It’s time for the second episode to air in a week and aren’t we lucky? All Disney+ shows will air episodes on a weekly basis, premiering on Fridays, and luckily, that gives us two episodes for launch week. This is great news for someone like me who battles Without Wildcat Syndrome.
We’re starting off strong with the rehearsal process as it’s time for the read through! Everyone is trepidatious to start, with Nini wondering if she’s up for the taking on the lead (while longingly looking at her past), Ricky thinking strong smells will help his case (?), and EJ hurt on the inside, but being thrilled in front of all his followers.
(Aside: EJ tells his Insta followers to “Swipe Up!” at the end of his story, which means he has over 10 thousand followers. Meanwhile, I login to my account and the losing horns from The Price is Right play.)
EJ’s cousin, Ashlyn, is playing Miss Darbus and she think EJ deserves a lesson in tough love. He is confused why, but then she gives one of those looks like was like “My point right there” and walks away and we love to see it.
We finally join the read through with Big Red having to “read” the stage directions. Read is maybe too strong a word. I’m gonna say slur through? Maybe even sleep through, to be perfectly honest. In a beautiful moment of high-school-theater-teacher-wishes-she-was-performing, Miss Jenn presents an overindulgent speech about the importance of family in a company with such hits as “In a world full of No’s, this is your yes.” *a single tear runs down my cheek*
The cast gives an abundance of side-eye as they lock hands and Miss Jenn begins to sing, in full head voice, “We’re All In This Together” like she’s performing at Barbara Cook’s Kennedy Center Honors induction. We also have a quick aside to the boy who is playing Sharpay, and even though we don’t know a lot about him yet, I am 100% we would’ve been best friends in high school.
The tension between Ricky & Nini is so thick, you’d have to cut it with a chainsaw, so Miss Jenn decides to not only to have a private rehearsal with the two, but also to add a kiss because a little tension never killed nobody *sung in the voice of Fergie* They, of course, have a full grade freak out and it only grows from there. The following dance call makes things even worse and Ricky walks out in a huff. They both clearly have ideas on why the other is in the wrong and, frankly, both are correct.
It also doesn’t help that Ricky clearly has a lot of at-home issues to contend with, as its clear his parents are on the verge of a divorce. Not the best time to be having relationship problems, too.
While all this Nini & Ricky drama is happening, EJ is trying to steal Nini’s phone to get intel, acting like he’s Kim Possible. Sorry hun, you’re Dr. Drakken. Gina catches wind of Ricky’s meltdown and seems to instantly come up with a scheme to rip the roles of Troy and Gabriella right from under the two leads. The immediacy of it is troubling, but commendable. I’m hopeful she takes the 9 to 5 route and attaches them to garage door openers.
Ricky realizes his mistakes and stays up all night to practice the choreography to impress not only Nini, but also Carlos. While showing the choreographer extraordinaire, Nini gets a glimpse and in her eyes, I saw her feelings for Ricky still there!
Nini catches Ashlyn writing a song for her possible Miss Darbus solo and we get the belt-heavy and instantly iconic “Wondering”. The two sing beautifully on the power ballad, which gets a sneaky Ricky emotional, which overwhelms Nini, which makes ME feel some type of way. The Wildcat power that that has! The Wildcat implications that that has!
But, before we end on a bittersweet note *GASP* EJ has gotten a hold of Nini’s phone! And *GASP* Ashlyn didn’t steal it for EJ! It was *GASP* Gina! *insert dramatic band music here*
-Miss Jen’s best line of the show: “I come from a strong line. My mother bounced back from an autopsy.”
-Miss Jenn acquires the original Blackberry that Gabriella had in the first film to add to the school trophy case made up of “40 trophies for sports ball.” If you put it up to your ear, apparently you can hear Vanessa hitting a B flat!
-Did anyone else think Gina’s talk to Ricky at, I’m gonna say, the former Festival Bay Mall skatepark in Orlando, FL, was very odd? She was nice, but what was her end game? Gina is sneaky and I am here for it, while also super wary of it.
-Money troubles seem the basis of all of Miss Jenn’s phone calls. Is this some foreshadowing to a possible defunct production?