REVIEW: ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,’ Episode 5 – “Homecoming”

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The fifth episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, “Homecoming,” has been released on Dinsey+. In last week’s episode, Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) confronts EJ (Matt Cornett) about stealing her phone in front of the entire cast of the play. Nini, obviously upset, begins to doubt whether she should even be in a relationship with EJ. Kourtney (Dara Renee) tries to help her get through this whole situation. With Ricky’s (Joshua Bassett) mom back in town, he gets some upsetting news about the fate of his parents’ relationship. He tries to make sense of the news but can’t see any upside to it. Meanwhile, Gina (Sofia Wylie) comes up with a plan to not only get her the part of Gabriella but also help EJ with getting Nini to forgive him.

In “Homecoming,” Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) overhears a conversation that Nini and Kourtney are having about a girls’ night out and decides to tag along. She takes them to a local bowling alley. There, Miss Jenn has a unique interaction with Ricky’s dad (Alex Quijano), who’s out on the town trying to deal with his divorce. Meanwhile, Nini and Kourtney are trying to avoid the craziness of the homecoming dance. Gina and EJ go to the dance but her plan to make Nini jealous fails. Ricky decides to go with Big Red (Larry Saperstein) to the dance as friends and has an interesting interaction with Gina. Carlos (Frankie A. Rodriguez), who invited Seb (Joe Serafini) to the dance as a date, is worried that he was stood up.

Seeing Miss Jenn take her students out for a girls’ night made me love her character even more. While she makes note that she’s worried that her lead is getting distracted from her part, she does an incredible job of displaying how much she cares for her students. Though she wasn’t a big presence in last week’s episode, she’s become such an integral part of the show. Her conversation with Ricky’s dad was unexpected, but it will certainly make for an interesting development. However, it does seem a bit too convenient that two single main characters would end up at the same bowling alley. Regardless, it was still great to see and I’m excited to see the effect it’ll have on the show.

In my review of the series premiere, I made a note on how important it was to have a character like Carlos on the show. He hasn’t been in the show much since the first two episodes, which made me super excited to see him given a more prominent role in this episode. He starts to get worried after he invites Seb to the Homecoming dance as his date. I have to give major props to the show for including this storyline in what seemed like a series that would mainly center around Ricky and Nini.

Right from the start, it was obvious that Gina’s plan would fail. Nini would have had to have been at the dance for her plan to work. Keeping EJ in the dark wouldn’t have helped either. She realizes and accepts that her plan was doomed to begin with after getting called out by Ricky, which was a quick character development that I wasn’t expecting. It will be interesting to see how this development unfolds and how it will affect Ricky and Nini’s developments from this episode as well.

Another new original song was introduced this week, “Born to be Brave,” which is sung by Kourtney and Nini. The song mainly talks about finally finding yourself after having faced a difficult challenge and regaining the confidence you once had. The lyrics and the incredible voices of Reene and Rodrigo add true emotion which elevates the effect the song has on the episode. It’s the perfect song for feeling empowered during a girls’ night out.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching the fifth episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. I am completely surprised that a Disney show would include a storyline that’s centered around queer characters, but I’m glad it happened. It helped that the storyline didn’t feel forced just for the sake of being more inclusive. The original songs also continue to impress me every week. The episode left off on a major scene between two characters, which instantly hyped me up for next week’s episode.

The fifth episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series is available now on Disney+.


'High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,' Episode 5 - "Homecoming"
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    Rating - 10/10
10/10

TL;DR

I am completely surprised that a Disney show would include a storyline that’s centered around queer characters, but I’m glad it happened. It helped that the storyline didn’t feel forced just for the sake of being more inclusive. The original songs also continue to impress me every week.