So, let's say you are the producers of a really hot, popular show that's beginning to run out of steam. They say your writing has sucked lately. They say you've had too many guest stars, too many tribute episodes, and not enough continuity. They say that the woman who used to be your most popular and effective character is becoming a hackneyed cartoon, and you just realized the fantastic actress playing her does not have an effective Emmy reel to contribute this year because the writing for her was so bad. What do you do?
Kill off one of the minor characters, of course! Make a Very Special Episode featuring that woman who needs the Emmy reel! It can't miss! Am I right? Am I right?
OK, maybe I'm wrong. At any rate, the episode begins as Will announces that he's hired Jesse St. James to be the Nationals consultant for New Directions. Rachel, who is currently dating this charming, handsome little sleazebag, claps enthusiastically, but everybody registers something between bemusement to disgust. Sam just looks like he went to sleep.
Finn does not trust Jesse; he thinks Jesse might try to trick them so that Vocal Adrenaline will win. I think he'll play it straight because he wants in Rachel's pants, and almost got there once. He does immediately call Finn stupid, which is both rude and accurate. Will points out that Nationals is here, and they've been working really hard for two years to get to this moment where they will fall on the their faces in humiliated failure. They are going to sing original songs, and they will sing twice: a group number and a duet. Competition sets featuring three songs will not appear until season three. Finn wants to duet with Rachel, but as Quinn points out, Rachel and Finn did a duet at Regionals last year and they lost. Fun Fact: Finn and Rachel have never sung a duet that resulted in a win for New Directions. Jesse calmly, with a matter of factness that stuns the whole room, informs Finn that most of the other guys in New Directions sing better than he does; while the audience has known this for years, this was the instant that we learned that the writers realized they could not keep faking this. I do think Cory sings and dances much better than a zombie who has to poop, unless the zombie is being played by Michael Jackson. Jesse excuses his nastiness by saying that they need the killer instinct to win at Nationals. Jesse wants to build the entire Nationals performance around their best performer. I think he should have advised them to begin rehearsing something. Anything. Base it on Rachel, base it on Finchel, hell, base it on Lauren, but please get started. Will announces that he will have open auditions for the role of star performer. He will tack a signup sheet for the auditions in the hall so that the entire school will know who to slushie right before their big moment. Finn says this is not their style, by which he means that it doesn't look like he'll get his big duet with Rachel. Sam thinks that they are about to hit the big time, so they should listen to Simon Cowell of Lima.
Back in her office, Sue is lactating with RAGE at Terri. Well,
yeah, Terri can be pretty annoying. That's true. They deserve each
other. Sue is losing it because Honey Badger... OK.... was tasked with
hiring an expert hacker to screw up the Glee Club's plane tickets.
Terri found... Howard Bamboo. He wants a nickname, so Sue names him
Panda Express because when you think of Howard Bamboo, I think of fake
Chinese fast food. No, actually I think of sheets.
Hacker is stumped because he needs access to Figgin's email account in
order to hack the tickets, but he just hasn't got the slightest idea how
to crack that code. Sue reminds them that Figgins is an idiot, and
then the password is simple: 1234. Sue has missed her calling as a
spy. As they gaze at the New Directions itinerary, Sue demands that
Howard hack to account to give the kids a layover in Tripoli. And yes,
Terri, that is in Libya. BOOM! It's going to be so exciting! Terri,
as bad as she is, isn't quite prepared to commit murder, even to get
even with Will; she doesn't know that Sue shoots students out of
Becky Jackson and her mother approach Will in the
hallway. Becky, who has shown no particular ability to sing or dance,
wants to join the Glee club. She doesn't think anybody else in Glee
Club can either; I actually think that's not really true or fair.
Obviously, she's been listening to Sue. And indeed, this is all about
Sue; she abruptly kicked Becky off the Cheerios without any warning or
explanation, and the poor little thing thinks she did something wrong.
Unfortunately, the same condition that got her ON the Cheerios is about
to remove her from it, and for the same reason, although she does not
realize this yet.
Mrs. Jackson sadly explains to Will that Becky
has been very depressed since the coach she adored kicked her to the
curb like a hurt puppy. She wants to belong somewhere. Now, if Will
had the sense God gave a gnat, he would realize that Becky is not, and
has never really been, a cheerleader. She is, for all practical
purposes, a gopher and water girl, and he might be able to find some
support function she could perform even though she cannot sing. And
it's not as if she's missed any rehearsals. I would like to hope that
Will can muster up the same level of compassion and patience for a
disabled person that Sue can manage... but no. There is no place for
her this year. What a rotten way to put it. She says she wants to
belong and he tells her there's no place for her. Oh, Will. Let her
carry the luggage. Maybe she could write a song?
Will blows up
at Sue in the teacher's lounge. Cheerios gave Becky a sense of
purpose, and Sue ripped it away from her for no reason?!
There's a reason. Becky reminds Sue of Jean. That's why she let her in
in the first place. Jean died yesterday. The line comes out cold,
matter of fact, with little melodrama and a lot of punch, and it punches
Will in the stomach almost as hard as it punched me. Jean died of
pneumonia in her sleep, and Will, momentarily forgetting that Sue hates
him with a flaming passion, tries to take her hand. She removes it
coldly, checks for cooties, and asks him to leave her alone.
Rachel, heading for her destiny, signing up for the auditions, certain
of her victory, giving us a sassy voiceover that suggests she's got her
old ambition and drive back, at least for the moment. She's still got
those gloriously conceited little stars next to her name. She notices
that Finn has not joined Rachel, Mercedes, Kurt and Santana in the
auditions, and asks him why. He's the male lead of this group!
Everybody looks up to him, probably because he's so tall! Rachel has
forgotten that Finn is the male lead of New Directions because he is her
showmance, and not because he's the show's best male vocalist; it does
appear they have given up on pretending that he is. Finn says that
Jesse's comments have destroyed his confidence, and even I agree that
Jesse overstated the case; I think he just wanted to get his rival of
Rachel's love to back off. Finn makes a really accurate assessment:
he is Lima - good. I think that's right. I don't think there's
anything wrong with that, either, and it's the rare high school kid who
has the courage and integrity to assess his own talents so honestly and
And really... only one of these kids can get
that solo-performer-at-the-center-of-it position. Why on earth would
Rachel want more competition?
Beware the closet of your beloved. You may never know how many
horrible skeletons lie hidden there - or how many really ugly sweater
vests. Emmy ventures into the deepest, darkest corners of Will's
wardrobe, and finds an entire army of atrocious vests, hanging in a
line, waiting to commit fashion atrocities of the tackiest kind. She
pulls them all out with a bewildered "Let's get started" and commences
to go all OCD on his clothes.
One box to take to New York.
One box for storage.
One box for Giving Away. Emma, I think you will need more than one box for that.
and April are about to open their big Broadway Show, and Emma is
behaving as if he's going to leave Lima for good, because she loves
Will, believes in him, and does not think him to be self-destructive or
insane. Will, however, has a very strange attitude for a person about
to star in his first Broadway production; not only does he accept the
idea that the show might flop, he's actually planning around it. He
expects that the show will close on Opening Night and he'll be back in
Lima shortly after that. Emma thinks he's afraid to admit that he's
leaving. Will has not yet told the Glee Club that he's going to be in a
Broadway play because he does not want anything to distract them from
the task at hand, except, of course, well, everything, including their
own hormones. I am getting ahead of myself. And he still thinks that
he's going to be home by next fall. Hey, Will: if there's one way to
guarantee that you will fail, it's to act as if that's what you actually
want very much to have happen.
Will's more attached
to the ugly sweater vests than he is to the idea of being a star.
Apparently, each one comes equipped with a Very Special Memory that
makes each one priceless. Emma thinks he should let them all go, even
the one he was wearing when he first met her, so that he can follow his
dreams. It's the first time I really understood that she was too good
for him. Quick assignment for the Continuity Police out there. We've
actually seen the first time Will met Emma, but I don't remember what he
was wearing. Who can be the first to figure out whether or not he was
actually wearing that vest?
Sue is sitting alone in her
office when she gets a visit from an unexpected duo: Kurt comes
bearing flowers, and Finn has brought a teddy bear. You would think
they were actually brothers or something, instead of strangers who have
not said a single word to each other since their parents got married.
She invites them to put the gifts with the very tiny assortment of other
consolations currently cluttering her trophy table, and sniffs that she
had to throw some of the other flower arrangements away because she's
allergic to pansies. Not meaning Kurt, of course. Barum-Chunk! I
think she's covering up the fact that the pile is so small because
everybody hates her. Sue wants to know why they want to comfort her
after she's been so hard on Glee Club. I can't speak for Finn, but I
suspect Kurt may have some loyalty to the temporary principal who was
the only member of the McKinley staff to make any attempt to control
Karofsky during the bullying phase. I also suspect Kurt may have some
loyalty to the only teacher on the entire McKinley faculty who EVER let
him SING.... ANYWHERE, let alone at a competition. And yes, I am pretty
much bitching about this in every single recap and I will until they
fix it or cancel the damned thing. He won her a big old trophy, by the
Kurt's a little more diplomatic than I am.
Kurt and Finn both know what it's like to lose a close family member.
Actually, that's not quite right. Finn knows what it's like to feel the
absence of somebody who was never there; Kurt has actually suffered the
loss, and almost did it twice. Sue coldly, painfully informs the
Munster Brothers that she cannot deal with Jean's death. She cannot
deal with going through Jean's things. She can't plan a Funeral. So
it's up to the Glee Club to do it for her! Heartwarming foreshadowing!
She has not told her mother, whom Sue has decided is not longer welcome
because she didn't like who Sue married. (Herself.) Sue wants to know
why a kind, sweet person like Jean is dead and a bitter, vindictive
witch like herself remains breathing.
Sue, I can give you three explanations, none of which are adequate:
1. You can take care of things when Jean is gone; Jean would not be capable of being the executor of your estate.
Just like Billy Joel said, only the good die young. Although Betty
White's pretty wonderful, and she's still kicking in her nineties.
3. Your actress is more skilled than hers, and it's more effective for RIB to kill Jean in a cheap shocker than to kill you.
of all the kids in the Glee Club, Kurt is the one closest to Sue. He's
been a Cheerio with her, she's been his advocate, she's even given him a
pretty charming nickname that stuck. So of course, when it comes time
to convince the rest of the Glee Club to help her, who makes the pitch?
of course, the inarticulate Frankenteen who barely knows her. And
when somebody steps up to object, who is it? A Glee Club member who has
never worked with Sue and has no respect for her or reason to curry her
favor? No, it's Santana, a Cheerio who wants power in that
organization and has just been given a golden opportunity to make Sue
grateful to her. Seriously, sometimes I think they just roll dice to
see who is going to get to say certain lines.
says "We aren't doing it for Sue, we're doing it for her sister" and
Tina, who doesn't get to talk, throws a little hand motion that says,
very clearly "Who is Jean Sylvester and why do I care?" It's some of
her best and most effective acting to date.
just like us, guys" says Finn. "She's been an outsider and an underdog
all of her life." Finn was the football captain for a championship
team, Glee Club Captain, and a runner-up for Homecoming King this year.
Yeah, he's an underdog.
Jesse - I am surprised to
see him in class - interjects icily to suggest that they can't put
their lives on hold just because somebody dies. That's not the Vocal
Adrenaline way. He doesn't think they should be planning a funeral the
same week that they need to plan a setlist for Nationals. Kurt and Finn
look at him like he just spit on the floor. Jesse explains: Vocal
Adrenaline are in their 3rd day of 24 hour rehearsals... gotta wonder
how effective those are; I find that sleep makes everything work a
little better for me. But then, I am not 18 anymore. Or 28. Or 38.
Now, don't go much higher. I remember pulling all-nighters for tests,
but not for singing competitions.
When somebody dies
during a Vocal Adrenaline rehearsal, the other kids use that person as a
prop. I would like to see the police report on that. Finn takes a
stand here: he's going to be the leader, he's going to make the call,
and he's decided, all by himself, that the Glee Club is going to plan a
funeral for Jean Sylvester. And that, my friends, is why they arrived
in New York with no set list and made damned fools of themselves. Finn
made the call. Our hero! But couldn't they just have sung the songs
they did for the funeral?
Sue is striding bitterly down
the halls of the school, her eyes hidden behind a pair of rocking
shades to avoid detection by pesky, good-doing little gnats... dammit,
Will found her anyway. Will is honored, I repeat, HONORED at the
opportunity to foist the collective sympathy of the Glee Club on a woman
who wants no part of it, and Sue sets him straight, fast. Frankenteen
and Lady Trousers volunteered to help her, and she only accepted the
offer because she needed their help going through all of Jean's
belongings. Sue likes having a pair of temporary personal slaves. Sue
does not want to lean on Will, insert obligatory and increasingly
repetitive hair product joke here. Her schtick is getting very, very
old, and that's why they had to kill her sister to make her interesting
Will and Jesse are in their places, ready to do their own Lima
version of American Idol with Jesse as Simon and Will as a really unhip
Randy Jackson. They've probably got a Paula Abdul passed out under the
table. And yes, I know the judges have changed now, but since they no
longer actually criticize anybody, Jesse's doing it old school. You
see, he took a class in Reality Show Judging at UCLA right before he
flunked out and became a hopeless Lima Loser; he learned how to be both
blistering and unhelpful. I know people who can do that as a natural
talent. Jesse learned a lot from that class, but apparently not enough
to stay at UCLA.
Santana is first, giving what could
have been the Glee Tribute Song to Amy Winehouse if the timing had been
slightly different. She's going Back to Black. She sounds pretty good,
although it strikes me more as a nightclub performance than something
that might be done by a show choir. I don't know how they'd base a show
around that particular song with her. Jesse thanks her for coming in.
He has nothing else to say. Santana is shocked. Jesse spent the whole
time scribbling notes, but he has no critique for her. No notes, just a
kitty cat. Meow, meow to both of you. Jesse then shoot out the words
Santana did not expect to hear. He thinks she did not go deep into the
emotional truth of the song, which I suppose might be true, although you
could say that about Jesse's Bohemian Rhapsody last year, too.
she's not Rachel. Jesse wants Rachel. Santana would like to hand Jesse
his head on a platter, but Will stops her. Santana, you are excused,
and consider yourself lucky. That was MILD. But Jesse wants Rachel.
up: Kurt. He's wearing skulls on his pants for reasons I've never
figured out. Maybe he thinks he's going to kill this. He's certainly
going to be ready to kill Jesse before it's all over. Maybe
subconsciously he knows his hopes are dead before he walks out on that
stage. As they will be again... and again... and again... Kurt, a boy
of 17, is continuing his life long ambition to sing every song in the
American Musical Songbook that is most appropriately sung by a matron
over the age of 30. This is a sequel to the previous year's
fantastically effective and successful "Rose's Turn", and like most
sequels, lacks some of the punch of the predecessor. Rose's Turn was
about being rejected by everybody you've ever loved. "Some People" is
about being an obnoxious stage mother and feeling superior to everybody
around you. So maybe it's Kurt's tribute to Lima, a musical "Some day,
you all will work for me!"
He's got one thing going for
him that Santana did not; Chris, who got to do about ten minutes of
humorous material this entire bleak, depressing year, is taking full
advantage of the rare opportunity to be funny. Yes, Glee is a comedy.
Chris actually choreographed this number himself, from the weird wiggle
that began it, the backward walk, to the big finish - a running slide
forward that ends with him stretched out on the floor, arm dramatically
over his head. Will applauds , although once again he will never allow
him to sing in public, and Jesse scribbles. I wonder if he drew a dog
to chase the cat.
And then Jesse states the obvious.
This particular song is meant to be sung by a woman.... Yes, Jesse.
We know that. Jesse, meet Kurt. This is kind of what he does, although
I really wish he'd branch out. Kurt begins to get prickly, and Jesse
rips him a new one. That song has been sung by great female Broadway
stars; they are very big heels to fill, and in the end, he's a young boy
who only dreams of being a middle-aged Broadway Diva.
Besides, he's not Rachel. Jesse wants Rachel.
looks could kill Jesse would now be a pile of ash as Kurt goes away.
Unfortunately, he does not learn one damned thing from this audition and
makes the same mistake during the West Side Story auditions the
following fall. Lima simply won't let him release his inner LuPone.
At some time, he's going to have to settle for being Joel Grey, and then
I think things will go better for him.
Jesse takes a
commercial break after telling Will that he should comment more, by
which I suspect he means "tear them down instead of offering mild
Kurt prances into the choir in cold hard
fury. "Jesse St. James Jesse St. Sucks!" he exclaims, to which I am
inclined to agree, but mostly because he does things like "make
breakfast on people's heads." Here's the funny thing; Jesse has torn
down three people in the Glee Club so far, and he was right about what
he said all three times.
Rachel shrilly insists that
the four-time National champion might have insight to give this Glee
Club, and my response is that he does. He's gotten it right three times
so far. Now, if he'd only advise them to start rehearsing their songs.
The three girls trade moments of conceited
self-congratulation that makes me want to give the solo to Tina, and
then Mercedes goes to get her own ego handed to her on a plate.
Mercedes begins to belt out "Try a Little Tenderness", and I genuinely
think she's the best of the three. I have no critique on this one.
She's great - the passion is there, the song suits her, and she's not
even accidentally funny. Will agrees with me, and he follows Jesse's
instruction by praising her profusely. For a split second there,
Mercedes thinks she might just have taken this thing. And then Jesse
pulls out his very best Simon Cowell moves, clearly taught at UCLA.
You see, there is no legitimate critique for this performance, except that she's not Rachel. Jesse wants Rachel.
thing Cowell used to do that just drove me up the wall was to downgrade
the performances of people who were threatening to outshine the
performer he personally was rooting for. This is actually documented by
an article in the May 26 edition of Newsweek from 2003; according to
journalist Marc Peyser he deliberately gave bad comments to Kimberly
Locke so that she would not knock Ruben Studdard out of the Final Two
against Clay Aiken. Yes, I can prove that. Jesse pulls a Simon stunt
here. "You're not a star. You're just a girl who can really sing"
snarls Jesse, and then follows up with a nonsensical comment that ends
up become a brand new canon personality flaw for Mercedes. "I don't
think you want this enough, Mercedes. How many times did you practice
Of course, the sensible answer here is,
"Well, enough times to memorize a fairly complex and irregular rhythm
and then add appropriate modulation, dynamics, and a very effective
emotional build to a climax. So, probably quite a few times, you
asshole." But this is Glee, and Mercedes is about to get permanently
pegged as being incomprehensibly lazy; she says she didn't practice it,
which doesn't make any sense. Any singer will tell you that you can't
really sing a song with emotion unless you know the notes and words
cold. Then he gets on her for not having any choreography. Well,
that's true. And just like that, Mercedes is now officially lazy, and
there will be a whole character-destroying storyline about that in
season three. Thanks, Jesse.
Mercedes wants to show
him her fist, but Jesse says that the winner of this competition will
have to work on it day and night, and I suddenly wish Will had listened
to him, because they really should have worked on their songs day and
night. Or day by day. Or at all. Mercedes stalks out dragging the
microphone as if she had Jesse by the neck, and Rachel comes on stage.
comes out to announce that she's singing a really difficult Barbra
song. It's a love song that Fanny Brice sings at the end of Funny Girl,
and Jesse's eyes light up. It's a love song! Is she singing it to
somebody in particular? Like... maybe him? Please? Pretty please
with hugs and kisses?
No, nobody in particular. Jesse
is visibly crushed. I think if Jesse weren't such a "Make Breakfast on
Somebody's Head" kind of guy, I could really ship St. Berry. But you
just can't put eggs in a girl's hair unless she gets conditioner, a
rinse and a facial too, Jesse. It's a package deal.
Rachel begins singing My Man, and it's clearly about Finn. She's
hyperventilating with longing by the end of the first verse and she
spends most of the song looking like she's about to cry or vomit on the
floor, and by the big finish, she does indeed have tears flying
everywhere - including the balcony. She's got Kurt doing it, too, as he
watches her. He's on his feet in an instant, and Santana swipes at him
in disgust. Rachel sounds wonderful, the performance is breathtaking,
and the image of Rachel as a dependent little ninny who puts her own
ambition behind her obsession for this dunderhead of a guy is in full
swing to the abject despair of Independent! Rachel! fans everywhere.
Please bear in mind that in "Funny Girl" the guy she is singing about
is a lowlife scum named Nick Armstein who ended up serving jail time for
"That was brilliant" says Simon Cowell
of Lima to the contestant he wants to see win. "I have nothing but the
tip of my hat." You see, she's Rachel. He wants Rachel. Fortunately,
she just showed us why.
Santana shrieks that the
whole thing is rigged, which is true, but the result would be the same
if it were not. Will grimly insists that he, not Jesse, makes the final
call here. They all wait to hear what he says, but he decides to
weasel out of it and waste some more precious rehearsal days trying to
figure out how to keep from making a decision.
Back at Sue's Lair of Gloom, her two new slaves are running across
the kind of problem you might expect when a couple of guys are asked to
sort out the belongings of somebody they have never even met on behalf
of somebody who currently hates both of them. They have no idea what to
do with any of this stuff, no idea what is meaningful, no idea of what
is junk, so they have made a few looming towers of chaos in hopes that
Sue might stop glowering long enough to give them a clue.
knew that Sue would not want magazines, but thought she would want the
photographs. But what to do with a pom pom? Is it a treasured memory
or a dust collector? How about this really old, beaten up VHS tape of
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Kurt lights up when he sees it;
this is the treasured tale of a sociopathic chocolate tycoon who
deliberately lures children to his booby - trapped factory and lies in
wait to see which ones are led into life-threatening predicaments by
their own worst character flaws. It's a classic, and he loves this
movie! Apparently, so did Jean. Undeterred by the sight of children
being turned into huge human blueberries, Jean watched this three times a
week, possibly dreaming of a better life as an Oompah Loompah.
mere thought of that movie almost drives Sue over the edge. She wants
them to toss it all out. All Sue wants is a single stuffed animal; the
whole process is just more than she can bear. She's not short on
memories of Jean, and being too close to them may be hurting her right
now. I think, if I were Finn, I might hide that photo album for a year
and wait for the inevitable day when Sue says, "Oh, I wish I had
kept..." The boys are just trying to help, but the pain is still too
fresh and sharp, and being around Jean's things is making it all worse,
so Sue wants them to throw it all away. Kurt has had moments with Sue
in the past that bore some resemblance to friendship or mentoring, so he
sounds almost hurt and bewildered when he asks Sue why she was willing
to let them help her if she hates them so much. The reason: Sue fears
nobody would come to Jean's funeral if she did not invite the Glee
Club. I can see why she would not want to grieve alone.
the day of the funeral, and we can tell immediately how deeply
important it is to Sue. For the first that I can remember since The
Power of Madonna, she is wearing a woman's tailored suit rather than a
track suit as she sits sullenly in her car. She is looking at a
photograph; we see the pom poms. When she finally musters up the
courage to go inside, Will immediately greets her, and I have a sudden,
really sad revelation.
Now that Jean is gone, Will is Sue's best friend. He's
the first to comfort her, and he's the one to tell her that there's a
full house for Jean's funeral. Apparently, she touched more lives than
Sue realized. They enter Chapel Number One, and find themselves
transported to that bright, lively, colorful Willy Wonka deathtrap that
Jean loved so very much. As Will and Sue approach the coffin, the
Brothers Hummel-Hudson rise to greet her, and Sue sees what they have
done. The coffin is covered in confection: oversized lollipops, huge
candy mushrooms, gigantic gumdrops, even a chocolate fountain. The boys
wanted to catch the joy of her life rather than the sadness of her
death, and Sue is right. It's lovely, and there's not a booby trap in
The instant Sue sits down, the pastor asks her
to stand up and do the eulogy, so she makes her way to the pulpit. Sue
begins by saying "I miss my sister" but does not get much farther than
that before she breaks down uncontrollably as the Glee Club sits in the
pews looking very grim and awkward. Will, who, as I just realized, is
actually Sue's best friend, comes to her rescue and begins
reading the eulogy for her. The heartfelt words that flow from his
mouth after that seem odd to hear from caustic, nasty Sue who has
nothing good to say of anybody, but I will give you this; Sue is
endlessly creative and incisive in her frequent forays into abuse; that
same articulate nature is also evident in her eulogy, filled with words
that are as gentle and loving as her tantrums are insulting.The
important phrase to remember: Sue loved Jean so much that she felt
tethered to her. It will come up as a sledgehammer against another
person a few minutes later.
It's actually a very
nice, effective eulogy, one of the better pieces of writing for Glee
this year, and I'd think it was beautiful if I did not have this
impatient and niggling concern that they just did this because most of
the writing for the incredibly talented Jane Lynch in Season Two was
unbearably terrible. This was their last, best effort to give her an
Emmy reel that would not actually embarrass her, even if it could not
possibly win it for her.
Once Will is done with his
Official Best Friend Duties, the Glee Club gets up to sing. Then,
something absolutely shocking happens. It's so shocking I wonder if
Will had anything to do with the arrangement of this song, "Pure
Kurt gets to sing, and he sounds
absolutely beautiful on this. So does Tina. Yes, Glee had to kill
somebody for this to happen. Then Artie comes in, and finally the
entire group. A home video showing Jean plays on a television monitor.
It's so beautiful and effecting that Sue actually not only accepts
Will's hand, but initiates the gesture. After all, he's her best friend. We see Jean shaking those pom poms, playing croquet, and through it all, smiling, smiling, smiling.
he sings, Kurt keeps his gaze steadily on Sue as she weeps. At the end
of the song, her eyes meet his, and she whispers, "Thank you." Forever
my headcanon will be this: Finn may have led the charge because he has
more authority in the Glee Club, but this funeral was Porcelain's baby -
he planned it, he carried it out, and he did it because he's special to
Sue and he knows it.
Maybe that's why he got to sing.
the funeral is over, Quinn heads to the car. Finn lies in wait for
her, about to launch a bomb that will screw up her head horribly for
over six months. Finn's already weeping at the steering wheel as she
gets in, and she takes his hand to comfort him and praise him for the
fine job he did with the funeral. Why is he crying?
is crying because he's dumping Quinn. Now that the Prom is over and
they are not the Royal Couple, now that he's enticed her away from Sam, a
gentle boy who was good to her and made her behave like a normal
person, he's breaking up with her.
Because of Rachel?
asks Quinn. She knows. And Finn is quite right when he says he should
not have gone out with Quinn. I absolutely do not understand how on
earth he could expect to fix everything from last year by dumping Rachel
for cheating on him with Puck so that he could date a girl who cheated
on him with Puck. However, Finn does not feel tethered to Quinn; he's
tethered to Rachel. Quite thoroughly whipped.
writing this recap from deep in Season Three, when the writing for Finn
has gotten occasionally a little bit better and I do not always see him
in a bad light. This scene reminds me that Finn was an incredibly
destructive ball of selfish obnoxiousness throughout most of Season Two,
and this one had some long-term consequences for Quinn. She went very
close to crazy.
Quinn decides that denial is the best
weapon here. She's going to deal with his feelings for Rachel until he
gets over them. Next year they will try to do the Prom Queen thing
again... actually, this line is horribly tragic when you realize what
actually happened to Quinn at Regionals in Season Three. Finn stops her
angrily. The diatribe that comes next is just horrible and I want to
smack him. He asks if she feels anything. He wants her to understand
that what he's doing to her is real. He's really doing this. ARE YOU HURTING ENOUGH YET, QUINN????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!
begins to cry. "Are you happy, now?" and runs out of the car. Then
Finn sees Rachel come out of the church, and Quinn is forgotten. Rachel
is all he sees.
When I consider Finn's behavior over
the course of the past three years, I am seeing a pattern here. He
really does have a terrible habit of losing his temper and shooting out a
blistering, ego-destroying personal attack that just shreds the
intrinsic self of the person he's attacking to a degree that's
terrifying and really destructive beyond what he ever intended. He's
done it to Kurt, he's done it to Santana, and here he does it to
Quinn. I can accept the idea that he's a flawed teenager, and all
teenagers do selfish things, but I can't really buy into the idea of
Finn being a nice person. Not... really. Sam is a nice person. So are
Mike and Blaine. Finn's got a very consistent ugly streak that takes
no prisoners when he feels threatened. It makes him an interesting
character, but I don't really respect him very much. Even Puck has
Jesse, in his epic quest to become Simon Cowell, has now decided that
his little judging revolution needs to be televised. Therefore, he has
asked Brittany to take a break from her busy schedule with Fondue for
Two to capture every word of his caustic commentary. Jesse lays the
straight dope on the line, but he's changed it a little. In his
original comments, he said that Santana did not delve deeply enough into
the emotion of her song. Now he's saying she's too mean, which is very
much more personal and has nothing to do with her performance. He told
Kurt that he could not measure up to the great Broadway Divas; now he
has simply dismissed him as too controversial.
He's too gay.
Jesse, it's a damned good thing you DIDN'T say that to Kurt to his
face, because Burt would have had his attorney ramming a lawsuit down
your throat before you could pick up your teeth off the floor.
for Mercedes has the commentary been consistent. He still thinks she's
lazy. It's interesting to note that Kurt's girliness and Mercedes'
sloth (seen here for the first time in the history of Glee) would both
end up playing huge roles in the West Side Story auditions the following
year. We had no evidence of Mercedes being lazy before now, but in
season three, it became disturbingly canon.
the clear winner! And when she gets the big solo, she will be so
grateful that she'll forget all about those eggs on her head and beg to
be my girlfriend again! No, I am not pathetic, crushing this hard on a
High School Junior when I just flunked out of UCLA.
is not comfortable with Jesse recording these decisions. Maybe he
fears the lawsuit. He's dealt with Burt before. Jesse is just
practicing to be a reality show judge but Brittney, who has skied
without skis, tries to turn it off. She needs help. Will does not
like the format that Jesse has dreamed up for Nationals because he feels
like he's telling one of them that she's his favorite. Of course,
there's a very nasty, steep pecking order for Will's favor in New
Directions that has precious little to do with actual merit, and he
tells certain kids in the group that they are NOT his favorite on a
regular basis. (Cough Kurt cough.) However, since this pseudo -
parental rejection is usually unofficial and unannounced, Will has
gotten away with pretending that Finn has the best male voice in New
Directions and Kurt has the worst, over and over and over and over and
over.... Jesse calmly points out that his own parents were very
matter-of-fact as they informed his sibling that they loved Jesse
best... if they turned into stressed out head cases because of it, well,
at least it was the truth that drove them to despair. The parents owed
Will is willing to continue down this path
IF having Rachel sing means they will beat Vocal Adrenaline. Note that
ultimately she did, and they didn't.
Becky comes in to
Sue's office to turn in pom poms that look just like Jean's. Given how
Sue has treated Becky this week, it is a tribute to her essentially
sweet nature that Becky does not create a bonfire with them. Sue,
having finally gotten some emotional release as she wept through Jean's
funeral, is able to look Becky in the eye now, and she's reversing her
decision. No, Becky, you will not be banished for reminding her of
Jean. No, you are going to be promoted for reminding her of Jean! Now
you get to be Captain of the Cheerios! You will be working with the
real captain, Santana! It's going to be a great bonding experience!
With any luck, you will get through your senior year without Santana
tearing your eyes out! Becky is so excited! Since she genuinely
lacks the critical thinking skills that some others around her might
have, and that is not snark, Becky does not question this wild shift in
Sue's attitude and merely accepts it. She also gives Sue a hug, and it
becomes very clear to me that Sue is going to start leaning on this
girl, who has her own parents, more heavily than she should.
Becky is not Jean. Sue is not, and can never be, her mother or guardian.
catches up with the Best Friend She Can't Stand in the teacher's
lounge. She's so overcome with gratitude, she's going to wish him luck
at Nationals. After what they did for Jean, she can't hate on them
anymore. In Will, she sees a pure heart, which I guess is true in
contrast to her own. He has been a good friend... (her best friend) and
she has not been that to him. ("No, you really haven't" says Will, and
I can't blame him.) So Sue is giving up her vendetta! She's no
longer going to persecute the Glee Club or declare war on the arts. No,
she's going to run for Congress! She's going to protest the state of
health care in America!
CONTINUITY FAIL!!!!!!! You
know what she ends up doing, right? She declares war on the arts and
runs on a platform designed to destroy ALL the Glee Clubs EVERYWHERE!!!
And if that's a spoiler to you, man, you gotta get caught up here. Go
read some of the other recaps.
Sue voiceover in my
head canon: Oh, and by the way, my very best friend in the world who
saved my soul this week... uh, I have a funny story to tell you... you
will get a kick out of this, really... I swear, it's funny. Remember
your crazy ex-wife? Well, she and I... we kind of rewrote your
itinerary so that the Libyan rebels would kill all those little
songbirds. Oh, look, speak of the devil. There she is. OK, I'm
getting the hell out of here. You all talk, or fight, or have angry
sex, or whatever it is you do. Just don't do it around me; the insanity
might be catching. Yes, it's awkward.
problem is already solved. Terri has pulled some strings. The head of
the airline is a fan of the arts, and he gave New Directions a bunch of
free tickets to New York. Catch? There is no catch. Terri is being
written off the show; Ryan Murphy finally realized he just didn't have
any good stories for her anymore. Sucks for Jessalyn, but it's good for
Terri; she's getting the hell out of Lima. Terri will be a manager at
a store in Florida, and this is her final scene. They say their last
goodbyes with an awkward little hug that Will breaks off when it looks
like it might actually mean something to Terri, and she watches him walk
out of her life as Emma comes down the hall. Terri's very last
on-screen moment is watching Will turn his back on her before she is
ready. She looks visibly upset as she leaves.
then she's gone, and she takes Howard Bamboo with her forever. Emma
comes and joins Will at his side. She is wearing the sweater vest that
he says he wore the first day he met her; a well-informed poster has
told me that this is, indeed, a continuity fail. He tells Emma firmly
that he's not leaving for New York forever, but Emma hopes that he is.
She thinks he deserves success after all he's given. Will will spend
his entire time in New York showing the audience why she is wrong.
Emma tells him not to be a stranger, it strikes me that two women have
just said what they believe to be their final goodbyes to him in under
three minutes. Boy, that's a stressful day. Oh, why, oh why is it so
easy to leave ya, Will????
Jesse has asked Rachel to
come to the auditorium. He's not going to let her hear the news from a
results sheet. Oh, no. In true Casting Couch tradition, he has
decided that he wants the news of Rachel's win to be handed down as a
personal favor from him to her. It's not just a piece of casting. It's
a love gift. His real reason for being in Lima is her. Rachel feels
bad for about three seconds, because everybody else worked so hard, and
now they are going to hate her...
.. "They already do"
offers Jesse soothingly, although this is not entirely true. Kurt most
certainly does not hate her... anymore... and he's the one person in the
entire organization who has been most consistently screwed by the New
Direction audition process. But, says the Star of Vocal Adrenaline,
sometimes hate is the price of fame, and he draws her into an embrace
and a kiss... Finn has entered from the audience, and he sees them.
They do not see him. He can't compete with this. He can't give her the
solo. All he's got is a flower, hanging limply from his fingers.
what I want to know is this. Jesse called Rachel into the auditorium.
How did Finn know to find her there, and why did he expect to speak to
In the hallway, Santana, Mercedes and Kurt
are looking at the official choir announcement in angry disgust.
Either Jesse has jumped the gun, or Will has double-crossed him. The
sign only says that they must attend an urgent meeting in the choir room
at 3:30. Once the kids get to that urgent meeting, Will points out the
bickering and jealousy going on. Will, who is having a fit of
delusion, thinks that this is a brand new problem brought on solely by
Jesse's particular method of distributing songs. Will's never had any
problems with ill feelings, oh, no.
announces that he's going back to what got them here: original (awful)
songs sung by the entire group. Except mostly Rachel. And nothing at
all for Kurt. Not ever.
"You're going to lose" says
Jesse, and he's right, although not for the right reasons. It's about
those original songs, Will, that you want them to have ready by the time the airplane touches down in New York. Good god, Will is a train wreck.
what will go down in Glee history as one of the worst bits of narrative
failure ever, Finn turns to Quinn and congratulates her for not leaving
the Glee Club. Quinn replies, very sweetly, that "If I quit Glee Club,
all my big plans for New York would have been ruined." And having
ended the episode on a very threatening note, Quinn goes off and....
a haircut, or something. Yes, they edited out her entire revenge
storyline from "New York" after clearly establishing that it was going
to be crucial.
There are three main writers of Glee.
Someday, I hope they meet each other and compare notes about where they
want the narrative to go. Some continuity errors, like the sweater
vest, don't matter than much, but this one was so bad they had to spend
the first half of Season Three fixing it.