We then cut to Breadsticks, home of the $12.95 Buy One Take One dinner special, where Fake Quinn’s taking Ryder on a not-date. She’s broken up with Old Puck.
Fake Quinn: “I don’t know why I have such terrible luck with guys, it’s probably because I come on really strong and pretend to be all slutty and then I freeze up right away and get distant and drop weird hints that my vagina has teeth.”
But Fake Quinn’s not here for Little Vadge of Horrors, she’s here to tell Ryder that he’s not alone —
Fake Quinn: “It may have seemed like no one else in that room understood what you went through but I did.”
Fake Quinn says when she was in 6th grade she was molested by her friend Julie’s older brother after a sleepover, and when she told her parents, they called Julie’s parents, and Julie told everybody to stop taking to Fake Quinn and so she switched schools. Stories like this always hit twice as hard when they come from a girl who’s typically so impenetrable and mean, and by that I mean I teared up. It was touching and I hope they follow up on this.
Fake Quinn: “I understand what it feels like to have something like that happen to you and to feel like nobody understands. I guess I just wanted you to know that I do.”
[Ryder takes her hand]
We then cut jarringly to a Stompified rendition of ‘We Will Rock You,” which involves garbage cans and lamps and New Puck tap-dancing on a deflated silver balloon. Is the power still off at this school? What’s going on.
Meanwhile at McKinley’s football stadium, Becky begs Sue to return to McKinley but Sue says she’s totes over it, even though Becky’s got some gnarly Coach Roz stories.
Sue’s over all the “knocked-up sluts” and “lipstick lesbians” of Lima because they’re all little girls, like in the song “Little Girls” that Sue’s about to sing.
At the song’s conclusion, Sue affirms to Becky that she’s got no regrets about leaving McKinley. This leaves Becky patently heartbroken, but Sue doesn’t seem to notice Becky’s little heart breaking into tiny pieces. I don’t buy that. Sue’s always aware of Becky’s emotional state. Sue sacrificed her reputation to save Becky and now she won’t even look her in the eye?
Two episodes ago Becky was so upset about her future that she brought a gun to school, and Sue won’t even give her a hug? What the fuck?
We traverse the endless jacuzzi of mid-America until landing at the New York City Superdanceshow, where celebrity wranglers Kurt, Rachel and Santana are hard at work. SJP asks Santana how she feels about Cherry Jones and Santana’s like, “whatever,” when she should be like “YES PLEASE HOOK ME UP WITH NYC POWER LESBIANS I NEED IN THAT SCENE” because duh.
SJP invites them to watch from the wings with her but Kurt says Santana’s not interested, she’s only there for the gown and the swag bag. SJP “dosen’t buy it.” She says all little girls wanted to be ballerinas one day.
Santana’s face shifts into that look she gets when she’s about to be serious and speak from her true heart, when vulnerability transforms her traditional confidence into something reluctant and real.
Santana: “I actually did take ballet classes. My abuela put me in them when I was little, because I was such a tomboy and it really pissed my Dad off. I only took a few lessons, but it helped me uh, escape a little, you know? It was the first time I danced. I felt safe there and not different. Part of something. Beautiful.”
This bit segues us into a really beautiful and blessedly long performance of “At the Ballet” with Sarah Jessica Parker, The New Rachel, Lady Hummel and Santana Lopez, which is really the only part of this entire fucking episode I really needed to see.
Santana says that she loves dancing but doesn’t know what she wants to do with her life. She should go to college, then she’ll really have no idea what to do with her life.
Back in the dark murky depths of McKinley High School, Roz marches Becky to Figgins’ office to turn her in for making fart noises. When Roz dashes, Becky admits the false flatulence was merely a ploy to get escorted to the office. I guess this means she’s gonna confess about the gun now.
At last, after what must be at least three days without power — which is 1.5 days longer than I went without power during The Great Blackout of 2003, a situation which undoubtedly posed a greater challenge to the power company than the mylar balloon causing McKinley’s blackout but whatever, it’s Glee — the lights are on!
The Glee Clubbers assemble in the auditorium and New Puck’s eager to ditch the unplugs in favor of plugging in some shit and rocking out with the help of electricity, but Mr. Shue wants to drive home “the power of singing a capella” because at the end of the day our voices are the only instruments that truly matter.
Cut to The William McKinley George W Bush Memorial Library, where Ryder’s chatting it up with his main squeeze katie_xoxo, who wants to know why Ryder’s even still talking to her.
Ryder: “This thing we are doing, whatever it is, it’s working for me.”
katie_xoxo: “I get it. It’s working for me too.”
After katie_xoxo promises to “ping” Ryder back in a minute, Fake Quinn strolls by to invite him on a date to Subway for some phallic sandwiches, but he turns her down in favor of…
Fake Quinn disapproves:
Fake Quinn: “She’s a projection. She’s whatever you want her to be. Why do you think you think you get along so well. You have no real intimacy with this person. Stop embarrassing yourself and come have lunch with me.”
Ryder says maybe they can go out after he figures out who katie_xoxo is. Except katie_xoxo is obviously Fake Quinn, so he should just get off his ass and stuff some meatballs and bacon and homogenized avocado product in his facehole.
We then board Daenerys Targaryen’s dragons and fly all the way back to New York, New York, where Santana’s decided to add a little more dancing into her life by enrolling at Fake Julliard Adjacent. She shows up late and sasses off to the teacher, who announces that this class won’t help any of them get into Fake Julliard. The only way to get into Fake Julliard is to ambush Whoopi Goldberg or perform a moving ballad at the Winter Showcase, DUH.
Santana snaps that she doesn’t need a $30k/year education to teach her something she already rocks at so the dance teacher wants to know what she’s doing there at all:
Santana: “I love to dance. I’m an artist, but I sort of lost touch with that part of myself lately and so I’m here to do some reintroducing.”
Then Little Baby Santana shows up and asks Santana never to forget her again and they hug.
This all makes sense, truly it does, because your first year out of high school is that time when you must assemble and analyze all of your interests in hopes of pinpointing the one thing that is truly you, that is absolutely your calling, and so often that means trying to remember what we liked to do as children. Because when you get older, “what we liked to do” is so often shadowed by “what we think other people want us to do” and you’re not sure if you can trust that or not.
We end as we always do these days: in the auditorium for a rousing group number, throughout which Fake Quinn gives Ryder Bieber-Strong some really intense looks of love/longing. I’m into it. What’s the shipper name? I’ll totally board.
The most important part of this scene is that we get almost half a second of lesbian action:
Anyhow, all my complaining aside, I do think this episode gamely executed a broad and emotionally consistent theme and did a surprisingly adept job at making the Ohio and New York stories work together without overlapping. The New York parts were good. There were some touching scenes this week and only a few jarring tonal shifts. So, there’s that. I guess. (But of course it’s all relative.)
Next week on Glee, everybody wears yellow!