Welcome to the twelfth episode of the fifth season of Glee, a show about why I can’t spell “twelfth” without spellcheck. No but seriously: Welcome to the twelfth episode of the fifth season of Glee, a wacky family dramedy about a team of students with very clean shoes who progress from high school to college while moonlighting as private investigators under the tutelage of Nietzsche. This show deals with a lot of really important issues for young people, like World Book Encyclopedias, low blood pressure, cream soda, Cheddar Bay Biscuits, aftershave, compost, pocket rockets, scuba divers and cholera.
This week’s episode was pretty great because everybody came back and things happened!
We open in the hallowed halls of Dear McKinley High, where the prodigal sun goddesses have returned to roost: Mercedes Jones and Rachel Berry, immensely successful 19-year-olds who are confused about the lack of fanfare happening upon their return. For example, there is no: red carpet, poster announcing their success, lords-a-leaping.
Rachel and Mercedes monologue their mutual distaste of one another’s accomplishments.
Mercedes: “So what, she got cast in a play as an annoying Jewish girl, what a surprise.”
We then enter the Glee Room which, for the first time in such a long time, is chock-full of people we know and love! Or maybe we didn’t love them before, but now we do because absence/Ryder makes the heart grow fonder.
Safe in the sultry refuge of the Glee Room, both Divas are determined to snag the front-and-center chair, but Rachel snatches it first because she’s a whippersnapper! Mercedes says, “now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just make my way to be back of the bus.”
Sir William declares that it means SO much to him to have all his chickadees back in the pod to celebrate Glee Club before it’s converted into a LEGO/Logo studio. This week, the children will be asked to do a “reinvented” version of a previous Glee musical number. My fingers are crossed for “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer.”
Sir William announces that he’ll kick off the celebration with his own Reinvented Classic and Santana’s like, “so you all cheer now, but just wait until he starts rapping.” Ha! But no worries, Sir William has even brought a guest — April Rhodes/Kristin Chenoweth is here! And she has an alternative lifestyle haircut!
April promptly whips out the (non-alcoholic) champagne and dishes about what she managed to obtain via her most recent breakup: her own private island!
April’s island is called Santa Aprilrodeo. Here, Courtney Love found it for you:
April announces they’ll be doing the best musical number in the history of the New Directions, “Raise Your Glass,” which Blaine points out was actually done by The Warblers, and I point out was actually best done by THE MINI-WARBLER. It’s pretty delightful, honestly.
BTW, my personal Intern, Grace Ellis, is full-time now, which means I can talk to her about Glee constantly while writing the recap.
Me: There’s a part in “Raise Your Glass” where in the background, Heather is joking with Jenna about having something on her nose, I think?
Forever Intern Grace: “Raise Your Glass” was a beautiful mess.
Like I wonder what the concept was for that song
Decide for yourself:
And here’s the best YouTube has to offer w/r/t the original:
Puck saunters through the hallowed hallways, monologuing about how he was The Saw at McKinley because he sliced school like a saw and when he liked a girl, he sawed her. Now he’s in the airbird army and super professional, but, much like many of you, still feels a flutter in his dark cold heart when he casts his gaze upon Quinn Fabray.
Unfortunately for Private Benjamin, Quinn’s dating Nate Archibald from Gossip Girl, aka “Biff MacIntosh.” His family invented apples, which means he is a descendent of Adam and Eve, which means he was created by G-d. Every now and then G-d messes up, you guys, like when he made tornadoes, the douchebag who stole my bike yesterday, men and Love Actually.
Puck can tell right away that Biff is a total douche, because Puck is in the army team now, and they find criminals in dark places like McKinley High. Also because Biff’s never heard of Puck before and knows nothing about Quinn’s life prior to Yale and has tagged along on this journey ’cause he won’t let Quinn meet “mother” until he really gets to know her first. I have a strange feeling he doesn’t know about this:
Meanwhile, Brit-Brit’s slaving over the Theory of the Pythagorean Astrophysics Calculus Hypothesis Mathlete in a classroom when Santana pops in to make every lesbian at home fantasize that a sex scene is about to happen.
Brit-Brit wants to go back to the old days before she found out she was a mathematical genius, back when all she wanted to do was scissor Santana and talk to her cat. Oh honey, don’t we all wanna go back to those days.*
We also get a neat flashback to Brit-Brit getting study buddied by the Great Minds of MIT.
Santana suggests reuniting the Unholy Trinity, a situation I am 100% on board with.
*I’d also be on board with Santana scissoring Dani, but this show seems unwilling to allow them to even tongue kiss, so.
We then zip back to Glee Club for this performance of the Britney Spears classic “Toxic,” for which the ladies alternately wear their famed uniforms and the new Very Sexy Collection from Victoria’s Secret.
Throughout the performance, the Gleeks cast weary glances at Biff, who spends the whole performance texting.
Here’s the performance for you to witness with your own two eyeballs:
And here’s the original:
Afterwards, April’s got only one question for Apple Brown Betty:
April Rhodes: “What did you think, Mr. Preppy McDimplebutt?
Biff: “Oh, I thought it was, um, very energetic.”
Mike: “You were texting the whole time.”
Dude, when Mike Chang calls you out, you are in trouble. Anyhow, obviously Preppy McDimplebutt is gay and was texting his friend kevinxoxo or setting up a Grindr rendezvous at the Cracker Barrel.
Santana tells Brit-Brit that she was AMAZING out there, and Brit-Brit says that she actually sucked. She’s super down on herself ’cause she’s so caught up in mathematics and neglecting hot dance floor moves.
Now it’s time for an episode of Fondue for Two, aka “When Keeping It Real Goes Right,” featuring Mercedes Jones and Rachel Berry!
Brit-Brit launches right in to dishing the dirt with Rachel, doing that thing Glee does now where it responds to fan critiques of the show’s radical disassociation from reality by lampshading instead of by fixing the actual show.
Brittany: You’re currently rehearsing for a lead role in a Broadway musical. You’re also working full time as a singing waitress at a diner and enrolled full time as a student at NYADA.
Rachel: That’s correct.
Brittany: Would you agree that it’s slightly irresponsible for you to leave New York for an entire week for no other reason than the Glee Club’s been canceled?
Rachel: No- I just-
Brittany: When are the lies going to stop? You don’t even live in New York. I’m not even sure you’ve been to New York.
Rachel: Brittany, we went to New York together.
Brittany: Don’t change the subject.
Rachel: Are your cats making out?
Brittany: Yes, they are.
Brittany hops over to Mercedes to wink/nod at her turn on Dancing With The Stars:
Brittany: Mercedes, how would you respond to the rumors that you’re a really good dancer-
Brittany: -but you hid the fact the entire time you were in Glee Club so Mr. Shue would allow you to, quote, “park and bark”?
Mercedes: No comment.
Brit-Brit’s final question: what song will the ladies be bestowing upon us today? They answer at the same time: “Defying Gravity.” Rachel says she and Kurt will be switching parts, but Mercedes says that doesn’t count as “reinventing a song,” but Rachel disagrees and suggests they handle this “the old-fashioned way.”
Mercedes: “A diva-off? Oh HELL TO THE YES.”
Cut to The Olive Garden, where Quinn has taken Biff to enjoy Lima’s number one silent killer: Alfredo-induced cardiac arrest.
Biff is yabbering about how rich people are better-looking than poor ones, because he’s an idiot.
Quinn: It means so much to me that you came back here. You know, it makes us feel so much more real.
Biff: Yeah, well, we are very real. I love you, Quinn. I want to really get to know you.
Quinn: Well, what do you want to know? I can tell you so many things, like that time that I saved this girl from dro-
Before Quinn can continue with her farcical tale, Biff spots her buddies at an adjacent booth and invites them over to enjoy a $9.95 Tour of Italy with the Inventor of Apples.
Santana: Hi. Santana Lopez. Word on the street is that you’re old money. I’m a lesbian but totally into that.
Mike: Mike Chang. Asian dancer.
Artie: And I’m Artie Abrams. I may look like a dweeb in a wheelchair, but my girlfriend’s a cheerleader.
Biff really wants to get the scoop on his Angel Queen, and her friends are eager to explicate.
Biff: So what about Quinn? How would you describe her in one sentence?
Mike: She’s constantly surprising you. Like, one year she showed up to school in the fall and decided she wanted to be a skank.
Santana: She died her hair pink. She got a Ryan Seacrest tattoo and then lit a purple piano on fire.
They haven’t even mentioned that time she had an actual HUMAN BABY and already Biff is bewildered, but Quinn insists that they’re just kidding! With Biff sent to the car to fetch her purse, Quinn tells her friends to STFU because she needs to get in with Biff’s “Philadelphia mainline family” and then she’ll be “set for life.” That would potentially look like this:
Me: grace can you photoshop Quinn into this picture?
Intern Grace: hahaha yes.
[five minutes later]
Intern Grace: How’s this? I’m very mad because there is a picture of quinn wearing chambray but she is pregnant 🙁
so now they look straight out of But I’m A Cheerleader
Snap to Sue’s office, where April Rhodes is explaining how she wants to save the Glee Club with her non-profit LLC. See, April Rhodes funds the existence of the auditorium, an arrangement which remains fuzzy at best in the recesses of my damaged mind. Therefore, she claims, it’s her choice what happens in the auditorium, and she choses GLEE CLUB!
Sue is skeptical.
Slam-bang back to Glee Club, where we launch into “Defying Gravity,” as performed by Rachel Berry, Mercedes Jones and Kristin Chenoweth JUST KIDDING even though K-Chen is right there, they once again involve Kurt Hummel in this number. I mean, he’s great! But KRISTIN CHENOWETH IS RIGHT THERE and he’s not part of the Diva-Off so WHAT GIVES.
Here’s the original:
At the song’s end, April exclaims “That song should be on the Broad-way!” Har.
The Glee Club members are supposed to vote on who’s the BEST but Sir William says they’re all winners and everyone should go home and “sleep on it.” Fake Quinn is like, okay I will sleep on that and also on my new dildo.
This episode reminded me of how much more alive the whole show felt when the original cast was still around. They had a lot of dud episodes, to be sure, and some spectacular failures, but it was rarely boring.
Starsweep to the great outdoors, where Brittany’s gotten the entire Chess Club to enroll in a live-action re-creation of the 1972 chess match between Bobby Fisher and somebody else. Santana interrupts to remind Brit-Brit that her true heart’s desire is not telling adolescents dressed in spandex where to walk and who to check but to dance dance dance!
Santana suggests they do a little dance number together but Brit-Brit refuses because “this is my life now.”
Sweep on back to Glee Club, where Rachel and Mercedes are delivering monologues about why they are the best and should win the Who’s The Best Contest. What about a Who’s The Worst contest? Huh? What about those of us who identify as The Worst?
Before the vote takes place, drunken socialite and overall badass April Rhodes shimmies up to the happy homos to inquire about their impending nuptials. Kurt and Blaine say they’re having a very long engagement and have yet to pick a date for the big day.
April Rhodes: “I’m so happy for you. If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times: The one thing this country needs more of is teen marriage. I got you a wedding present.” [She gives them HOOCH because she is amazing.] It’ll help dull the excruciating pain of your wedding night sodomy and the inevitable divorce that you’re careening towards a couple months later.”
Next up, Private Puckerman wants to perform a hymnal from the open seas, but really who gives a crap, not us, because then PRAISE LESBIAN JESUS Santana pops in to stage a dancervention on Brit-Brit.
Thus Santana seduces us all into a rousing rendition of “Valerie,” which you may recall from some kind of geographically-based singing contest during The Season Lauren Zieses was in. Brit-Brit resists the urge to Shut Up and Dance but is swiftly seduced by the beating of her athletic heart.
It’s full of energy and perfection and offers New Puck and Mike Chang and Brit-Brit a chance to showcase their dancing chops. We don’t really get to see New Puck dance very much ’cause he doesn’t have a girl who can match him.
Plus — despite the fact that the choreography could’ve easily paired of Santana and Brit-Brit with the dancer boys, the sapphic twosome remain front and center! I appreciated that, and you will too:
Here’s the original:
Now Puck wants to do his number in the auditorium so everyone can sit in a circle and he can stare creepily at Quinn for the entire time. Here’s how that goes:
Here’s the original:
Quinn cries afterwards but says it’s not because of Puck, it’s because she had totally forgotten that that song ever existed and pretty soon she’ll forget everything. I think this means that Quinn has been smoking a lot of pot at Yale.
Puck: We all love you for who you are.
Quinn: And I’m in love with Biff.
We waddle back to Glee Club for the continuation of the Who’s The Best contest — but before votes are cast, Santana has some feelings to share:
Santana: Rachel Berry is the most horrible human being on the planet.
Santana: Can it, troll. You have sold half the people in this room down the river so that you can get a solo or a lead in a musical, and I’m pretty sure that you don’t know the name of the other half of the people in this room.
Rachel: That’s not true!
Santana: Okay, what is his name? [Points at Ryder Bieber-Strong]
Santana: Exactly, thank you.
Santana goes on to say that she hates sharing a bathroom with Rachel ’cause somebody leaves stubble in the sink and we all know it isn’t Kurt, and she says that Rachel didn’t really win prom queen, it was just that Quinn and Santana stuffed the ballot box. Rachel says Santana’s being really cruel just ’cause she feels bad that Rachel is SO much better than her. I feel really sad that this fight IS STILL HAPPENING.
Rachel escapes to the bathroom where her and Mercedes have a tender heart-to-heart about being bullied by Santana and feeling small and how they deal with those sad broken feelings of victimization when they are out in the big bad world doin’ it for themselves.
It’s a really tender and honest scene, but the reason the tears that well up in my eyes never fall out of my eyes is that Rachel was the one who chose to start the fight with Santana to begin with! She could’ve just been like, “yay! We’re gonna work together!” But undoubtedly, Santana has since executed an unrivaled series of increasingly low blows.
Back in Sue’s office, President Sylvester reveals that April Rhodes is actually broke as a joke and that the auditorium fund has been depleted because of…
Sue: “…Will Schuester’s profligate spending and his penchant for staging elaborate private bacchanalia replete with extravagant scenery and costumes not seen since the rein of Caligula. I have here a line-item budget of the jungle set you constructed onstage a few weeks back so the Glee Club could perform a Katy Perry song literally for just you.”
The reason this lampshading sucks is because that particular element of Glee Club has always been one of our few willing suspensions of disbelief, because if those productions had actually cost money, nothing about this entire show makes sense anymore! Anyhow, Sir William is furious that April wasn’t upfront about her financial situation and her ties to Bernie Madoff, and April feels bad and also drunk.
Meanwhile, out by the Schoolbus Storage Set, Quinn and Biff are battling about her Ryan Seacrest tattoo and her baby.
Biff: “I mean what happens if we got married and this kid shows up looking for money?”
Biff says where he comes from they carry their pasts with them, and that she walks around like Snow White but she’s really a “dirty little slutbag.” Yup, that’s actually what he said.
It’s finally time to vote in the Whocaresoff. New Puck can’t decide who to vote for because one of them is black and one is Jewish. But then Mercedes and Rachel show up and are like JK you don’t have to vote for us, it’s fine, we don’t want to be narcissistic bitches after all! Then William is like, well good news, the vote came out even anyhow! Yay!
April Rhodes shows up and says she’d like to apologize for giving them hope, like in Shawshank Redemption, and then not breaking them out of jail after all, but the good news is that now Holly Holiday is HERE! April and Holly are besties through facebook.
Holly’s got a new career doing pop-up teaching all over the world about shitty presidents who died and Pol Pot.
She’s so excited to be back in Glee Club but isn’t into Sir William’s lame-ass assignment to reinvent shit. Holly Holiday doesn’t wanna look in the rear-view mirror, she wants to move forward by doing a different song, namely “Happy” by Pharrell!
Me: Did you notice that Marley can dance? Wasn’t there a thing in one of the episodes about how she was a shitty dancer?
Forever Intern Grace: Yep, that was totally a thing
Me: In this episode she was like a profesh dancer. LIARS!
Forever Intern Grace: Actually watching the younger kids in these last few episodes has been hilarious because they are clearly not even being given any direction anymore.
Me: Do they just fuck around in the background now? They haven’t had any lines since Christmas.
Forever Intern Grace: Like when Bieber-Strong picked up a chair that one time. Just picked it right up and put it right down. I think it happened last episode. The best moments are when the whole group is cheering or clapping, that’s when you should watch Bieber-Strong.
Me: OH MY GOD HE JUST TOOK A FLYING LEAP IN THE BACKGROUND.
Cut to the hallowed locker room of McKinley High, where Puck and Quinn are gazing lustfully at Finn’s jersey, thinking about hanging out in the hot tub and the hot showers and all their hot bro and girlf time. Puck asks Quinn if he thinks Finn truly forgave them and Quinn insists that really their lying and cheating only served to save Finn from wasting any more time with Quinn when Rachel was his true soulmate. 🙁
Puck says Quinn is his soulmate, and he was gonna ship off tomorrow to hang out with seamen like Logan Echols but he would TOTALLY stay if Quinn wanted him to, because she’s his soulmate, just saying. Quinn says that she’s bad news ’cause she’s so dishonest, but he insists that she always told HIM the truth, so.
Cut to another classroom, another heartspace, another life, another world. In this world, Santana is telling Brittany that she can’t just be a math monkey forever.
Santana: This is so not cool. Ok, they can’t just chain you to a calculator and keep you as their math monkey.
Brittany: Wait, do those actually exist?
Santana: You need to be having a life. You need to be out in the world, going to restaurants and concerts and dating.
Before we can talk about how Brittany dating anyone besides Santana is a bad idea, Brittany goes in for the kiss — for that familiar feeling, the one that feels like home. But Santana has Dani now, and before that Brittany broke her heart, and so she can’t — and so she pulls away and says “that’s a bad idea.”
But Brittany’s already decided where to put the weight of her whole heart. “It feels really good to be around you,” she says. “You make me feel like a girl again, like my body wakes up.”
“Please don’t do this,” Santana pleads. “Ok, I have worked my ass off to get over you!”
Brittany gets up, makes her case: “I really want to be with you, Santana. I’ve seen the world, and I’m sure now more than ever that I belong with you. And I’m sure your girlfriend’s… great. But you can’t recreate what you and I have. It’s your choice. If you want me, I’m here.”
But maybe the things that have changed about Brittany are the only things that even make this reunion plausible — because surely Santana has been comforted to date someone who knows leprechauns aren’t real, who has been places and seen things Santana hasn’t. But we’ve seen so little of Santana and Dani that it’s hard not to root for this familiar thing ourselves, too, this thing where we all can feel like girls again.
But alas, we then cut to the hallway, which Puck walks down for a little bit until predictably Quinn catches up with him and they make out in the hallway and she asks him to stay. Did they have an actual connection? I thought they just liked having sex with each other.
Cut to the auditorium, where Sir William has hung photographs of Finn Hudson and Lilian Adler and is really sad. “I don’t have any more pep talks,” says Sir William, and then KEEPS TALKING. He says singing together was the best thing ever, he wants to thank them for being so talented, and he thinks that they are all children under one rainbow of the earth family.
Mike says that without Finn or Glee Club it seems like nothing lasts, which is true. For example: white wine, condoms, summer camp best friends, hummus, helium in balloons and novelty Tumblrs.
Up in the rafters, Holly Holiday and April Rhodes are getting drunk together. “Holly Holiday,” says April Rhodes and her pantsuit. “we are gonna save that Glee Club.”
Next week, the old class is gonna be in it AGAIN! Here’s a video about how much you love Glee: