Westside season 1 finale recap: The End of the Beginning


The pressure is on and it’s starting to get to everyone. The last episode of Westside brought us so close to the investor performance. But now, it’s finally showtime.

This episode of Westside opens with Alexandra outside pacing. It’s twenty minutes before the performance and she feels like she’s going to throw up.

Inside the theatre, the audience is filing in and everyone in the ensemble is backstage getting ready. Somewhere completely different, Austin is shown getting ready in his apartment before heading to work as a waiter. This is all underscored by a teaser of the song “Believe in Dreams.”

In the audience, Indy, still Alexandra’s boyfriend, is in attendance. Taz’s parents and Pia’s husband and best friend have also made it to the show. Nerves continue to build backstage as the performance draws to within five minutes.

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The episode cuts to a conversation between Sean and Joy, a potential investor. He shows her a presentation, pitching the show as a combination of nightlife and theatre. He’s looking for investors so he can run the show for six weeks at 1Oak.

Joy seems interested and asks for the cost breakdown to be sent to her so she can show friends who also might be interested in helping. Back in the theatre, Joy is in the audience awaiting the performance.

The group finally takes the stage and begins the performance. Keith gives a speech to kick things off, saying that this performance is part of the process—the end of the beginning.

To start, Alexandra does her monologue about moving out to L.A and sings “Divebar Dreamer” with the rest of the ensemble on backup vocals. Next up is Taz. After her emotional monologue, she performs “Do Better.” In the audience, Taz’s mom wipes away tears.

Pia steps up to the mic next and does her monologue about trying to make it through American Idol. However, part way through her monologue, she forgets what comes next and has to ask for her next line (a horrifying experience if you’ve ever experienced it on stage).

As Pia powers toward the end of her monologue, the episode transitions to the music video for “Believe in Dreams.”

Throughout the video, there are clips from the others performing during the investor show, but none of them are heard singing or doing their monologues. Instead, the episode transitions to a decompressing conversation between Sean and Keith.

As they talk, they try to figure out how to transition the show from a traditional theater space to the performance space/nightclub at 1Oak. The key, Keith points out, is finding the right people to help them.

Elsewhere, Pia goes on a walk with her friend to talk about the performance. Pia is still emotional over messing up her monologue and (in her mind, at least) letting her ensemble down. Her friend encourages Pia to embrace the insecurities instead of shutting down.

Alexandra has a chance to sit and talk about the show with Indy, who enjoyed the performance. Being together, they’re both able to see what happened when they were apart more clearly. But Alexandra still admits that the distance is hard to overcome. Before the scene cuts away, she asks Indy if he could see himself moving out to L.A.

The episode then jumps to five weeks later and the group has gathered at Sean’s place, very similar to their first meeting. It’s the first time they’ve been together since the investor performance and Sean lets them know that the investors enjoyed the performance.

As Sean is relaying the news, the scene shifts to a conversation he had with Ronnie, a co-founder of 1Oak. Ronnie wants to see a preview of the show before signing off on any long-term performance in his space.

Back at the group meeting, Sean explains the need for the group to make sure they have songs people can dance to. The group responds reluctantly, saying they don’t want to turn into a group that only sings cover songs.

Sean says that he values their opinions and wants to make sure they come up with something they feel good about as a group. That said, whatever it is has to be good and it has to be ready in two weeks. The group determines that they’ll find a way to be creative and original and stay true to themselves.

The episode transitions to Sean meeting with music producer Phil Lawrence. Lawrence, a four-time Grammy winner is someone who Joy said could help Sean take the show to the next level.

Through their conversation, Sean tries to work out the best way to keep the group’s authenticity while still having a show that can make money and that the 1Oak executives will want to house. Lawrence admits it will take a lot of work, but agrees to listen to the group’s music to see if there is anything he can work with. He also says he might have a song already written that the group could perform.

Lawrence decides he will help rework some of the current songs and collaborate on the song Lawrence already has written to create something for 1Oak.

Meeting in a recording studio, Lawrence tells the group that he sees himself in each of them. In quick cuts of the process, Lawrence and the ensemble get to work.

After a slow transition, it’s the day before the performance for the 1Oak executives. The group prepares their movement, mostly choreographed by Leo while working in the 1Oak space.

This jumps to 5:30 a.m. the day of the 1Oak executive performance. It’s a quick stop in with James (and Yas, returning), who says he’s worried about losing everything he’s worked for.

Moving back to 1Oak, the group is preparing for their performance. There are a few quick side scenes flashing through the journeys of the group.

Alexandra’s boyfriend has now moved to L.A. Caitlin has grown as a songwriter. Taz talks to James about her alcoholism. Arika’s mindset around vulnerability has changed completely. Leo has, simply, grown as a person and he’s happy with who he has become. Pia learned to fight through mistakes.

And now, it’s performance time. After a brief intro from Sean, James performs his song “My Black Motorcycle.” Next up is Arika with “Good Now.” (Ronnie keeps his poker face on during all of this, but Lawrence is rocking out in his seat.)

The ensemble then performs (no, correction, destroys) the song Lawrence brought them, “Love in Action.” Even Ronnie was bobbing his head along by halfway through the song. The group receives a standing ovation from the small gathering.

After a couple of others give feedback (all glowing reviews), Ronnie says the group is in the great company of people like Prince who have performed in 1Oak. Lawrence follows by surprising the group and saying that he and his wife have been so moved by the ensemble that they want to invest in the group.

Of course, after that, Ronnie says he’s definitely in on bringing the group in to perform at 1Oak. Hugs all around!

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The season wraps up with a reprise of “Believe in Dreams” which turns into a music video medley of some songs from throughout the season. It also includes clips from moments earlier in the season and a few hints to what happened next for a few members of the group.

You can find all of the music videos on Netflix’s Westside playlist on YouTube.

Well, that’s it. What did you think of the group’s journey? What songs will stick with you? Let us know all of your thoughts in the comments.