High School Musical the Musical the Series series finale ending explained

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, Sofia Wylie and Matt Cornett visit People Now on November 5, 2019 in New York, United States. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 05: Joshua Bassett, Olivia Rodrigo, Sofia Wylie and Matt Cornett visit People Now on November 5, 2019 in New York, United States. (Photo by Jason Mendez/Getty Images) /

While season 4 might not be the longest High School Musical the Musical the Series has ever had, it was certainly the biggest. The eight-episode season promised to give fans a production of High School Musical 3: Senior Year, a fictional High School Musical 4, satisfying endings for seven main characters, and some level of closure for the series as a whole.

That is a lot to try to fit in, especially when the show has a complicated history when it comes to finales. The final episode of season 2, for example, was the series’ lowest-rated episode on IMDb by a wide margin, earning only a 5.8 out of 10.

Warning: Major spoilers for season 4 of High School Musical the Musical the Series below

With that being said, season 4 really did give the fans what they wanted. A few spots felt slightly rushed, but the many arcs actually felt fairly settled by the time the credits rolled (and that after-credit scene popped up!)

Just as senior year is always a combination of endings and beginnings, High School Musical the Musical the Series did a great job juggling its responsibilities in the final season.

Read on for more information on where the series finale left the characters.

High School Musical the Musical the Series series finale ending explained

Carlos and Seb are back together

After the documentary came out in the season 3 finale of High School Musical the Musical the Series, Seb refused to talk to Carlos, ostensibly because he believed Carlos had cheated. However, it actually turned out that Seb had cheated on Carlos—with Big Red!

However, Seb and Carlos finally found their way back together in episode 6, when Seb sang “Over Again” for Carlos, a song that was theoretically sung by Ryan and his partner in HSM4. Once back together, Seb officially came out to his dad by kissing Carlos in the middle of “A Night to Remember.”

Emmy saves the show

The strains of High School Musical 4 were just too much for the drama department, which prompted Principal Gutierrez to cancel the school musical. This was heartbreaking to the entire department, but everybody had already had triumphs—except Emmy.

Emmy transferred to East High for the musical, and she was the only one who stayed single-minded during its production. She was willing to do whatever it took to save the musical, which included some big swings.

The cast and crew were driven to re-commit to the show after hearing Emmy perform “Dreams Don’t Die” in the auditorium. Once they were willing, the practicalities were solved with some celebrity help. Emmy had called original HSM cast members Alyson Reid and Bart Johnson, who agreed to give a quarter of their HSM4 salaries to the drama department to save the show.

Ricky gets into Salt Lake City College

Along with the drama of the two HSM productions and Ricky trying to keep his relationship strong, there were a few moments where Ricky tried to figure out what would come next for him. A visit with EJ helped him define his path forward, and Ricky asked Miss Jenn to write him a college recommendation letter.

Apparently, she went further than that. Miss Jenn and Mr. Mazzara put together an application for Ricky, along with personal recommendations from both. The only caveat was that Ricky had to get As for the rest of the school year.

This is probably the least finalized plot element in High School Musical the Musical the Series, as it was hardly brought up again. Ricky felt certain he could get the grades he needed with Gina’s help, but audiences never actually saw him work on schoolwork. We can only hope he was able to keep up his grades to give that plot beat a happy ending.

Miss Jenn gets an offer to be in Wicked—and turns it down

With so many of the main characters graduating, it felt like Miss Jenn’s job might have been done at East High. She had taken her students so far, and it felt like it was time for her own dreams to finally come true. In season 4, episode 6, it was revealed that Miss Jenn had decided to become a teacher at East High after meeting Alyson Reid at a Wicked audition.

The natural bookend to that reveal came in an offer letter for Miss Jenn to finally make her Broadway debut as Glinda. As a bit of a meta note, actress Kate Reinders did play Glinda in Chicago from 2005 to 2006 and on Broadway from 2006 to 2007.

The two paths plagued the teacher for the last two episodes before Miss Jenn asked Mr. Mazzara to rip up the offer letter when she saw Gina take a big risk. Along with seeing her original students find success, Miss Jenn learned that she had more students to help, including Emmy and Dani.

Ashlyn and Maddoz got together

After Ashlyn started exploring her identity in season 3, she developed feelings for Maddox, the prickly stage manager from Camp Shallow Lake. This continued into season 4 of High School Musical the Musical the Series, when the two were texting nearly constantly.

There was plenty of will-they, won’t-they, which led to a big reveal. Maddox’s ex, Madison, sent her a bundle of balloons to give Ashlyn. Ashlyn asked the head of Camp Shallow Lake to bring her a piece of wood that said, “Ash hearts Gadget,” courtesy of EJ.

However, their happiness was once again put at stake when Ashlyn found out Maddox was planning to go to New Zealand to join the crew of Quinn’s new movie. Thankfully, Gina pulled some strings to get the filming moved back to Salt Lake City, keeping the couple together.

Kourtney decides to go to Lewis College after she graduates

At the start of season 4, audiences learn that Kourtney is dead-set on attending an Ivy League, but her mother pushes her to consider options. Specifically, Kourtney visits Lewis College, a fictional university that seems to be an amalgamation of several HBCUs.

Kourtney fell in love with Lewis, which was notable for having a Thurgood Marshall Law Library and for being one of the first schools to have a program specifically for black-owned start-ups. After getting the chance to sing “Jump” with one of the school’s choirs, Kourtney was questioning everything.

In the middle of High School Musical 3, Kourtney found out that she got into both Lewis and Princeton, which had always been her dream school. With some prompting from Jet, she realized that Lewis was the place where she truly felt at home.

Gina becomes a movie star—twice—and gets the boy

Fans knew from the promotional materials that Gina would end up starring in High School Musical 4, but she ended up getting an opportunity much bigger than that. The director, Quinn, liked her enough to cast her as the lead in her new version of Romeo and Juliet.

This version would have a massive budget, film in New Zealand, and somehow change the story enough that nobody would die. It was Gina’s chance to really take off in the entertainment industry, but it also meant she would have to move away from Salt Lake City in her final semester.

Gina was terrified to tell Ricky and hurt their relationship, which made it that much worse when her mother told Ricky. He gave Gina his blessing, but he desperately wanted to tell her he loved her.

This all culminated in the final episode, where Gina accepted the role, but announced that the filming would be in Salt Lake City, not New Zealand. This could have massively backfired, but Ricky then ran in to perform a love song for Gina, which the press ate up.

As it ended, Gina truly gets to have it all. She becomes a movie star, gets to stay with Ricky, and even gets to be in the spring musical. And since Mack quit the movie, Ricky might just have the opportunity to be her leading man too.

High School Musical the Musical the Series rapid-fire character endings

Along with the major decisions in the last couple of episodes, there were several other characters that got short spotlights. These include:

  • Jet decides to stay at East High next semester.
  • Jet and Kourtney get together (or at least have their crushes revealed).
  • Mack decides to leave Romeo and Juliet, instead rebooting Mark and Spark as a mockumentary.
  • Antoine is not actually French; he’s a method actor who got really in-character during Beauty and the Beast. He ends up with Big Red.
  • Mr. Mazzara was secretly a member of a boy band in his youth. He was kicked out before the band became a hit in New Zealand. He and Miss Jenn (now a couple) plan to go together to help him make peace with his past.
  • Miss Jenn told EJ he would make a good teacher, which seems like a likely next step for the character.

What was the plot of High School Musical 4?

While there was so much more to High School Musical the Musical the Series than just a continuation of the HSM franchise, there are plenty of OG fans who want to know what the fourth installment would include. If a true fourth movie was ever made, it could ignore HSMTMTS’s plot, but this is all we have for now.

The broad synopsis of HSM4 is that, 15 years after the original films, East High is about to experience some major changes. The biggest is that Mrs. Darbus, who has continued to guide students to theatre, is planning to retire.

The original students return for their high school reunion, and we get brief updates on where they landed.

  • Taylor is the principal of East High and is married to Chad.
  • Ryan is married (to a man), with twins on the way.
  • Martha is a famous choreographer.
  • Troy and Gabriella are having relationship troubles.

We also meet the new drama students being guided by Mrs. Darbus. This includes Bailey Johnson (Gina), who joined the school in her sophomore year and didn’t know where to turn until she found theatre. She’s also a cheerleader, a basketball player, an Olympic runner, and apparently a member of MENSA?

Bailey’s boyfriend is Sam (Mack), who is great with numbers, but not with history. He’s one year younger than her, but they are completely devoted to each other. Sam doesn’t have as many personality traits as Bailey, simply being described as a “freaky STEM boy.”

Bailey and Sam try to figure out the future together, as well as secure the legacy of East High’s theatre department. The movie ends with Bailey convincing Mrs. Darbus not to retire in the last 5 minutes. According to Quinn, the movie runs 300 minutes, nearly 2 hours longer than Avengers: Endgame.

All four seasons of High School Musical the Musical the Series are now streaming on Disney+.

dark. Next. Is High School Musical the Musical the Series canceled? (Will there be a season 5?)