So Quinn’s pregnant, Jesse (thankfully) dumped Rachel and got back with his group Vocal Adrenaline, which is poised to win regionals. If they do, then Glee Club’s over (have they used the looming cancellation of Glee Club a bit too much this season?). To make things worse, Sue’s one of the judges, due to her recent celebrity status. Will protests, but Principal Figgins (How long before they do a “Ha, ha, ha, Mr. ‘iggins” number?) won’t budge.
Will organizes a group meeting at his home, where the students weep over the inevitable demise of the club and whine about how their social lives will suffer a similar fate. He also tries to patch things up/seek help from on/off flame Emma, who in turn lets slip that she’s been dating her dentist Carl Howell “He’s impressed with my oral hygiene”(and doesn’t that name sound like it belongs on Arrested Development?).
Finn confronts Rachel in the hall and presses her to lead the group to regionals—and in a surprising character turn, and even though she looks on the verge of tears, Rachel doesn’t cry! Instead, she kisses him. Way to go!
On the drive home, Will’s radio starts playing…wait for it…wait for it…
“Don’t Stop Believin’,” which inspires him to devise an all-Journey venue for regionals. After an impassioned pep talk about how far the Glee students have come, he…uh…proposes the plan, which, oddly, the students didn’t see coming.
At regionals, the judges are introduced: Josh Groban, Olivia Newton John, local news guy Rod Remington, and, of course, Sue. The first group, Oral Intensity (How did that name sneak by the high school censors?), does a mash-up of Groban and Newton John, apparently having insider information as to the judges. Despite it, Rachel and Will try to keep the spirits high as Glee takes the stage with their first song, a duet between Finn and Rachel of “Faithfully” that brings in the rest of the club when the curtain rises.…oh yeah, and Finn tells Rachel he loves her.
Next up is a rendention of “Anyway You Want It” (Pretty good, but my heart belongs to The Simpsons’ use of it in the “Baby Burns” episode). Another curtain rises to further reveal a piecemeal orchestra as they go into the long-awaited cover of “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
Spirits high, Quinn’s mom shows up to hear her daughter and explains that she kicked Quinn’s father out of the house for having an affair with a tattooed harlot (Anyone else half-expecting a rendition of “Lydia the Tattooed lady”?), and invites Quinn to come back home. And the timing could not have been more serendipitous, as Quinn’s water just then breaks.
Back at regionals, Vocal Adrenaline gives a rousing performance of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” intercut with Quinn being wheeled to the delivery room—quite a nice touch. The only qualm I have is that Jesse has a bit too nasally/whiney voice, which, while appropriate given the song, is just grating…maybe that’s what attracted Rachel to him in the first place. The intercut goes on as Quinn begins to crown…matching the song’s lyrics all the while. I liked how the scene began, but after a few cringe-inducing “Let me go”s and “No, no, no, no, no“s, it gets embarrassing. Okay, we get it.
Meanwhile, Rachel tries to poach Vocal Adrenaline’s coach (and her own biological mother) Shelby with an offer to team-teach Glee with Will, maintaining that there are some things that she can learn only from Shelby (Way to go, Rachel! Kudos to you for using your own career advancement as a pretext for bringing you and your mom closer…or is it the other way around?). But Shelby declines, explaining that what she truly wants is a family life, not a teaching job. Rachel gets on the verge of tears and leaves with a casual mention of Quinn’s successful delivery of “a beautiful baby girl”—turning it into sort-of “Eff you” to her mother (Is it any wonder why Shelby gave this kid up?).
In the judges’ room, Sue gets down to brass tacks, stating that she doesn’t care who wins, so long as Glee (by the way, their official name is “New Directions”) doesn’t. Olivia’s sullen that only one club chose to honor her while Rod opts for Vocal Adrenaline…due to his fond/awkward memories of the ‘70s. The only one pushing for New Directions is Josh Groban, whom he says has heart. Olivia shows some true and truly despicable colors by commenting on the “blatant tokenism” of ND, mocking the club for trying to pass themselves off as a ragtag bunch of whiney “we-can-overcome-ers” (Well, we all were thinking it), and earns special rancor from Sue for stating that they, like she, have no talent. They just try hard.
Olivia’s snide remarks turn the other judges against Sue, whose hatred at being scorned, it appears, will trump her desire to see Glee disbanded. In the end, Vocal Adrenaline takes the gold with New Directions coming in last. Rachel looks like she’s about to cry, but the episode’s not over.
Back at the school, Will witnesses a vicious argument between Emma and Figgins, catching her in the hall, where she passionately defends the club, the kids, and anything worth fighting for—spurring Will to profess his love. The two kiss but are interrupted by Rachel, who drags him to the auditorium where the Glee kids take turns pouring their hearts out as to how Glee Club’s made them better people, which leads into a tearful rendition of “To Sir, with Love.” Sue overhears it and, under the pretense of gloating, goes to see Will packing up the Glee room. A flashback shot reveals what we kinda already knew (that she voted for New Directions back at regionals) and suggests what we certainly already did (that there’s a heart underneath that tracksuit)—and she explains that Glee has another year (thanks to her sexual blackmail of Figgins), hinting that the reason being is that she just wanted to keep Will around so she could have someone to continually show up. Kudos to Glee’s writers for maintaining Sue’s acerbic façade and not having her tear up and get mushy—time and again, she’s easily the best character on the show, and it looks like they know it.
The episode ends with a Will-and-Puck duet of “Over the Rainbow”; Shelby adopts Quinn’s baby; and Rachel looks like she’s about to cry.
Anyway, good season ender. From the outset, I don’t think anyone, whether hardcore fan, first-time viewer, or that bum at the corner of Clark and Broadway screaming about syndicalism while he paws through Einstein Bros.’ dumpster, didn’t know what was going to happen—yes, Glee Club will give the best performance; yes, they’ll end with a rendition of “Don’t Stop Believin'”; no, they won’t win; yes, the club will be renewed for another season year—but things are kept interesting by very healthy doses of Jane Lynch’s Sue, sprinkled with some very funny bits from Bill Jones’ Rod Remington—let’s please see some more of him.
I understand that the show’s trying to appeal to every possible demographic (and appreciated the stab it took at itself with Olivia Newton John’s snarky description of New Directions), but Glee‘s complete lack of subtlety, even though intentional, keeps it from being a first-rate show. They have all the glitz and glamor, but why not cover some songs that haven’t been done to death, resurrected, done to death again, and now walk the earth as soulless zombies (“Don’t Stop Believin’,” I’m looking in your direction)? The characters suffer from something similar. My dislike of Rachel is pretty obvious, and for all the screentime she gets, it’d be nice if they gave her more to do than pout, gold-dig, and, yeah, always look for an opportunity to turn on the waterworks. I’m not a fan of Kurt either, who just comes off as a snot-nosed prick. They’re so superficial, you don’t care about them, which makes their centric-episodes fall flat. Mercedes and Puck—even Artie—have a lot more to offer. Let’s hope the show’s second (and third) runs drop its hollow, plastic prostheses and finally find some real legs.
“Your hair looks like a briar patch. I keep expecting racist Disney characters to pop up and start singing about livin’ on the Bayou.”
I’m a Winner and You’re Fat—Sue’s soon-to-be-published book.
“I partied with Freddie Mercur back in the ‘70s…and I partied hard.” Rod’s unsettling declaration.
“The runners-up are the not-at-all-stupidly named ‘Oral Intensity’.”
“It’s as barren as me in here, Will.”
“I’ve seen that car you drive, I don’t want to catch ‘poor’.”