Grease Rise of the Pink Ladies Finale Recap: Does Richie Return to Rydell High?

Created by Annabel Oakes, ‘Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies’ is a musical teen comedy-drama airing on Paramount+. It serves as a prequel to the 1978 classic film ‘Grease,’ which is based on the stage musical of the same name by Jim Jacobs and Warren Case. Set four to five years before the events of the film, ‘Grease: Rise of Pink Ladies Finale’ chronicles the foundation of the all-girl clique known as the Pink Ladies. In the season 1 finale, Jane (Marisa Davila) takes a daring gamble to ensure Richie’s (Johnathan Nieves) return to school. Despite the objections from her friends, Olivia (Cheyenne Isabel Wells) prepares to get married. Meanwhile, Cynthia (Ari Notartomaso) faces arguably the most challenging decision of her life. Here is everything you might want to know about the ending of ‘Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies’ episode 10. SPOILERS AHEAD.

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies Episode 10 Recap

The episode begins with the other three girls visiting Olivia and urging her not to get married. It seems that the Pink Ladies have realized how inappropriate the relationship between Olivia and Mr. Daniels is, and the song that they sing reflects that.

In the penultimate episode, Richie’s parents sent him to military school after he and Buddy (Jason Schmidt) were arrested for fighting and expelled from school. Jane’s streak of catastrophic decisions continues when she organizes a car race between Buddy and Gil (Nicholas McDonough). If Buddy wins, the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds will go to the Principal and accept that what happened was Richie’s fault, enabling Buddy to return to Rydell High. But if Gil wins, Buddy will do the same for Richie. Buddy agrees, even though he knows he has no chance against Gil.

However, on the day of the race, Susan purposefully causes an accident in which Gil gets injured. Even though Buddy wants to postpone the race until Gil is healed, Susan and Jane convince him and Gil to let them race in their place. Given that they both flunked their driving test, the boys reluctantly agree. Although Jane gains an early lead, her car starts to have trouble and completely shuts down during the final lap, leading to a victory for Susan.

Meanwhile, Hazel (Shanel Bailey) finds herself in a romantic triangle with Buddy and Wally (Maxwell Whittington-Cooper) and seeks advice from Jane. Cynthia faces her own issue with Lydia, as the other girl urges her to be true to herself. But it’s not an easy thing to do; this is the 1950s, after all. Cynthia harbors genuine feelings for Lydia, but society around them will not accept their relationship. Lydia compares her to a former girlfriend who couldn’t take the social pressure of being identified as gay and blamed everything on Lydia.

As Cynthia’s frustration grows, she becomes irritated with how Lydia treats Potato, making the other girl realize that Cynthia is not only right about her treatment of Potato but also she hasn’t been herself in the recent few days. Before the episode ends, Nancy reconciles with Potato in her own way. Cynthia comes out, and Nancy happily accepts who her friend is, embracing her. They reconcile when Cynthia lets Lydia know that she has spoken to Nancy about them, demonstrating that she is serious about what they have.

Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies Episode 10: Does Olivia Marry Mr. Daniels?

No, Olivia doesn’t marry Mr. Daniels. Oakes said in an interview that just as ‘Grease’ the film is a commentary on the 1950s from the perspective of the 1970s, ‘Rise of the Pink Ladies’ offers a commentary on the 1950s and 1970s from the perspective of the 2020s. Despite this, it takes them until episode 9 to underscore that a teacher should not be in a romantic relationship with a student.

When the other Pink Ladies try to convince Olivia not to go through the wedding at the start of the episode, she refuses to listen, as she is still angry at Jane and the widespread damage her indecisions and recklessness have caused. The other girls start to believe that their friendship with Olivia is ending because she is getting married, but Hazel helps them see the fundamental flaw of that belief. They subsequently crash Olivia’s wedding and convince her to leave with them.

Does Richie Return to Rydell High? What Will Buddy Do?

When Susan wins the race, she effectively secures Buddy’s return to Rydell High, not realizing that it’s not something he desires. Buddy has lived a life of privilege, but privilege often comes with responsibility and expectation. Buddy now feels that he is drowning because of the expectations of the people around him to fulfill his duties. His teammates want him to lead them to victory. His father wants him to be a model student-athlete and even tries to get him re-elected as the president so it would ease his mayoral run.

Image Credit: Eduardo Araquel/Paramount+

Buddy confesses to Hazel that he never felt freer than after he was expelled. For the first time in his life, Buddy has agency over himself. And this is why he chooses not to go back to school. He reaches out to the Principal, telling him he was responsible for the fight. This not only opens the door for Richie’s return from military school in the potential season 2 but also gives Buddy the space to find his own path.

Does Hazel Join the Pink Ladies?

Yes, Hazel joins the Pink Ladies toward the end of the season. Her knowledge about cars helps Susan win the race against Jane, and later she helps Jane and the others see that they need to help Olivia when she is about to make the biggest mistake of her life. Olivia, Jane, Nancy, and Cynthia have individual positive qualities but are almost always driven by emotions, which can be both good and bad. With Hazel’s addition to the clique, they now have someone who can approach things logically. Moreover, Hazel is also friends with Wally, Susan, Buddy, and others and can breach the gap between them and the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds.

Who is Frankie Zuko? How Does Jane know Frankie/Zuko?

The first season of ‘Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies’ ends on a cliffhanger. Gil (Nicholas McDonough) and the T-Birds approach the Pink Ladies and introduce them to a young man whom Gil refers to as a “pal” from New York. Gil says that the young man’s name is Frankie and is interrupted by a shocked Jane, who shouts, “Zuko.” The final shot of the season focuses on the ring the young man is wearing, and it’s distinctively like the one that Danny Zuko (John Travolta) gives to Sandy (Olivia Newton-John).

Now, this Zuko can’t be Danny; not only the first names but also the timelines don’t match as well. Given the series is set in 1954, four to five years before the events of the film, Danny, a Rydell high student in ‘Grease,’ should be around 13-15 years old at this point, around the same age as the future Pink Ladies members Betty Rizzo and Fran ‘Frenchy’ Facciano. We know that this mysterious young man wears a black leather jacket, so he is most likely a member of the T-Birds.

As there are already main characters in the show who are older siblings of the characters from the film, this Frankie is likely an older brother or cousin of Danny. Perhaps Danny inherited the ring from him. The name Frankie seems to be a tip of the hat to Frankie Valli, the renowned singer and the frontman of the Four Seasons, who recorded the title track of the 1978 film. As for Jane’s reaction to Frankie, she most likely knew him in New York. It’s even probable that they dated; otherwise, Jane wouldn’t have looked that angry.

Read More: Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies Episode 8 Recap and Ending, Explained