The competitors practice stage combat with a guest teacher. Hal and Oliver perform a death scene, and Hal takes a big risk. The gala begins, and the competitors bring everything they have to the final performances.
Hal gets flak for his scene choice. James encourages him to think more competitively. A guest teacher brings everyone but Hal to tears. The judges assign sonnets, and Hal takes drastic measures to get his feelings going.
Hal is chosen as a last minute replacement for the Finals of the American Shakespeare Competition in Italy. The six finalists perform monologues and size each other up. Pauline is paired with Hal, who suggests a bold idea for a scene.