Following the premiere and establishing the many characters, Rise was able to slow down in “Most of All to Dream.” We were able to dive deeper into the fresh characters and the issues that cause them to be who they are.
Most of the issues these young, and older, characters face stems from their families. This show has an array of family dynamics from a single-parent household, divorced home, tortured marriage, and so on. Showing the diverse homes on screen helps connect teenagers, and even adults, across the country to the characters. The writers have done a great job putting what real American families look like onscreen.
One of the characters who got more time was Gwen. The writers showed us more of what made Gwen who she is and how her type-A personality stemmed from her mother. While she continued to internally battle not being the lead, she seemed to be working on it to eventually accept her new role. However, her mother kept bringing up the issue and telling her how wrong it was and how she was incorrectly cast. She truly put the thoughts of “you’re not good enough” in Gwen’s head, leading her to resent the department.
Similar to Gwen, Robbie was trying to follow his heart but other people were influencing his decisions. He skipped out on a private rehearsal with Lilette because his teammate put pressure on him to continue with football practice. Like Gwen, he tried to push past it all and make it work. Robbie even went out of his way to show Lilette that while football was important, their show was as well.
It seemed as though many of the secondary characters’ lone purpose was to pressure the main characters into doing the opposite of what they wanted. It’s simply peer pressure or, in Gwen’s case, parent pressure. However, one secondary character stole the spotlight in this episode.
Gordy, Lou’s son, was glanced over in the premiere. All audiences knew was that he was on the football team, played guitar, like photography, and had a possible drinking problem. What we learned this week was that yes, he was on the football team, but his musical talents and photography were just things to get his dad off his back. Also, he definitely had a drinking problem.
Teenage alcoholism is rarely discussed on primetime television. Yes, there have been thousands of scenes where teens got drunk in a parking lot somewhere, but rarely does it become alcoholism. Lou and his wife have constantly found Gordy drunk and he recently was in a car accident in the middle of the night. He’s shutting down and not talking to his parents, which brings them to the conclusion, as parents, that his problem was worse than they expected. It’s revealed Lou’s father was an alcoholic and now his wife is nervous Gordy’s beginning to spiral.
The most intense scene of the episode was when Lou sat Gordy down in a classroom for a heart-to-heart. This father-son scene in the classroom between Gordy and Lou was gritty. It was uncomfortable to watch, but it was also real. Their scene was something that is rarely shown on primetime.
Rise is doing just that, showing a darker side of high school while also exposing some of the truth that society tries to hide.