Welcome to the 15th episode of the fifth season of Glee, a high-stakes Nickelodeon game show that combines trivia questions with occasionally messy “physical challenges” such as catching 3-4 pies in a pair of oversized clown pants. This week’s episode tentatively indulged itself in terrifying topics including but not limited to really hard crossword puzzles, mango chutney, long walks on the beach, Jessica Rabbit, pot brownies, shoulder implants, VD, scrunchies and scented candles.
This week on Glee, Mercedes got to be a whole entire full character with friends and romance and feelings! Also sad things happened. Also this week has been sort of a shitshow for me w/r/t CEO/CFO/misandry stuff and Santana is still on vacation, so apologies in advance for the brevity!
We open at a candlelight vigil! I LOVE CANDLELIGHT VIGILS. No sorry actually I have no jokes about a candleight vigil? What am I supposed to do with this material.
Here it is on video:
After an inspirational title card, we cut to backstage at Funny Girl, where Sidney’s telling the cast that he really needs a hit — a “real, real hit” — so if they were planning on being really terrible they should reconsider that and instead rest and use lots of bath beads and cucumber eye lotion creams.
Then Rachel begs Sidney to let her out of rehearsal so she won’t miss her Midwinter Critique at Fake Julliard this week and after much hullabaloo, he consents.
Later that same day or perhaps a different day or week or generation or star system entirely, Sam’s watching The Facts of Life and sloppily eating several cereals at once from a giant bowl when Mercedes comes downstairs, undoubtedly unable to sleep thinking about what happened to Malaysian Flight 370.
Mercedes: “What the hell are you watching, anyway?
Sam: “The Facts of Life, it’s amazing, it’s about this old redheaded lady who runs this boarding school for lesbians, but I think the lesbian school burns down and so old redheaded lady opened up this pot dispensary called Edna’s Edibles. They all work there.”
Sam says he’s had trouble sleeping since moving to New York and can only snooze to the soothing sounds of Blaine reading him Star Wars fan fiction and wants to know why Mercedes broke up with him in Season Three. She says she needed to figure out who she was, which he says is a load of crap, which’s true but unsurprising because Glee. Mercedes says she doesn’t have time for the dude who dated all the dudettes, but he’s upset that their relationship was “over before it even began” despite their “obvious chemistry.” “I just wanna watch the lesbian show about weed and go back to bed,” says Mercedes.
Then they have sex.
Cut to the Barbie Bushwick Dreamhouse Loft for The Monday Potluck, where Mercedes is checking out the flier for the vigil from the opening scene. The kiddos explain that their neighbor got “beat up” which Kurt says is “a nice way of saying he was gay-bashed.”
The children gather around the table to discuss.
Artie: “It’s so depressing, hate crimes in America keep decreasing, but in New York, they’re actually increasing.”
Mercedes: “Yeah, why?”
Blaine: “Well, a few ignorant idiots just hate the idea that we’re finally being accepted. They hate the fact that we’re marrying, they hate the fact that we’re moving into neighborhoods that are supposedly ‘straight’ so they lash out by trying to kill us.”
Rachel and Kurt say they hope everybody comes to their Sondheim Challenge Midwinter Final Event Spectacular and Arite wants to know why Mercedes and Sam are playing footsie. Mercedes blames Restless Leg Syndrome.
Cut to The Brooklyn Bridge Park where Sam and Mercedes are having a stroll while Sam lezzes out about their relationship, insisting that they’re PERFECT for each other and now that they’re in New York they can be the people they always wanted to be! The person Sam wants to be is a person who can butter Mercedes’ muffin whenever she consents to it. Mercedes says Sam is out of his “tiny little mind.”
Then Mercedes throws her coat in the river and tells Sam to go home so she can have some alone time. And by “alone time” she means singing “Natural Woman” adjacent to Jane’s Carousel.
My Mom used to play Carole King’s “Tapestry” on Sunday mornings when she made us french toast challah and I would wake up to this song and be like oh hello world, I am a tiny human! Here it is for you to savor and keep close to your heart:
Cut to a cute restaurant on a cute soundstage, where Mercedes and her cute friends/back-up singers Tesla and Shaynice are enjoying a meal and discussing the situation with Sam.
They disapprove ’cause she just got to New York and shouldn’t be dating men from high school in Ohio now that she is a Big Star. Then Sam shows up to be accidentally racist, talk about modeling and stand up for too long when he should be sitting down.
Sam: “I just got a haircut also, if anybody is wondering.”
Mercedes: “Where is that waitress?”
Sam: “Well you guys have beautiful hair. Yeah. What, is this like a, is this a, is that a weave or is that real?”
Mercedes: “Oh god.”
Shaynice: “No actually um, both of us have real hair.”
Testla: “Yeah, Mercedes too. Yeah, she is also not wearing a wig.”
(Mercedes makes a face)
Cut to the Mid-Winter Showcase, starring Rachel Berry and Gay Blaine doing “Broadway Baby” while Whoopi Goldberg sits there in her fabric and her sweater and makes disapproving faces.
Whoopi says it was an excellent performance but she’s flunking them both because the assignment was to perform ALONE but instead they performed TOGETHER and RUINED EVERYTHING. Then she decides to have mercy on their strange little souls and let them perform again but this time ALONE. Rachel panics ’cause she can’t fit another Midwinter Extravaganza into her Funny Girl schedule.
Whoopi refuses to let Rachel reschedule for after opening night AND says that Rachel’s doing shitty in all her classes and that she needs to decide whether she cares about school or just “wants the spotlight.” Furthermore, she insinuates that although Rachel’s chock-full of talent and drive, she lacks foundation, listening skills and taking-direction skills.
Whoopi Goldberg: “That’s why you need NYADA. You’re not ready.”
Rachel’s like okay then, I quit!
Honestly, it’s what she should do. Schools like that help you get on to Broadway or in the movies, but if you’re already there, then you’re already there. It’s not like she needs to get her performing arts degree to have a back-up career. Mostly now I can stop having so much anxiety about her schedule!
Back on a scenic New York neighborhood street Mercedes’ friends say that even though Sam does a damn good impression of Vanessa Huxtable, Mercedes can’t date him because he’s white and “if you date a white dude, you’re gonna alienate all the black women you want to buy your album and you’re gonna piss off black men too and the only people who are gonna buy your record are albinos.”
That’s not true. I’M GOING TO BUY MERCEDES’ ALBUM. Anyhow, so then Mercedes goes home, where Sam has converted to dry cereal, and breaks up with him!
Mercedes: “I mean think about it Sam, how many black female artists do you see dating white dudes? I’ve been thinking about it all day and I can’t think of one.”
Diana Ross? Eve, I think.
Mercedes: “What white folks don’t understand is people pay attention to that kind of stuff. It makes a statement and I’m not sure if that’s the statement I wanna make, not now.”
Sam says when they were in Glee Club they had friends of all different colors, shapes and sizes, which may or may not be relevant. Mercedes says that in the real world she can’t date him and he should probs move out. Leave it to Glee to find a way to make their first storyline about the challenges of interracial relationships one in which a white man is victimized and black women are presented as unfairly judgmental! Nice one, Murph!
Back in midtown, Rachel meets up with Kurt for dinner and he’s upset that she quit Fake Julliard because “an education at NYADA will give you options for the future.” I think he’s confusing Fake Julliard with ITT Tech or Columbia.
Kurt: “Broadway is a fickle business. What if this is the last role you ever get?”
Rachel says she’s not into spending shit-tons of money on a school whose classes she can barely attend and then she launches into a speech delivered very much in the spirit of Girls, I think we can officially confirm at this point that Lea has been watching Girls, this is like when I read too much Lorrie Moore and suddenly everybody I write about is named after plants. JUST KIDDING THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS TOO MUCH LORRIE MOORE.
Rachel: “You know I am so hurt right now that you are standing in the corner with a failure like Carmen Tibideaux and not your best friend.”
Kurt: “I’m not on Carmen’s side! I’m on your side!”
Rachel: “No, you’re afraid, okay? You’re afraid to venture out. You need a place like NYADA where it’s all just one big safe group and nobody takes any risks. That way you guys can just avoid the fact of having to grow up and be an adult.”
Okay that doesn’t even make sense.
Following this unseemly spat, Kurt exits the establishment to lumber home when he spies a gay man getting beat up in a dark alley.
Thus Kurt of Lima dashes into the alley to save the day and he ends up getting beat up in his stead. The gay-bashers ride off in their pick-up truck, leaving Kurt alone and wounded in the dark.
Cut to Blaine’s place, where Sam is feeling sad about Mercedes.
Sam: “It’s really hard to be a straight white man these days.”
Blaine: “We should probably change the subject.”
Blaine’s barely started raving about a new edition of Star Wars fan-fic when he gets the call.
And then Sam calls Mercedes.
And then Mercedes calls Artie.
And then Artie calls Rachel.
And then everybody is in the hospital.
Because so is Kurt.
Cut to the hospital room, where Kurt is stable but has bruises/cuts on his face and has taken shit-tons of oxy. Sam says he wants to kill whoever did this to him, and Rachel feels responsible ’cause everything is about her, and Blaine wishes Kurt could hear him.
Then Blaine starts singing to Kurt and it’s really sweet and thus we transition into his Midwinter Showcase Piece and here that is:
Then they curl up together in the hospital bed:
Starsweep to Mercedes’ Superstar Recording Studio, where she’s taken Sam to show him her cool outfit.
Mercedes says that not dating a man because he’s white is like not being friends with somebody because they’re gay. It’s actually not like that at all? Like not really at all it isn’t. I think not dating a man because he’s white is like not dating a man because he’s white. But um, anyhow! So they’re gonna get back together and now Mercedes is going to sing a song!
The best most important thing about this whole situation is Amber Riley.
Cut to the hospital, where Mr. Kurt Burt Hummel has rolled in to yell at Kurt for going to protect somebody in a dank alley even though he doesn’t know how to play football!
Burt: “You could’ve called the cops, you could’ve gotten help. Now look, I’m proud of what you did but come on man, use your head!”
Kurt: “I’ve been fighting these guys for a really long time.”
Burt: “I’ve been fighting too, okay? I don’t know man I mean, it’s just uh, I can’t believe that this happened here. You know? I mean, this is New York City. I mean come on this isn’t Kansas. Am I an idiot because I thought you would be safe here? Safe-er?”
Then Burt tells Kurt that he is sad that somebody bashed up Kurt’s beautiful face. They are really lovely, these two.
Cut to that charming New York City street where the episode opened, where the vigil has really gotten next-level with floral arrangements and candles. Blaine exposits that Kurt got out of the hospital yesterday and that the guy the vigil is for is going to be okay.
Starsweep to the Barbie Bushwick Dreamhouse Loft, where Kurt is at home with his sad face talking to Rachel about feelings. Rachel apologizes for being bitchy at the restaurant and says Kurt is the most talented human EVER OF ALL TIME and that he’s taken more risks in his life than she ever has. I think she’s talking about this outfit.
Rachel and Kurt decide to be best best friends again and will probably get a Best Friends necklace and I think probs Rachel will get BE FRI and Kurt will get ST ENDS. You know, I feel like we rarely get any info on what Kurt and Rachel’s relationship is like when we’re not around. They talk about being best friends, but they so infrequently reference experiences they shared that we didn’t see on the show — and their relationship certainly isn’t the only relationship in which this happens — which ends up making the characters feel really flimsy and hollow sometimes. Or maybe I’m just not paying attention.
Anyhow, now it’s time for the Monday Potluck! I hope somebody brought vegan macaroni salad.
Sam and Mercedes have an announcement to make:
Mercedes: “Well, Sam and I…”
Sam: “We are officially dating again.”
Blaine: “Wait. Were you guys ever really dating?”
Sam: “Mmm… yeah?”
Mercedes: “Not really.”
Artie: “Your relationship has always been kind of weird.”
Sam: “Okay, that’s racist.”
Then Rachel has an announcement to make! Her announcement is that Kurt’s Midwinter Spectacular Spectacular is tomorrow and she hopes they’ll all be there because otherwise they are terrible friends who will die in a fire. Mercedes said she wouldn’t miss it for the world! Another thing Mercedes won’t miss for the world: Sam’s tonsils.
Then before we can finish our hot dogs, we’re zoomed off to the Midwinter Fairyland Ballscape, where Kurt is performing “I’m Still Here” from the musical Follies, an inspirational Broadway ballad about still being here.
This was an interesting song choice because it’s usually sung by an older human, but I guess it’s like Kurt is an old soul because people have been trying to kick his ass since Season One.
Here’s the whole thing:
And that’s all, folks! What did you think about the handling of the gay-bashing thing? I was happy that they didn’t overdo it, and I thought the “getting the call” montage was well-done, but it also ended up feeling a little half-baked? I can’t decide. It’s really hard to know how to feel about this show these days! Did you hear about Naya and Big Sean? Anyhow.
Next week on Glee, Santana and Brittany will STILL be out of town, and this will happen:
When the boys get tested for STDs, Artie tests positive for a disease and he’s forced to tell his sexual partners. Meanwhile, Kurt and Blaine have relationship issues when Blaine puts on his “freshman fifteen” in the all-new “Tested” episode of GLEE airing Tuesday, April 15 (8:00-9:00 PM ET/PT) on FOX. (GLE-516) (TV-14 D, L)