Sunday, February 26, 2012

Glee 3X8 "Hold on to Sixteen"

Little ditty
'Bout Quinn, Mike and Sam
Buncha kids sing their hearts out
In the heartland

Mike's dad is mad 'cause he wants to be
A big dancing star...
Sam's making big money selling cheap thrills
In that seedy bar

Oh yeah, Glee goes on...
Long after the hope of good writing is gone..
Oh, yeah I say now Glee goes on
They still make you want to dance and sing along, so rock on

OK, gotta get started, no time to lose. You see, the plots for this season have been intricated, varied, and generally extremely annoying, but here's where RIB will pull off a miracle. Yes, ladies and gentlemen! Murphy and his brigade of writing slaves will be attempting to wrap up EVERY SINGLE STORYLINE (except NYADA) for the season so far in a single episode, while having the New Directions sing the entire Michael Jackson catalog while dressed like confused penguins. The result is some absolutely fantastic musical numbers, a healthy handful of superficial, contrived or just hasty resolutions, and some tasty shots of very sexy man flesh. Hey, I noticed. Hard to avoid. I'm female, I'm straight. What can I say? I think I know their new strategy for improving the ratings.

For a person who has been suspended from school, Rachel is certainly spending an amazing amount of time on school property. Even Quinn realizes this is weird when she sees Rachel hanging around her locker, but at least she gets the satisfaction of knowing that Rachel is available for vocal coaching. She also has the satisfaction that she has an ace in the hole; Quinn, who has been spending the entire season dreaming up scenarios in which Shelby is an irresponsible nightmare, has learned that Shelby is, in fact, an irresponsible nightmare. She tells Rachel that she's going to get Shelby fired because, she confides in a conspiratorial tone, "She's sleeping with Puck!"

Quinn has apparently forgotten that Shelby is Rachel's mother. The writers have apparently forgotten that Shelby is Rachel's mother. Rachel has apparently forgotten that Shelby is Rachel's mother, unless she's just blotted that horrifying and embarrassing fact from her consciousness in an attempt to retain her sanity. Throughout most of the history of Glee, Rachel has generally acted as if the random acts of people who are completely unconnected to her (say, the plans of people to vote in a student council election in which she is no longer competing) need, somehow, to have her needs and feelings at the center of their consciousness. (Because she'd be so lost without her Best Gay!) Here, we have an issue that might, actually be connected with Rachel's feelings and issues, since her ex-boyfriend is sleeping with her mother but all Rachel appears to care about is how Beth's life will be destroyed if Shelby loses her job and CPS take Beth away.

Now, some part of me finds it hard to believe that Shelby, nationally ranked music coach, would never find work again based on the say-so of a girl who is clearly on the verge of insane, but I'll will just take the easy way out and say "Who are you and what have you done with Rachel Berry?" And why is Rachel's storyline about playing psychiatrist to a girl who hates her and mistreats her rather than dealing with the fact that she's not allowed to sing at Sectionals? Actually, when was the last time Rachel had a story that was about Rachel? I will get back to you on that. It's been awhile. Well, I guess we can't say she's overly self-centered anymore. Character development? I guess?

Extra points for Rachel getting in lines that point out, very carefully, that what Puck and Shelby are doing is just wrong and gross, not illegal. The writers got this one covered, folks. Still.... who besides me were waiting for a dramatic scene in which Rachel implored her mother to stop ruining the lives of other kids and screwing them up? Who would have liked a story about Rachel's mother to have something to do with Rachel?

Finn's pacing in the choir room, because Sectionals is being held at McKinley for the first time since 1963. I am going to guess that they got this honor because, you know, it's basically just the McKinley Mash-off Rematch with Special Guest, Harmony. Maybe next year, when Harmony joins New Directions as a Junior, they will have her group compete against the Splinter McKinley Club of the Year with a third performance by The Really Sad Graduated Seniors Who Never Left Lima And Are Stuck On This Damned Show As Townies, featuring (finally) a Hummelberry duet that comes in third.

Will tells Finn he has to stop talking and start looking very very very very hard for songs to use at Sectionals. Well, at least he doesn't expect them to write the songs themselves anymore, although he hasn't shaken this nasty little habit of waiting until the week before to start preparing for competition. I don't suppose they could use that Hall and Oates thi.... no, I guess not. What about Americ... oh, that's right. That was a Santana thing. Well, maybe Rachel's suspension ruined all the carefully thought out, brilliant conceived ideas they've been working on for months. Sure. That works. It's Glee.

Finn thinks they need to solve their performer problem before they set their setlist. With all the girls gone, apparently there are absolutely NO TALENTED PEOPLE left in New Directions. None. Zip. Because Kurt is fem and Artie's in a wheelchair and Tina cries when she sings and Rory is new and Puck is wearing the world's thinnest bad toupe and Quinn might just be wheeled out in a straightjacket and he doesn't even wanna THINK about THAT OTHER GUY so they have to go ALL THE WAY TO KENTUCKY to find the ONLY PERSON WITH STAR POWER in the whole wide world.

"We need Sam Evans!" declares Finn.

Uuuuuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhh........ OK. Would that be the Chord Overstreet clone that RIB basically fired last summer because he didn't have the star power that Darren Criss apparently does, or something like that? So.... Chord didn't have the star power to become a regular, and Darren did, but now Finn is DISSING BLAINE'S STAR POWER and he's going to travel OUT OF STATE to find a guy who MOVED AWAY.

I guess it's that hard to be nice to Blaine? I don't suppose you could consider treating Kurt like he can carry a tune?

Yes, I know I really shouldn't think about this stuff too hard. But it's nice to know that even homeless people have Facebook.

Kurt is sadly considering an application for employment at the Lima Bean. He thinks he and Rachel are doomed to a life of summer stock; with her out, he doesn't think they can even win Sectionals. I have another reason for hating the fact that Kurt got stuck playing Officer Krupke, because the only thing that has interrupted his interminable stream of disconsolate whining ever since that incomprehensible insult was getting laid. It's gotten so bad, he's even got Blaine bummed out now, and that's like watching a depressed cocker spaniel. Apparently, Finn, in his tireless search to find New Directions members with star quality, has gone out of his way to make Blaine feel like garbage, because Blaine is a New Directions member with star quality who does not live all the way the hell in Kentucky.

And then, just to lighten the mood, here comes a visit from your friendly neighborhood weasel. Or his more like a cobra? It's Sebastian, grimacing at them like somebody on the street corner who wants to sell you an absolutely authentic five karat gold-plated Rolodex watch with genuine faux diamond chips for a low, low price because he can tell you drive a hard bargain. This has a wonderful effect on Kurt, as his facial expression suddenly girds for gloriously epic verbal battle instead of morose retreat, but Blaine just grins a little blankly like he's not quite sure how to handle the fact that this guy won't take no for an answer.

Sebastian throws some empty, vacuous compliments at Blaine, and Blaine grins because he has an instinctual, completely uncontrollable reflex to bask in all positive comments thrown at him no matter how smarmy. Sebastian wonders why Blaine has not been online, and I wonder if possibly Blaine Unfriended Sebastian on Facebook. You know, ever since Season One, since Kurt was accused of being a sexual predator who wouldn't take no for an answer, aggressively sexually predatory gay men who really won't take no for an answer have been regularly ruining his life, and I wonder now if that is somehow on purpose. (Hey, Glee audience members! You want aggressive sexual harassment? Here it is! This is what it looks like!)

Blaine, instead of saying "Yeah, not interested, go away, cretin" stammers something about how he's not been online because they are practicing for Sectionals ("together" adds Kurt, clasping his hand) and Blaine tries to change the subject politely by congratulating Sebastian for the Warbler win at Sectionals. (Hey, everybody! I wonder who the next opponent is going to be some time in March! Any guesses?) Sebastian smoothly purrs that if anybody can whip New Directions into shape, it's Blaine Anderson, and Blaine excuses himself because he really, really needs to go throw up.

Kurt's got a stronger stomach and a very, very sharp tongue. "I don't like you" he snips, to the point.

"Fun." hisses Nagini in the other chair. "I don't like you either." And now, it is Kurt's turn to spout out the long string of insults that have become Glee's primary method of comic writing, whether the speaker is Kurt, Santana, or Sue. However, it is such a deliciously fiery, funny, snarky change from all gloomy stuff they've given him recently I cheer openly and hope that Sebastian can come back every week just so that Kurt can find new and better ways to tell him off. There's my boy! There's my fiesty season one Kurt! Oh, how I've missed your caustic sanity! Now, tell us all what you really think of what everybody is wearing.

By the way, Sebastian, let's get a few things straight. Blaine is too good for you, New Directions beat your ass last year and took your two best members, and one of you may have serious case of the crabs, and it probably isn't Kurt.

"You smell like Craig's List" agrees Kurt in what may be the single best line all year long as Blaine returns with a new barf bag at the ready just in case Sebastian's smarminess gets completely out of control again.

"What are you talking about?" asks Blaine innocently, as if he can't spot Kurt Kicking Asshole Butt at 50 paces, but Nagini says they are planning their next night to go out drinking, because you know, that worked out so well for Klaine. Well, it did, but it took 48 hours. So you know, Sebastian, if you take them out drinking, maybe Kurt and Blaine will fight again, and then have make up sex with each other again and they will be allowed to take off their shirts this time. It's worth a try.

What, isn't that what you were going for?

Sebastian coos "You take care of that Warbler, Kurt" with a sly wink that makes me think there will be hot threesomes by New Years, and Blaine just shakes his head like he can't believe that guy. Got a hint for you, Blaine. Next time he comes up to you.... tell him to go away and don't treat him like he's your friend. He's trying to break you up and he's insulting Kurt to his face. It's morally acceptable to hate his guts.
So a Babra Streisand clone and a Frankenteen walk into a bar...

Let's say it's a dark, smokey, seedy looking joint that looks like aging despair and smells like Craigslist, and they've been driving for FOUR HOURS to get here because New Directions needs a star that doesn't threaten Finn. Let's say they bathe the buffet in bright red lights so you can't really tell what you are eating, because you aren't here for the food, unless you think white chocolate is yummy.

And maybe you notice that everybody in the bar is female. There aren't even any gay guys who just love musicals, except maybe that one waiter.

Do you still think that this is a legitimate dinner theater gig? Were you confused when you couldn't figure out the name of the play on the Marquee outside? Do you even remember how you found this place? Who thinks Sam has been openly talking about the gig on his Facebook page? HOW DID THEY KNOW WHERE HE WAS?

Finn begins to figure it out after a minute, but Rachel remains stubbornly optimistic that Sam's life has not gone completely into the crapper right up the very moment the lovely chunks of man flesh actually begin humping onto the red-lit stage to show us their star power. Finn goes into momentary denial as he sees Cobra the hunky fireman hoist his axe, and voices a hope that Backdraft has become a musical, but by Mr. Package the Cop Rachel already has the facial expression I was expecting from her when she found out Mama Shelby was riding Puckerman. (Speaking of Puckerman, I think I am glad he was not invited on this little field trip. He might have taken one look at all those cougars and decided to join the cast.) A few fistfuls of cash later, she's about to faint. The announcer introduces a construction worker named White Chocolate, and we all find out what Rocky would have looked like if he'd gotten to leave the Frankenstein mansion and get a human job. Witness the triumphant return of Chord Overstreet. Now, guess exactly how long it took Ryan Murphy to get Chord as close to naked as is allowable on network TV? How long from first glance to underpants? Seriously, I timed this. Eleven seconds. Just didn't waste any time at all. Finn suffers an immediate shock to the system as he finds himself gawking at this R rated version of the Village People, but he's rendered too overcome to react, comment or even object when Rachel asks him for a dollar. Rachel slips through the audience primly, her eyes gracefully lowered as she holds up the offering to White Chocolate, whose voice says, "Rach... RACHEL!" and whose eyes say "OK, I'm screwed."
In the dressing room, Sam attempts to explain this sudden enthusiasm for exhibitionism that's come over him since he was too embarrassed to wear his Rocky suit without a little gold shirt. You see, strippers make a lot of money. Crazy, huh? Who knew? His dad may have gotten a job in construction work (and I am sure he is proud to know that you have dedicated your costume as a tribute to him, White Chocolate) but when baby needs a new pair of shoes, Sam's abs are more reliable than a craps roll any day. Sam has not informed his parents that he's a stripper, and his parents have not informed him that they've got to have figured this out by now, because you don't make 60 dollars every 15 minutes by pouring soft serve ice cream. Sam is trying to take some pride in his expertise here, but Rachel and Finn attempt to talk him out of this path to self-degradation and lost innocence by suggesting that he come back to McKinley. Nobody ever gawked at his abs for prurient reasons there... oh, wait... and besides, they need him for Sectionals. No, Sam, this is not actually about you at all. Sam would in fact like to go back to McKinley, where people throw slushies at his face instead of tucking dollar bills in his underwear, but he doesn't think his dad will like the idea.

So, they go to ask the Evans family for permission to drag Sam back over state lines for less immoral purposes, and the very first thing I notice is that the Evans family, who are so poor Sam's stripping for extra money, have a very nice yard with lots of trees and a metal fence. The second thing I notice is that Sam's family, (which includes that guy from the Dukes of Hazzard) who are so poor Sam's stripping for extra money, have lovely hardwood cabinets in their spacious kitchen. The third thing I notice is that Sam's family, who are so poor Sam's stripping for extra money, have a two story house.

Damn, Sam, did those abs buy all this stuff? What on earth are they going to do if you go back to Ohio and leave them without your abs of gold to pay the mortgage on this place? Is that why you don't think your dad will let you go back?

Mr. Evans asks Lil Barbra and Frankenteen to make themselves scarce so that they can have a maudlin, totally unearned Special Moment with Sam. They inform us, the audience, that the Evans family have had a tough year we saw briefly from a hotel room, but now they are back on their feet, as the hardwood cabinets indicate. There's some painfully wooden dialogue about Sam having to become a man when he wants to be a kid, because that's the theme of the episode, and Sam's parents tell him that he can go back to McKinley where he can properly experience his teenaged time by being completely separated from his parents and family permanently. Mom mentions the fact that Dairy Queen made him put glitter on his face. I don't think she is that naive. I think she knew what paid for her hardwood cabinets. Mothers always do. Awww... group hug!

In the choir room, the New Directions are practicing their exercises in Positive Thinking by moaning over the fact that they had to ask the band musicians, (finally!) to join New Directions instead of being grateful that these guys seem to be perfectly happy to help them and they are actually doing something fairly cool and brave here. Under normal circumstances I might actually want to ask their names and find out a little bit more about them , but since the Glee cast could now fill half a football stadium and each person is expected to have their own story arc and complex character development, I think I am OK with these guys staying anonymous. Will walks in with some red solo cup and some... champagne? Uh, Will? No loud, obvious disclaimers about how it's all sparkling cider? Forgotten the day they all barfed on Figgins? Or are you trying to recreate that moment because it was just so deserved and awesome?

Oh, it's Kurt who sets me straight about the sparkling cider. Shoot. I thought maybe Will was doing something interesting. It would certainly explain the musical number that comes next. Kurt, who is auditioning for the role of Eeyore in some professional production of the House on Pooh Corner that exists only in his mind, is quick to explain that New Directions is the Titanic and they are all going down. Will you be playing the Kate Winslet role, dear? Want to pose for a portrait while wearing an heirloom broach? Hey, we are taking an abs inventory and if anybody from this group needs to be in an R rated version of the Village People, it's Kurt. Then Sam enters the room to save me from any further inappropriate ideas by offering to keep the Titanic from sinking, and everybody runs to greet him as if he had the only life preserver. There are hugs all around and Sam grabs his guitar, eager to perform miracles. He remembers the time that he, Puck, and Artie managed to make "Friday" a fun, enjoyable number, so now he is going to attempt the same level of artistic CPR on Red Solo Cup by Toby Keith. Half a minute into the song he is informing Puck that he does not have a pair of testicles and I start wondering about that vasectomy again. One full chorus into this cleverly inane song and everybody in the room is wailing and weaving as if that cider actually had some punch, with one... notable exception. Kurt has lost neither his senses, his sanity nor his hearing, and he remains stubbornly disinclined to have any fun with this. Clearly, Kurt prefers drinking from glass, which I guess explains why he can sing so high. Unfortunately, he is alone in this sentiment, and has his heart broken when even Blaine expresses Solo Cup Appreciation. When they declare the Red Solo Cup to be a friend, I wonder if that means they can recruit it to be part of New Directions for Sectionals and imagine the look on Mercedes' face if she were to find herself beaten in a singing contest by a piece of molded plastic. Hey, they even gave the cups some choreography.

At the very tail end of this, in comes Santana, beaming from ear to ear as if she's actually happy to see Sam. So of course, the very first thing she does is call him Trouty Mouth again, even though that designation is now his T-Shirt of shame, because she is one snarky Lebanese. The queen of insults has been keeping a special file of abuse just for him, which she proceeds to open up with a flourish, and reads with an attitude that borders on.... uh.... tenderness? In between the zings, she's smiling as she says "so glad you're back" as if she actually means it and she ends with a "Love, Santana" that leaves me with the distinct impression that this is really the most touching and personal tribute that she's capable of giving anybody. A girl whose only self-expression is insults finds a way to make it a gesture of friendship, and Sam understands immediately. He grabs her and pulls her into a big hug that makes her smile widely, and it's actually really pretty neat that something affectionate survived the end of their love affair. Boy, she sure got over that whole "I've been outed against my will" thing fast, didn't she?

That being done, Sam is prepared to take on another conversation with a more odious ex-girlfriend. Quinn is stalking the halls, exchanging mutual glances of pure, unbridled hatred and contempt with Shelby, and I am not sure which of them deserves it more. However, what Quinn really wants to do is curl her crazy around Sam's abs and pretend she didn't dump him, hurt him, humiliate him, or turn him into the guy who made Santana give up men for good. She thinks they are PERFECT for each other now! Because they are both blonde! And pretty! And she thinks that he'll be wonderful help after she takes custody of Beth, because there's nothing he'd like more than to be a replacement father figure for a little girl he's never met who has been stolen from her functional mother by a blond nutcase. Sam replies that she's got Rich White Girl Problems, and he should know, because he had to GROW UP FAST and STRIP so his family could have hardwood cabinets. Then Sam tells Quinn that she should enjoy being a kid while she has the chance. Hold on to sixteen as long as you can (actually, isn't she eighteen by now?). Changes gonna come around real soon, make you all unemployed actors and actresses who have been written off the show because Ryan wants Realism as his seniors all graduate and disappear into thin air.

Tina is talking to Mike. OK, let's back up. First of all, Tina is talking. She talks more in this episode than she has since she broke up with Artie. Unfortunately, it does not particularly improve or worsen my opinion of Jenna's acting skills. Secondly, she's taking charge of Mike's career dreams, because apparently his dad is being cold and nasty to the entire family and it's hurting Mike's feelings.

So Tina is talking and taking charge. I guess somebody told her that they were firing all the interesting kids at the end of the season so she has to up her game, and I have to hand it to her, she's doing her best and I am kind of proud of her, even if she's still as exciting as rice. Mike tells Tina that he's applied to Stanford Pre-Med, and she looks at him like he's taken a job killing puppies and turning them into coats for Cruella deVille. Mike doesn't want to rip his family apart, which I think is an underrated goal. I fell in love with Kurt Hummel because he loved his dad more than he loved being a star, so I can't be too hard on Mike for feeling the same way. It's not Mike's fault his dad is less indulgent than Kurt's about the arts. Tina urges him to pursue his dream of dancing anyway before passive-aggressively sneering that he ought to be a doctor, and Mike threatens to break up with her. Oops. Trouble in Tike Town and there's not even a Love Triangle. Maybe Mr. Chang is a different kind of Love Triangle. You know, these are intelligent, deep-seated issues. They've got some juicy material for Tike at last. I think this story arc could go on for awhile, maybe be an opportunity to deepen both characters. They wouldn't wrap it up in a cheap, superficial way in one episode, would they?

In the choir room, dance rehearsal is going badly. Puck doesn't even see the point of performing without girls, since he has forgotten that Tina and Quinn both exist. Tina has a really big, good alto voice and Quinn is breathtakingly beautiful, but what really matters is the opportunity to whine, especially since girls.... smell better than ham? Rory, is that what you said? Blaine, ever the optimist, thinks they can solve the problem with a snazzy Warbler dance move (supportive boyfriend approves) but Sam thinks it's totally Boy Band. (Mind you, this is the guy who was all about Justin Beiber last year.) The professional stripper, who apparently already knows that two of the three Sectionals judges are cougars, thinks they need to sell SEX!!! Then he rolls his pelvis so convincingly even Artie tries to do it, and declares the experience tingly. Watch out, Sam. Next he'll be asking you if you've ever had sex so that you can do that body roll more convincingly. Blaine thinks they don't need to resort to.... THAT.

OK, STOP. RIGHT. THERE. ANDERSON. Look buddy, I like you, and there's only one time in Glee history that I've really been so angry with you that I was ready to blast holes through your abdomen with my Stare of Indignation, but it was about using sex to sell a song for competition. You humiliated the poor little baby penguin who is now your One True Love because he couldn't make sexy faces for your sexy song and then TOLD HIS DAD that HE was in danger of getting drunk at a bar and making stupid choices about sex! SHUT THE F*** UP ABOUT THIS ISSUE. NOW! You have NO leg to stand on here AT ALL. I should send Sam pictures of your Foam Party. So there. And if he weren't fictional, I would totally do that. And by the way, Anderson? Do you know why YOU are not for SALE? Because you've never been homeless, buddy. You went to Dalton and stayed long enough to become a legend. That requires money. Sam does not have any, because his parents bought hard wood cabinets.

Then Blaine and Sam violate the No Tolerance Policy but neither get suspended. Kurt looks embarrassed and awkward through the whole conversation. I have to appreciate the fact that he realized his One True Love was completely out of line here.
Finn follows Blaine into the gym to find out WTF just happened? He sees Blaine punching out a boxer's bag in a rage, because in the interest of Character Development, Darren has been given a Big Acting Scene that does not involve Kurt. Of course, he has no good reason to be this angry at Sam, unless he somehow found out all the internet rumors about Hevans and Kum, but for once at least Blaine wears a facial expression that is neither confusion, nor smitten doting on Kurt, nor I'm On Stage! face. Blaine is angry at Sam... I guess... but he's also pretty pissed off at Finn, and he's on much sturdier ground here.

Blaine has become a boxer because he got bullied so much. He started the Dalton branch of Fight Club, but he can't talk about it. Gee, I wish you'd told us about this last year, Anderson. There's a guy at McKinley who was getting really terrorized by somebody a lot bigger and meaner than Finn. A friend of yours, I think. Maybe you could have done something about it? Besides, you know, talk to the bully about his sexual orientation in public and flinch when it looked like he might hit you?

Now that Darren is nice and sweaty and glistening with the effort of his physical exertion, he turns to Finn and grimaces with anger. " Ever since I've been here you've given me nothing but crap!" This is pretty accurate, and we've ascertained that Finn tends to be weird towards gay people anyway, but Finn quickly resolves this conflict, which could have been an interesting piece of sandpaper that gave both of them opportunities for exciting interaction all year long. Finn is jealous because Blaine is the Gary Stu that it turned out Finn could not be because Cory just doesn't sing well enough to pull perfection off convincingly. Blaine's talent threatened Finn, because after Rachel Blaine is the most well-rounded member of New Directions. Hey, he's so well-rounded, you can even pretend he's not gay! That's the only thing that keeps Kurt from deserving this title, but gee, if you walk with your wrists just so and your voice not low, you don't qualify. Sorry to keep harping on this, but it BUGS.

Of course, this does not explain why Finn felt he had to travel all the way to Kentucky and rip a young man away from the family who needs his paycheck to find New Directions a star. Obviously, they already had a star that Finn could not handle. But that doesn't matter because Finn and Blaine have had a Male Bonding Moment and now they are United and their conflict has disappeared into the ether. You see, this is why they keep recycling stories. They resolve what stories they create too quickly and superficially.

Sam's working on his gauntlet of ex-girlfriends, and now he's up to the only one worth a hill of beans - Mercedes. He just plops his hand into hers as if it never left, and she informs him that her boyfriend is built like a bulldozer. He's also twice as destructive and he's bulldozed a lot of her likability, so I am rooting for Sam here, and I don't care if it's another Love Triangle or not. I need Shane off my screen.

Mercedes says they had a summer fling, and Sam thinks it was more, and of course I can't even have a snarky opinion because it all occurred entirely off-screen. Mercedes tells him he needs to move on, and as she walks away from him Sam declares that he will fight to get her... ooooh, Mercedes, girlfriend, I see that little smirk. You LIKE this. Yep. Yep. Shane's days are numbered. Thanks, Sam. Good to have you back, buddy.

Mr Chang is sitting somberly in his office working on Very Important Papers as Tiny slips up to his desk - God only knows how she got past the receptionist - and gives him a bootleg of West Side Story. She wants Mr. Chang to see how incredibly wonderful Mike was in it. Mr. Chang looks at it as if she's left dog poo on his desk. "Go away and take that with you."

Tina gives a Very Dramatic Speech about Mike is throwing everything he loves away to please his father. The speech moves Mr. Chang to exasperation, and he asks her to sit. We learn that Tina also wants to be a performer when she gets out of school. "And your parents support this?"

"They love me" she replies primly, leaving the very strong implication that it is impossible to love your children and still think that following a career in the arts is a risky choice. Mr. Chang has to appreciate that little dig. Frankly, I am getting a little alarmed at the number of New Direction kids who think they are going to be stars, because most of them are likely to be wrong. Or maybe they will beat the odds, since they all have the talent level of professional performers who were good enough to get cast in an Emmy-nominated television show. Which really makes you wonder why New Directions gets so much flak, since they are all people of professional level skill.

Mr Chang explains, not at all unkindly, that he fears that Mike faces heartache, and Tina brings up the elephant in the room; there are fewer performance opportunities for Asians than for Anglos in America, and this is true. She still thinks it's worth it for Mike to follow his dream because performing is what they were Born To Do. At this point I realize the dialogue in this scene has all the humor and originality of a tragic one act play written by a 7th grader. The dialogue is not only completely humorless and overly earnest, but cliched, dull, and very poorly acted. However, I am not sure Jane and Chris could save this scene, and it appears the new writers are kind of a bust. Tina pushes out one more heavy-handed bit of guilt tripping and waltzes out of the office.

This, folks, is why Jenna is not given more to do and never gets any story lines. Occasionally the show runners make decisions based on the abilities they actually witness in people they work with daily rather than on headcanon they make up about the abilities they would like to see them have.

And it's time for Sectionals! One group of New Directions kids are warming up - which is the first time I've ever seen anybody from ND do that - while the New Bonded Male Leadership alliance are flexing their unified macho leadership muscles by telling the band guys to either sing from their diaphragm (Blaine's advice) or just pretend they know the lyrics (That's Finn's contribution.) Tina tries to wish Mike luck, but he lurches away from her like he caught her making out with Puckerman. Apparently, his father's mood has not improved and he almost didn't let Mike come. Given that Mr. Chang's previous position on the matter has been to absolutely forbid all artistic interests and activities, "almost didn't let me come" seems like a sure sign of weakness to me, but it creates a bunch of Asian Friction for Asian Fusion so I guess that's a good thing, narratively. And they went on and sang together like complete troopers without even engaging in a 15 minute kiss, so you have to support them for their professionalism.

That woman who has been treating Puck like a chew toy appears with her row of conceited little traitors, and the stress Shelby's been under is immediately evident. Just a few short weeks ago, the girls were sexy and compelling in stark black frocks, but for some reason, now that the competition actually matters, Shelby has wrapped them in aluminum foil. I am not sure if she wants them to sing a song that will win Sectionals or recreate the Day the Earth Stood Still. Will coos about how great they look, because he's a very charming liar, and Santana and Shelby offer them what she genuinely believes to be a generous offer; if (when) New Directions loses to the Troubletones (a certainty) they have decided that anybody from New Directions who wishes to join the Troubletones may do so. Even the boys. Boy, coming out of the closet did wonders for Santana's disposition. New Directions is quite taken aback by this condescending offer, but we probably ought to just be grateful Santana does not own a tuba. Will, gently avoiding the urge to smack Shelby upside the head, says he'd rather focus on winning, and Quinn, eagerly giving into the urge to make Shelby do a #2 in her pants, announces that Puck will win this for New Directions. All of the color drains out of Shelby's face, and I don't think I've ever loved Quinn as much as I do right now.

Rachel is in the auditiorium wearing a regular street outfit that mirrors the black and white penguin tuxedos of New Directions. Technically speaking, she's on school property and she has no business being there at all, but Rachel has a very special kind of suspension that allows her to be on campus only when she ends up saying something of immense importance to Quinn, so it's OK as long as she talks Quinn off the ledge at least once while she's there. She is obviously looking very stressed as she seeks a ledge to save Quinn from so she can stay and enjoy the show. Finn gently guides her over to where New Directions is sitting, which probably ought to be against the rules as well, and the announcer introduces the judges: two bored looking older women and the live action version of Krusty the Clown. Sugar is a big fan. She won't be after the results are read.

The first group to perform are the Unitards, the only group not from McKinley. As the music begins, a smug little powerhouse begins to blast out the words to "Buenos Aires" from Evita, and Kurt recognizes her immediately. "Oh my god" he whispers to Rachel, who looks like she's about to faint, "It's the Gerber Baby." "I should be singing that song!" wails Rachel.

Hiya, Harmony. Welcome to McKinley. Will you be staying long? Can I get you a slushie? What flavor do you think would go best on your dress? About a minute into this song, I've figured out why they chose this song for Harmony. The internal narrative for this song choice basically goes like this:

What's new? All you Glee Viewers!
I'm new! I wanna say I'm just a little stuck on you
You'll be on me too (whether you like it or not)

Why am I here, oh, Glee viewers?
Face it, you are gonna have to accept me
And my touch of star quality

Just accept that I'm here to become your Rachel 2.0
I'll be here right on top when they let Lea go
Don't get mad, yes I know that's it a mess
But suck it up 'cause this is where I'm staying

Don't say that Ryan Murphy goes too far
This is just the way things are
Beautiful show, I love you
And if the ratings get too darn low
Don't despair we can always go
And make Lea a guest star...

Yeah, they are prepping her for next season. Well, at least she's mad talented, much better than Rory. A little later into the number I realize that it is really horribly edited with several painfully obvious breaks where they cut lines from the song, and even later than that I realize that this is not a show choir. It's just Harmony and a bunch of dancers. This is not a choir. It's terrific, it's fun, it's flashy and attractive and very entertaining, but musically it's a solo act and she doesn't even have any Pips. The only people singing along with Harmony are starstruck Kurt and Rachel, as far as I can tell, and since they are the graduates she has been hired to show the door, they will not get the opportunity to Pip for her any other time.

Harmony ends her song, Quinn heads for the exit to rattle Shelby, and Rachel's all over that exit like it's her job. It never does occur to her that Quinn might just need to go to the bathroom because, somehow, she knows. (What? Last year, Quinn's big plan to get even was to cut her hair.) Will and Emma are staring at Harmony's brilliance in sheer terror, because they have forgotten that this is a show choir competition and Harmony was singing by herself. Fortunately, the judges end up picking up on that rather important little fact. Hey, it's my headcanon to explain why the best number of the night lost. I have to do this to help me make sense of it all.

Rachel confronts Quinn in the hallway she's not supposed to enter because she knows Quinn is about to tell Figgins about Shelby and Puck. Boo, bad Figgins for not being present at this important Sectional event on his own campus. Maybe he's in the janitor's closet overloading on leftover Pixie Sticks.

"I'm an adult" says Quinn, and I realize I'm shocked because she's using this phrase to excuse herself for acting like a destructive toddler. The first time she tried to reason with Quinn, Rachel appealed to Quinn's desire to do right by innocent, powerless little Beth. Now, she wants Quinn to wait until after the Troubletones have sung because stress at this moment might put them off their game and keep them from giving their best possible performance. Rachel doesn't want to win like that!

Uh, you in the polka dotted dress. C'mere. You seem like a nice, sweet girl and all, but I really need to know what you've done with Rachel Berry. You know, the aggressive, competitive one with the killer instinct who dominated Glee when it was a comic masterpiece? That girl was feisty and funny and dangerous to know, almost as wonderfully wicked as Harmony seems likely to be. You want to hold off on delivering shocking news until after they perform because they are your friends? Santana is your friend? Doesn't Mercedes pretty much want to shove you off a cliff?

Honey, last time I checked, you've got one genuine platonic friend and a lover. They are brothers, they are not on the Troubletones and they would like you to come back to your seat now. I liked this argument better when it was still about Beth. And if you must try to defend Shelby, could you at least do it because, oh, I don't know, she's YOUR MOM or something? Can't you at least have a genuine emotional stake in all this that goes beyond feeling bad because you put in too many ballots to make your cheat convincing?

Shelby is on the phone handling Beth's Health Crisis of the Hour with the babysitter when Quinn marches in and spits out the fatal words. "Puck told me about you two. I'm going to tell Figgins and get you fired."

Then, of course, Quinn ruins all this lovely disdain I have for her by getting straight to the heart of the matter and giving Shelby exactly the level of anger she deserves. No, Shelby should not have come to Lima with Beth. Yes, Quinn would have been better off if she'd stayed away. Returning was wrong, her affair with Puck is wrong. Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, and...

"You're so young" says Shelby. OK, avoiding the issue at hand here, Shelb. Let's go back to where you are wrong. No, suddenly this is about Shelby's midlife crisis and I don't know how we got here. Suddenly, rather than discussing Shelby's complete moral bankruptcy, we are on to how Quinn wants to grow up too quickly. Shelby has decided that she was sleeping with Puck because he made her feel young again, which is really funny, because he appeared to be trying to act like an adult to be with her. Shelby has also conveniently forgotten that Puck is trying to be his daughter's dad, as if ignoring that consideration in all this isn't almost the most repugnant things she's done. You know, Shelb, let those two hang out together just a little more and THEY WILL BOND as father and daughter, and Beth will remember, love and want her daddy and THEN where will you be with this hot little piece of young tail that you only wanted to bang so you could feel like a kid again?

Shelby resigns herself to enjoying her last few moments as a teacher, and I find this scene to be utterly pointless, unconvincing, badly focused, and morally confused.

The Troubletones are glittering on the stage like a row of Tin Woodsmen as the strains of "I Will Survive" begins. I determine that the outfit washes Santana out and makes Mercedes look even more overweight than she really is. And then, as they began dancing, the entire auditorium appears to begin swarming with flies, because those poor girls are suddenly flailing their arms wildly in what must be a desperate attempt to swat the damned things. In unison. Gone are the delicious, deliberate and elegant back bends and twirls of the Adele mashup just a few weeks ago. This choreography is a mess. They look like a bunch of uncoordinated older ladies sweating to the oldies. Not even Brittney can make this work completely. Finn, watching from the audience, sees the same thing I am seeing and he grins slowly at his new partner in crime. "We got this" he says to Blaine, and I certainly hope so. Fist bump.

Shelby is the former coach of Vocal Adrenaline, a National champion, and she's sent these girls on stage to wind their arms like windmills while wearing really ugly metal dresses. Yes, they still SOUND good, but the rest of this trainwreck is so distracting it's hard to focus on that. My new theory is that Shelby just want to grab her little girl and get the hell out of Lima (and away from both Puck and Quinn) just as fast as she can, so she had to create a routine that could not possibly win. And then they end the whole thing with jumping jacks and I just give up because it's the funniest thing I've seen on this show in weeks. They sink to the floor, and the Survivors are all comatose. They think they've killed it, and I just think they are dead. Maybe Shelby told them that she wanted to save their wonderful Adele number, which I still listen to three or four times a day, for Regionals.
And now..... also from McKinley High.... New Directions!

The great exodus of prominent divas from the ranks of this little choir have produced a handful of pretty earth-shattering miracles, quickly in evidence as they launch into "ABC" by the Jackson Five. First of all, down to only two female members, they've been forced to allow Tina to sing lead on a competition song, and she's delivering the audience a sweet slice of adorable pie while she does it. She does not break into tears even once, and nobody interrupts her. It's a miracle, I tells ya! Second, the guy next to her also gets to sing a line... no! two lines! NO! THREE LINES! Kurt got to deliver THREE WHOLE LINES in this song! Will actually allowed Kurt to open his mouth and be heard in a competition setlist! Now mind you, he's still got the smallest singing part of any regular member in the entire organization except for Rory, but progress is progress. And Mike, who wore a shirt that said "Can't Sing" last year, is now basically Tina's duet partner on this high energy number. Of course, there is that one scary moment when Mike sees his dad enter the auditorium. He stops dead in his tracks and loses all concentration even though he's supposed to be the center of the song at that moment. Tina manages to snap him out of it and they continue the number. Presumably, the audience in the auditorium don't realize he broke character here. Sebastian is also in the audience with his little meerkat grin, and Kurt loses focus for a second, too. Actually, I've been in musical productions, and I can't figure out how Kurt and Mike can even see individuals in the audience with those lights in their faces.

It does strike me that this was a very good strategy for Will with this group. You minimize the fact that you have only two girls left by featuring the stronger singer of the two of them very heavily, and New Directions doesn't seem quite as boy heavy as it really is. This set also manages to comment on several storylines, as Kurt responds to Sebastian's presence by jumping over Mike and taking center stage with an "I think I looooooooooooveya" that gets wild cheers - this is the guy who" brought the house down" with Officer Krupke, after all" and Sam does a body roll that gets Mercedes all hot and bothered and just a little too happy about it. Mike gets to show his dad exactly what he can do. That first number, by itself, is enough to win this for New Directions, because they are actually a choir and everybody got to contribute, their costumes are attractive, and the choreography wasn't embarrassing.

But wait! There's more! We know for sure that ND is winning this as soon as we realize they get to sing a second number. Quinn gets to snarl about Control just to scare Shelby again. And now Blaine and Artie are trading lines, and we realize this is wrapping up Artie's storyline as director of West Side Story. He's in control, he's all grown up, he's controlling the number from a wheelchair and doing a fine job.

But wait! There's MORE! Now Finn is realizing he has to make a change and treat Blaine better, and soon five guys - Finn, Artie, Sam, Puck, and Blaine, are converging onstage together to convince Mr. Chang that he needs to look at the Man in the Mirror and change his ways. You can even watch the man sit in embarrassed silence as they berate him from the stage. Will is obviously very pleased. Obviously, New Directions CAN pull a winning setlist out of their asses at the very last minute, and that whole New York thing was just a fluke. Or maybe it's just that they don't need to be actually writing the songs they are pulling from their nether regions. Even Mr. Chang joins the standing ovation, and hugs are shared.

It appears to me that the status and prominence of every single teenager on Glee is dictated by acting ability - either their own acting ability or the ability of the person who is playing their boyfriend/girlfriend. There's only one pairing with two exceptional actors in it, and Finchel is very prominent. A second pairing with one exceptional actor and one who is a little better than average for this show results in the very successful Klaine. A third pairing with one excellent actress and one awful one makes Brittney more important than she has any right to be to support Brittana. And Tike? Uh.... oh oh. Tina was better off with Artie, I fear. But hey, if she figured out a way to either seduce Finn or change Kurt's sexual orientation, she'd be right in there.

So New Directions comes pouring off the stage and streaming into their dressing room, ecstatic and filled with a growing sense of destiny. They were in Control! It was as easy as ABC! They look at the Man in the Mirror and they see a winner! And best of all, NOBODY made out on stage! They are dancing and hugging and cheering and Blaine shares an Alpha Male Bonding Handshake with Finn. And then Sam's right there for the group hug, all that ugly arguing forgotten in a flourish of warm victory fuzzies. Mike and Tina do lifts to celebrate, because that is what dancers do, because Daddy Chang came to the auditorium. Then Daddy Chang is suddenly in the room, and as he grimly asks to speak with them both, the two kids look like he's about to throw something heavy at them.

The heavy thing he throws is a deadly serious, plodding, formulaic, wooden ball of platitudes about Following Your Dream that remind me very slightly of an old master offering sage advice to Young Grasshopper. The fact that he's spouting back at them the stuff they've been trying to drill into his thick skull for a month makes this even more annoying, especially since he's talking as if it were all his idea to begin with. Yikes, can we be done with this yet? Dear old Dad finally mentions that Mike might want to consider applying to dance schools, and Mike thinks he's missed the deadlines. No, he hasn't. Little Miss Vampire has been applying for him behind his back. Gee, Tina. Masquerading as a vampire, forging signatures, signing people up for stuff without telling them, sneaking past receptionists... forget being a performer, I think you might have a career in espionage.

And then we're back in the auditorium to watch Krusty the Klown confirm what we already know about the results. I am a little miffed that we didn't get to hear the juicy gossip in the Judges' Room this year like we always have at Sectionals before. Hey! That's the best part! I wanna know if those two older ladies gave it up for the Body Rolls, or if Chuckles the Clown liked the tinfoil dresses more than the penguin costumes. Although two of the three judges are female, it's the guy with the extreme makeover who gets to make the big announcement, and he begins by laying an egg on stage. Moving on...

Third place! The Unitards! Harmony breaks into a huge grin, and I wonder if she understands exactly what is happening here, or if that megawatt grimace is her default mechanism every time her name or act gets mentioned by any person under any circumstances at all. For somebody so aggressively competitive, she looks ecstatic to come in dead last and so do all her friends as they go to pick up the enormous trophy that they get for.... uh.... showing up? Even though Kurt already knows his group did better than hers, he feels the worshipful need to throw rose petals at her feet and tell her she's really amazing. She responds by saying that she's only a sophomore and she's already this good - so next year will BE A BLOODBATH MWAH HAHA HAHAHAHA!!!!!!

OK, chill, Harmony. Do I detect some passive aggressive resentment? Are you aware that, regardless of how horrified he looks, this boy you are speaking to will NOT BE in New Directions next year and you won't be spilling his blood? I'm afraid all I can offer you is Tina, Artie, Sam, and Blaine. Please clean up after yourself when you are done.

And now... the moment of truth. The moment when the Troubletones find out if their spree of meglomania, treachery, and stage daddies with more dollars than sense has paid off. Life slows to a crawl. Brows furrow. Breath is held. The name is read.

Second place.

The Troubletones! Neener, neener, oh SNAP! You girls just got powned by TINA. Maybe there will be a reward for this result. Maybe Will has come to understand that every member of his choir is special, and they all deserve a chance to shine and nobody should get automatic, preferential treatment. Maybe it's a new, diva-free age in New Directions. Maybe Rachel and Santana will make pigs fly over the school and throwing droppings on everybody to retaliate for this development. The Troubletones: The least successful Glee Club in the career of Shelby Corcoran. Wear that badge with pride, girls. It's what you deserve. At least, unlike Harmoney, Mercedes and Santana had the sense to understand that this was not a good thing and they are not required to be happy. Indeed, they seem to have turned into statues - or maybe just sad little tin soldiers, stuck forever in formation long after their child has abandoned them.

Rachel comes into the school office, her suspension finally lifted. Of course, that suspension didn't seem to keep her off the school property much at all, but at least she's officially allowed to be there now. Rachel hopes the NYADA will see her suspension as a sign of her artistic rebellious attitude. The one person there to greet Rachel as she comes off suspension is not Finn, not Kurt, not even Puck. For reasons that are unclear, Quinn is in the principal's office, too, and at first I wonder if she lit a cherry bomb in Shelby's trash can or something. Not that I'd blame her, or anything. Rachel is afraid she's there to tell Figgins about Shelby, but Quinn says she actually came to think Rachel for talking sense into her. Quinn loves Beth and she doesn't want to ruin her life, so she is grateful to Rachel, who kept her from doing something stupid.

"We're kind of friends" says Rachel, hopefully, and I just shake my head at her sadly. Why this poor girl continues to crave validation from a mean little minx who has continually degraded her and put her down for almost three years now is just more than I can begin to understand. This "friendship" is terribly unbalanced and I think Rachel deserves better. Actually, Rachel HAS better. You see, Rachel, a friend is not only somebody whom you rescue with kind words when she's low. A friend will do that for you, too, and I don't know that Quinn's quite there yet with you. If you need a girlfriend, cultivate Tina instead. She needs something to do. On the other hand, Tina's not on the verge of a nervous breakdown, so maybe rescuing Quinn can be regarded as an act for the benefit of society in general. One part of me wants to spend some time complaining about how quickly Quinn turned sane again, but I am so glad the psycho is gone I am willing to let this go. Maybe Psycho Quinn and Shelby both will leave my television.

Notice that Puck's feelings in all this are not addressed at all. Not one little bit.

Quinn has decided she wants to go to Yale and be Jodie Foster. She has decided she's not the singer that Rachel or Kurt are - why do the characters continually praise Kurt's talent and then actively prevent him from performing outside the choir room? - but Yale has a great theatre school and Quinn is a huge drama queen. Rachel offers to help with the Yale application, since she can't help but be just slightly condescending even now. Quinn demurs on that, but she does want help on one other thing. It turns out to be an absolutely horrible, almost offensive idea.

In the girl's bathroom, the Troubletones are following through on their dedicated pursuit of conceit and entitlement, unable to understand why their radiant perfection got beaten by people who were not named Rachel Berry. I swear Mercedes is working on my last nerve. She must have had lunch with Shane again. Sam, get your stripper's ass over her and detach this woman from the boyfriend who has ruined her. Santana is convinced that Sam's body rolls did it for New Directions. Well, let me put it this way, sweetheart.... the choreography probably was a factor.

Quinn comes in to chat with this miserable ball of hostility. They immediately order her not to beg them to come back to New Directions, because they are not interested. Actually, Brittney does show some signs of wanting to go back, and Mercedes insists that New Directions would take them back, but... I am telling you, I'm not goooooooooing. OK, I may never be able to watch Dreamgirls again.

Quinn tells them that growing up is about losing things, and.... oh, my. There's some wisdom in that comment that I am going to have to ponder for a bit because there's truth there whether you are 16 or 46, and the New Year is coming up. In the short run, however, Quinn is just reminding them that if they decide to spend the next sixth months pouting, they are going to miss out on a lot of fun experiences they should be enjoying while they can.... because Murphy is firing them all at the end of the year so that he can have a Realistic School with a Zero Tolerance Policy that allows bullies to slushie dweebs in the hallways. Quinn is not ready to grow up yet. She doesn't want to lose Ms. Bitter and Ms. Big Head. Mercedes refuses, refuses, I say, to sing backup for Blaine and Berry. Never mind that she has never, ever sung backup for Blaine at all, or that they just witnessed a New Directions in which virtually everybody got at least three lines to sing, and the whole thing was fairly fabulous.

Then Quinn launches a bomb that makes me absolutely clench my fists in rage. Shue, in a desperate effort to get these miserable brats back in the fold (not you, Britt, I know you are just in love, and that's different) has agreed to let the Troubletones sing at least one number in EACH COMPETITION. I don't have to write a new passage to describe my opinion of this nonsense. I've already done it in another thread and I am just going to transfer it here to save time because hell, it's already Saturday and I haven't finished my Christmas shopping.

In the beginning of Glee, Rachel was a pretty aggressive solos hog, and Will allowed it. She screamed blue murder when somebody else got assigned a solo she wanted. (Tina.) She screamed blue murder when somebody else asked for permission to audition for a solo she'd been assigned by fiat. (Kurt.) She pretty much behaved as if she was the only member of New Directions who ought to ever be allowed to sing anything at any time for any reason.

That was a long damned time ago. Those patterns were already beginning to break by the time they hit Regionals in Season One, and they got blasted in half during Sectionals in Season Two. After Quinn, of all people, was allowed to ruin Time of My Life for New Directions and Santana got to save the day with Valerie, any question of New Directions never letting other people shine was completely debunked and is no longer valid. The question is not who, in New Directions, has been allowed out of Rachel's shadow, but who is still permanently stuck on the sidelines, and after this episode we are pretty much down to Rory and Kurt.

Santana in particular had solos at both Regionals and Nationals last year and has absolutely no recourse to complain about her treatment at all. NONE.

The impression I got of Mercedes' behavior, both during Funeral last year and Asian F this year, is that she is lazy, never on time, and refuses to do the work required to give her best performance. That, more than anything else, might explain why she has not been highlighted more. Will got angry at her because she absolutely refused to give any effort at booty camp. I am twice her age, not at all coordinated, and I would have performed those dance moves with more enthusiasm and skill than she did. Her behavior was shameful and she deserved to be kicked out.

The Troubletones broke away from New Directions, not because they objected to Rachel's behavior, but because they decided to emulate it. They did not dream of a choir in which everybody got a chance to shine. They dreamed of a choir in which they got to be Rachel and push others to the background.

Lacking ALL of the obnoxious divas, New Directions won Sectionals by using the talents of every single member they had, showing that New Directions is a team of substantial depth. That appears to have been the moral of the story, that New Directions can win by being a team that favors no one person. Tina, Mike and Artie in particular got a wonderful chance to shine and they did very well. The only original member of New Directions who has never been allowed to shine in competition as a member of New Directions is Kurt.

Now, the deal that Quinn has brokered suggests that New Directions will be hounded, not by one screaming diva who hogs all the attention and refuses to let Tina, Artie or Kurt shine, but three. The situation has actually gotten worse. Rachel will have to fight like hell and knock over people to keep from getting bulldozed by this shockingly unfair situation, in which two offensively bratty girls get preferential treatment precisely because they left.

If I were Will, I'd let them back in, all right, but I'd be making a mental note to highlight Tina for every single solo I might ever have considered giving either of them, and I'd be trying to figure out how to make sure Kurt, Puck, and Rory got their turns while still setting up Rachel for at least one more big number. Mercedes and Santana behaved very poorly and they did not win. They should not be dictating the grounds for reconciliation. I would not allow either of them solos at Regionals. (They are up against the Warblers; this is a job for Klaine) and EVERY SINGLE MEMBER would get to sing at Nationals.

No. Mercedes and Santana do not deserve to be the central focus of New Directions. They blew it.

I do not begin to understand why Rachel agreed to this, and I have to wonder how Tina is going to feel when she finds SHE has to sing backup to THEM. Gee, Tina, maybe you should have joined the Troubletones. You'd be guaranteed a solo now. And apparently Kurt deserves absolutely nothing whatsoever for his steadfast loyalty while mostly swaying in the background. This is just.... gross.

Since when do reconciliation treaties get written to pacify the losers?


I am just not in the mood to finish discussing Quinn's sugary platitudes after that. You do know that this is the time of last chances for somebody besides the Unholy Trinity, doncha, Blondie?

The episode ends with the triumphant New Directions singing "We are Young" in the auditorium. The muzzle is off Rachel and she gets to sing again. Slowly everybody else joins in, and as they sing together, four little Troubletones tiptoe into the room. The fourth... is Sugar. Remember Sugar, who sang so poorly in her audition Will would not let her in, and that started this mess in the first place? She also wants to come back. Presumably, since she is a Troubletone, that means she gets one guaranteed number a competition, and Rachel, Kurt, Artie and Tina do not. Seriously. Think about it. Mercedes announces her intention to grace New Directions with her glorious presence by wailing a note to announce her arrival. After a minute of the Troubletones and New Directions singing back and forth to each other, ND members go to greet the prodigals and bring them back into the fold. Into the spotlight. Yeah, we will all just sway in the background for you. Swaying in background can be fun. Rachel goes to bring in the straggler, Santana. Glee has its big hit for the week, and I feel vaguely sick to my stomach.

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