Head of the Class S01E03 Review: Bland High School Musical-ish Effort

In the third episode of HBO Max's Head of the Class, the focus shifts to a musical that Elliot (Jorge Diaz) wrote, as auditions get underway for his sci-fi themed "As the World Sa-Turns" (in the most dad-joke-inspired title for an episode). Still trying to live out her youth vicariously through her students a little too much, Alicia (Isabella Gomez) tries to convince Miles (Adrian Matthew Escala) to audition as the co-lead for Elliot's play but as per the MO, there's still a lot of his shell left that he needs to break free from for that to happen.

Head of the Class S01E03 Review: High School Musical-ish
Brandon Severs and Gavin Lewis in Head of the Class (2021). Image courtesy of Monty Brinton / HBO Max/ WarnerMedia

Head of the Class Goes Musical & Romcom Route

The second primary arc is another example of the confusion that comes from adolescence with Terrell (Brandon Severs) & Sarah (Katie Beth Hall) and their potential mutual interest in one another, which is compounded by their classmates/friends also misreading intentions Robyn (Dior Goodjohn) & Luke's (Gavin Lewis) intentions. To remind us the sitcom is still about smart kids, they gave Makayla (Jolie Hoang-Rappaport) something to do to construct an intricate set piece for Elliot's play.

Head of the Class HBO Max Reboot Trailer Introduces New Cast
Courtesy of HBO Max / WarnerMedia

Directed by Phill Lewis and written by Willie Hunter, the deviation is awkward in this instance, because something like a play or musical is a standalone episode rather than something that's built up. Guess for the purpose of this episode, it works since it's an excuse to introduce a love interest but it's also a testament to contrived sitcom writing. The student cast does more to pull their weight this time, I think what could have helped would've been if they could Diaz to play up some Ed Wood-type attitude with his play. Which is just an example of the many ways they could've gone with a "live play" storyline instead of the bare minimum. While it's nice to see that Alicia isn't part of the problem this time, they could have fleshed this arc a little more for a better payoff. Instead, we were given a less-than-worthy effort that didn't deserve a curtain call. The first season of Head of the Class is streaming on HBO Max.

Head of the Class Season 1 Episode 3 "As the World Sa-Turns"

Head of the Class S01E03 Review: High School Musical-ish
Review by Tom Chang

HBO Max's Head of the Class tires to kick into high gear with its musical episode. Unfortunately, so much meat is left on the bone when it comes to just how much potential this episode had but viewers were gifted with a wonderful showing by Adrian Matthew Escalona.

Phill Lewis

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Tom ChangAbout Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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