Rise Series Finale Recap: Stanton Drama Goes Out on a Low Note

I sure hope you didn’t buy a ticket to Stanton High School’s second performance of Spring Awakening — you won’t be getting a refund.

Indeed, Tuesday’s season series finale of Rise ended with the Superintendent informing Mr. Mazzu that the school’s drama department was terminated. You know, budget cuts and all that. Or was it because he went against the principal’s orders and presented the show completely unedited — child abuse, F-bombs, abortions and all? Who’s to say, really.

Frankly, it was a fitting ending for a show that, despite its uplifting title, was a consistent downer throughout its 10-episode run.

So, what might have happened had Rise scored a second season? We may never know, but based on these developments in the finale, I think we can start to draw a few conclusions:

* During the course of their one-and-only performance of Spring Awakening, Robbie and Lilette swapped “I love you”s for the first time, which was sweet. Less sweet, however, was Lilette’s mom informing her that they’re moving to Philadelphia with her new boyfriend. Womp, womp.

* Speaking of firsts, Michael and Sasha also shared their first kiss.

* Speaking of kisses — man, my segues are lazier than Mr. Mazzu’s script rewrites — Simon was inspired to go all in with his big scene, kissing Jeremy in front of everyone, including his own (gay!) dad, who couldn’t bring himself to stay for the entire performance. (Seriously, I’m still trying to process the gay dad twist. Like, I kind of joked that it might happen, but to have it confirmed is a whole other beast.)

* Gordy told his dad he wanted to do more tech. Granted, this was before anyone found out that the drama department was getting the axe.

* Finally, despite officially cutting ties with Mr. Mazzu at the end of last week’s episode, Ms. Wolfe came to the show when she heard it was being done unchanged. And that… redeemed Mr. Mazzu in her eyes? Somehow? Honestly, the fact that those two hugged it out like old pals might have been the most upsetting part of this entire hour. I was all-fingers-crossed that it would end with her literally eating his heart and burning his body in the school parking lot. (Come on, it would have been a nice full-circle nod to the pilot!)

Did Rise‘s season-turned-series finale live up to your expectations? What would you have liked to see if the show had been renewed? Grade the finale below, then drop a comment with your thoughts.

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