This filler episode was definitely one I least enjoyed overall this season (which speaks volumes, because there have been more than several episodes this season that I thought were pretty Meh).
“Why do you continue to watch the show?” you ask.
Trust me, I ask myself this question all the time. If it weren’t for Darren Criss and those (usually) damn catchy covers, I would have stopped watching this show.
But, so long as Blaine Devon Anderson is still a character, I will watch. And I will continue to have delusionally high hopes that the next episode will get better and somehow recapture the magic that was The Pilot. I’m still waiting… and while I wait, I watch and take notes as I am underwhelmed by plot lines that the writers think we still care about.
Spoilers/Opinions ahead… ye be warned.
Glee already made us suffer through Gangnam Style earlier this season and then decided to throw in some Harlem Shuffle (Shake? Shuffle? Shake? I so was not hip to this fad earlier this year…) at us to show Finn enjoying his college life at The University of Lima (Which looked an awful lot like California… but production design, schmoduction design, am I right? *sigh*).
The episode started out VO heavy – Finn at college (wow, that application/acceptance process was fast…), Rachel in NYC (yapping on about her dream to be like Barbra and be the next Fanny Brice on Broadway in Funny Girl), and then later Marley talking about how she wants to be a singer-songwriter and perform her songs at Regionals. Blaine might have called himself “Honorary Rachel” later in the episode, but Marley (and her owl sweater) is a prime candidate as well. At least Marley is less annoying than Rachel… so, I can deal with this character shift.
Though there were five songs in the episode, the first half of the show was music-free. The writers used this time to give us plot. I’m one of those people who always begs for more plot but then gets disappointed when it’s Meh plot. (Shame on me, I know).
There was a lot of talk of the “fake school shooting” this episode and that made me a little weary. The person who seemed the most normally shaken up was Coach Beiste while everyone else kinda got weird. Tina started dressing Steampunk, Sam invented an Australian twin brother Evan Evans (Evan wore glasses… that is my biggest weakness.), Unique was taking birth control (I’m with Marley – I don’t think that’s healthy.), etc. Sue was gone (having taken the blame for Becky’s gun) and Roz was back to coach the Cheerios. And Will Schuester was back to being a douchebag.
Ugh. I liked it better when Will was off-screen in Washington DC fighting for the arts. He was doing much more for those glee kids not being on the show. Schue was nasty last night. He told them the theme for Regionals was “Dreams” and then gave them a list of songs with the word “Dream” in the title that they would be singing. Bor-ring. Marley Rose spoke up and said she wants to do original songs and he said NO. Will then restated that the New Directions were only going to Regionals on a technicality he thought that would shut them up.
It didn’t. Not really.
Blaine (“Honorary Rachel”) and the other glee kids held a secret glee club meeting to talk about how Mr. Schue’s songs were going to lose them Regionals. (He also pointed out they already sang “You Make My Dreams Come True” last season in a mash-up… We all remember that awesome moment of Hall & Oates gloriousness…). Marley presses for original songs, but is silenced by her peers.
Back at The U of L, Finn and Puck are running the place like they’ve been there for more than 5 minutes. (Yep – Puck is there. He’s not enrolled, but he’s there… and I’m glad Puck is there because I missed Puck. So, even with the crap plot, it was nice to see my favorite Puckerman again.) Will comes in while Finn is making grilled cheese with an iron and Puck is slip n’ sliding down the hallway. (Finn also acquired the bikini tops from two girls… I won’t even launch into my epic tirade about the objectification of women in a collegiate setting, but just know I have an entire monologue at my beck and call.) Will wants Finn to come back and to stop doing what he’s doing, but Finn says No and tells Mr. Schue that he can’t tell him what to do. Puck, on the other hand, is happier to see Mr. Schue and gives him a few hugs because Puck is precious and I wish he and Blaine had more screen time together last season because I could see Blaine, Sam and Puck (and Mike Chang too) hanging out and being besties – like, playing video games and dancing and stuff.
But I digress.
Back in Glee club, Blaine tells Mr. Schue that they have some alternative songs and Mr. Schue yells at Blainers and says he’s disappointed in him and says what he’s suggesting is unacceptable. (Mr. Schue also demeans Unique and her fake boobs after Unique hands a cutlet to Blaine and tells him he might need lady parts to confront their teacher.) So, after Mr. Schue bitches out all his kids, he tells them they have 5 minutes to get ready to rehearse his songs. After the leadership he showed last week during the shooting incident, this was an unwelcome return of the douchebag side of Will Schuester. No me gusta, Glee.
Then, in NYC, Rachel is practicing for her audition and Shelby (her birth mom, remember?) shows up. Apparently, Shelby lives in NYC now too (with Beth) and runs a Broadway daycare. Um… okay… and Shelby tells Rachel NOT to sing Babs at her audition. (Which, I agree with.) So, the mother/daughter pair sings “Next to Me” and I have never heard this song before ever and I kinda tuned out and wrapped my sister’s bachelorette party gift while they were singing. (#sorrynotsorry). I did take a time out from wrapping and managed to write “MEH” in my notes during this scene.
I wrote another “MEH” while Finn and Puck were singing “(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!).” I like this song, but I just am so over the cliché of partying like an idiot during undergrad. And then when Puck and Finn (who are “apparently gay” since they were in glee club) got asked to be in a frat without having to pledge or anything, I’m like “really?”.
Back at McKinley, Marley asked Unique, Sam and Blaine to sing a song with her that she “wrote” after Mr. Schue yelled at all of them. Though riddled with cheesy lyrics, they sing “You Have More Friends Than You Know” and I couldn’t help but smile because it was nice to see the four of them sing together. The song was about self-acceptance and friendship (lines like “Who you are is okay” and “You’re not alone” [which was sung by Blaine… obviously], and “Those who love you the most may need more time to grow” were scattered throughout the song) and it was very fitting for these kids to be singing.
When they were done flawlessly sight reading Marley’s song, Blaine said that it was incredible and Sam asked if there were more songs. Blaine wants to tell everyone and Mr. Schue about Marley’s songs, but she says No because he already said he wasn’t interested in hearing ideas from them. BUT, Mr. Schue walked in on their performance, so he heard how “good” the song was and then how he was a crappy teacher (my words, not theirs).
Later, while Finn is contemplating hooking up his computer, he gets a call from Rachel. She’s not mad about what he did to Brody’s face, asks him how college is (she’s surprised to hear Puck is there) and then tells him she needs to ask him something. Without provocation, he remembers her Funny Girl audition (which, as much as I dislike Finchel as this point because I don’t care about Rachel in the slightest) and I’ll give that up as a sweet moment for Finchel fans because although Finn is an idiot, he knows what’s important to him in the long run. And apparently it’s Rachel. (Oy.) She asks for a song recommendation and he quickly tells her to sing something personal that defines her that will make the producers fall in love with her.
So, at the open audition/cattle call for Fanny Brice, Rachel sings “Don’t Stop Believing.” Though it’s a Rachel solo, she imagines Finn, Artie, Kurt, Tina and Mercedes are there (in their red outfits from the pilot) to back her up/sing with her. I liked the similar choreography and camera angles that were used in the pilot, but I didn’t really think this was wholly fitting of Rachel’s character. See – after she was done singing, the guy that played Weisel in the Newsies movie (yeah, you know it…) asked her what changed while she was singing. And she said that while she was singing, she thought about her friends believing in her.
Rachel Berry is so self-absorbed sometimes, you know? She always ends up getting whatever she wants (which in this episode, means a callback for Fanny Brice…) and always has her friends to boost her up. But what does she do for others? I mean… wasn’t Kurt supposed to have an audition too? (Remember – HE signed them both up.) But Rachel gets into NYADA with the help of her friends. She got Prom Queen because of her friends. She gets everything. It’s really tiresome watching her fail for two seconds, but then get handed the moon and whatever else she wants mere moments later.
Back in Lima, Puck wakes up Finn and scolds him for not going to class. I love that Puck has had pretty much the most character growth throughout this series. He gives Finn a lecture about how they are worth more than people say they are and that he is going to hang around and make sure Finn goes to class. I missed you, Puck.
At McKinley, Blaine and Becky are called into Coach Roz’s office where she says they are suspicious – especially Blaine (“Fruity Fonzie”). She says he’s never done a Cheerio routine, and somehow he’s a co-captain and that weeks after he gets that position, Sue is fired. Roz tells Blaine he used fruity voodoo and that he best not use that on her. She makes both Blaine and Becky repeat after her and we get one of the funnier moments of the night when both co-captains say “neeeeeeeeeever” just like Roz – with all that sass and attitude. (I’m sure there were great outtakes from this scene. But alas, Glee never gives us a Blooper Reel.)
Blaine notices that Becky gets skittish when the topic of Sue’s firing/the gun comes up and he questions her in the hallway. She tells him, “Mind your own gay business, gay Blaine” and it’s painfully obvious that other Cheerios and their coaches only identify him by his sexual preference. *sigh* For a show about inclusion, they really celebrate those characters who mostly spew negative dialogue.
Finn comes back to McKinley to say that he’ll work with Will again for college credit so long as he’s treated like an equal. And for those of you who cared about the Will/Finn friendship (I didn’t, but I’m sure there are people who do…) – they are back on. Will then walks into the choir room and starts complimenting the kids, giving him a deserved side-eye from Blainers who is still reeling about being yelled at several scenes ago. The glee instructor then prattles on about when he was in glee club and we get an exquisite close up of Jake Puckerman reacting to that scary picture of Mrs. Adler. (I actually laughed out loud. This was the one and only moment of the episode where that happened.)
Will then says he loves the kids and to show his love, he brings Finn back into the room and everyone applauds because having Finn back is basically like winning the lottery. Marley is then asked to share her original songs with everyone else and the room explodes again. (I would love to see those kids on Oprah’s Favorite Things episode.) Sam gets so excited he alternates between giving Blaine and Artie High 5s. On his second High 5 motion toward Blaine, Sam almost hit Blaine in the face. This was actually my #1 favorite moment of the episode. I hope it was an improv moment between the actors because it was such an adorable Blam moment and it was really fitting for their relationship (remember after “Heroes” when they both shoved each other in the head… this reminded me of that).
And then we had the scene where Rachel was bitching about not getting a callback call yet, but then she got the callback call. Kurt was in this scene and he was baking and eating cookies. I think the lack of Kurt in these past few episodes is going to be made up tenfold in the finale couple episodes… just sayin.
The final scene was all the New Directions kids singing some song called “Outcasts” (I think.) It was okay with cheeseball lyrics. (That was verbatim what I wrote in my notes.)
And then the show was over and I was relived. Mark this one down as another episode I’ll never have to watch all the way through ever again.
The promo was actually the highlight of the night. I (as well as the rest of the Internet) was NOT expecting to see Blaine in short green shorts, black leggings and a black tank top jazzercising in Sue’s class. He also interrogates Becky about the gun thing, but I’m pretty sure all that mattered in that 30 second clip (which also featured the NYC gang and a power outage at McKinley) was Blaine in that outfit. Ryan Murphy is apparently a bigger Darren/Blaine Stan than the whole of the fandom. The odds were ever in our favor when that kid was cast…