Will someone please tell me why this past week’s Glee dose was a double episode? I imagined, like any sane person, that this was the season finale. But no, apparently there’s one more pile of Glee for us next week. Regardless, because no one should have to recap two hours of Glee in one week, I’m stepping in for the recap of “Props” and Riese will hold your hand, as usual, through “Nationals.”
We open on the “That’s What You Missed On Glee” Guy reminding us all that Tina exists and, because Glee is at times painfully self-aware about how no one gives her any attention. I imagine the way the conception for this episode went down was someone in the writers room was like, “Shit. If we don’t do an episode about Tina Cohen-Chang soon, Jenna Ushkowitz might quit leaving us without any female characters who aren’t graduating.” Then, I assume, everyone realized that they forgot to give Tina any backstory whatsoever beyond a fake stutter and rounding the bases with Mike Chang. Then Ryan Murphy stood on top of a chair and announced his spectacular idea to do an episode that seems like it’s going to be about Tina but is actually about Rachel. I’m getting ahead of myself. We’ll get there. Let’s do this.
Sue, who the show would like to remind you is helping the Glee Club in order to keep her position as coach of Cheerios or something, is furious about Unique’s success as a high school show choir sensation. Unique, keeps being referred to as a he/she — which makes me want to curl up and die — because clearly Ryan Murphy never thought to pin down whether Unique was a drag queen or a transwoman and take the time to Google the vast difference between the two.
So that’s going on. Sue has decided that Unique is basically a great “prop,” which is a strange mix of erasure and objectifiction (OMG IT’S THE TITLE), and therefore Kurt has to wear a dress a perform as “Porcelina.”
Even though Kurt has repeatedly expressed interest in drag/high fashion/breaking gender norms/wearing a kilt, this is just too much. Show choir drag? Nuh uh. Cue cute flashback to Kurt & Blaine as Snookie & that other guy for Halloween
Back on Rachel Berry 2.0 (the Rachel who wouldn’t come up with six back up plans and also is getting married to some dweeb) sings Jason Mraz’s “I Won’t Give Up” about losing out on NYAYAYAYDADA. I’ve never actually heard the original but I dig this song and Lea kills it. Unfortunately I spent most of the song thinking about how similar her hair is to mine in college. Maybe I should grow it out again. Or cut it. I’m tired of being in this middle place with my hair, you know?
Oh and Rachel called Whoopi Goldberg for the millionth time to invite her to Nationals in Chicago instead of just asking her to, I don’t know — look, I don’t actually know how performing arts colleges work, but I’m confident that this isn’t it.
Right so, in the magical land of the Choir Room, Mr. Schue writes NATIONALS on the whiteboard (which is a total waste of school resources) and everyone cheers. Instead of letting Brittany and Santana sing “Somebody to Love,” the New Directions are going to (duh) do a whole new set-up of songs. “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” will kick the team off, followed by Rachel singing “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” and (thank god) a Troubletones song. Don’t worry, this is just a teaser, none of these songs get sung in this episode.
Sue suggests Kurt sing in drag for a Troubletones rendition of “What a Feeling” complete with welding face shields and leg warmers. ‘Cause you gotta get a gimmick. Right girls?
Sue’s idea to get some props is not only awful and terrible but also totally original. No one at McKinley High has ever dared used props.
Mr. Schue wants to make sure everyone is putting in their damned hardest work to win at Nationals because, well if there are 98,817 high schools in American and let’s say one-tenth of them have show choirs, then that’s 9,882 show choirs around the country. If Sectionals are a competition between three schools then 3,294 sectional winning schools go to Regionals. Thus, since Regionals is also a competition between three schools, 1,098 schools must be competing at Nationals. Holy shit! Everyone better have their team work game face on.
Womp womp. Tina does not have her game face on.
She’s pissed because she never gets solos (which is true), not even in the bullshit “weekly assignments” that the kids waste their valuable sec/reg/nationals prepping time on. Rachel always gets the solos! Unfair! “I’m just a human prop.” Oh my God there’s the title again!
Mike Chang is like WTF TINA SHUT UP because Rachel is a senior and seniors get the solos. Hm. That didn’t seem to matter a lick when Rachel was a sophomore.
Real talk, Jenna Ushkowitz has an excellent voice. She really should be getting more solos. Unfortunately when Lea Michele sings even the birds stop to listen. You know who should actually be having this freak out? Blaine or Kurt or Puck! Because Finn, who we know will be given the male solo, really actually, technically, can’t really sing. And I hate his face. Honestly though, it’s high school, and if I learned anything from Pep Band, Jazz Band and Wind Ensemble, it’s that teachers play favorites and seniors get solos. Duh-done.
Rachel storms out after Tina (because nobody storms out like Rachel storms out) and drops some old school Rachel Version 1.0 by offering Tina $50 to sit down and shut up. Also Rachel’s like wah wah wah you have no idea how hard it is it run a million clubs we’ve never seen, sing every day and keep her boyfriend happy and stuff.
She also has to blow dry and flat iron those bangs every day. Every single day. But Tina’s all, “Nah, I just want to be you for a moment” which at least explains her transition from punk/goth to sort of retro.
Now let’s go to the mall! Kurt and Blaine are enjoying chair massages and reiterating once again that being gay doesn’t mean you also want to do drag/are transgender (because Glee continues to conflate these identities or something, I mean, whatever they’re doing, they’re doing it wrong). Also they’re going to enjoy a hot pretzel which just really makes me want a hot pretzel. Funny how pretzels work like that.
Meanwhile Tina is texting while walking (DANGER DANGER) and falls in to a fountain and bumps her head which looks like the most painful shit ever and I had to look away every time I watched it. The bump triggers a Glee Freaky Friday switcheroo.
So now Tina is Rachel and also wet.
Same dealio for Santana and Artie, Blaine and Puck, Kurt and Finn, Mercedes and Brittany, Mike and Teen Jesus, Quinn and Sugar, Trouty Mouth and the Glee Project Irish Kid and, of course, Will and Sue.
Most importantly/revoltingly the Santana/Artie switch results in Artie sporting a ponytail that reminded me of when you see a dead squirrel on a back road in Western Mass that was just maybe killed with a BB Gun. Also it meant that Santana had like a weirdly sexy/cut menswear getup on. Santana can do no wrong. Also she totally looks like Rashida Jones in Our Idiot Brother which I didn’t see but Grace assured me had lesbians in it.
Also I feel like Puck/Finn’s interpretation of Blaine/Kurt’s relationship reminded me that I love Darren Criss now and forever.
Now that she’s the star of the Glee Club, Tina-as-Rachel sings “Because You Loved Me” by Celine Dion which I totally loved because, guys, I’m a secret Celine Dion fan. Totally and completely. Technically though, the real Tina still hasn’t had a substantial singing moment since “ABC” in Hold on to Sixteen.
Quinn’s version of Sugar is totes adorbs and slightly gay.
Also Tina’s wig totally has me thinking about my own hair again. But that’s neither here nor there. So cue the crowd loving it and a standing ovation.
Post-standing-ovation, Tina-as-Rachel goes up to Rachel-as-Tina and tells her all about what a wonderful back-up singer she really is and how much she means to the group. Rachel-as-Tina tells Tina-as-Rachel to follow her NYAYAYAYDAADADA dreams and stalk that music professor some more. Lea makes a weirdly hot goth beteedubs and her imitation of Tina is very subtle and also perfect.
With that, the dream sequence ends. I thought it might go all episode. So yeah, Tina didn’t actually need a genuine apology from anyone to make her feel better, just like a weird self apology from herself to herself sort of. I think this is sort of like how sometimes when you’re really mad at someone and want them to apologize, sometimes if you apologize to them it makes you feel better anyways.
I think it’s time for me to switch from green tea to lemon zinger and for a page break.