‘Rise’ Recap: Simon’s Parents Make a Life-Changing Choice While He Struggles to Find Himself

Auli'i Cravalho as Lilette Suarez and Damon J. Gillespie as Robbie Thorne on ‘Rise‘
Auli'i Cravalho as Lilette Suarez and Damon J. Gillespie as Robbie Thorne on ‘Rise‘ Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Following the pilot’s parking lot fire, Lou and Tracey were faced with a problem: they now had no money for the production. Heading into a board meeting, Lou’s plan was to inspire the members, realizing that not all of them would be happy with the controversial show so wanted to stay on their good sides. Tracey had another plan – march in, slam football and ask for $14,000. Instead, they got $750.

However, they had much bigger problems than money. Gwen was still heartbroken over her parents dissolved relationship and losing the lead in the show. When she finally budged and asked Mr. Mazzou why he didn’t give her the role, he explained that she had the pain to take on the role of Ilse – something she proved with quite an emotional performance.

Donald Dash as Jamal Harris and Damon J. Gillespie as Robbie Thorne on ‘Rise‘
Donald Dash as Jamal Harris and Damon J. Gillespie as Robbie Thorne on ‘Rise‘ Eric Liebowitz/NBC

Meanwhile, Lilette and Robbie’s rollercoaster relationship continued. She finally mustered up the courage to ask him to run lines with her, he stood her up, then showed up at the diner to see her on her break. They held hands (!) and she was giddy … until she saw him kissing someone else the next day.

The Inner Struggle

Michael was also facing a challenge: he had been changing in the utilities closet and wanted to start dressing in the boys’ locker room. He didn’t want to make it a “thing” so asked Mr. Mazzou not to talk to the guys first – instead, he just went in and did it, and they were all OK with it. It was quite the beautiful moment.

At home, Lou and his wife had more serious issues: Gordy, who was grounded and didn’t have car privileges, took the car out in the middle of the night and got in an accident. Luckily, he was OK and wasn’t drunk, but his parents were still not happy. He finally communicated to his dad that he wasn’t an artist – and that he felt he brought in Maashous to replace him. Worried that his son was still drinking, Lou had the principal open Gordy’s gym locker. Inside, he found a bottle of liquor. The principal offered to send him away to a center, but the coach stepped up, defending how hard Gordy worked at practice. He offered to take him under his wing and work closely to help him.

Shannon Purser as Anabelle and Ted Sutherland as Simon Saunders on ‘Rise‘
Shannon Purser as Anabelle and Ted Sutherland as Simon Saunders on ‘Rise‘ Virginia Sherwood/NBC

Meanwhile, Simon was also struggling … with his own feelings. While his parents begged him to quit the show and he refused, he really worried about his kiss scene with Jeremy. During the scene, it seemed he realized he could have feelings for him. So when Jeremy asked him to study together on a Saturday night, he instead asked out Annabelle … to prove something to himself? When he got home from his date, things got worse. His parents told him they enrolled him in a prep school and he’d be leaving Stanton.

Rise airs on NBC Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET.

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