Smear to the quasi-hallowed hallways of McKinley High, where Rachel's broken her vow of pre-audition silence to confront Kurt regarding his eminent "insanity."
Rachel: "I vowed not to speak with you unless William and Kate got pregnant,Liza passed, or one of us was in grave danger --"
Kurt: "Tell me Liza's okay."
Rachel: "She's fine, but you're not."
Despite eons of practicing the ever-so-blah "Music of the Night," Kurt's determined to scratch that plan and instead prepare a rousing rendition of "Not the Boy Next Door" from The Boy From Oz. Quite naturally, Rachel's concerned about the controversial nature of gold pants and the risk of a last-minute change-up.
But maybe what she's really concerned about is whether or not the Berry Classic "Don't Rain on my Parade" is the right choice for her audition, and needs Kurt's validation that she, too, shouldn't be going for something a little edgier (like, perhaps, "Mama Who Bore Me"). Ultimately she volunteers to be his Christine if he returns to Plan A, and he says "okay," and onward we go.
We re-open in the Auditorium to the sweet sweet sexified opening chords of one of my favorite showtunes, "Cell Block Tango" from Chicago, starring The Troubletones, some very lucky folding chairs, and the backroom lingerie section of Trash & Vaudeville.
So we've got these red lights, these legs and boobs and all that tight black leather and slick aggressive dance moves, and then we've got -- like a bat out of the hellfire of Ryan Murphy's subconscious -- flashbacks to Coach Beiste getting yelled at by Cooter as she cries over an uneaten rotisserie chicken. Again -- this could work. It very well could work. But it doesn't work. The emotional impact of this scene is drained by what came before it and what comes next, and the middle is just a sacrificial lamb.
Eventually, Beiste, clearly as troubled as we are by the memories of her abusive relationship interfering with Brittany's hot pants, skips out on the rest of the number which, at its conclusion, inspires the following --
Sue: "Well, you completely butchered one of my all-time favorite Kander and Ebb tun,es, while completely missing the point of absolutely everything."
Roz: "You girls are cray-cray. You were supposed to pick a song that gave women the self-esteem and courage to get the hell out of an abusive situation. You pick a song about crazy women in their panties killing their men for chewing gum. How is that supposed to help?"
Firstly: props to both ladies for making me laugh. Secondly, UGH!
Maybe The Troubletones were inspired by Sue --
Episode 108: "If it is one minute late, I will go to the animal shelter and get you a kitty cat. I will let you fall in love with that kitty cat. And then on some dark cold night I will steal away into your home and punch you in the face."
Episode 112: "What if I were to innocently murder you, Will? I'd still have to go to trial. I'd still probably get off for justifiable homicide."
Episode 114: "I won't be burying any hatchets, William, unless I get a clear shot to your groin."
So smear to the teacher's lounge, where Sue & Roz bust in to confront Beiste regarding her early exit and Beiste confesses that Cooter hit her.
Beiste: "I can't leave him. Because I don't think anybody else is ever gonna love me."
Cut to The Blue Lagoon of Lad Love, where the Pool-Having MILF's advances are rebuffed by Puck because he's so totally focused on moving to Los Angeles tomorrow, or something.
So, then suddenly Puck's Dad is plopped into the show and wants to borrow money from Puck, which gives Puck this whole emotional catharsis situation 'cause his Dad didn't finish high school and probably has a dead body in that paper bag, or bagels.
Luckily the boys have some plan to save Puck from not earning his diploma, which's so random and weird, and let me just retrieve this to-go cup of I Don't Give a Fuck, enhance it with two French Vanilla creamers, and hop a ride out of this scene.
Puck: "Will you help me? Please?"
Finn: "Never leave a man behind."
Unless it's a chat about domestic violence, then you should def leave men behind!
Cut to The Big Day of the Imaginary Theater School's Idol Tour to Lima, Ohio, where Kurt and Rachel panic in the wings about the judge, played by Whoopi Goldberg, who I'm just gonna call Sister Mary Clarence because that's who she is to me and I can't help it.
Kurt foregoes his Phantom Plan for "The Boy Next Door," which shocks Rachel so thoroughly that her entire hairstyle changes in the thirty seconds between being backstage and being in the audience with her jaw hanging open.
Sister Mary Clarence applauds him for taking a risk, says Peter Allen would've loved it, and generally all-around issues a declarative "yes" to Kurt and his groin-centric gold leggings.
Rachel, however, "chokes," and we're meant to feel remorseful sad feelings about Ms.Berry as she decomposes throughout the episode's remaining minutes, but as I so often feel on this show, I find myself heartbroken not by Rachel but by the writers who forged this mountain of illogical inconsistencies that led us to this unfortunate moment, starting with the moment Rachel decided not to apply to other schools.
Maybe she should just skip college and go straight to Broadway like that Lea Michelle chick, she's doing pretty well.
We then suffer heedlessly through a treacherous study-session with Puck designed to introduce an insufferable rendition of "The Rain in Spain" from My Fair Lady, replete with insipid faux-British accents and aggressive guitar riffs and everything terrible, ever.
Back to Mother May I Sleep With Danger, where Beiste says she's ditched Cooter and is shacking up with Sue and/or her sister, or something, or Sue has a tent or some extra chickens, maybe, but now she's gotta go confess her situation to this arbitrary group of female students with whom she has no particular significant relationship at all whatsoever.
So Beiste heads over to the Glee Club Room, occupied again solely by the Glee Club Ladies --
Beiste: "Girls, I have a confession to make. It's a really hard thing to talk about, but I feel like I owe it to you. I didn't get hit by a punching bag. I got hit by my husband... I'm sorry I lied to you about it."
So, Beiste's troubled by the girls' certainty that their boyfriends wouldn't ever do that to them -- ignoring, again, the two queer girls in the room who are dating each other, or the opportunity to perhaps mention that it's a bad idea to rush into marriage, period --
Beiste: "Cooter always seemed like such a nice guy... he is. Most of the time. But nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors."
She thanks them for "saving her life" by "opening her eyes to this," which I could try to understand but this recap is already declining in quality rapidly as it progresses so let's just move on NEXT!
Cut to the European Geography Final Exam, which Puck is passing or not passing:
Back in the hallway, another bromance moment:
Puck: "It's hard growing up without a Dad because you don't grow up with any dude role models besides video game characters and NFL players, but I lucked out because instead of one dad, I got a whole gang of them. You guys showed me what it means to be a man. Not just last night, but for four years. Even you, Blaine."
Cut to the music room, where the ladies have summoned Beiste to endure an emotional rendition of Florence & The Machine's "Shake It Out," and it's quite moving and well-arranged and quite unfortunately interspliced with more Beiste plot development.
The Beiste plot development scenes seem to be from last night, maybe, when Beiste packed a vintage suitcase and cried and drove somewhere with lots of nice brownstones and then this somewhere turns out to be Cooter's apartment because there he is, looking like a stupid douchebag, thanking Beiste for giving him a second chance.
I know and you know that she shouldn't give him a second chance. You and I are also not surprised that she went back to him -- when she claimed to have left right away, I was honestly shocked because seriously, that never happens, and it's never that easy or swift. (I also could've gone for a bit more Cooter to wrap this shit up -- generally the abuser does not take being left very well, and makes it as hard as possible for the victim to leave.)
But for a show trying so fucking hard to deliver a message about No Tolerance For Violence Against Women in the most simple terms ever to an apparently elementary-aged audience, this complicated "resolution" feels irresponsible because it's not as simple as the rest of the language employed around domestic violence in this episode. It opens up a big can of worms I've got a feeling will spend the rest of the season crawling around silently. Within the context of this episode, and of the Healing Lady-Choir and Beiste testifying that her life has been "saved" and ending with a group hug, her return to Cooter could be seen as a peaceful resolution to anyone who doesn't already 'get it.'
Meanwhile, Rachel's lamenting her tragic fate which I fear will only push her further into Finn's arms:
Rachel: "I had my chance, and I choked. I choked on a song that I'd been signing my entire life. And now it's over and there's nobody to blame but me."
Cue Kelly Clarkson's "Cry," which Rachel nails with elevated emotional honesty, duh, because it's Rachel Berry who would never ever ever choke at an audition, she just wouldn't, it just doesn't fit, seriously, it doesn't. Don't say "anyone could choke at an audition" because it's not true and it usually only happens in TV shows. The thing that separates people like Rachel Berry from people like all the other people is that she's a professional who doesn't get psyched out. You know?
We flash back and forth to other emotional situations, like Finn hugging a weeping Rachel in a way that almost makes me like Finn for a second, and Puck getting an "F" on his test in a way that makes me feel exactly how I've always felt about Puck, which is "who the fuck cares."
So I guess the theme of the episode is failing and second chances -- if we deserve second chances, what we do with them, whether or not anything that failed the first time has any hope the second time around, either. But the chances at stake in each of these three stories are so variant from one another and so different in what they say about the human condition and the world of Glee. Also did anyone do the assignment? Just wondering.
Also I wasn't here last week to recap, but I actually really liked the Whitney Houston episode, is that weird?
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