Dedicated Rise fans knew that last night was supposed to be the season finale of NBC’s new drama. But last Friday, we were thrown a curve ball, when NBC announced that it would not be renewing Rise for a second season, so our awaited season finale became the series finale. Even with the disappointment of the network’s cancellation hanging in the air, the last episode of Rise did not disappoint. Questions were answered, and the narrative arc of the season came full circle, while leaving enough wiggle room for a potential second season.
Here are some of the most OMG moments of the Rise series finale.
1. Lilette’s mom returns with a brand-new job!
It seems as though any conflict that existed between mother and daughter has disappeared. Ms. Suarez has a new job, and Lilette may have to move, but there’s no time to worry about that now because the musical is about to start.
2. Robbie’s mom is able to see him in the musical!
The brief glimpses of Robbie driving his mom to the school was the first time I cried during this episode.
3. Mr. Mazzu makes a last-minute decision to ignore the mandate of the school administration and perform the uncensored version of Spring Awakening.
TBH, this is best thing Mr. Mazzu did all season.
4. Simon and Jeremy share a kiss onstage!
Simon may be the character who displayed the most growth over the course of the season, and when he kissed Jeremy on-stage in front of the community and his parents, he came one step closer to living his truth.
5. The Mazzuchelli family gifts Maashous a suit to wear on opening night.
Maashous is the best character, therefore he deserves only the best. Seeing the mother/son relationship develop between him and Mrs. Mazzuchelli over the course of the season was one of my favorite things. And this moment was the second time I cried during last night’s episode.
6. Ms. Wolfe puts aside her fight with Mr. Mazzu and makes it to the school in time to see her students perform!
Ms. Wolfe has spent this entire season proving that she is the bigger person, putting a smile on her face, even when things don’t go her way. Watching the joy she has when she watches the students perform is just another example of how she knows that the most important thing is that her students are happy.
7. Robbie breaks down on stage, and Lilette is there to comfort him.
In the middle of a musical number, Robbie seems to realize what it will feel like when he loses his mother. And Lilette, being the amazing girlfriend that she is, steps in to comfort him on-stage. This was the third time I cried.
8. We finally get to hear (and see) actual musical numbers!
My biggest complaint with Rise was that it was a musical series with very few musical performances. Last night, while we didn’t get full stage performances, we saw and heard more music than ever before. I liked what I heard, which means I’ll be downloading the soundtrack ASAP.
9. The entire curtain call (insert crying emoji)
This scene just made me feel all the emotions: Nostalgia for my own high school theatre days ran rampant. Pride for the way these fictional characters were able to put together a quality musical despite the cards being stacked against them. Sadness that Rise was coming to an end.
10. That ambiguous shot of Mr. Mazzu that ends the series…
In one of the more puzzling moments of the finale, in the final moments of the show. Mr. Mazzu runs out on stage to take a bow with his students. There, the camera zooms in on his face and as a bevy of emotions cross his face, it cuts to black. Was he contemplating the fact that he was probably getting fired? Considering moving to New York and starting an experimental theatre company? Who knows, but the ambiguous ending does leave the door open for Rise to live on.