That was much better.
It’s rare to see a show improve in its second episode, but Rise takes the opportunity to develop some of its core relationships this week. First, while it’s cliché and worn out at this point, a high school love story is essential in a show like this. Enter Lilette who appears to be in love with quarterback Robbie. Their scenes at the diner where she works are moving and surprisingly charismatic, but the writers sadly felt the need to add a soapy twist to the proceedings when Lilette sees him the next day at school making out with another girl. Sigh.
Similarly frustrating is that the show opts for a cliffhanger with Simon’s parents forcing him to transfer to a “more conservative” school after they enrolled him without his knowledge. It’s a solid twist that will certainly add some drama to the following episode, but it seems a bit premature. It would have been much more effective to spend more time with the Saunders family to understand how they came to this decision rather than having them appear as one-dimensional villains in this case.
Despite these minor hiccups, Most of All to Dream still manages to impress far more than the pilot. For instance, Tracey’s speech at the district meeting is inspiring and more in line with what I expect this show to produce on a weekly basis. Moreover, establishing that Gwen is far more layered during her gripping one-on-one with Lou proves that there is a lot more to the football coach’s daughter than first meets the eye, and she could end up becoming one of the standout characters. Let’s hope the show capitalizes on this dynamic more in future episodes.
– Lou and Gail’s son’s drinking subplot is very problematic and seems to be getting worse. Can we have one show where teenagers aren’t alcoholic or doing drugs?
– I love that Lou brought home Maashous, the homeless lighting guy from the drama club. His dynamic with the rest of the Mazzuchelli’s is ripe with potential.
– Michael wanting to change in the boys’ locker room proves to be a lot more nuanced than I thought. How cool is it that the boys end up accepting him without any needless drama or bullying involved?
– Heartbreaking look on Lou’s face when he sees his son Gordy with Coach Strickland after desperately trying and failing to connect with him.
– Eye-rolling subplot with Simon as he asks out the nice girl just to avoid going on a date with Jeremey.
Quips from the Drama Club
Tracey: The arts is what separates us from the apes. It makes us understand life and death and love and everything that’s important to us.
Lou: Playing Ilse, it’s about pain, and betrayal, and longing. You need to find that pain within yourself, that place in you that you’re most afraid to go. That’s where you’ll find Ilse.
You Saw Something in Me – Rudden + Bridge
A solid follow-up that shows some potential for growth. Seems worth sticking around for another episode or two.