School is officially out for summer now that Paramount+’s infectiously energetic Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies has dropped its Season 1 finale. Before you start jonesing anew for catchy bops, elaborate production numbers and triangles that are more complicated than any you’d find in geometry class, let’s recap, shall we?
Thursday’s “Racing for Pinks” began with the Pink Ladies trying in vain to convince Olivia not to marry Mr. Daniels. Not only was he a “khaki-wearing old-man creeper” whereas his bride-to-be was a “double feature… his name is Leonard, for God’s sake!” Cynthia noted. Later, the tomboy admitted to Lydia that “I really like you, like Romeo likes Juliet.” Alas, Lydia, having been burned before, rejected the Pink Lady, suggesting that she simply wasn’t “steady ground.”
Hoping to keep Buddy from being expelled, Susan appealed to Principal Nicholson, who said that the only way her ex or Richie could stay was if all the students agreed who was to blame for the fight. Overhearing, Jane took the idea and ran with it, getting the outcasts and popular kids to sign off on a drag race to decide whether Buddy or Richie was at fault. Buddy would drive for himself; Gil, for the already-gone Richie.
That evening, Buddy confided in Hazel that he knew he was going to lose and be shipped off to Connecticut. That being the case, he could tell her that… D’oh. Rather than let him admit that he liked her, Wally’s girlfriend beat a hasty retreat.
Before the race got underway the following day, Susan, losing any points she had gained with viewers, slammed a car hood shut on Gil’s hand so that he couldn’t drive. Jane would take his place, she said. Since that wouldn’t be fair, her having flunked driver’s ed and all, Susan, also hell on wheels, would take the wheel for Buddy. In the end, Gil’s car just couldn’t maintain its speed, and Susan won. Buddy could stay at Rydell, and Richie could stay… Sigh. Gone.
That night, Nancy brought Mezcal to Cynthia’s as a peace offering. Cynthia wasn’t upset — or just upset — because Nancy was always so mean to Potato, though. What was it? Cynthia couldn’t say, so Nancy had her write it down. Cynthia’s secret out to at least one friend, she and Nancy tearfully embraced.
The day of Olivia’s wedding, the Pink Ladies realized that they needed to be there for the future Mrs. Daniels. So they stole McGee’s car and offered their services as bridesmaids. Only then did it dawn on Olivia that she was only marrying Mr. Daniels because, having lost Richie, she felt like she needed someone to hold onto… but she already had that in her girl gang. (Special props to Nancy, who, on their way out, slapped Leonard, scolding him for trying to make a wife of a child!)
At Rydell’s carnival, Cynthia at last convinced Lydia that she was all in where their romance is concerned. How could Lydia be sure? “I told Nancy everything,” Cynthia said. “There’s no going back now.” Nancy’s relationship with Potato regained its momentum, too, after she apologized and, in short order, he dumped her, kissed her and gave her a pie to the face. (Breaking and making up is apparently going to be their “thing.”) Urged on by Susan, Jane told Nicholson that everyone agreed that Richie was to blame for the brawl. It didn’t matter, however, since by then Buddy had confessed to being the guilty party. He wasn’t going to school in Connecticut, either. Despite being a 16-year-old dropout, he was going to make his own way, he told his dad.
Newly single, Olivia was disheartened to see that Gil had a new girl on his arm — from St. Bernadette’s, no less. The Pink Ladies, acknowledging that they were all nuts, asked Hazel to join the gang. “We could use a logical [member],” Olivia observed. As the episode and the season came to a close, Gil introduced everybody to his old pal from New York, Frankie. “But everybody calls him Zuko” Gil added. (Did Danny have a brother?) We didn’t get a glimpse of the newcomer’s face, but it was familiar to at least one person. “I said I never wanted to see you again,” Jane hollered at him, “and I meant it!”