Written by Duana
Oh why Hello. The show opens with some math, so you know about how I’m going to feel. The kids are going to sell Salt Water Taffy to raise money to get to Nationals. Kids are not jazzed about this because people still hate them. Quinn’s disaffected lazy delivery is basically going to be retermed ‘punch her in the face’ delivery.
Mike Chang gets all mad that people complain instead of working hard for something. Welcome to the world, Mike Chang. Apparently, somehow this relates to Artie, Tina, Brittany and Mike being on the Braniac Team. In a nice move, it’s Schue who’s like “Please explain the Brittany part”. Also, assume there are Asian jokes.
Then we get a Braniac flashback, and it looks completely as you think, with a cheap set and a cheesy host. Okay so anyway, they need to get to their finals also, so Schue is upping the amount they need to sell.
But I don’t WANNA write about a show about maaaaaath.
Sue Sylvester (shudder) has assembled three people in a dark classroom. It’s that molest-y teacher Schue took over for, a spy-assassin type I don’t recognize, and Schue’s ex Terri. The Spy Assassin is the coach of Vocal Adrenaline. Sandy Ryerson (the old molesty one) shocks me to my core by explaining that he’s what’s called “predatory gay”. What is with the schizophrenia on this show?? Is it for kids this week? Anyway, I know you’ll be stunned that Sue wants to take Schue down. I saw your look of surprise. She’s targeting their self-esteem. Jessalyn Gilsig, who is talented but just irritating on this show, wishes there were bagels at this meeting. Sue hands out beepers.
Will’s. A date with Gwynnie. Fire, pizza. The meta comes early, as Gwyn tells him she’s very busy – “I am both awesome and unavailable at the same time”. There it is. Then she tells him he thinks small and he needs to hold a benefit to raise money for everyone.
And since the theme for this episode has apparently been decreed to be ‘Neglect’, they’re only doing songs by neglected artists. Kids are skeptical.
School. Sue and Vocal Adrenaline. She wants him to break up Sue and Schue. She wants Sandy Ryerson to sponsor a student club. I mean, sure, fine. He’s sponsoring the Heckling club, containing that guy who wanted Rachel’s panties, Becky, and a football player looking for homework help. Becky says she’s confused.
UGH TEENAGERS BEING AWARE - Tina is doing Lykke Li. Mike is doing Dance Dance Revolution, as though that’s a thing. Mercedes thinks Aretha has been neglected, because stereotype stereotype stereotype. Rachel is singing Celine, because she herself is neglected. Not Celine, Rachel. Finn saves me from getting angry by rushing in to inform us all that Sunshine Corazon is back.
Glee club yells at her in a theatre. No, I don’t know why. She wants to perform with them at their benefit because she wants to raise money for Academic Decathlon too. She is a humblebragger, which gives me temporary seconds of amusement as she says she has six hundred Twitter followers and is ‘so much better singer than all of you’. The ‘no’ in all this is that she sings for Vocal Adrenaline.
OK, now Sunshine sings “All By Myself”. Melissa Manchester? Right? Didn’t she play Blossom’s mom? Okay, actually it’s Eric Carmen and the previous sentence is wrong, but I need to amuse myself because this girl in her matching beret-and-mini are not doing it for me.
Let’s talk about the forgotten band members on this show one of these days, huh?
It’s worth noting that Puck jumps up to applaud Sunshine. Back in the choir room, it’s gang up on Rachel day, so it must be a day that ends in ‘y’. Rachel spits that she’s a spy, Quinn says so was Jonathan Groff. God, remember that? Anyway, Rachel is all “Well, is Mercedes going to suck it up and take the middle spot in the show?” I’m not sure what’s happening here, but there’s a push in and heavy music. When she says yes, everyone cheers.
Library. Lauren tells Mercedes she has no backbone, and that she’s got to demand respect rather than ask for it. That it’s the mark of a true diva. Also, Mercedes says she won’t because she’s “tired of fighting with Rachel all the time”. You guys, Rachel is a bitch, in case you missed that. Then she announces she’s Mercedes’ manager and will take 10 percent of…”whatever we can think of to ask for”. I mean, this is coming out of nowhere but it’s new, so I’ll take it.
Emma. Emma! Man, you know I’m hard up when I’m happy to see her. She’s cleaning a counter obsessively using an electric toothbrush. Will is concerned and she confesses that Uncle Jesse left her, because they never had sex. She regrets her whole life. Will pulls out her lunch, wipes grapes for her, and says he’s not judging her. They eat grapes. Gwyneth watches, with jealousy.
Quinn and Finn snowjob Rachel into being “head of talent relations” because she’s so talented. Cut to Mercedes snarling that she wants a ‘small barrel’ of green M and Ms. There is certainly no stereotyping here, not at all. She also needs lots of humidifiers, and she wants to dry her hands on fresh puppies. Rachel, however, sympathizes. Says stars can’t help it, that they’ve neglected Mercedes’ talent, and should help her.
Gwynnie is dressed up in front of her history class as Wallis Simpson. God help me, I’m enjoying her doing this. What’s wrong with me? She explains that she was large handed, prompting speculation she was a hermaphrodite – and a Nazi sympathizer. Anyway, Chord Overstreet was in that scene, in case you cared.
Gwynnie talks to Vocal Adrenaline coach, who wants her to think about how many years she has left to procreate. Refers to her eggs as “rare exotic pearls”. Gross. I can hear Lainey recoiling. Anyway, he comes on super, super strong. “I’m gorgeous, handsome, and good looking”. She says she’s dating Will, he says Will has baby hands.
Will is bitching that Gwyn didn’t show up for lunch, but she says she did – they both get jealous, and when he tries to defuse the fight by asking to rehearse (you romantic, romantic man, Will) she says she’s not in the mood. Good, he can’t storm in and bitch and then get to sing. Good for you!
You guys, what is this world where I’m defending her?
It’s a world where Rachel is wearing Lainey’s favourite sweater. Honestly, Lainey wears this one all the time. She’s followed Mercedes’ exact specifications, except for a puppy, which is en route. Rachel explains that Mercedes will still be on during mid show, and Lauren explains Mercedes isn’t happy and will need to be carried the entire day of the benefit.
Kurt and Blaine walk through the high school. I kind of wish they were a spinoff. Artie and Brittany pop by. Oh, then it’s that one that beat Kurt to a pulp. He threatens them super-super aggressively. He shoves Blaine a bit, they taunt him all “We all know what’s the truth”, then Santana shows up and Meathead says “It’s none of your business, J Lo”. I’m going to give the writers credit that to a Meathead like this, calling someone vaguely Latina “J-Lo” would seem like an insult, even though he himself knows it isn’t. She threatens to “crack one of his balls” and says she has razor blades in her hair. Then gets a text and runs off.
She runs into the choir room to tell them Sunshine’s tweet says she isn’t’ coming, and nor are her followers. They decide, after Finn can’t speak English for a while, that the show must go on. Tina runs out there. Before we get to the annoying heckling, I will say that this song and this outfit are exactly Tina as she was introduced to us in the pilot. Anyway, the Heckling gets the best of her, and she cries backstage in the choir room. The kids want to cancel, but Will says they must buck up.
Quinn hands out Salt Water Taffy as she trills “Vote Quinn For Prom Queen!” I’m supposed to hate her, right? Mike Chang dances to Jack Johnson’s “Bubbletoes”. I just…don’t’ like dancing in a choir show. But I like his shoes and he always looks like he’s having a good time when he performs.
OK so about there being six people in the audience – we’re just ignoring the fact that these people have parents and family who love them, this week, right?
Backstage. Mike did well, Will needs Mercedes now. But Lauren says she’s left, because she’s mad. Gwyneth is going to ‘go deal with the haters’.
Gwyneth has the three hecklers in the library. She compliments them on their heckling skills, which they say they learned in Television chat rooms. OK, fine…fine. That’s pretty funny. Curly guy says he helped bring down Mubarak, which is also chucklesome. But then it becomes another meta statement, where Gwyn tells us that “We’re constantly surrounded by people who are richer than us and better than us and are having more interesting sex than us” - So there! She and Chris are just freaky, that’s all, and they don’t want you to know! That’s why he runs from cameras! She lectures that ‘we think because it’s done anonymously that it doesn’t have an impact’. Thanks, celebrities. You have taught us yet again!
Then Gwyn says that though “some of those insults were rad”, they should try to do what is good. They bail, instead.
Mercedes mopes in a car. Rachel runs out there to talk to her, and proceeds to tell the parable of how Aretha Franklin became the Queen of Soul because some guy gave her a tiara one day. Not because she made demands.
Then we get to the meat of it, where Mercedes asks plaintively why Rachel is a bigger star than her. Why does she get the bigger solos, the credit – why is it never her? And Rachel has that pained look on her face where, when you’re the one who’s on top, you don’t know why, and you can’t help it, and you know it’s hurting the other people who don’t get what you both want, but how can you do anything about it?
I’ve been both these girls. And it’s worth mentioning that I think the actresses are being authentic about this. As much as this show frustrates me, this is a real situation. It would have real impact if other people, instead of Rachel, were saying Rachel had to close out the show, etc.
Anyway, then Rachel says that the only difference between them is that Rachel wants to be onstage and in the spotlight more than she wants to be liked. And Mercedes doesn’t. That if she wants that ending slot, she needs to go ahead and take it from Rachel. This is what this show should be about. How do you deal with the fact that sometimes people are more talented than you are? Or more beloved and celebrated? What do you do when you know you’re not being treated the same way but there’s ephemera that ‘explains’ it?
Sandy Ryerson heckles; Sue pulls him out of the aud., which is what we called the auditorium at my school. Will sort of casually acknowledges that she’s behind it, and then settles to watch Gwyn sing Adele in a long black one shoulder gown. You know what? I love Adele. This song, “Turning Tables” isn’t done badly at all, and there are lots of strings behind it.
Gwyneth’s not doing a bad job, but it’s like if I were singing it at karaoke (and I’m good.) It’s a good song, it’s just not got that haunting quality, that rich Adele timbre that gets in under your skin and makes you shiver with every sustained note. This is why songs aren’t given to artists other than who they were written for – because some just can’t make an impact, no matter how good the artist.
The lyrics are “I won’t let you close enough to hurt me” which makes Will close his eyes in pain. In case you were worried.
Men’s room? Sue quietly berates Sandy Ryerson for having lost his hecklers. Sue wants him to continue to ruin things, but isn’t it that they’ve already made no money?
Choir room, and as Quinn needles Lauren, Mercedes is back, after some false jeopardy. She demands they all go out and hear her sing. In the audience, Sandy Ryerson gets excited because he loves this song. She sings “Ain’t No Way For Me To Love You”. She has a full gospel choir full of adults behind her. Also, she’s wearing a fascinator.
In the wings, Rachel is proud of her – particularly at the lyric “Stop trying to be someone you’re not”. Everyone gives her a standing ovation, and Amber Riley is just beautiful as she beams. Mercedes runs backstage, tells Rachel to go ‘bring the house down’, but Rachel says that was the closing number.
Gwyneth was just on the phone, and then comes out and tells Will the kids were ‘amazeballs’. I better stop saying that. She got offered a job in Cleveland, teaching French for four months. He wishes she had mixed feelings about leaving, but she doesn’t, she’s a rolling stone. He wants her to settle down, but she declares not with him, he’s in love with someone else. “And thanks to my counseling, she’s available now.” EW. I don’t like Will or want him to succeed romantically, but this character was the closest thing to an adult woman he’s ever had on this show. Then, to wrap the meta around to a close, Will asks if she’ll ‘come back and visit’ and says she thought he’d never ask.
Choir room – Sandy Ryerson is going to pay for the academic kids’ trip. They’re happy, Will holds his head. Sue is furious. She gets her three henchmen in front of her, and barks at them. The only one who hasn’t let her down is Terry.
Suddenly we’re at the academic decathlon final. It’s the finale. The category is “Hermaphrodite Nazi Sympathizers”. Artie and Brittany beam.
(Lainey: so Madonna makes a movie about Wallis Simpson, presumably idolising her, and then Gwyneth and her bff Ryan Murphy rag on Wallis Simpson on their popular little show? Oh this means war.)
Attached – Matthew Morrison shopping in LA on Monday.
Photos from Bauergriffonline.com