What an emotionally charged episode.
Amidst all the high school drama, the theatre, and the Gordy/Lou issues, there seemed to be a problem at the Strickland household. Although the writers failed to develop the football coach beyond the stereotypical masculine archetype in the first couple of episodes, the hilariously and perfectly titled We’ve All Got Our Junk spends an adequate amount of time making Sam quite the likable father. His heartbreaking conversation with his daughter Gwen, who begs him not to divorce her mom, is all kinds of powerful and exactly the kind of tear-jerking drama I initially expected from this family-driven show. Let’s just hope this somehow pushes Gwen and Gordy even closer because these troubled kids could certainly benefit from each other’s company at the moment.
Similarly heartbreaking are Simon’s troubles at home. While his conservative dad refuses to let his son back at Stanton High, Simon’s mom is proving to be much more understanding. The family dinner this week is a raw, emotional scene that really sets this storyline apart from others and luckily has a happy, if not rushed, ending with Simon returning to his school. Also, does anyone else think his father is a closeted gay trying to protect himself by pretending this is about Simon?
While Our Junk pulls at our heartstrings at all the right moments, there are still some growing pains with Rise, particularly in some of the performances. Damon J. Gilles gets a ton of material as the football quarterback Robbie this week, especially as he tries to navigate both his family and personal life. Sadly, his wooden performance leaves a whole lot to be desired. The same goes for Tracey and Andy’s rushed romance. While I thought their awkward dinner date last week was a hoot, it seems that the writers are many steps ahead in this blooming relationship instead of letting it develop naturally on screen, which results in quite the underwhelming performances from both parties. The sudden attempts at comedy with Tracey trying to hide from the Bio teacher are just as unsubtle and unexpected, but these are minor quibbles that are only slightly distracting from an otherwise solid hour.
– I’m starting to love how the title credit appears randomly on the screen with the letter “i” floating slightly above the rest of “Rise”. Cliché but still kind of cool.
– Lou telling Gordy that his dad was also an alcoholic is not as emotional as the rest of the episode, but at least they didn’t drag this out forever, so yay?
– How cool is Sandeep’s music? Can’t wait to learn more about this guy.
– I hate to ask, but is anyone else really underwhelmed by Josh Radnor’s performance so far?
– How satisfying was that final scene with Lilette’s mom going berserk and kicking that guy’s ass for constantly harassing her? I cheered.
Quips from the Drama Club
Tracey: Tell me it gets better.
Lou: Actually, this is better than usual.
Patricia: Is this about protecting Simon, or is this about you? What? Why are you so afraid of this play? What about it upsets you so much? If you can explain that to me, then I will support you.
Despite some lackluster performances, this is another solid episode with a whole lot of heart.