Annabelle???) Simon agrees to this without melting away from second hand embarrassment, though I do. Rock it????
Over in the lounge area, his scene partner — Nobody has said his name in this episode or the last one that I can recall! Who is he? Is he too just coming to realizations of sexuality? Was he already out? What is up? — Anyway, he is getting the gossip about how Annabelle and Simon totally did it in the foreman’s office at the steel mill. He naturally wants to confront Simon about this once they are alone.
They get in an argument about who kissed whom and Simon basically confirms the rumors. Why not; she is his girlfriend after all. But what about the scene / flirting during rehearsal???
Guy is all hurt and upset and tells Simon not to touch him or anything during the scene anymore. Simon pretends like he doesn’t know why this person with a major crush on him who thought they were having flirtations doesn’t want to act in a romantic scene with him anymore.
Later, at Annabelle’s, they are in the midst of attempting to ‘Rock it’ but it’s just not happening. Simon at the last second of seconds just cannot go through with it. He tries the ‘it’s not you, it’s me line’ and she just yells at him to get the hell away from her. He leaves with a single tear rolling down his cheek.
Back at Mr. M’s home for wayward teens, Maashous has broken a dryer in an attempt to dry his shoe (He stepped in paint during the disaster rehearsal at the beginning of the ep.) He catches Mrs. M. yelling about the $400 estimate to fix the thing and later is attempting to fix it in the middle of the night for her. She catches him, he admits he’s the one who broke it, and she gets stern and tells him that they don’t lie in this house.
Maashous gets sassy and says he missed the no lying sign. It’s a tense situation.
He also gets a call from his actual foster mom. Y’know the one who’s committing fraud by getting $$ for a kid she’s not watching? Anyway, they have to meet with social services! It’s not terrible news– or maybe it is. Turns out his mom, who has been in jail since he was a wee lad, is out now. She’s doing well and has a place and they are going to be reunited! In another town. Maashous seems reluctant about this of course. He’s in a good place right now.
After getting yelled at for the dryer, Mrs. M catches him packing. She gives him a hug, tells him to put his stuff away, and that they are family now even if they sometimes get mad at each other, that doesn’t mean they get kicked out. Clearly this is a new definition of family for Maashous.
He doesn’t tell anybody about his mom.
And Finally, Mr. M’s alcoholic son, Gordy. He’s in rehab and seems to be in a good place too. Everything is going great! He makes eyes at Gwen. She confronts him and he says she ‘calms him down’. When she catches him doing laundry at school they run away to a have sex somewhere on a lovely Pennsylvanian beach. (Please let there be only one teen pregnancy storyline, please.)
Later we learn that Gordy hasn’t actually been doing great in rehab. The team leader there says that though he gets along with everybody, he’s just going through the motions. His heart isn’t in it.
Mr. M is mad and takes that misplaced anger out on the kids during rehearsal. Especially Robbie. To start things off on the wrong foot, Simon and that Guy’s scene is basically in shambles now. Apparently it was the only scene that was working thus far. The icing on this terrible cake is Robbie still having trouble with the cemetery scene. Tracey doesn’t even want to work on this scene to end rehearsal, but you know Mr. M. He gets what he wants. Anyway, Robbie is acting the death of his best friend and the love of his life with all the emotion of sturdy plank of wood. Mr. M just goes off on him and dumb football (his heart isn’t in the show! just like Gordy’s heart isn’t in rehab. Get it?).
Football is something Robbie cares about a lot though, so he storms off yelling about how he gave up everything for the dumb play. Mr. M storms off because the whole thing has become a shit show and starts scattering props all over the prop room. Tracey catches him and tells him to stop it, and like a giant man baby he dumps more props out right in front of her. The play sucks, they aren’t selling tickets, everything is doomed and they should have just done Grease.
Tracey attempts to inject a little optimism into the proceedings and tells him they just sold 30 tickets! Yay! hahah, turns out Mr. M bought those tickets. It’s all a disaster. Tracey thinks they should just go back down and finish rehearsal because Robbie isn’t the only kid counting on him. Mr. M says no and walks away. Duuude. I. Can’t. Even.
Now’s your chance, Tracey! Take back the drama program!
She kind of does. As Mr. M is leaving the school he hears the strains of music. He returns the rehearsal where the kids are doing a great job at one of the songs. He stands there, very touched by their performance, with one tear rolling down his cheek.
Next time: Will Gordy get a lecture? Will Maashous go home? Who’s going to be mad at Simon this time? I have but one more name to learn; will I learn it??
WILL things get better????