In a scene that totally echoes when Bruce Bogtrotter stuffs his face with chocolate cake in Matilda, the September 7 episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series begins with Ricky chowing down on pizza to try and mark another thing off his bucket list before he turns 18.
Ricky, being the determined boy he is, completes the task. By the end of it all, he’s delirious. “I can smell colors,” he says.
E.J. walks in looking very spiffy for Camp Prom. Jet and Ricky talk about their mysterious “plan” for tonight. Carlos is curious about the Gina situation, but Ricky is trying not to sweat it. He thinks he’s got a lot of time before he has to address it.
Well, that might not be the case. Carlos has discovered that a trailer is being released next month with “juicy footage.” You know FootageGate is the definition of “juicy.”
Maddox & Madison Finally Come Face-To-Face
Meanwhile, Ashlyn is ruminating on her newfound discovery. “I learned something new about myself last night, and it goes a little deeper than a rising sign,” she says. Ashlyn confirms that she does have a crush on Val and “all that that implies.” Her “dating pool got a little bigger, and so did my heart, and so did my world.” I love this for Ashlyn.
Gina isn’t fretting over not being able to be E.J.’s date to Camp Prom because he’s promised her the last dance of the night. E.J., don’t you dare let Gina down.
In a go-big-or-go-home moment, Jet really goes for it. He brings Madison to Shallow Lake. Maddox is caught off guard at first. Jet and Madison swear that Jet was just trying to help. Just as Madison is about to walk out the door, Maddox asks her to stay.
Camp Prom isn’t just about the dancing, it’s about tradition. E.J. explains that the guys end up pouring freezing water on themselves and post a shirtless photo for the Shallow Lake memory wall. It’s a hard pass for Ricky and Carlos. They wonder if this is really a tradition. “Anything can be a tradition if you do it more than once,” E.J. says
“Like slapping?” Ricky replies before mimicking a slap. E.J. is not amused. Ricky, you’ve turned into quite the brave boy this summer.
Ricky Can’t Hide His Feelings For Gina
Camp Prom begins as E.J. continues to look over the script. He wants to run lines with everyone at the dance, officially taking on the role of a buzzkill. When Gina walks in with Kourtney and Ashlyn, Ricky literally spits out his drink. “Hello, boys,” Gina says.
The very adorable and blatantly crushing Ricky clears his throat. Gina asks if he’s okay. Even E.J. notices that Ricky is wearing his feelings all over his face about Gina. Ricky. Ricky goes for a quick save and says it’s just the polyester he’s wearing. “Need some air, Richard?” E.J. asks. Cue the “she knows” meme we’ve all seen TikTok.
As the dance starts, Madison and Maddox catch up in the cabin. Maddox admits she was clingy and held on too tight last summer. Madison believes that she “let go a little too fast.” Madison brings up that Jet was “pretty emotional” on the phone and thinks he could use a friend. Ahem, Maddox.
Carlos happily gives Ashlyn a Pride flag pin. “Welcome to the community,” he tells her. EJ begins quizzing Carlos about his lines and brings up the shirtless tradition. Carlos is still hesitant and doesn’t want to be forced into doing it. “We don’t do hazing here. Whatever makes you happy, okay?” E.J. says.
Suddenly, Seb shows up! Seb and Carlos share a sweet reunion kiss. Seb is beyond precious. He’s dressed like a grandfather. When Carlos told him the theme was the ’70s, he thought that meant dressing up like someone in their 70s.
Gina asks E.J. to dance, but he puts her off to go over more prompts. There’s that look between Ricky and Gina again. E.J. begins to quiz Kourtney and she blanks. Her anxiety takes over.
Gina doesn’t hesitate to ask Ricky to dance since E.J. isn’t budging. Before Ricky can get his chance, E.J. says that Maddox is about to take the stage. She speaks to the crowd and admits she’s pushed people away. She decides to sing a song that made her little brother happy and extends the olive branch back at Jet.
They perform “Wouldn’t Change A Thing” from Camp Rock 2. Seb and Carlos even join in. Madison and Maddox finally get their chance to dance together.
Gina & E.J. Break Up
Gina continues to wait patiently to have the last dance with E.J. She looks around for him and spots Ricky, who’s already looking at her. He tries to make her laugh, but she’s just sad because E.J. let her down again. She goes to find him backstage. She tells him that he missed the last dance. He attempts to salvage his mistake, but Gina is done.
“We had two completely different nights, and I’m starting to think we had two completely different summers,” Gina tells E.J. She’s realized that he’s already had all these experiences that she’s wanted to have with him. He missed out on the Woman in the Woods and hasn’t been taking part in the bucket list quest. E.J. snaps that both of those things involve Ricky.
“This is not about Ricky,” Gina says. E.J. replies, “I know there’s history there.” He continues to not listen to Gina. “I was trying to make a future with you.” she tells him. He stresses that if things work out with the musical then maybe things will be different.
“I think the problem is that maybe isn’t good enough for me right now,” Gina admits. “Maybe’s all I’ve ever known. And maybe, I came to the dance solo, and maybe I… I don’t know EJ maybe I should leave solo, too.”
She points out that they haven’t really been together all summer. If that’s an indication for the future, she wants to “skip ahead.” Gina doesn’t want to be pushed aside anymore.
“I can’t be a maybe anymore, EJ. Not now and not later,” she continues. While E.J. is a decent guy, it’s over. Gina and E.J. break up. “Can it really be over if it never really got a chance to start?” she replies. Seriously, Sofia Wylie is a force to be reckoned with. Give her every single award!
The breakup moment is interrupted by Seb, who’s just found out that E.J.’s real name is Elton John. Gina leaves E.J. and races through the dance in tears. Ricky sees an emotional Gina walking to the coat closet. He goes to check on her, as he always does.
Ricky brings up that he has something to tell Gina. When he sees the tears in her eyes, he says it can wait. She drops her back. They both drop down to pick up. There they go ahead with that look. The Rina look. Gina runs out before Ricky has a chance to say anything.
Kourtney & Carlos Conquer Their Fears
Kourtney is back at her cabin singing her prayer. Ashlyn sits down with her and asks if there’s something going on. Kourtney is worried about opening night. She wonders Ashlyn should take her place. “I’m good… You are better,” Ashlyn tells Kourtney.
Maddox and Gina walk in. “I think I just broke up with EJ,” Gina says to the room. Don’t get her started. Ashlyn, noticing that everyone is kind of in a weird space, asks Kourtney, “Can I borrow your prayer?” They all come together to sing. Kourtney’s not alone. She never has been. Fueled by her strength and the strength of her friends, she decides to face her fear and take on the climbing wall.
Ricky finds E.J. in their cabin. Both of them say their nights were “confusing.” Carlos decides that he wants to do the shirtless ice bucket tradition and conquer his fear. Jet, Ricky, EJ, and Carlos all do it together. As this is happening, Kourtney makes it to the top of the climbing wall. Gina, Maddox, and Ashlyn cheer her on. “You know you’re one of us now,” Ashlyn tells Maddox, which is all Maddox has wanted to hear.
Carlos calls Ricky his “hero” for encouraging him to do the shirtless tradition. Being called a hero is just what Ricky needed to mark another thing off his bucket list.
Gina walks back to her cabin alone and runs into Ricky. “What was the thing you were going to tell me earlier?” Gina asks. Ricky begins to explain that he said something to Carlos that Channing caught on camera.
Ricky is just about to come clean when E.J. walks by. When E.J. doesn’t come up to them, Ricky asks if something’s going on tonight. “We kind of broke up tonight,” Gina admits. Ricky is stunned. Gina refuses to let Ricky off the hook, but he doesn’t feel it’s the right time to confess. Gina knows that Ricky isn’t telling her the truth. You can tell she doesn’t want to get her hopes up about Ricky. But let’s face it — it’s always been Ricky for Gina.
E.J. and Maddox meet up, and she goes through her night with Madison. E.J. asks if any of the new girls caught her eye this summer. When Ashlyn walks by, E.J. has his answer. But that’s not the real reason for this late-night meet-up. Maddox reveals she got a tip that Channing’s “going to go full reality show” and “stir up all kinds of trouble” to make sure opening night is a train wreck. E.J.’s night just got a whole lot worse.