That spark? From last week? Yeah, she wasn’t metaphorical. We are immediately taken to thr remnants of Thanksgiving night at East High and a clear fire has occurred in the theater. While the building is still intact, there is significant water damage, along with props and costumes charred to a crisp, leading to the decision to call off the show.

On top the theater being a no-go, Gina is out dealing with her impending move and the stage manager is MIA for dental work (inconsiderate much?). This leads to a shot of Carlos, Seb, and Nini forming a calming circle and my audible reaction of “So sad.” The cast immediately decides that the only way to move forward is to find a different venue, leading to Carlos’ connection to the El Rey. The moment the theater’s name is spoken, Miss Jenn gets a flood of flashbacks like any guy in a Vietnam war movie. She has seen some things, man. While she tries to avoid agreeing the theater, she cain’t say no.

Somehow, the class has a load-in to a theater during and undisclosed time with undisclosed access and a warning to get a tetanus shot. OSHA is gasping for air at the violations and the school board is getting ready to ask Kaycee Stroh back for another cameo. Do these kids go to other classes? What is Nini’s grade in algebra? I am wanting Watchmen-on-HBO-level supplementary material to figure out everyone’s GPA.

With the entire production in a tizzy, everyone is assigned roles at lightning fast speed. Courtney helps with soundcheck and gets to display her incredible voice. If you can riff with that level of control on a nonsense song like “Bop to the Top,” you have talent. Big Red is put in charge of lights and, as we’ve noticed, that doesn’t go well. His constant state-of-being is “put-in rehearsal for Ivo Van Hove’s West Side Story.

EJ is still having a fall out from his “telling too much of the truth” phase and decides to pull a Lady Bird and try to be the best version of himself he can be. This leads to him stealing the show file (Carlos’ line reading when EJ asks questions about what’s inside the box of “No further comment THANK YOU!” was inspired.) and figuring out why he didn’t get the part of Troy. The spiral continues. It says that EJ lacks emotional connection, which leads to a BIZARRE tech rehearsal with EJ going full method to Carlos’ Gabriella. Even Miss Jenn called it creepy. Even I called it creepy. Yeesh.

Meanwhile, Ricky and Nini are off rehearsing an important scene and the tension starts strong. They are angry at each other about everything. The Thanksgiving party, the lack of an “I love you” from the pilot, and the show itself are all free reign for their anger to show. Yet, at one point, something clicks. They start to talk about how their names started because of each other. What is this, the Annie Get Your Gun episode of Encore?! (This joke was for me and me alone, so sorry.) Then, the energy turns to electric and they go to KISS! I felt like Susan Blackwell on the cast recording of [title of show] and that, my friends, is a BROADWAY DEEP CUT! *sounds alarm* Big Red stops the kiss from occurring by discussing soy cheese (obvi) and they both seem to want to forget about what just happened.

Miss Jenn, this week, steals the show. That is not an opinion, that is a fact. We soon find out that the El Rey Theater held the Utah premiere of High School Musical back in ’06. Miss Jenn was seated to watch the premiere and witness her one speaking line, not realizing until in the moment that it was cut. The line? “Is that the last apple?” The screams coming from her mouth as she realized her line was cut? “Is Kenny Ortega here?!” The hollering coming from my mouth as the scene was taking place? This. 

It only became more iconic as Ashlyn gives her crystals to get over her trauma and come to terms with her future and the future of the production. Ashlyn giving Miss Jenn crystals is the most Ashlyn thing to ever Ashlyn. Thanks, in part, to the crystals and wonderfully timed fall, we get the greatest song in the history of the Disney Channel brand, a “contractually obligated” dream sequence and musical number with a cameo from Lucas Grabeel. It is the culture. We have no choice but to stan. They are doing with the other girls SHOULD be doing!

Like, there are no faults? A Kate Reinders shrine is coming soon to my bedroom? I am speechless. It is perfection. After being slapped repeatedly by Carlos (The optics of this aren’t ideal? Did this end up on a 24-hour news channel or was is requested by Miss Jenn? Again, we need the supplementary materials.), Miss Jenn decides to head back to the school for her next idea. I have so many hopes for what this could mean, and most include more random Lucas Grabeel cameos.

Extra Credit:

  • EJ apologizes for being so noisy, leading to Carlos saying “Words 4, Sentiment 10,” which I take as confirmation next season they’re doing A Chorus Line.
  • Seb’s wardrobe is IT, folks. That wool-lined jacket? I must have it.
  • Courtney calls the school Nini considered applying for on her behalf. Seems sketchy. I’m down!
  • Carlos and Seb had no real interactions this episode, so, does my life have any self-worth.
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