REVIEW: ‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,’ Episode 7 – “Thanksgiving”

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Thanksgiving

The seventh episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series, “Thanksgiving,” was released on Friday on Disney+. In last week’s episode, students rallied behind Miss Jenn (Kate Reinders) after it’s discovered that she fudged her own resume. The school held a meeting to determine whether she should continue to be the drama teacher at East High. Meanwhile, Ricky (Joshua Bassett) and Gina’s (Sofia Wylie) bond continues to grow stronger. Nini (Olivia Rodrigo) starts to notice how close Gina and Ricky are getting, causing her to feel a bit weird. The episode also has what I considered the best musical number that the show has had so far.

In “Thanksgiving,”  Ashlyn (Julia Lester) hosts a Thanksgiving cast party at her house since her parents were away. She and Big Red (Larry Saperstein) start to form a bond that might lead to them being more than friends. To elevate the mood of the party, Carlos (Frankie A. Rodriguez) brought a board game that he made himself that was inspired by the original High School Musical film. Ricky and Gina attend the party together, which definitely gets Nini’s attention. Back at East High, Miss Jenn and Mr. Mazzara (Mark St. Cyr) end up spending the holiday together after their own parties fall apart. Meanwhile, Ricky is dealing with some startling news about his mother’s life in Chicago.

I’ve been continuously impressed with how prominent the separation between Ricky’s parents has been in this season’s plot. Topics like this have been something that Disney has avoided in including for most of its live-action shows. Even when divorce has been included in other shows, it’s never gone to the lengths that HSMTMTS has taken it. The second that Ricky called his mom and another man answered, I felt every single emotion that Ricky was giving off. I can only imagine how badly a situation like this could affect someone. However, I’m not particularly happy to see that this has made him a bit of a jerk, especially to Nini. It’s understandable that this is such a heavy thing to deal with, but this should be a time for him to stick by his friends and not push them away.

Over the past few episodes, I’ve begun to care more about Gina. After learning more about her backstory, she’s become one of my favorite characters in the entire show. Going into the show, I figured that she would just be like Sharpay, but Gina’s character is much more down to earth. Judging the way her character was written in the first few episodes way too fast could very well be the reason why I’ve been impressed with her character development. The way her backstory plays out further in the episode ups the stakes in the entire series, which will certainly make for some interesting scenes. However, I’m not too fond of how this might affect her relationship with Ricky. I hope that the major revelation at the end of the episode doesn’t completely destroy a plot point that’s been developing for the past few episodes.

Speaking of relationships, I’m intrigued that one is blossoming between Big Red and Ashlyn. A few scenes build up the possibility, but I figured that nothing would really come out of them. Still, I can’t help but root for them. This will hopefully give them bigger roles in the series, or at least a few more scenes. I want to see Big Red outside of being just Ricky’s best friend and for Ashlyn to not just be EJ’s (Matt Cornett) cousin. It can get a bit difficult with such a big cast, but I remain hopeful that we’ll see more of Big Red and Ashlyn together.

Overall, I really enjoyed watching the seventh episode of HSMTMTS. It continued to expand on how Ricky is handling his parents’ divorce, which is something I never thought I’d see in a live-action Disney show. More information was revealed about Gina, which makes me empathize with her a lot more. However, I’m beginning to feel frustrated with the direction the show is going. So much has been built up for Ricky, Gina, and Nini for it to only start to fall apart. I can only hope this gets resolved soon, but by the looks of the trailer for episode eight, I can only assume it’ll get worse. It’s a bit disappointing for things to take a turn for the worst with only three episodes left this season.

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

‘High School Musical: The Musical: The Series,’ Episode 7 – "Thanksgiving"
  • 7.5/10
    Rating - 7.5/10
7.5/10

TL;DR

I’m beginning to feel frustrated with the direction the show is going. So much has been built up for Ricky, Gina, and Nini for it to only start to fall apart. I can only hope this gets resolved soon,