OK, for this latest recap we are going to play the game WTF are you wearing? Because that's one of three comments that kept running through my head over and over throughout the entire episode.
WTF are you wearing?
WTF are you saying?
WTF are you doing?
And believe me, the weird fashions is the least of it. This episode be screwed up, folks. Seriously.
It all begins, innocently enough, with Puck's hair. Yeah, I know he's had that mohawk for ages, but has it always looked quite this much like somebody put a thin line of really bad shag carpeting in a thin straight line that extends from his forehead, down his scalp to create a huge weird nest at the nape of his neck? Puck, WTF are you wearing? What self-respecting barber did that to him? Did he clean the guy's pool and make out with his wife?
Puck tells us in voice-over that he has been caged. He's in love with Shelby, who stares at him as she passes him in the hall as if she is afraid he's going to try to ravish her on the spot. Puck says, "Don't judge me, I'm eighteen!" Puck, I promise you. You are not the person I am judging here. And actually, by the end of the episode, you are almost the only person I'm not judging. Really screwed up episode.
Oh, and for the record... Ashton and Demi? Not doing so well at the moment. Woody Allen and the Chinese Girl are not role models for healthy relationships. Something to think about as you run through the halls knocking people over so you can pose to meet Shelby again. So she can look at you like you like you are stalking her, because you are. Not that she didn't ask for it, because... ewww.
Puck's imagination takes him to a geometry classroom where Shelby is recreating the classic Van Halen video Hot for Teacher. The first thing that really hits me is that this whole storyline could be easily resolved if Puck just reveals the truth; he's a 30 year old drifter who has been hanging out in high school for 12 years just to bang the faculty, because Mark does NOT look too young for Shelby in this video. It's actually embarrassing, and for a moment I realize why Murphy wants to graduate three quarters of the cast. Maybe it's just the trip down memory lane for me, but I think this raunchy imaginary serenade might have been my favorite scene in the episode. I was almost disappointed when we suddenly had Puck performing the song for real in the choir room with the exuberant help of fellow sex manics Finn, (who has truly found his calling as a drummer, which is pretty cool, and I am glad Murphy let Cory do that), Mike, and... uh... Blaine. Well, Blaine is probably not hot for Shelby, and he'd better not look at Will for very long or I am going to get nervous. However, he may just be reveling in the fact that he's been getting some lately – actually, they all have. Except Puck, who apparently did not actually have sex with Shelby and I can't tell you how relieved I am.
When Puck's back up dancers begin holding their crotches and rolling their nether regions laciviously, I look to the New Directions to see who is inspiring such fervent lust and I see... WTF are you wearing, Kurt? Kurt appears to be wearing a dead beaver on his head. No explanation is ever given. I am going to assume he lost a bet. Blaine is still allergic to socks, which, while still unattractive and probably very smelly, is at least not surprising. I hope he never asks Kurt to rub his feet after a hard day. The boys are grooving and dancing and misplaced lust for inappropriate people appears to have been a very effective muse for Puck as Will gives him enormous applause. When Rachel questions Puck's choice of song, Puck wisely hides his reason for choosing this, and we go to commercial.
Sue's newest political ads are out, and they represent something that I don't see on Glee that often these days... genuinely funny, very pointed satire. Her rapid fire rant turns Burt's heart attack into accusations of a baboon heart transplant as lightning fast subliminal messages about arts education and taxes whiz by before I can say WTF are you saying, Sue? And the baboon butts on television? Very tasteful. By the time she ends her segment with the American flag draped behind her like a new idea, I am genuinely chuckling loudly - and I'll be honest. Glee does not make me do that all that often anymore. But yeah... in recent years we had a campaign in which one group wrote books about how they could prove one Presidential candidate was born in Africa so... And then he gave them his birth certificate and they had to shut up. Yes, this is where American politics is right now. I'm losing it over here. Brilliant.
Will does not agree with me. He's watching this little demonstration from his bedroom while Emma, dressed up as a daffodil for bed, tries to calm him down. "She's telling LIES!" Will howls, as if this was somehow a new concept in politics, and Emma consoles him. "If you win by fighting dirty it's not really winning" she says, and I wonder if she's quite aware what show she is on and the track record for this philosophy at McKinley.
Kurt Hummel, who has apparently joined some group of rebel freedom fighters in an exotic place long long ago, in a galaxy far far away, marches into Sue's office, appalled and furious. I am also appalled. WTF are you wearing, Kurt? Is Princess Leia going to be mad that you ransacked her closet, or did Blaine tell you that he had a secret fetish for Ewoks? Seriously, did Chris piss off somebody in the wardrobe department?
Sue calmly ignores the fact that Kurt is dressed funny and attacks his campaign tactics instead. With the air and tone of a wise mentor offering her favorite protege some tough love and good advice, she tells him that politics is about playing dirty, and says that his own honest, clean campaign is taking a good shellacking. Flashback to Brittney in the halls, campaigning in the kind of dull monotone that used to be reserved, in my high school, for the terrified kids in Language Arts who were forced to read aloud against their will. She's offering root beer fountains and robot teachers as her brain dead listeners cheer, and then offers them a horrifying scoop... Rachel Berry is STILL ON MYSPACE and mumble mumble not fit to lead. Sigh. WTF are you saying, anyway? Heather's not fit to act. Just dance, dear.
Kurt is aghast at these lies. I am aghast that anybody believes them, unless the average age of students at McKinley is four. Kurt is so aghast, he even informs the audience that Rachel finally gave up Myspace, which I find a rather strange relief, because I was wondering there for awhile. Sue tells him that Brittney has their attention, while his campaign to get a salad bar in the cafeteria is boring and won't get him elected. "Have a seat, Yassar" says Sue, helpfully giving me a clue as what, exactly, Kurt's outfit was supposed to resemble, and Sue explains her reasons. She is fighting for a cause, something she believes in. She hates the arts. And... a... apparently she's forgotten her fervent love for special education again, which really kind of annoys me. I thought that was her cause, and it should have been a good one. But she stands by this motto: Winning is really about poo flinging. Kurt insists that while he must Find a Cause (because "Elect me so I can go to NYADA" is not working out for him) he refuses to throw poo. Sue, with all the very obvious affection she can muster, cheerfully says "Good Luck with that, son of Baboon Heart Hummel" and as he turns to throw some dagger eyes at her repeats, "It's not personal!" I gotta say it. Jane managed to spend this entire scene making fun of both Kurt and Burt, and by the time it was over it was very clear to me that Sue is very, very fond of Kurt and really just wants to give him good advice. Jane's delivery is absolutely amazing.
Will is in the teacher's lounge eating cookies when Shelby flounces in to apologize for stealing half the women of New Directions. Will, says no, It's not your fault, it's my fault, and Shelby says no, it's not your fault, well, yeah, actually it is. We'll be expecting every other member of ND who never gets to sing to show up next semester. Except Kurt, who apparently only gets to sing if the guy choosing the soloists wants in his pants, and I am going to bitch about that until they fix it because it's my recap and I can. Then they have a nice, hearty laugh over the fact that they will be competing against each other at Sectionals because... really! Who could possibly have seen that one coming?
And since they will be competing against each other, Will expects it all to turn into World War Glee. Barump-cha. Don't quit your day job, Will. In a rare moment continuity, in which some member of the writing staff remembers something that happened in previous years, Will recalls that at this time they often do mashups. In my mind mashups have usually differed from medleys primarily in that medleys don't usually ruin both songs that go through the music grinder. If somebody from this cast can change my mind about this before the episode is over, I will give them a gold star. Will's wondering if they can use the mashup tradition to channel all this pent-up animosity into something great, and Shelby is all ears.
The Auditorium: New Directions marches in from one side of the stage, the Troubletones from the other. I see that the Troubletones are made up entirely of Cheerios, ex-Cheerios, and Sugar. Both sides quickly realize that Shelby and Shue have brought them together, and Santana lets loose her first salvo of nasty, random insults at Finn. Rachel jumps in to stand by her man. Santana insults Rachel. That's three for Finn, one for New Directions, and one for Rachel. I am keeping count here. No, I am not going to repeat them all. That would eventually double the length of this recap.
Will comes in with his guitar and walks through the Troubletones while Shelby enters from the New Directions side to sit at the piano. They are mashing up two very different songs called "You and I" in tones so beautiful that Brittany thinks she's had a stroke, and if she has, that might actually explain some things. It's so beautiful the men of New Directions are spinning the piano around for no discernible reason I can fathom, and the kids from both sides stop bickering long enough to groove out. Kurt is still dressed to ambush stormtroopers, and Blaine looks like the eccentric old English professor who passes out funny brownies while discussing Shakespeare after finals because hey - he's got tenure! Really, Klaine, WTF are you wearing? Are you two contagious? Are you going to make people think gay men can't dress themselves? Boys, I love you, love you, love you, but if you can't fix this situation I am going to send you both back to Dalton where there's a strict dress code and you can't do this to yourselves.
During the applause Will tells the kids that they do not actually have to combine Glee Clubs, although we still don't know how either group are going to meet the rule of 12 at Sectionals in a school where being in Glee is considered social poison. He wants each group to put together a mashup in the first annual McKinley Mash - Off.
It's three o'clock as class is dismissed and Puck, ever the unconventional romantic, has a little tiny pumpkin for the teacher. Puck, WTF are you doing? The cafeteria was out of apples, but apparently they still had plenty of pumpkins. Most school cafeterias serve lots of little pumpkins. He'd like to please Shelby's pumpkin, but she's apparently figured out a little bit late that it's considered poor form to tangle tongues with a student. This is the same woman who found out a little bit late that when you wait 16 years to find the baby you gave up, she will not longer be a baby and is therefore no fun to mother. No, I am not forgiving that. I see Shelby's habit of ignoring the long-term consequences of screwing up teenagers through her own selfish inability to foresee consequences is continuing. Puck thinks he's in love with her. I still think he's in love with the idea of becoming Beth's full-time father, with a sexy cougar as a fringe benefit, but for some reason this does not really bother me too much because it's like there's a streak of desire to be the stand-up guy behind it all. That's actually always been there with Puck, ever since Beth was conceived. I actually hated this guy the first season, so he wins the prize for being the Glee character who most completely won me over.
Puck's next speech is so compelling he actually makes me forget for a second that.... EEEEWWWWWW. They are the ultimate mashup, all right. Shelby thinks he's got a sweet, normal crush that he'll get over, and I think he's got a strong desire to nest with the woman who holds the keys to his daughter and has been known to make out with him. Not a normal crush, Shelby. Your fault. As he leaves the classroom, Puck says "You know this is going to happen" and I suddenly have this horrible feeling that... he's right. EEEEEEEWWWWWW. WTF are you doing??? C'mon, Puck. Fess up. You are actually 30 years old, working on your GED, and moonlighting as the school maintenance man, right? Make me feel better about this. But then don't remind me that you knocked up a high school sophomore, and made her a complete lunatic.
Will enters the choir room, clapping his hands for attention and unaware that the Kurt Hummel Society for Staring Out the Window Appreciation has some new members. I hope, in the final episode of this strange show, he tells us what he keeps looking at up there on those chairs. And while we are at it... WTF are you wearing NOW, child???!!! Sherlock Holmes has joined the Lima Equestrian Society. Chris, what did you DO to the costume director? Please send him roses and promise never to do it again! Are they just making up for the lost time while he was at Dalton? Has Burt left Ohio to campaign and now Kurt is trying stuff he'd never get away with if his dad was around to make sure nobody kicks his butt? Or is this what having a sex life does to Kurt? If so, Blaine, zip up your pants and stop. I say this from a place of caring, really.
Will wants to decide what band will be the basis of their mashup. Finn overrules suggestions ranging from the sublime to the ridiculous by saying he does not want to choose a song created by a band that broke up. He wants to choose a band that stuck together like a married couple who found it just too expensive to get divorced. Hall and Oates stayed together over the long haul. "Just like us" says Rachel "despite our differences" and the camera shoots to Sherlock Horse scratching his head. You know how much I hate these costumes? I am tearing Kurt a new one. I wanna adopt the boy and make him wear reasonable outfits. I also want to write his campaign speeches, but I will get to that later.
Finn thinks they should give the solo to the new guy. As he says this, the camera pans to Blaine, who, after his recent trip to Dalton, has become acutely aware that he's not quite as deeply worshiped here as he was as a Warbler. He brightens with hope that Finn might actually stop treating him like dog poo stuck on his shoe. Mike's reaction indicates that he thinks it's Blaine, as well, but then Finn says "Rory, I think you'll do a good job" and crushes all that. Rory admits that he's not ready for that honor. Blaine's reaction is interesting.
If you hate Blaine and think he's hijacked the show, what happens next is an obnoxious Gary Stu moment. If you like Blaine and take what he does at face value, he's being such a class act he probably does not belong at McKinley. Blaine turns around, tells Rory that he's totally ready, and that they will all help him. Since this show's tiny handful of decent human beings is what's saving it for me, I go with the latter interpretation. Now, for a reward, go make out with your boyfriend again, because he's another one not on the douche patrol. Although the Fashion Police want a word with him.
Speaking of the douche patrol... hi, Quinn. She's walking with Puck, very upset because CPS has not yet wrongfully deprived Shelby of a child she's bringing up well. Quinn's afraid Puck did something to screw this up and wants him to be extra nice. Yeah. I bet he could manage that. He even mentions it. She wants to spend more time bonding with her baby so that Beth isn't horribly traumatized when she's thrown in the arms of a fanatical psychopath instead of the woman who has been raising her. Quinn gets this creepy, wild-eyed look in her eyes as she says she will do anything she can to get closer to Shelby. Closer to Shelby is closer to Beth. Cue the QuiShelby shippers. Oh, you know they have to be out there. Puck. Be afraid. Be very afraid.
Quinn, having announced that she will do ANYTHING to get closer to Shelby, acts on that impulse by going to see her. The scene is bitterly short and sweet.
No hello, no small talk. Just tension masked with polite smiles.
"I would like to join the Troubletones."
"I... have to think about that."
Given that Shelby does not yet have the slightest idea why Quinn represents a genuine danger to her, this response is probably against school rules, but it certainly does show profound intuition on Shelby's part. Either that, or she's already aware that Quinn has a "thin, forgettable alto" and doesn't think it worth stealing her.
In the hallway Rory, who has happily discovered that he's not actually required to wear green every single day, is warmly promising to Finn that he has his back. Finn explains that Santana was engaging in trash talk - the practice where you tear somebody down in order to destroy their confidence and make sure they stay losers. Finn, who generally thinks on his feet almost as well as he dances, has made the terrible decision to try to beat her at her own game. He prepares for verbal battle as she comes around the corner; it's a little like watching a child with a water pistol prepare to take on a sniper with a machine gun.
Santana fires first. "Hey, Orca!" (We are up to four insults at Finn.) Boom!
Finn replies, "Hey, Santana. You. Look. Like. An. Assless. J-Lo." Squirt. I bet he's been working on that one all morning.
And then Rory... oh, Rory. "You're skinny like all the crops failed on your family's farm." Thud. If Finn has a water pistol, all poor little Rory has is a handful of potatoes, but I love him just a little bit for trying.
Santana replies, "WTF are you saying, boys?" While boasting the background that gave her such skillz in raw cruelty, Santana accidentally reveals something that makes me suddenly very sad for her. Her grandmother used to put her to bed with insults. Santana was in kindergarten before she learned that her name wasn't "Garbage Face." That... explains a lot, actually. In a universe where Emma could be raised by Ginger Supremacists, I can believe that Santana was verbally abused from the crib. Interestingly, she does not insult him anymore. Maybe she's so amused by the water pistol she just doesn't have the heart. Finn, realizing that he really can't do this, suggests that they settle their differences another way.
Santana's eyes sparkle with anticipation. Could he possibly mean...?
Yes, he does!
Now, I don't know how a game in which you pelt each other with balls is going to settle the problem of Will assigning too many solos to Rachel, which is the crux of this whole controversy, but hey... It's Glee. Creaky plots held together by paper clips and chewing gum provide the framework around which to stage stunning musical numbers. That's really the case with most musical comedies, you know, and it really is kind of impressive that they create a new 45 minute musical comedy every single week. It's even more impressive that it sometimes even works. I really do love this show. I also love making fun of it.
Rachel walks onto the stage where Shelby sits at the piano. She is both tentative and determined as she tells her mother that she's applying to NYADA. Shelby knows NYADA. It's where the girls who ever beat her in auditions graduated from. Rachel asks Shelby, the nationally ranked music coach, to write her a killer letter of recommendation. No, scratch that. Rachel asks Shelby, her mother, to sign the letter she's already written for herself. I have a hard time believing that a school as exclusive as NYADA won't find out that they are close blood relatives, especially given that they look almost exactly alike, but Shelby does not share my concerns and signs the thing like an automaton, unread. Now I am wondering if Kurt Hummel will end up asking for a killer letter of recommendation from his state congressman.
As Rachel turns to go Shelby blurts out something too little, too late. "I'm so proud of you," she says, admiring this little carbon copy of herself with her whole life ahead of her. "I'm not the first person whose going to be a little jealous of you..." (No kidding, Shelby. Rachel Berry Envy is the biggest reason why you've still got a job, lady.) "I'm just also going to be the only one cheering you on."
SERIOUSLY? Is this because Hiram and Leroy are just figments of a lonely girl's imagination as she rattles around in an empty house that nonetheless has a really well-stocked bar? Didn't they pay for the fifteen years of singing lessons listed in her resume? Why is Shelby more important in this equation than they are? Is it because Finn is not getting out of Lima and he's going to stop cheering for her when she dumps him like a used up prom corsage? Is it because her best fr.... oh, wait. Scratch that. That's the person who isn't rooting for her anymore. Anvil.
Rachel is so touched by Shelby's genuine respect that she invites her to her Broadway debut and grants her permission to write the letter herself. Shelby takes a moment to gush over Rachel's resume, in which we learn that Rachel will be graduating with honors, teaches tap classes, and has a "basic knowledge" of enough foreign languages to start her own chapter of the United Nations. I suspect it means she's learned how to say "Hello", "Goodbye", and "Please, no autographs" in German, French, and Italian. Strangely enough, she has never taken Spanish. Shue would be very disappointed. Shelby praises her and says she feels sorry for kids who are applying who don't have such "big ticket" items as Senior Class President in their CVs. "They don't have a chance in hell of getting into NYADA." At this comment, Rachel gets this startled, stricken look on her face as if she's just figured something out. Her realization is such a "Well DUH!" moment that at first I assumed she was too smart for this and only understood her reason for angst after reading some board commentary.
If Rachel becomes Senior Class President, Kurt does not get into NYADA. For some reason, she did not understand that. He did. The audience did. Brittany probably did and didn't care, because who wants to go to a school called NADA, because doesn't that mean "Nothing?" He should go to a school that means Something. But Rachel, honors student, JUST figured this out.
The best course of action to fix this problem, of course, is to go find him in the gym as he prepares to be executed by dodge balls and rub his face in the situation. She chatters frantically at his frigid back about how she has written to Patti LuPone for a letter of recommendation. He does not answer in an icy silence that may be part bitchy grudge and part painful realization that he has no reason to bother trying to apply. When it becomes apparent that this attempt at small talk is not making him less angry at her, Rachel tries pleading. Suddenly, she really misses him and wants to be his friend again. Funny, that's not what she said when she was trying to coax Finn into voting for her. He spits out a bitter, snarky retort that should be good for several weeks of board hatred and stalks off to face his dodgeball doom. Rachel is crushed. At least Kurt is dressed appropriately for a change.
Finn whistles the start of the dodge ball game. Santana insults him. (Five.) Rory asks what the rules are to this strange American custom of dodging balls, and Puck helpfully tells him not to die.
With that, the dodgeball game begins to the strains of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" sung by New Directions while the Troubletones reply with Blondie's "One Way or Another." This is one of those songs that, requiring more attitude than range, Finn can cover fairly well and it's OK. Suddenly balls are flying, Cheerios are doing handless cartwheels in mid-air just to show off, and people start getting hit. However, this must be double elimination because I swear I saw Quinn sticking around after she got hit. She would never lie or cheat about anything, would she? Then we have several people make truly impressive flying leaps that must surely lead to some broken bones until it all comes down to just Finn and Santana. She hurls it directly at his nose, makes contact, and ends the game.
This entire game, up until now, has been played fairly cleanly and appropriately, lending support to the idea that there is no intrinsic evil in dodgeball. Rory, the dodgeball newcomer, even comes up behind Finn to offer the Troubletones his congratulations, with the admiring words, "That was a cracker!" All of a sudden, without warning, Santana makes a signal and every member of the Troubletones but one starts flinging balls at point-blank range directly at the hapless little leprechaun. Mercedes hangs back, as horrified as any member of New Directions while Kurt, suffering sudden flashbacks to the bullying of his nightmarish Junior year, starts shrieking with fury. Rory is bleeding. "We're better than this!" he howls. Kurt, meet Santana. She's not above much of anything. Brittany looks a little remorseful and Mercedes, who was once best friends with Kurt before Chris Colfer got his first Emmy nomination and made the First String Cast, looks downright disgusted.
Mercedes marches into Troubletones rehearsal, clearly late again. So I see that this particular habit has not changed from the time she was in New Directions. Wasn't that one of the things that made Will so mad in the first place? She abruptly halts their warmup because she has something very important to say. She's decided they need to sing Adele songs for their mashup. Now, Brittany's special kind of airy weirdness manifests itself as wonderful metaphor as she says that Adele sounds like what banana cream pie sounds like when it sings. While I have never gone to a banana creme pie recital, I am sure it might sound a little like Adele. Maybe XL Recordings has a contract with Sara Lee. See, this is what Brittney is good for. That kind of comment. Everybody agrees to sing Adele.
By the way, this is another reason why I love Glee. I am an old fart. Glee is not only the reason why I am aware of how much Katy Perry and Justin Beiber suck in a way that is very catchy, it is the reason why I know Adele is glorious.
Now that choosing the artist for the mashup is out of the way, Santana feels she can focus on more important matters - insulting Finn. Over and over and over and over... was he really THAT bad in bed, Santana? Why the venom toward this one kind of hapless guy? Was your embarrassing night together the thing that turned you off men altogether, since you were so clearly a bisexual sex maniac in the first season? I'm just saying, nobody spends that much time buzzing around Puck for his money. I know real life lesbians are Born This Way, so no hate mail, please, but that transformation with this character never really worked for me. It's hard to retcon an entire year of clearly man-chasing behavior, although this show orders us to forget all kinds of things, including Blaine's original age. I wonder if next year, if there is no spinoff, the show's kid leads will just show up in Will's choir room as if graduation never happened and continue as normal.
Mercedes, who is required as the show's go-to soul singer to have, well, a soul, thinks we've had enough of the personal vendetta. Santana says she's just getting started, and then Mercedes pulls rank. As their leader, she orders them to stop.
All of a sudden, Santana Lopez, Cheerios Co-Captain, has been out-diva'd again, and she is not happy. "Who died and made you queen, Aretha?" she asks in what is for her a very calm and civil manner. Mercedes points out that she created the group and came up with the mashup idea; Santana has been tending to her very important job of making Finn cry. Mercedes nominates herself as leader and everybody agrees - Shelby, the various Cheerios who actually know Santana better, even Sugar. Only Brittany dissents. Mercedes did not put up any campaign posters. Shelby insists that the Troubletones will win because they are better, not meaner, and Mercedes orders Santana to play nice. A sweet little note from Brittany - "Stop the violence!" reminds me that this character can be charming when used well, and Santana gets a genuine smile as she agrees to tone down the insults.
Finn is walking down the hallway with his new bestest friend for life, the ubiquitous Rory, when Santana comes up to bury the hatchet in his skull.
"Hey, Tubs!" she shouts. (Six.)
Rory protests. She tells Rory to shut his potato hole. (One insult and one personal assault for Rory.)
And then it's a rapid fire of completely unacceptable and unwarranted meanness that is entertaining only because of Naya's impeccable delivery. No use recapping it. This only works if she delivers the message herself, because it's inexcusable behavior and Naya's amazing. I stopped counting at ten insults in this barrage alone, which covers his one-pack abs, the fact that he is not an extraordinary singer, and every other insecurity he has ever voiced on the show. She stalks away, seemingly under the impression that she's apologized for something as Finn's very slow brain starts working and his water pistol of an an insult launcher slowly, slowly creaks to a point where he finds something to fire back.
"Hey, Santana" he says. "Why don't you just come out of the closet?"
Santana stops in shock, as does another girl directly ahead of her who has heard him as well. The girl takes off down the corridor, and Finn warms to his terrible task. Unable to go for the jugular with cleverness, he gets there with truth.
-Santana tears other people down outwardly because she's tearing herself down inwardly.
-She's in love with Brittney, who may not love her back. Given that Brittney has the emotional depth of a urinal, this is almost a sure thing.
- This hurts Santana.
- Santana is a coward.
It's all true. It's all very, very dangerous to say in a busy school corridor. Santana, who can't even handle mild insults when they are based in truth, is destroyed by this attack from Finn.
Finn Hudson, emotional sniper. Tearing homosexuals apart for being homosexual in brutally hurtful speeches launched in genuine self-defense since 2009. It's becoming a specialty.
Overheard by the worst possible person, another specialty.
About to be ripped a new one for doing it. Also a specialty. This is like, his thing.
Just as in Theatricality almost two years ago, it is possible for both people involved to be horribly, horribly wrong, but once again, only Finn is going to get blamed for it.
This time, however, the infractions being attacked are much more hateful, the people involved are a lot meaner and the consequences are going to be far worse.
Sue's newest political ad suggests that, if Burt does not have a baboon heart, he must be married to a donkey. This joke is already getting old and it doesn't work as well the second time. (Although the pun "Do we really want another politician married to a PAC animal" is kind of cute. It's clearly the only reason for this awful ad and it's too subtle in tone to match the rest of the show.)
Burt looks like he's about to have another heart attack. "Will! You are my campaign manager!" (He is? What happened to Kurt? What happened to Will being too focused on getting the New Directions ready for Nationals this year?) "Do something about this!" I am not sure I understand why Burt Hummel thinks Will has the slightest idea how to combat Sue. He's been around for two years. Kurt was once a Cheerio. Hasn't he been paying any attention to the fact that Sue pwns Will every time they meet up?
Will suggests that Burt should be happy with the campaign because he's actually, you know, better qualified to be a congressman, which suggests to me that Will really is as hopelessly naive as Kurt is and Burt needs a new campaign manager. I wonder what Dustin Gooley is doing right about now. He might have the stomach and the time to help with this. Burt insists that they need to start fighting fire with fire, or they will lose. Will will lose his job. If they cut arts funding at McKinley, they will fire the Spanish teacher?
Puck is playing with Beth as Shelby attempts to put her crib together. Apparently, Puck is not as good at this stuff as he thinks he is. That Y chromosome is not an automatic ticket to mechanical ability, but he sure is enjoying playing with his daughter. Shelby watches him with dangerous tenderness. Puck is... very good with her. Shelby takes Beth, and Puck officially becomes a double-crosser, proving himself pretty much unfit to be trusted with anybody's terrible, terrible secrets. I'm not saying he's wrong to do this, because it's absolutely the Right Thing to Do, but he switches sides as fast as a Troubletone and I'd be wary of him if I were Shelby. Puck tells Shelby about the bad things Quinn put around the apartment, the call to CPS, and his own mad dash to remove this garbage after the fact. Why? Because they thought they'd be good parents? No, Puck, she did it because she wanted a perfect little doll to make her feel better about the fact that a couple of knuckleheaded boys (that would be you and Finn, by the way) ruined her life and drove her into a chasm of self-destructive despair.
At this point, if I were Shelby, I would thank him for this information, escort him politely out, call a lawyer, and get a restraining order against both of them. However, she is so shocked by this awful confessional that she allows him to stay as he waxes philosophical about how some Higher Power meant for Beth to be born so that Shelby could be her mother. No, Puck, even though I have some strong religious feelings that are not appropriate to discuss in this recap, I am not blaming God on this one. It is, at best, cosmic damage control in a universe in which God is RIB. Puck thinks Shelby was meant to be Beth's mother, and he wants to be part of her life, too. Hey Shelby, I just revealed my part in a plot to kidnap your child. Can I stay on permanently? Oh, forget Quinn. Let's just ditch her. She's used to that by now. And Shelby... does not say no. EEEEEWWWWWWWWW....
In the auditorium, Will exuberantly announces the 1st Annual McKinley High Mash Off. Shelby enters very quietly, looking coldly at Quinn. Mercedes mistakes her glum demeanor for worry and promises to hit the F below middle C. Will, with his usual penchant for choosing the worst combinations possible, invite Finn and Santana to rock/paper/scissor for the right to go first. New Directions win, and their ordinary clothing is instantly transformed into a Hall and Oates fantasy. Despite his promises to Rory, Finn is singing lead. I guess Blaine's kind support for Rory tarnished the whole mentor thing for Finn. Now, the main vocalists for the Troubletones are Santana and Mercedes, so I don't see how ND can possibly win this Mash-Off with Finn as the main vocalist, but right now it doesn't matter, because woo-hoo, you makah my dreams come true. And I have to admit, until I saw it I did not realize I wanted a line of dancing John Oates mustaches in my life or that it would bring me tickled delight. I guess you could call this a WTF are you wearing, but it totally works. Puck, who is wearing a bushy mustache and a truly awful wig, looks so much better, and he's flirting with Shelby even while singing. Shelby gets even more uncomfortable.
In the second verse, Rory finally gets his big chance, dueting with Tina, and the singing suddenly improves immensely. I'm sorry, but it's true. Potato Boy can't act, but he can sing. Quinn dances so effortlessly... funny, she doesn't LOOK like a dangerous sociopath when she's performing. Then, suddenly all the guys shed those cheesy mustaches, and I am sad. Guys, that was half the fun! Quinn's mere existence on the stage is making Shelby turn absolutely green and I am thinking we might have to end this competition by disqualifying a judge for completely justified and overwhelming personal animosity. The whole thing ends with a big pose and they all think they've done their best with this cheesy bit of lightweight fun.
You all had better do better than that for Sectionals, guys. Cute as a kid's choir with almost the same amount of emotional punch.
It's election day at McKinley, and the personal animosity between the candidates and their supporters has taken its toll. How can you tell? The posters are all defaced. Audience members for the student debates trickle into the half empty gym, and we see that Burt Hummel, who could not be bothered to attend West Side Story, did show up for this. Becky gives Sue some feedback on her latest negative ad against Burt, and Quinn cheerfully haunts Shelby's life like a doomed soul who does not yet realize she is dead. Figgins welcomes the audience to the debate with all the enthusiasm one would normally reserve for flossing your teeth, and introduces Rick the Stick Neilson, a hockey player who has clearly been hit in the head one time too often. Rick has kinda figured that since parents pay taxes and stuff, and the teachers get paid because of taxes and stuff, well, the kids ought to be in charge and make all those boring teachers shut up. He's calling out Mrs. Janasen, who sits there benignly blinking through his insults as if she knows the outcome of this election doesn't mean piddle. Or maybe she's listening to music on her hidden ipod and can't even hear this jackass. The other hockey players love him. They have also been hit in the head too often.
But Rick is pure genius and rational activism compared to the next candidate. It's Brittney. Brittney.... WTF are you saying? In what Santana must surely think is Unicorn inspiration, Brittney has apparently decided to combine her science class weather project with her campaign speech, producing a particularly unique mashup of ideas. In the most completely lifeless voice I have ever heard from her, and that is saying something, Brittney calls out tornadoes for their destructive force and pledges to declare them illegal at McKinley High. Mike and Tina look at their former Quiz Club teammate as if she was from Mars. Then suddenly, with much more enthusiasm, Brittney offers to go topless every Tuesday, and this unusual tactic is met with an unusual amount of overwhelming approval from the female students of McKinley. Gee, maybe they should start a Girls Who Aren't Lesbians but Really Like Looking at Kind of Tiny Naked Boobs Club at McKinley. Oh, c'mon guys. If you are that hungry to see Brittney's boobs, go look them up on the internet. The Nips Are Out There and it's just too easy.
OK, the first two people were complete idiots. Now it's Kurt Hummel's turn. I look to him with pride and hope. C'mon, kid. You are sure to do better than this. You couldn't possibly botch this any worse than those two have, could you? Surely not. C'mon, little Unicorn. I believe in you. Wait a minute... WTF are you wearing? His entire future is riding on this debate, and Kurt has arrived in a dapper grey suit and... a unicorn hat. As he stands, however, he seems to realize that he looks moronic and takes the hat off as he goes to center stage. He's shaking with nerves as he begins his speech by outlining the problem he sees in the campaign tactics of lies and insults of those around him.
"Well, I refuse to be bullied". I lean forward in excited expectation. This is it! They are finally going to give the aborted bullying storyline in season two a proper ending as Kurt finally takes his stand! Blaine is nodding in grave support!
"I refuse to let anyone be bullied" says Kurt. Even better! He's telling us that bullying is wrong even when the victim isn't gay! It's about damned time! Go, Kurt go!
"Today I want to take it one step further!" Yes! Yes! What are you going to do? What? What??!!
"I'm going to ban dodgeball at McKinley High." Uh... what?
Kurt, WTF are you saying? In the audience, several people are shocked at the radical nature of this idea. I am shocked at the trivial nature of this idea. Like a man firm in the power of his convictions, now warming to his task, Kurt compares dodgeball to modern day stoning, unaware that in many parts of the world, the equivalent to modern day stoning is... uh, stoning. He wants to send a strong message that violence isn't OK.
Uh...OK. So, apparently it will remain perfectly acceptable to smash a slushie into somebody's face, lock them in a portapotty, smash them into a locker, throw them in the dumpster, kiss them forcibly in the locker room, threaten to kill them, and elect a boy Prom Queen because he brought his boyfriend and wore a kilt, but dodgeball MUST be eliminated. Hey, that's actual organized fun that requires a certain amount of skill, sportsmanship, and voluntary participation on the part of the victim. Can't have that. I feel like he's offers to solve an infestation of killer bees by handing everybody a flyswatter. I have to say, this is.... really, really disappointing. It's the same shortcoming the Bully Whips had last year; while they tried really hard to erase the symptoms of hatred that causes bullying, they just masked the problem and it roared back on Prom Night.
Rachel, watching from the stands, thinks I'm a crotchety old party pooper and she disagrees with me. She is visibly moved by Kurt's plea, and Burt looks so proud he's ready to pop. Several people, including Will, Burt, a very grateful looking Rory, and even some people we've never seen before, give Kurt a standing ovation.
Maybe there's a rampant Deadly Dodgeball epidemic at the school that we haven't been told about. It would not be the first time they left out a critical detail that would have made the show actually make sense. Of course, it could be worse. I guess he could be promising to fire the faculty or outlaw rain. (Ladies and Gentlemen of McKinley, we don't need teachers! I spent an entire semester at a school where we did nothing but sing, throw our homework, and jump on the furniture all day! Vote to bring the Dalton spirit to McKinley!)
Rachel is next to the podium. She has little gold stars on her notecards. She's been running on a platform of... school book covers... OK, I guess that's more workable than outlawing tornadoes or dodgeball, if a tad less exciting. Then she drops a bomb. She wants them all to vote for Kurt. Now the entire gym is looking at her with but one thing on their mind. "Rachel, WTF are you doing?" Even Kurt's face reflects that. Apparently, Rachel feels that everybody should vote for Kurt, not because ending dodgeball is a terrifically effective strategy for making the horrid little monsters at this godforsaken school behave a little bit less like douchebags, but because his campaign was not laced with a constant stream of insults and misinformation. It may have been entirely ineffective, but at least it wasn't cruel. Finn and Blaine look at her proudly, apparently grateful that they don't have to argue with each other about who they voted for, and Rachel gets more applause than she probably deserves. Kurt appears to be afraid to look at her.
He does, however, come find her in private at the lockers. "Why did you do it?" he asks. Apparently, she realized that he needed the title of Senior Class President more than she did for his CV. It goes no deeper than that. There is no real drive or desire to lead, no passion to end the bullying at any kind of meaningful level, no advocacy for gay kids, and no... substance to his campaign. It really is just resume padding for both of them, and that disappoints me. He spent six months last year being held hostage by a split narrative about bullying, and the best thing he can give us is banning dodgeball. It doesn't really matter who wins this stupid election after all. They are all morons anyway.
Kurt would probably be better off telling the NYADA committee that, screw this trivial stupid high school politics, he spent the winter working to get his father elected to Congress. He was also the school's most successful fundraiser for the 2011 school musical. Maybe that is the direction they will end up going with this badly flagging story arc for him because, talk about a letdown.
More to the point, however, Rachel threw the election because she loves her only real platonic friend and she missed him while he was angry at her. He didn't like being enemies either, and now their scene is on sturdier ground. Their dream is still to get into NYADA - TOGETHER! My dream is still to have them get into NYADA so that I can watch their spinoff instead of Glee: The Next Generation (featuring Rory Flanagan), but I am feeling a bit pessimistic at the moment. I don't know if that will still happen. Still..Hummelberry. Back together again. They link arms and walk down the hall together, and I do smile a little. I guess I should just be grateful for the resolution, even if the journey to get there was incoherent and silly. That fight never really did make any sense, and it appears there was no real purpose for this storyline.
Quinn comes to see Shelby with a package the size the of her lies, but oddly enough, Shelby is not very enthusiastic to see her. I'm frankly shocked she let her in at all. Quinn still wants to know if she can join the Troubletones, but Shelby lets her have it. Uh, no. Quinn may not join the Troubletones. Quinn may not continue to plant hot sauce and bad books in her apartment. Quinn may not have Beth. Quinn has no idea at all what it means to put her own needs and wants behind that of any other person, let alone somebody as small and fragile as Beth.
Quinn retorts by accusing Shelby of giving up Rachel for money and being a cash whore.... oh, god, I can't even get through this horrifying garbage. Quinn, WTF are you saying? Is this the worst dialogue in the history of Glee? Mercifully, Shelby tells this insane trainwreck of a girl to get out of her apartment and out of her life. She will not get to see Beth. Ever. Shelby hopes she'll take it as a wakeup call. I hope Quinn just leaves town and never comes back, although I know this is a futile hope. I absolutely cannot stand that character on any level at all. They destroyed that girl for good the moment Murphy decided he "was bored" with her and Sam. That's some damned costly boredom, RIB.
Santana and Brittney are walking down the school corridor chatting when Becky greets them frantically. Santana needs to come to Sue's office immediately. She enters to find Sue, Will, and... Burt Hummel? waiting for her. Has Santana ever even met Burt Hummel? It's not like she pops over the their house for bonding and facials with Kurt. With the concerned gravity that Sue reserves for Moments When Sue Suddenly Becomes Human for Five Minutes (which happens about three times a year) Sue asks her to take a seat. Then Sue says there is bad news, and she might be to blame. Wait, WTF are you saying, Sue? You are taking blame for something? It's got to be bad. Sue's dishonest and hateful campaign strategy set the tone; now there are consequences.
Will offers the help of a counselor. Apparently he does not want to trust Emma with this one. Good call. It's an actual problem. Burt says he's been through this first hand and he'll talk to her family. Santana doesn't get it, so they explain. Reggie Salazar has created a negative political ad to use against Sue. His daughter was the eavesdropping girl who ran away when Finn asked Santana to come out of the closet. Santana begins to get an inkling as Burt plays the ad.
Salazar thinks Sue can't possibly share the voters' family values because she made a lesbian student Head Cheerleader. And there Santana is in this ad, standing right next to the lesbian sign. The moment is absolutely devastating, if you can get past the fact that it would never, ever happen. Ever. Using the image of a minor without her permission in such a way, particularly a minor who is not a public figure and is not running for office herself, is illegal as hell and Santana's parents could probably send her to college on the money they are going to wring out of this bastard for doing this. The ad goes on to ask why Sue has no husband. I suppose "Because I'm unable to play nicely with other human beings" and "I married myself. It was a wonderful ceremony, would you like to see the pictures?" are not answers that would impress Salazar.
Santana has been publicly outed.
It is meant to be a sad and powerful scene, and Naya does a wonderful job. However, I am left a little unsatisfied. Brittney's got to have publicly outed Santana three times by now. Hell, the whole idea of these two as lesbian lovers BEGAN as a joke in "Sectionals" in which Brittney blithely reveals that she and Santana have been having sex, but not dating. Brittney babbled on about it like a moron during Fondue for Two, which was also a TV show. It's terrible to be outed, yes, and that Salazar guy ought to be shot, but it's gonna take some better continuity than this to convince me to hate Finn over it. For a scene this big... that's a pretty glaring plot hole.
The episode ends with Glee's 300th musical performance, an absolutely sensational performance of "Someone Like You" and "Rumour Has It" which gave Glee its 3rd number one hit and a really, really badly needed shot in the media arm. This is the Troubletones' mashup, and it blows ND's so completely out of the water that nobody even has to tell us who won. Mercedes begins the song with verve and pop, but the scene takes on incredible power as Santana, trembling with hurt and fear, begins her lines. "DON'T FORGET ME... I BEG... She goes through this entire powerful performance looking like she's about to burst into tears, and at one point she pauses to gaze at Brittney, dancing through the choreography. Santana, so often coolly contained behind a safe barrier of insults and bravado, is leaving everything she has - her guts, her heart, her soul - on that stage, and then she looks over and sees Finn whispering to Rachel in the audience.
Santana goes completely ballistic. She wants to know what they are saying about her behind her back, and does not believe that they are admiring the power of her beautiful performance. "Everybody is going to know now, because of YOU!" And then Finn really blows it like a complete asshole. He says "The whole school already knows" in a condescending and unapologetic tone that's got Kurt's Homophobic Insensitivity Sensors going full blast in seconds.
"No, YOU IDIOT! EVERYONE!" yells Santana, and she slaps the everlasting crap out of Finn, who pretty much earned that one.