It’s a bit of an unusual move, for Bunheads to cast real-life siblings Sutton and Hunter Foster as in-show siblings Michelle and Scotty; despite both having long and successful stage careers, they have yet to act together, which seems ridiculous once you see their chemistry in “The Astronaut and the Ballerina.” Scotty’s arrival, after an eerily familiar spur-of-the-moment marriage, is the best part of this episode, which is filled with pretty-good parts.
Beyond just the quickie marriage aspect, it quickly becomes clear that Scotty and Michelle are essentially each others’ shadows. Their scenes together are sparkling at first, and when they take a turn towards the confrontational, after Scotty undermines her authority with her students, the energy is sustained, and their climactic fight, followed immediately with recuperation in song form, was one of the best things I’ve ever seen this show do.
Elsewhere, we finally get a little bit more characterization out of Cozette and Frankie, which provides an interesting parallel to the Sims siblings – the two sets don’t seem so far apart, especially once we start to hear some more about Michelle’s past, which includes lighting an entire parade’s worth of floats on fire and blaming it on “rap music.” Sure, maybe they’re a little more dour than ditzy, but Cozette might provide an interesting foil for Michelle going forward, if she’s mentally being forced to interact with her own past as high school notable weirdo.
On the bunheads’ side of things, Sasha is absent (as, I presume, a few main cast members are going to be in most episodes from here on out, possibly to cut production costs), but Michelle and Ginny continue to steal the spotlight, with the former starting to get into roller derby, and the latter dealing with a crazy soon-to-be stepmother, a crazier actual mother, and herself, who is probably slowly turning into her mother. Their confrontation at the end, too, is a great piece of acting work, and exactly as cathartic as it needed to be, while remaining pretty funny.
Boo and Carl, meanwhile, float in the background, their “getting married” plot from earlier showing itself again in the form of having to take care of a gaggle of children together. (Was it ever explained why they had the kids? Not that it really matters.) It’s the lightest of the plots, but still it ends in a giant blowup, although this one stays pretty firmly in comedic territory, with Boo going full-momma on Jordan, the bratty instructor. All in all, “The Astronaut and the Ballerina” adds up to what may possibly be my favorite Bunheads episode of all time.