High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Closes The Curtain

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series season 2
High School Musical: The Musical: The Series season 2 /

After four seasons, the curtain has closed on Disney+’s High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. But, how did it end, and did the series deliver on all of its promises?

Going into the final season, the show promised the returns of actors from the original trilogy. But, if you were hoping for more than a glorified cameo, you may be sorely disappointed.

Corbin Bleu, Lucas Grabeel, and KayCee Stroh only appear in one of the final season’s eight episodes. Monique Coleman and Bart Johnson only appear in two of the episodes. Alyson Reed only appears in three of the episodes.

While it may be nostalgic to see them appear on screen together, and reveal where their characters ended up, they do not add much to the plot other than securing the background storyline of the fictional High School Musical 4.

When it comes to the show’s main characters, they mostly receive fitting conclusions. However, season three’s mistake of omitting Big Red and Sebastian from most of the season is nearly repeated. While Maddox, Jet, and Emmy are welcome additions to East High after their introductions in season three, the central storylines are reliant on Ricky, Gina, Kourtney, Ashlyn, and Carlos.

As seniors, Ricky and Kourtney are headed toward graduation, and season four does a fairly decent job at showing the uncertainty and anxieties that surround leaving high school and moving toward the rest of your life. Which college is right? How do you keep your relationships moving forward?

At this point, it makes sense that EJ is brought back into the fold right as Ricky starts to have a crisis about the next steps of his life. EJ had followed similar worries in seasons two and three as he confronted the differences between what he wanted for himself versus what his father wanted for him.

High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ fourth season highlights the changes in Ricky and EJ’s relationship since the show’s beginning, as they now look at each other as brothers, rather than competition. But, their reunion is not without a joke about Ricky’s history of stealing EJ’s girlfriends.

Ricky’s relationship with Gina is part of the center of the final season. But, it is not without conflict, and in a way, it does the job of showing Ricky’s growth from the ending of his romance with Nini earlier in the series, as well as how Gina grew from the troubles that came from her short-lived romance with EJ.

They have each learned from their mistakes, and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series wants to acknowledge they want to do better for each other.

Unfortunately, the final season avoids discussing Nini as much as possible. Olivia Rodrigo’s absence from the series is noticeable, even with her being mostly absent in season three. Rather than lean into her disappearance, giving updates about how Nini is doing in California, and addressing how her aspiring career is going, the final season mostly ignores her existence other than a few quick references to her character. Considering Nini never got real goodbyes with anyone other than Kourtney and Miss Jen, it feels as if the show did not do her character justice, even if the reasons for writing her off in season three made sense.

Otherwise, season four portrays the slow burn of Ashlyn’s romance with Maddox, and how it plays into Ashlyn’s recent arc of self-discovery. Concluding her romance with Big Red, who had been far too absent in the final two seasons to be a legitimate romantic endgame for Ashlyn anyway, was the right move.

But, what makes it better is how the show steers toward support in one of the kindest breakups teenagers could go through. They have grown up, and relationships do not always last. There are no hard feelings or shouting or blame. Instead, the duo takes it in stride, accepting the end of their relationship while still supporting each other and promising to continue being best friends.

Gina faces a dilemma that is very reminiscent of Gabriella Montez, which is fitting when she is cast in the role for the school’s rendition of High School Musical 3: Senior Year. Gina has moved around for years, and just as she has found a solid group of friends she can call family, people who have encouraged the best of her, Gina is expected to pick up and move again.

Having succeeded as the lead in the new High School Musical film, Gina’s chemistry with Mack had impressed the director enough to bring her aboard a new rendition of Romeo and Juliet, but it films in New Zealand.

Already worried about the strain her relationship with Ricky would take with him away at college, Gina did not anticipate having to leave him and the rest of their friends six months earlier than she expected to make a movie.

Carlos also faces relationship drama in the aftermath of the Frozen documentary trailer making it seem as if Carlos had cheated on Seb. While that is not the case, Seb’s revelation that he had been the one to kiss someone else puts a pause on Carlos and Seb’s romance until the duo finally work it out.

Over its four seasons, High School Musical: The Musical: The Series has discussed the intricacies of friendships, romances, and complications of dynamics between teenagers and their parents. The final season succeeds in acknowledging the importance of found family while allowing its characters to deal with the emotional ramifications of how the drama club has helped inspire them all, and how these relationships are the strength and heart of the series.

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