Disney Plus dropped the final season 1 episode of High School Musical: The Musical: The Series’ on Jan. 10. A whole season of theater drama wrapped with one final curtain call.
But if exited the theater (or rather, you clicked out of your Disney Plus tab), you missed an important encore.
That’s right, baby, we’re talking about High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Post-Credits Scene.
[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for High School Musical: The Musical: The Series season 1.]
After the episode ends — with some ship closure and some wonderful, meaty hooks for next season (Will Nini stay at East High or follow her dreams? How will Gina return?) — fans get a scene in which Big Red (Larry Saperstein) shows off his tap-dancing talent in the empty gym full of confetti.
The setup feels familiar for anyone who knows the original High School Musical. A post-credits scene at the end of that movie had minor character Zeke (the basketball player who says he likes to bake during “Stick to the Status Quo”) walking alone through a confetti-filled gym.
Much like the original — wherein Sharpay, who Zeke previously expressed romantic interest in, surprises him, thrilled at the cookies he made for her and throws her arms around him — Big Red’s possible love interest Ashlyn appears at the end. The episode revealed earlier that the large, mysterious bouquet of flowers that appeared in the theater were sent to Ashlyn for Big Red. Like in the original High School Musical, Ashlyn surprises Big Red, throwing her arms around him, and giving him a big ol’ smooch.
It’s a cute little parallel, though the characters fill different roles than their OG movie counterparts: throughout HSMTMTS, Big Red had more dimension than the typical flyby comic relief, his close friendship with Ricky being a key source of drama, and Ashlyn — who plays Mrs. Darbus, is also the co-captain of the Robotics team and high priestess of the Salt Lake City Renaissance Faire — is one of the funnest, quirkiest, well-rounded female characters on television. HSMTMTS nicely subverted typical high school genre tropes by turning the characters who seemed like antagonists into sympathetic characters. There is no mean girl Sharpay, just a bunch of teens bonded by a love of theater, figuring out what they want from life.
HSMTMTS has been renewed for a second season, which is set to premiere sometime in 2020.