Dak Watches: Rise: S01E08

EPISODE 08: The Petition

Tears of a Coach


   Today, Coach Sam starts some fights–with his tears, but first!  Mr. M has some good news!  that comes crashing down a few seconds later.  Ticket sales have spiked!  Has this small town finally realized how deep and meaningful and relevant theatre is?

  Oh, no.  No.  Of course not.  They have realized that there is a youtube promotional video for the show that includes a whole lot of butt close ups (among other parts) from rehearsals.  Mr. M and Tracey give each other sidelong glances and wonder if they should take the video down.

 They should get the video down like responsible human adult authority figures, but–  all.  those.  tickets.

The video stays up. 

 At rehearsal, Robbie is back from his tantrum (on another day).  He’s apologizing, but not quitting.  He knows he isn’t the greatest actor like the rest of them, but he’s going to do his best!  Mr. M wants to try and fix things though, because even though QB1 is back, he’s lacking the proper mojo he supposedly had in the beginning.

  Mr. M’s solution is to go to Coach Sam and admit that it was his terrible idea for Robbie to call his bluff.  There’s a big game coming up and they both know that Robbie is the best QB.  Mr. M is totally not doing this because some high school football commentators on a presumably public access radio show have been shit talking him for all of Stanton to hear.  Coach is uninterested in this olive branch until Mr. M gives Robbie the entire week off rehearsals to prepare for the game.  Finally coach gives in.  Later on Lilette has to run lines with her mom because Robbie is footballing all week and Tracey is totally gobsmacked at this insane decision only a couple weeks from opening night.  We don’t get to see if this tactic has repaired Robbie’s broken mojo or not re: stage performance.

Let us tackle the secondary story lines.  Mr. M’s second problem with the show, right behind Robbie’s mojo, is Simon and his scene partner, whose name nobody says in this episode either, but I caved and looked it up.  It’s Jeremy.  A good solid name.  I will keep you posted when and if anybody actually says it in the final two episodes.

Anyway, their scene is just going terribly.  Jeremy sitting on stage, still mad. Simon is standing upright at least two feet away from him.  Mr. M is wondering what the heck is going on.  What happened to all the physicality etc.  Simon says they were going for something a little more subtle.  Subtle as in non-existent.  Mr. M is like: no.  Don’t be afraid of the material! (For some reason Annabelle isn’t around this week to also be mad at Simon from the chorus area of the stage.)

  We will come back to Simon in a minute, but first Principal W. arrives to yell about the video and demand that it be taken down.  Tracey and Mr. M pretend like they have absolutely no idea what he’s talking about. They are very convincing /sarc.

Anyway, it turns out one of the Chorus who has never been seen before has perpetrated these video crimes.  She runs away to take the video down immediately.  After the commercial break she’s crying in Mr. M’s office, and he’s doing his best to comfort her and assure her that she’s not actually in trouble when who walks in but yet another Robert.  I have now learned Simon’s dad’s name.   He is there to inform Mr. M that even though the video is down, the internet never forgets.  He vows he is going to do everything in his power to end this play and proclaims that Mr. M is only hurting the kids.  If only Dad!Robert had a mustache to twirl.

  Back in football-land, Robbie is staying after school for extra time to throw balls at some barrels.  Gordy is there too because he’s still on probation with coach for the booze found in his locker.  Robbie asks him to run plays, because living breathing humans are better than barrels.  This seems to become their after school routine and at least one time Coach Sam catches them at these extra night practices.  This will come into play later.

 This week Gordy also attempts to talk to Gwen, but she appears to be over it already.  Or at least she definitely doesn’t want to be his girlfriend.  It was fun, and maybe they’ll do it again, but she was going through a thing and is not in that place right now.  Gordy is a bit put out by this, but doesn’t run straight back into the arms of Jack Daniels for the time being. 

  Back to Coach and Lilette’s mom (Vanessa!)  Gwen has been upset all week and when Lilette asks her what’s wrong she says Why don’t you ask your mom??  So she does.  After a short interrogation, Vanessa admits that she’s back with Coach Sam.

  Lilette is 1,000% not here for this irresponsibility.  (Hooking up while at work.)  She’s also not here for coach, but Vanessa seems to think they’re going to make an actual go of it now that the divorce is still on after breakup #1. 

Later on Vanessa goes to visit Coach at school, and we can tell he’s not going to make an actual go of it by how quickly he closes the blinds of his office.  Vanessa tells him that the kids know, and he tells her that maybe they should cool it after all.  He’s trying to keep his family together and only just moved out a week ago, so he’s not ready to be publicly dating anybody else right now.  The divorce IS still on isn’t it?  Maybe he’s just worried about Gwen hating him for the rest of time?  Whatever it is, Vanessa storms out on him, broken hearted, and he’s trying to punch back his own tears.  He basically spends the rest of the episode with red rimmed eyes since his entire family life and extra curricular love life is falling apart around him.  (But whose fault is that?)

  Back at home Vanessa is sad about breakup #2 and wants to hang with her best girlfriend, Lilette.  Lilette just gives it to her with both barrels instead.  She’s tired of taking care of mom.  Mom should be the adult doing the adulting.  Basically, Lilette is tired of picking up the pieces and doesn’t want to be a best girlfriend.  They have a huge fight, say some regrettably mean things with a surprising amount of cursing at each other, and Lilette’s mom gets in the car and runs away.  The only thing anybody sees of Vanessa for the rest of the episode is her driving alone down a dark highway, which I thought was going to end in a devastating car wreck as it was juxtaposed with Sad Coach Sam being weepy amongst his piles of lonely fast food bags at the hotel, and Mr. M meeting Robbie’s mother, who is sick, but no.  My instincts were wrong about one piece of drama. (So far!)

  Back on the football field, it is the last game of the season.  Stanton has one chance to make the playoffs, and they’re losing with very little time left on the clock.  One of the receivers goes down and Coach Sam sends in a surprise substitution.   It’s Gordy! who has apparently been riding the pine for this entire season.  Initial thought:  He’s going to catch a hail mary and win the game, triumphantly propelling our guys into the post-season!

  Almost.  Gordy does get the pass, but instead of all the glory, he manages a bit of footballery and gets out of bounds in time to stop the clock so we can have one more play.  Robbie runs the ball in for a touchdown as the clock winds down to the last second.  Playoffs here we go.  Taking bets now on whether or not Robbie’s going to have to choose between a game or the show.

  Of course, Mr. M and family are beside themselves with excitement.  For some reason Robbie decides that Mr. M needs to come with him to visit his mom in the skilled nursing facility where she is located.  I forget why she is there, but I kind of remember that it seemed like the dad abandoned her in her illness.  Maybe we will learn about Mr. Robbie’s dad’s motivations in the future, or maybe we learned about them in the past when I wasn’t paying attention.

  Also, after the football game, Coach tries to patch things up with Gwen, but she’s done with him too.  She does not accept his explanation that adult relationships are complicated.  So, he’s broken up with Vanessa, broken up with his wife, and Gwen still totally hates him and doesn’t want to get rides to school, or ever speak to him again for that matter.  He tries to fight away the tears again.

 Speaking of complicated, in other non-sports related drama, Michael has gone to a doctor’s appointment with Sasha since the boyfriend is the worst.  It appears that they have indeed made up!  Sasha still doesn’t know what she’s going to do.  Later on, back at Sasha’s place she reveals to her friend that she’s leaning towards keeping the baby.  She wants to make her own family and have someone that will love her all her own.  Michael doesn’t think this is the best idea and we find out later that he goes to Tracey with his misgivings.

  Tracey has a talk with Sasha and reveals that she too was pregnant as a teenager and she gave the baby up for adoption.  She has decided that she’s going to be there for Sasha and help her no matter what she decides despite the teacher/student boundaries she insisted on earlier.

 As for Maashous, nothing too big happens with him.  He’s still unsure about the whole mom thing, but he tells Mr. and Mrs. M about it because he needs a ride.  Later he has a heart to heart with Mr. M about all the nice things they’ve done for him.  It’s unsaid, but basically staying with them was more like a family than any of his other foster homes.  He does end up meeting with his mom, but we don’t really find out how that goes in this episode.  All we see is them hugging while Mr. and Mrs. M watch on and Mrs. M cries.

  In the most dramatic part of the show, let us circle back to the sexy video, fallout and Dad!Robert.

  Simon gets eyes on this petition at some point and confronts his mother about it, because her name is on the thing, and he feels betrayed. She’s his only support at home after all.   (He’s the only drama kid whose parents have signed this, by the way, which just makes it all worse.)   Mom tells him that she’ll take care of it and we get a glance at the petition too. 

She did not sign it.  Seems Dad!Robert has taken it upon himself to include her without her permission. 

  She confronts him on this when he gets home and this does not go well at all.  He thinks she would have been glad to have her agency taken away, because clearly she should be on his side.  He is only protecting his family, and it is the Christianly thing to do.  She stands up to him.  He thinks he’s helping Simon, Mom says he’s only hurting him by not letting him be himself.  Dad wonders what she means by this and…basically does the equivalent of sticking his fingers in his ears and going “lalalalala”  Supportive Mom (Patricia!) doesn’t let him get away with it though and she follows him for more confrontation.

Turns out they are in some kind of loveless marriage where he never looks at her or touches her or anything like that.  She wonders if this isn’t about Simon could it be about him?  She more or less just asks him if it’s because he’s gay and hiding behind religion that he’s doing this.  He nopes right on out of the conversation again and storms out of the room while telling her he will never stop protecting his family.  He totally does not answer her question. (I was right!) 

PS. Simon is upstairs with his sister while this yelling conversation is happening.  He hears the entire thing.

Back at school the next week, Mr. M finds out that the whole entire PTA have now joined Simon’s dad’s crusade.  The woman he is speaking to about it wonders what he was thinking.  It looks like Mr. M is wondering the same thing.

  Meanwhile, in the office, Tracey is meeting with Principal Whatever, who has now become Principal Action Man, because the school board, the pta, the community, everybody is basically on his ass about the content of the show.

(Tracey and Mr. M basically keep trying  and trying to explain that the video isn’t representative of the show for this entire episode, but nobody is believing them.)

 Anyway, Principal wants her to rework the show so it is PG.  If she does, he will take the drama program away from Mr. M and give it back to her.  He knows she wants the job after all!  And that is the end of the episode!



Next Time: Will Tracey sacrifice the art for the job?  Will Simon’s dad succeed?  Will something tragic happen to either Vanessa or Coach Sam?  Stay tuned!




Dak Watches: Rise: S01E07

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????


Dak Watches: Rise: S01E???

RISE: Episode 5 Something; Bring me Stanton

I’m starting in the middle, or Whose turn is it for Mr. M to undermine this week?

The shop teacher. It’s the shop teacher.

Let’s start with Mr. M’s storyline. He, with the help of Maashous, his not really his foster kid foster kid. (Mr. M gets all of the child raising, none of the government subsidies. This cannot be legal. I look forward to the episode where child services comes and Maashous runs away to live in an abandoned factory or something.)

There was a thought here, what was it? Oh, yes, Maashous and Mr. M have created a mockup of the set. Admittedly this looks pretty cool and even has a working smokestack. It is a mashup of the actual setting of Spring Awakening I guess, I’ll take his word for it, and this old broken Pennsylvania steeltown in which they live in now. (Full disclosure, Spring Awakening is a show I have not seen) Mr. M, as with everything else to do with the show, is determined to make this set work despite costs and labor. Tracy (rightful drama teacher) is just over here in the corner not even bothering to really argue anymore, probably because she’ll just get another lecture about how Mr. M wants to bring something deep and meaningful to the town. She’s not the one who will be getting that speech in this episode.

Don’t get me wrong, the speech is happening. For sure.

Meanwhile, Lillette (Newbie usurper whose mom had an affair with the football coach, who by the way is also the usual star’s dad.) She has to pull double shifts at the diner where she works because her mom totally, justifiably, and literally kicked the ass of the boss who has apparently been groping her for years. Mr. M rearranges the entire rehearsal schedule to accommodate this because none of the other children have lives to attend to. I think they are starting at 9p.m. This is ridiculous of course, which the kids point out after one of the NPC’s moms storms in and yells at Mr. M. Like, they have jobs and midterms and homework and family too, Mr. M. Geez. Everybody starts arguing and blaming football guy, but this time his schedule isn’t to blame. Lilette speaks up for him, takes the blame… more arguing. Mr. M finally sends everybody home

You too have lots of family, teach. Somehow THIS late rehearsal wasn’t supposed to even run late and he has missed date night with his long suffering wife. She is already in bed by the time he comes home bearing chinese food that he begged the restaurant for because they had already shut the grills off for the night. She is the one who gets the lecture about how he wants to create something amazing and beautiful or whatever, and he somehow doesn’t have to sleep on the couch.

Meanwhile, Tracy is being a good and supportive teacher. One of the students is pregnant. She’s really upset and T is there to be a shoulder to cry on. Later she shows up at the students house to hold her hand and be there as she tells her dad. I don’t remember what this student’s name is yet because she’s been in the background thus far, but we shall see what the future holds.

As for football guy, who is a main character, but I don’t remember his name either. He’s over at practice forgetting is football lines (aka The Playbook) Coach has had it up to the ears with him since he blew the last game. When a scout was there no less! Les gasp! Coach benches him in favor of the second string QB who can at least call the correct plays and throw a pass. Our QB is upset at this of course. Nobody likes to be benched, so he goes and memorizes the playbook and begs coach to give him another chance. (We won’t mention how that would be totally unfair to backup QB, who is probably really excited about getting a start. Could you imagine Coach going up to that guy all “I know you probably invited your entire extended family out to watch you get some play time, but, Psych!”) Coach isn’t having it anyway and gives him an ultimatum basically. Football or Theatre. Ahh, a timeless choice. He is torn, and goes to the best man for advice… Mr. M.

The advice? Call coaches bluff. So that is what QB does. It remains to be seen if this works, because he is still benched come gametime. We don’t really see how backup QB does in this game, because we are focused on our QB’s sadness as he sits all alone on the sidelines. (How a single tear is not rolling down his cheek in this moment, I don’t know.) At least we are spared his dad’s surely OTT reaction at this development.

Quick update on Lilette: She has given her mother a list of jobs she can apply for, the responsible thing to do. Mom doesn’t want to be a Latina stereotype and take a job as a maid, so she has made other plans. She sees a lawyer about suing the diner boss for sexual harassment. This could set them up for life! Lilette is just done with her at this point, since she’s doing the work of two and Mom wants to sue the man who signs her checks on top of it. The rents due, the utilities are past due, and the kid is at the end of her rope with all of this and the show. Mom is all, god forbid, the show, and Lilette is like, yeah, far be it from me to have a little joy or whatever.

Now for Simon. Dear, dear, simon. ~sigh~ He is now back at drama high. He was at that fancy private school for like .2 seconds before telling mom and dad that he wants to go back to public school. It was a surprisingly easy convincing after all of dad’s ragey disapproval. But, yeah, I feel like they’re angling for an ex-gay/conversion therapy storyline with dad, because the reason he gave in so easily is because sympathetic mom asked him to give one reason why this particular show and his son’s part in it are the straw that broke the camel’s back. And dad was just like, okay fine, go back to that devil school, we are not talking about this anymore. I maybe be wrong, but I’m just throwing out guesses on how everybody could be more miserable with more added dramaz and secretz.

So, Simon is back, and like, super desperate to keep the closet door shut tight. His scene partner has other ideas. I don’t know this guys name either, but he seems determined to have a talk bout the ~feelings~ that he is ~feeling~ toward Simon. It all seems a bit abrupt, because this dude hasn’t said a whole lot so far, mostly sidelong glances and whatnot. I think they maybe had one or two conversations on screen. I could have just dozed off during of Mr. M’s speeches though.

Anyways, Simon, basically trying to get as far away from this feelings talk as he can without breaking into a literal run, is all, Plz get away, you’re being creepy, wanting to hang out and run lines all the time, we are in the zone of friendship only!!

Dude doesn’t back down and ends up kissing Simon in the parking lot. Simon immediately jumps into his car and flees. Later on he is determined to take it to the next level with the girl he is dating whose name I also don’t remember, but she was Barb on stranger things. She’s all, cool lets do it, so Simon goes out shopping with BFF Lilette for condoms and sundries like he knows what he’s doing. Of course Lilette does her best to steer him away from this giant mistake in the making, but he has made up his mind.

Back in coachland, his daughter, former theatre company Star, whose name… Okay, I only remember a handful of names, I am sorry! I should make a cheat sheet! Anyway, she is still bitter at dad for continuing to divorce her mom. He’s not seeing Lilette’s mom anymore, but still the divorce, because it just wasn’t working either way. This is where we meet back up with Mr. M’s dream set storyline.

Mr. M has basically promised to buy all the materials needed for the set on his own dime, which he revealed to his wife in the speech that he’s spent 400 dollars on for plywood and such so far. He’s annoyed that the shop class has not made the smokestack round. It has to be round! Shop teach is like, this is a square smokestack, sorry about your luck, my students aren’t your personal form of slave labor, dude. Mr. M is put out about it of course. His wife later convinces him that he can build an amazing set on a dime. Next rehearsal, he and Maashous smash the set mockup with 2x4s and give the students the new plan. Their after school activity homework is to bring him deep and meaningful junk from around town!

(We get an old church window, a rusty railway crossing, and a jukebox that Lilette found in the back of the diner and made out with football guy on top of)

And for the crowning set piece, we will now revisit Star. She’s looking through an old trunk and finds a hard hat from the old steel mill that Coach used to foreman at. She gets a great idea and texts all her theatre buds + non theatre pal, Mr. M’s alcoholic son, Gordy. They break into the old mill to find that the Stanton Steel Sign and quintessential piece of town history she remembered from childhood is way, way huger than she remembered, and they can’t steal it for the show, for they are but teenageres and lack the power tools and trucks to remove it. Alas. At least they have booze and can hang, so it’s not a total loss. Star and Gord chill on a catwalk and chat about the glory days of milling and Gord gives his beer a meaningful look.

Meanwhile Simon and Barb sneak away for a cringey and awkward makeout sesh, but thankfully the cops arrive to bust up the party before they get too far. Star tells Gord to go, and she will take the blame, and later we find out that dad was able to get her out of an arrest for breaking and entering. She’s still mad at him though and tells him she just wanted the stupid sign for the stupid play. We can see where this is going, right?

Later, we are at rehearsal and everything looks pretty good for a cobbled together junk set, and who walks in, but guilty dad Coach and the pièce de résistance, the steel mill sign. Yay! One thing went right in this ep!

Wrapping up:

Gord arrives home from the B&E to finally tell his mom that he thinks he needs help for his alcoholism. So, I guess coach’s tough love approach wasn’t working out after all.

And finally, Lillette’s mom comes to a rehearsal, catches her daughter performing that “Mother” song from the show (I don’t know the actual title of the song), and decides to take a job as a maid after all. As it turns out her new job just happens to be at the motel where Coach is living now.

Because, of course it is!

Next time: Will someone new get the speech about how deep and meaningful theatre is? Will Gordy stick with rehab? Will QB get a chance to redeem himself footballwize? Will Coach and Lilette’s mom have an awkward encounter in the motel walkway? Will I learn anybody’s name? Stay tuned!