Previously on Glee, Sue Sylvester cracked under the pressure of governing a public school in these trying times of standardized testing hysteria, so she bought a little Adderall off of Spencer Hastings’ drug dealer and popped enough pills to send her careening into fever dream where she became the personification of what your grandma thinks Tumblr is.
Sue Sylvester’s Sensational Show Choir Invitational is still going strong. After Vocal Adrenaline’s performance, she reads off the rules — despite Will’s impotent protests that you can’t make up rules after one team has already performed — which are: 1) The theme is Old School. 2) Every team needs 12 members, which is the only rule of show choirs in this universe and the thing even the Jimmy Fallon mocked when he did that Glee cold open at the Emmys one hundred years ago. 3) The Sensational Invitational is going to go on for three more days. Warblers tomorrow. New New New Directions the day after that.
Kurt says they’re just going to quit because this is ridiculous, even by Sue’s code of ethics, but she tells him he’s not going to even have the chance to quit because she’s going to kidnap him pretty soon. This episode is maybe the dumbest thing Glee has ever done, but there’s some really funny stuff in it. Like the way the music gets creepy and the camera keeps zooming in on Sue’s face like incremental Hitchcock effects when she’s threatening Kurt. It doesn’t make a single lick of sense, but Jane Lynch is in it to win it ’til the bitter, bloody end, and she’s still great at what she does.
Rachel and Kurt frantically whisper about what the heck are they going to do with these new rules. Kurt says they’re going to recruit Kitty, for one thing, and Rachel says she can’t bear to do it because Kitty hates her because she was so awful to the New New Directions when she was a senior. “Cross-dressing Mercedes” is the way Rachel describes Unique, which makes me want to throw my couch through the window, Hulk-style. That’s so offensive and for no reason! There’s no need for that “joke!” And playing the black trans woman’s storyline for laughs while giving all the emotion and sensitivity in the world to Coach Beiste’s storyline makes it even more problematic! GLEE, JUST STOP.
Anyway, so, they’re going after Kitty. Or Rachel is, anyway. Sue is coming after Kurt so he’s not going after anyone.
On a second date with known Lily Kane murderer Aaron Echolls, Kurt blurts out a question about what they’re even doing. I also would like to know that, Kurt, but in a broader context of this whole entire season. Sue wants to know, too, but only inasmuch as it affects her new life’s purpose of shipping Klaine. She’s pretending to be a waiter at Breadstix, wearing a bunch of Klaine swag, and passing out a children’s menu to Kurt and an old-timers early bird special menu to Aaron Echolls. Kurt says he’s sorry. Aaron Echolls says he is not. Of course, Aaron Echolls is a legit sociopath so it’s unlikely that he understands remorse in any capacity.
At Sue’s Klaine lair, Becky tries to convince her how fucking ridiculous this storyline is. She’s even got video footage of even their rooftop “Come What May” dream sequence. (I loved that dream sequence. I cried like a little baby who needs a children’s menu at Breadstix during that sequence.) Sue and Becky take turns talking about Blaine and Kurt like they’re doing a dramatic reenactment of real-life YouTube comments, and Sue reiterates her plan for kidnapping them and stuffing them into an enclosed space so they’re forced to stare into each other’s eyes.
Rachel tries to recruit Kitty into New New New Directions by telling her a lot of facts about herself, including that her favorite color is Jesus, so Kitty will know she’s not that narcissistic. Kitty says if Rachel wants to hook up with a blonde cheerleader for finger-banging shenanigans, the whole world is on the Faberry train. They talk about how Rachel is the worst for being an ambitious teenager but Mr. Schue is the best for being a patronizing grown man whose entire identity is built on the validation of his students. Kitty just doesn’t want to have her heart broken again by glee club. (Join that club, Kitty; we’re ten million members strong!)
Kurt and Blaine bump into each other in the hallway on their way to watch The Warblers perform. Blaine was using the staff bathroom, which was always a secret dream of his, I guess, and so they take the new elevator to the auditorium together. Only, surprise! It is not an elevator! It is a fake elevator that is basically just a really hot box where Kurt and Blaine are going to spend the entire day, trapped and sweating, so they’ll be forced to admit they’re in true love with each other.
But wait, it gets even more bonkers! Sue has created a Saw puppet of herself, riding a tricycle and wearing a tracksuit, and that thing comes riding into the elevator with a gift basket of wine and cheese and tells Kurt and Blaine in a creepy-as-hell robot voice that they’ve got to kiss on the mouth or they’re going to die in here and be forced to eat one another. They pretend to kiss, but that doesn’t cut it. So she pedals away and leaves them in their steamy elevator with their romantic picnic basket.
They lounge around, taking off their clothes a little at a time, affectionally watching each other nap, trying to escape, and finally deciding to play Celebrity. Fun facts: They planned to name their celebrity child Fettuccine Alfredo. Kurt’s ironic rapper name would be MC Hot Chocolate. Blaine thinks Dave eats too much ice cream.
Mentioning Dave’s name is what ruins the moment for Kurt, and also causes him to almost vomit. Sue’s Saw doll comes wheeling back in, talking about how Kurt and Blaine are being selfish for depriving the world of the romance it so desperately needs/deserves, so she’s going to drug them to make out with each other.
Y’all, what the lump is even happening? And why? Why? I don’t just mean these scenes; I mean this whole season. New characters we’ll never get to know replacing longtime fan favorite characters who never got a proper sendoff. Recycling plot lines that were already tiresome the third time we rehashed them back in season one. Nearly everyone acting out of character, even by Glee‘s loosy-goosey standards of what it means to be in-character. Mostly these ham-fisted meta storylines that feel like they’re attacking the fans whose lives were actually changed by these characters.
One of the weirdest things about The L Word is that the fifth season was the best one of the whole run. It was so meta it was basically like swallowing your own head, but it was also weirdly wonderful. Self-referential TV done right is a very fun thing to watch. 30 Rock. Arrested Development. Community. But for it to be enjoyable, the audience has to be able to laugh at themselves while also feeling like they’re in on the joke.
Glee’s final season feels like an alternate universe historical dramedy about how the captain of the Titanic refused to acknowledge that his majestic vessel had smashed into an iceberg until nearly everyone had thrown themselves overboard into the freezing ocean, at which time he strapped dynamite to the parts of his ark that were still afloat and stood on the deck shouting and fuck you everyone who believed this ship was unsinkable, and fuck you to everyone who told me it was filling up with water, too! while the whole giant boat exploded into nautical smithereens and was devoured by a gay leviathan at the bottom of the sea.
(I wouldn’t feel bitter about staying home on a Friday night to watch that show, but it’d have to have real sea monsters.)
Lezbihonest, Glee has never handled criticism well. Most of its meta moments have been about flipping off superfans (Lesbian Blogger Community, anyone?) or have disingenuously assumed that mentioning a legitimate cultural criticism of the show inside the show is the same as fixing the problem. Like the time Will grinded up on all his students while singing Robin Thicke‘s “Blurred Lines” and afterward Artie was all, “You do realize this song is about date rape, right?” So you know it’s a song about date rape but you still paid for the rights to it so you can make a billion dollars selling singles of it on iTunes while also kicking royalties back to the guy who wrote it while also couching it in a storyline where the grown man teacher who dry humped his students while singing it is actually a hero? That’s so Glee!
Somehow, though, this frustrates me even more. It’s basically just Sue Sylvester saying out loud everything people have called Glee out on over the years while having her act like she’s trapped in some kind of dissociative Faustian nightmare. It’s like Glee is mocking shippers and also every person who had enough fortitude and liquor to make it this far. The world did desperately need the romance of these two characters. It changed everything. It needed Santana and it needed Brittany, too. People have been so vocal about these couples because they actually needed them. Why is Glee mocking the people whose whole lives have been made so much better because they finally got to see themselves reflected on TV? I just can’t wrap my head around why you would create a thing people love and then chastise them for loving it.
Anyway, Kurt and Blaine say they’ll make out, just for Sue, just so they can get out of this elevator. They know they’re lying. They’re doing it because they want to do it. But that’s what they tell themselves. When they finally do kiss, all open-mouthed and hungry, the Sue doll throws her hands into the air, and it’s filmed like the fourth wall perspective of a TV viewer. Even my girlfriend, who doesn’t even watch this show but is a film editor, looked up from playing Candy Crush to roll her eyes at this scene. (Not the kiss, the filmed perspective of the Sue puppet as TV viewer/shipper thing.) Luckily, Tumblr will fix this and Photoshop Sue’s arms right out of it.
Once Kurt and Blaine are free, they race to the auditorium to watch the final day of Invitationals.
While they are trapped inside the elevator:
Sue sends a prayer out for Blaine’s safety and the Warblers perform “My Sharona”/”You Spin Me Round,” and it’s fine. The most important part of their performance is Kitty arrives to watch and realizes how much she misses show choir. She decides to join up one more time, and she comes bearing gifts: The password to Sue’s computer (ThunderBolton69, of course) and the password to Sue’s encrypted file of songs that make her feel real feelings. Kitty got the passwords by bribing Becky with Mexican snack cakes.
After the Warblers’ do their song and dance, Sue visits Sam in the football field house to hypnotize him some more and continue her plan of Destroying Rachel Berry. First up, she wants him to convince Rachel to perform “the worst set list in human history.” The songs she has chosen are “Ascension Millenium” (by Cory Feldman; it is a song that paralyzed her when she heard it); “Dear Mr. Jesus” (a song that makes you want to beat up a small child); and “Justified and Ancient” (the worst song ever written). Sam does try to get Rachel to do those songs and also he tries to smooch her, but she snaps her fingers and breaks his trance and tells him to get his shit together and help her recruit some more members for New New New Directions.
Sam hops right on that. He tries to convince Spencer the Postmodern Gay to join up. Despite being a guy who was so confident in his gayness just two episodes ago that he monologued like a supervillain about how television changed his life/the world so much that he can just be who he is now and it’s no big deal, Spencer does not want to join glee club because he doesn’t want to be too gay. He feels like he can’t be a quarterback and also be a show choir guy. Sam says Finn Hudson shattered that stereotype in season one after Troy Bolton shattered it in 2006, and so Spencer says he’ll think about it for a minute. And he does. He thinks about it for a literal minute. And then he joins glee club.
The New New New Directions don’t want to change their setlist the day before Invitationals because they’ve never seen this show and don’t know how things work, but Kitty says Rachel has more talent in her pinky than they do in all their bodies combined, and so shut up and do what she says. They perform “It Must Have Been Love”/”Father Figure”/”All Out of Love” while Sue (really hilariously, actually) flashes back to all these terrible things that happened to her, like all these Republican presidential candidates losing elections and getting passed over for roles in Star Wars and Pretty Woman.
I don’t have any funny captions for these photos because they’re just amazing and insane by themselves.
She has no choice but to award New New New Directions first place because of how they touched her heart. Sam is the only person in the audience when the winners are announced.
After the show, some guy that is older than both Mr. Schue and Puck but somehow still in Vocal Adrenaline says he’s going to get Will fired for not doing his job, which is completely fair since he spent the whole day cheering for Lima’s glee club and bitching to Rachel about how he doesn’t like any of his students because they don’t need him to be anything more than their teacher/coach. It’s like they pity him, and he just can’t have that. He’ll be the one doing the pitying, thank you very much.
Kurt and Blaine confront Sue about her fake elevator torture chamber and gaze lovingly at each other and can’t keep their hands off each other while they tell her they’re totally over each other, and that her plan backfired. She says phase two is to just straight up murder their boyfriends. She takes Becky back to her lair and looks at a calendar and promises at least six more weeks of this … whatever this is.
Next week: Santana and Brittany are back, praise the heavens, and I think Brittany’s dad is Stephen Hawking? Also, Rachel and Sam get closer. And MERCEDES IS HOME. Riese, how did you manage to get all the Old New Directions in your episodes?!
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Klaine were, are and will be always perfect and hot.
Writers are morons, to separate this couple. When they are near each other, the passion and beauty is burning, a live fire
Oh my gosh. What a redonkulous episode. That Sue puppet is more terrifying than Jumanji.
Transphobic writers are disappointing to say the least. You are spot on about Glee making fun of people for identifying or shipping characters.
Thank you for recapping!
This is like the zaniest, most meth-fueled fan fiction I’ve ever read except it’s REAL
This is like the My Immortal of TV shows.
There is an actual My Immortal web series, and I would rather watch it than any late stage Glee: http://vimeo.com/70381882
“WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING YOU MOTHERFUKERS!”
Logged in so I could thumbs up this comment
YES. PERFECT description.
“Why is Glee mocking the people whose whole lives have been made so much better because they finally got to see themselves reflected on TV? I just can’t wrap my head around why you would create a thing people love and then chastise them for loving it.”
I think that the genuine emotional response of fandom really grates Murphy because it’s so open and authentic and vulnerable. Ryan Murphy, on the other hand, is a walking sneer. The man oozes contempt, and this contempt has gotten into every pore of the show. It’s the innocence which the fans so unabashedly embody that irritates him, that literally provokes him. He feels like he has to poke, taunt and bully it. I suspect these things happen when the world beats our own innocence out of us, leaving behind nothing but cynicism. So imagine walking around this empty shell of a human being; wouldn’t you want to ruin the enjoyment of everyone else who still knew how to be good and pure and true? How horrible to be on the outside looking in. So you take a stone and smash the happy picture you yourself have created, in reenactment of your own innocence being taken away from you.
It’s completely messed up. But it does make you feel some pity for the man, no? And besides, there’s the Normal Heart, which gives me hope that his heart hasn’t corroded entirely.
Well, but then there have been so many mawkishly sentimental things on this show, though! Remember Sue and Will singing to sick kids in the hospital? So he clearly wants to get an emotional response from his audience; I just don’t understand why he hates the one he gets from fandom.
(Probably, it’s because he’s the worst.)
This feels likes a staggeringly accurate description of Ryan Murphy’s relationship to glee.
Rachel referring to Unique as cross-dressing Mercedes was meant to further stretch the point that Rachel was so up in her own world and knew so little about the new New Directions that she didn’t even know that Unique was transgendered, rather than a cross-dresser. At least that’s the way I read it.
If nobody is correcting her in the show, that means that it is the show’s intent to misgender Unique with that kind of horrible “joke”.
This episode was ridiculous, but at least there were some genuinely funny moments. I gotta hand it to Chris Colfer and Darren Criss. They always manage to play the stupid plot lines in a way that almost makes them make sense. Plus, their chemistry was absolutely scorching. That kiss? Hot damn!
By the way, they were playing Heads Up, not Cards Against Humanity. It was pretty adorable though.
I have to wonder what it would have been like if Klaine and Brittana had been written by someone who cared more. There’s no denying the impact of the the characters, on a small scale but also on a larger one. I myself am one of those people who desperately needed them, since I was figuring out my sexuality around the same time Santana was questioning hers and Klaine was getting together. The actors are all phenomenal and the foundations were there. I just have to wonder what the hell they are doing with them now.
At least both couples will get happy endings. At least that’s guaranteed now. And I’m glad that Brittana is getting good screen time this season. With Heather and Naya only guest stars because of their own personal lives, Brittana could have just faded into the background. But they’re engaged! We’re going to see them get married! They’re having a storyline next week!
This show will always have me crawling back. I’m just going to enjoy this final season.
I actually think they’ve written Klaine pretty well. there’s like a zillion characters on this show, and I think they’re giving the two of them as much attention as anyone else.
I haven’t seen a single episode of Glee since season four and haven’t been keeping up with the plot except to read about the highly problematic directions the show has taken but the cover picture made me read this recap and I am deeply concerned
Wait we’re only ten million strong? Who did we lose?!?
Hahaha! Fair point!
Ridiculous how the props get more character development than the actual human beings on the show.
I checked Tumblr last night in regards to Kitty mentioning Faberry. Seems to be evenly split between people hyperventilating in excitement and people indignant about Murphy’s giant middle finger to the fandom. I think you did a really good job articulating the frustration surrounding the shit Murphy and the writers are dumping on some of their most dedicated fans.
My brain is split the same way
The Faberry fandom got a shout out, and I didn’t see it as a middle finger. I like Faberry and I read their fics, but there are a lot of Faberry fans that are pissed it never became canon. And that’s ridiculous. Faberry was never ever going to be canon. It’s just a fun thing to ship, and people that were waiting for it were frankly kind of delusional.
I saw it as a fun shoutout. And that’s coming from a shipper.
I didn’t see a point to acknowledging it, because I know it’s never gonna be canon. That’s why it felt like a middle finger. It felt like they were taunting us, which is not outside the realm of possibility for these writers.
I think a lot of us were upset because of the way Rachel reacted to the comment. Rachel dismissing the reference to Faberry was the show’s way of dismissing Faberrians as a whole. It’s a pretty callous way to give us the middle finger by using HALF THE COUPLING to blow it off like it’s nothing.
And next week Glee continues its Ultimate Meta Face Punch Final Season with a Brittana episode titled What The World Needs Now, as if we haven’t been telling the world what it needs for six years.
Nobody does meta filled, wacky episodes like Glee does lbr.
Also: that kiss doe *fans self*. They went at each other like a couple of dogs fighting over a steak.
“Riese, how did you manage to get all the Old New Directions in your episodes?!”
But you got the engagement episode! Although I’m glad you did because you wrote sweet meaningful things about it and I would’ve just been like “oh neat, Santana is marrying an actual idiot but they’re both girls SO I LOVE IT”
One thing I kinda liked in this episode was how Aaron Echols refused to get upset by Sue being Sue, it was really refreshing. I was like, maybe this guy will be good for this show by being the first character since Burt Hummel to refuse to get mixed up in petty bullshit and let Sue get to them.
I could not believe how much of this episode was meta, though! I mean COME ON. Even Becky calling out the dream sequence as they were watching it? Your analysis was perfect, obviously.
Oddly though a lot of this episode was kind of hilarious. But also terrible.
Upvoted before I saw the comment about Brittany…
Oh, I agree there were some genuinely hilarious moments! I actually laughed a lot as I was rewatching it! But also, it still was just roll-you-eyes-out-of-your-head-worthy with all the weird meta moments. I can’t wait to see who Brittany’s dad is! I hope it’s President Obama!
Really and truly thought that you were just making shit up, Heather. Like I genuinely thought you were just re-imagining the entire episode and then realized, no, this shit is real. Oh, glee.
As I was writing this recap, I was like, “People who aren’t caught up on this show aren’t even going to believe what I’m saying.”
I wish I was making it up!
Oh! And the other thing is, it’s kind of inspiring the way Jane Lynch is in it to win it until this show gasps its last, death-rattling breath.
I was a die-hard Glee fan until the Klaine storyline became this whole on-again-off-again let’s toy with the fandom as much as possible clusterfuck. But this recap just takes the cake…
*facepalms into the next century* What the fuck Glee? What the actual fuck?
I actually only watch this show so that I can read these recaps in context.
And this episode was ridiculous. So insane and non sequitur.
They really do hate their viewers. What an odd way to do business.
The only reason I can think of for the entire cast of Glee not collectively walking off the set with a giant middle finger aimed at Murphy at some point in the last three or four years is that he IS Sue Sylvester and has either A) drugged them all with airborn Viagra in order to maintain a raging hard-on for him, B) hypnotized them all to the point that these last few seasons are giant gaps in their memories, C) trapped them all in a fake elevator and replaced them with clones, or D) some amalgamation of the above.
im still deciding if i should restart watching glee again, i dont wanna hate watch it. It was such a special show, and by the end of last season it just made me cringe everytime i watched it. I hate “klaine”, i hate how self righteous kurts goten, and i hate how blaine gets so much attention. i hate that rachels carreer took over the show, and they just didnt know what to do with it. I hate that ryan murphys doucheness has tainted all over the show. And most of all i hate that the emotional reality of the insane glee scenario has been substituted by half ass plots, that never follow through and an incessant incoherence with the plots and characters. All that said, I heard goodd things from this last season, but Im still reticent.