Glee Episode 517 Recap: Opening Night To Remember Forever-Ever

Welcome to the seventeenth episode of the fifth GLORIOUS season of Glee, a children’s television series featuring costumed performers dressed as animal characters. This week’s episode swallowed and digested a series of crucial topics including seaweed soap, leotards, being punk, missing socks, Cialis, bra-sharing, tap-dancing, synchronized eating and underage driving. Everybody had THE BEST TIME and shared their graham crackers.


We open deep inside the recesses of Rachel’s damaged psyche — she’s having a nightmare. In this nightmare, it’s opening night and Rachel’s naked and Santana’s in her Cheerios outfit with a fabulous blowout and Tina’s stuttering in combat boots and Rachel’s naked and you know how it is. Nightmares. LOL!

It hurts to sit down

This pimple on my ass hurts so bad I can barely even sit down!

Just bend over and stay perfectly still and I will cover up that butt pimple in no time

Have a capful of liquid codeine and then bend over and remain perfectly still. Auntie Santana will cover that shit up for you in no time

And I'll throw in a free rim job!

And I’ll throw in a free rim job!

Then Rachel’s tooth falls out! That happened to me in a nightmare last week, apparently it means I’M A LIAR.

I found this in my vaginal canal, I think it's Quinn's

I found this in my vagina, I think it’s Quinn’s

Everybody’s back for the nightmare: Jacob Ben-Getoutofmyface, Principal Sylvester, Becky, the whole gang! Remember Karofsky? This is what dreams are: guest cameos by characters you’d forgotten about. Just one after the other.

I could you some real good money for that molar on ebay

I could get you some real good money for that molar on ebay

Then, the nightmare becomes a MUSICAL NUMBER! Rachel’s doing “Lovefool,” by The Cardigans, from the epic album First Band on the Moon. (It also appeared on the epic Romeo & Juliet soundtrack.) I loved the FUCK out of this song in the mid-’90s, I even made a music video for it, starring my BFF Kristyna. She wore my winter hat from the army supply store and a flower shirt from Delia*s that cost $36. Seriously, as Rachel launched into this song, I could actually hear my Mom yelling from the other room to shut off that g-dforsaken song.

Rachel wakes up in a sweaty panic!

Cut to the Barbie Bushwick Dreamhouse Loft where Rachel’s spiraled into a deep well of loneliness after reading heaps of unkind internet comments. Oh honey. We’ve all been there.

I mean I did NOT leave Haviland for Dianna, like it wasn't even REMOTELY the same time period

I mean what even is this nonsense about me having a threesome with BOTH of them, it was not even REMOTELY the same time period

Regardless, Rachel feels like a bottomless cup that needs to be filled with love and adoration and instead is filled with critiques about how “Jews control too much media.” Thus Kurt snatches her phone from her sad little paws and puts her on internet probation until opening night.

Little does he know I've got a burner under the bed

Is pretty sure she can get wi-fi on her kindle

We then remove our pants, put on an extra pair of underroos, smash our enormous duck feet into thigh-high Uggs, smear egg yolks in our hair, strap a jet-pack to our backs and zoom on back to sweet sweet Lima, Ohio, home of Pats Donuts & Kreme, where Sir William’s chatting with Sue Sylvester about his upcoming trip to New York — apparently Emma’s unable to accompany him because she’s too damn preggers.

Yes, the Oxys are in my briefcase, just play it cool, Sue, play it cool

Yes, the Oxys are in my briefcase, just play it cool, Sue, play it cool

Sue volunteers to take Emma’s seat because she HAS TO SEE NEW YORK, because she recently described New York on local television as “a loud, overcrowded cesspool of ten million people and 70 million rats, where the best one can expect after a Central Park wilding at one of the city’s hundreds of ethnic day parades is a soggy, pork anus frankfurter that a cockroach walked across,” and the network discovered she didn’t know what she was talking about so now she’s GOTTA check it out for herself. William consents, but only if she accompanies him to the Funny Girl opening.

A new brand of bottled water brought to you straight from Sue Sylvester's unwashed Britta filter

Introducing Global X Warming, a new brand of bottled water brought to you straight from Sue Sylvester’s antique Britta filter

So, thus we put on our snowpants and our sports bras, load up the canoe with lots of granola bars and Gatorade and paddle our way back to New York, New York, as represented by large colored pieces of cardboard:

Cut to The Barbie Bushwick Dreamhouse loft, where Tina’s shown up with a potted plant for Rachel to add to her Botanical Garden!

Pssst I hid your baggie of xanax in the soil

Pssst I hid your baggie of Xanax in the soil

Tina immediately ruins everything by oversharing the following:

  1. She hopes Rachel’s tonsils don’t flare up like they did that one time
  2. Where are Quinn and Puck and Santana? Are they just not being supportive?
  3. She read an amazing review of Funny Girl on about how they think it’s gonna be a HUGE hit and Rachel should totally ignore those awful commenters who called her pitchy.
  4. And also Rachel should ignore the anonymous comment trolls who think she’s too short.

At last, the kiddos succeed in getting Tina to shut her yap, and Rachel feigns zen-like feelings in order to excuse herself into the boudoir for a nap.


wait wait omg though what if they did a live-action version of”The Lion King” starring Ellen Page as Simba though

Obvs by “nap” she means she’s gonna hate-masturbate to Faberry fan-vids and hate-read Talkin’ Broadway. Then Mercedes tells Tina she’s being relocated to Mercedes’ apartment where she won’t ruin everything all the time.

Cut to the middle of the deep blue night, where Kurt’s attempting to sleep but is rudely shaken from his slumber by an anti-Berry YouTube video being enjoyed at full volume on the other side of their thin little walls.


Okay Rachel no matter how many videos you watch of the Real Life Ken Doll, you’ll never really understand why he has made those choices

Rachel’s been up all night watching horrible videos and reading terrible reviews and has worked herself into a STATE.

I just wanted to make tiny newspaper hats!

Don’t take these I’m making newspaper hats for everyone!

The next morning Kurt informs the troops that Rachel’s read ALL THE WORST THINGS and is now burrowed in her bed like a sad burrito. Her friends try to cheer her up with acoustic guitar and forged well-wishes from Barbara Streisand, but TO NO AVAIL.

Who wants 15 boxes of English Breakfast tea and an enormous bow?

Who wants 15 boxes of English Breakfast tea and an enormous bow?



Then, just when things couldn’t get ANY WORSE, Sue Sylvester shows up to announce she’s come to see Rachel Berry choke and will be spending the night.

Hello, I'm here to pick up some gift baskets I believe were recently shoplifted from Harry & Davids?

Hello, I’m here to pick up some gift baskets I believe were recently shoplifted from Edible Arrangements?

Nope. None of that here. Nope absolutely not, no.

What gift baskets

Luckily for everybody here but especially me, Kurt has summoned a lesbian earth goddess to handle the situation-at-hand.

Well I just flew here all the way from the Isle of Lesbos and boy are my arms tired

Well I just flew here all the way from the Isle of Lesbos and boy are my arms tired

SANANANANANTNANTNANANANAAAAAA’S BACKKKK!!!! Where has she been? How was her vacation? Was she with Brittany? Is she still with Dani? What happened to Dani? What happened to the band? Did Brittany go back to MIT? Where is Santana living? All those questions and more will not be answered tonight.

Santana: “I am the closer. And in two minutes you are going to be out of this bed, ready to fist fight the Taliban and offering to buy me a diamond necklace.”

Well, at least now I know what happened to my Lovelife Adventure Vibe

Well, at least now I know what happened to my Lovelife Adventure Vibe

I found it under the bed I swear

I don’t know what you’re talking about

Rachel insists that she’s beyond help and def beyond pep talks, which’s a-ok with Santana ’cause she’s not here to pep, she’s here to read Rachel some negative reviews about Barbara Streisand circa 1964 to remind Rachel that everybody hates everybody!

and hopefully I can re-create that daring sexual move next time Quinn uses her Metro-North pass

and hopefully I can re-create that daring sexual move next time Quinn uses her Metro-North pass

As promised, Santana brings it home. Because a compliment from your best worst frenemy is worth ten thousand boxes of chai.

Santana: “You suck at so many things, but not at this. And the thing is that you don’t even have to believe me or yourself — all you have to do is get on that stage and open your mouth. You can’t do this badly; you don’t actually have it in you. You and I only have two speeds: AWESOME or NOT AT ALL. Who gives a crap what all the other peasants think? I can’t stand you 90% of the time, but even I know that if you drag your flat little ass out on that stage tonight, you’re gonna murder that crowd.”

It works.


Now kiss

Now kiss

Outside the theater, Sue’s trying to scalp her ticket when she spots the Chris Parnell from Saturday Night Live doing the same and they have a magical love connection.


Oh my lord it’s Tom Brokaw



Sue gives up on scalping and heads into the show to follow the new Love of Her Life. Meanwhile, backstage, Sir William surprises Rachel with yet another bouquet and she tells him that she got Finn a seat and I accidentally cry a little.

Here, I've hidden your baggie of xanax between the folds of two petals

Here, I’ve hidden your baggie of xanax between the folds of two petals

Rachel says she’s worried about getting through “Where Are You Now?” without falling into a depressive state, and Sir William reminds her that she can syphon energy from their loins simply by gazing into the area of the auditorium where the Gleeks will be sitting clutching programs in their sweaty palms.

Sir William: “Tonight is the best gift that a student could possibly give her teacher. You’re making my dreams come true too.”

But then William gets a call from Emma that she’s about to birth a tiny human into this wicked world so he’s going back to Ohio. Good talk.



We then follow our young star on her walk from her dressing room through the backstage area past all the cast members warming up and wearing costumes and the orchestra is tuning and everything is suddenly thrillingly real and intense and her heart is beating and her breathing is heavy and then the curtain goes up, and she goes on, and HERE WE GO.


Just a small town girl, livin’ in a lonely world

She kills it:

In the middle of the opening number, Sue Sylvester makes a quick getaway, stepping right over The New York Times reviewer. This is worse than when my best friend opened two granola bars and ate an apple during Streetcar. I LOVE YOU NATALIE. In the lobby Sue runs into Chris Parnell, who is a famous restaurateur named Mario in New York City. He also hated Funny Girl so now they’re gonna go somewhere else and ruin something else for somebody somewhere.

I sneezed on this, do you want it

I sneezed on this, do you want it

Backstage at intermission Kurt and Mercedes are like, omg you did so good, and Rachel was like omg, but Sue and that guy left during the opening number do you think the reviewers noticed and they’re like oh no totes NBD.

Do you think anybody noticed

Do you think anybody noticed when those teenagers wearing Rachel Barbara Berry t-shirts fainted midway through the first act though

Then Sidney shows up and is like, omg you did so good, but also that guy in the tracksuit stepped over the Times critic soooo you better really do SUPER good in the second act because if the Times guy doesn’t like the show then opening night is closing night. THANKS SIDNEY.

Huerrrhmm I can't find my chapstick anybody else use Burt's Bees?

Huerrrhmm I can’t find my chapstick anybody else use Burt’s Bees?

Kurt and Mercedes make the same faces they made while Tina was psyching Rachel out, because that’s what friends do, and everybody is friends now helping each other through adulthood and I kinda love it.

Mario takes Sue to his restaurant so they can eat pasta, bitch about Funny Girl and talk about how happy they are to have found one another in this special city. Sue finding someone who she clicks with is like when Michael Scott found Holly, except that I don’t actually care.

redrum redrum

redrum redrum

We’re then given a little back-and-forth with Sue Sylvester and Rachel Berry doing “Where Are You Now,” which also made my eyes water. Except the Sue/Mario parts which made me snooze..

The show’s over and Rachel did the BEST job ever and everybody loves her and everything is perfect and Sidney says she’s a big star and they’re having a BIG cast party with eggplants!



Sidney invites all her friends to the Big Broadway Cast Party, too, but Rachel doesn’t wanna go the Big Broadway Cast Party, she wants to celebrate with JUST her friends. Blaine suggests this place in the West Village where he promises everybody will LOVE Rachel. It’s probs where he and Kurt pick up their erotic thirds.

He actually got a hand job from Brian Kinney at this place this one time. No joke. Totally happened.

He actually got a hand job from Brian Kinney at this place this one time. No joke. Totally happened.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in California. Her work has appeared in nine books including "The Bigger the Better The Tighter The Sweater: 21 Funny Women on Beauty, Body Image & Other Hazards Of Being Female," magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3075 articles for us.


  1. Yay for the return of Riese’s descriptions of unusual modes of transportation from Lima to New York! This is one of my favorite things about these recaps, besides the perfect, hilarious captions of course. (Btw, I really appreciated the Michelle and Cara ones this week.)

    They spent WAY too much time on Sue’s plotline, which will most likely never be a part of any other episode, and the majority of which I found very boring. Classic Glee Problem.

    I would also like to point out that Quinn sent flowers to Rachel! And Kurt mentioned Quinn’s flowers first to Rachel! And Quinn sent the flowers by herself, not with Puck as a couple!

    I have to end my post with a gif of Santana’s entrance, because it was absolutely perfect, and Naya Rivera is so damn hot and sexy.

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