Glee Episode 607 Recap: I Know Where I’ve Been

Back downstairs, Kurt and Blaine duet on Betty Who‘s “Somebody Loves You” and the props come out and it’s all feather boas and pink cowboy hats and astronaut helmets and angel wings and scepters and lightsabers and True Love. Blaine leaves right after the duet because he and Dave have to get up early to go to a football game the next morning, but Kurt walks him out so they can talk about the history of their duets/relationship. They chat easily about how they got together despite Blaine’s crush on some guy whose name neither of them can remember. Kurt starts to say something about the fleeting, ephemeral nature of affection, but Blaine shushes him right the heck up by grabbing his hips and leaning into him and smooching him right on his mouth. He runs off without saying anything and Kurt woozily weaves his way to the sidewalk to watch Blaine flee.

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Omelette you finish but first I’m gonna scramble your brains.

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Oh. Eggcellent.

MY GOODNESS.

Rachel and Sam duet on “Time After Time” in a montage that includes everybody packing up Rachel’s childhood bedroom and putting her wall photos into a leather-bound album where they become GIFs of the show’s earlier seasons. It’s a cheesy, sweet trick that made me a little bit teary, I’ll tell you the truth.

In the McKinley High locker room, Unique appears from the shadows like an angel to talk to Coach Bieste about coming out as trans. Unique has a grace I cannot even fathom. If I were her, and this school treated me the way it treated her, with that fucking Riddler bathroom and all the transphobic jokes and goddamn Will Schuester, I wouldn’t come back here unless it was to rain down brimstone from the back of a flying shade wolf. But not Unique! She wields only aplomb, not only pep-talking Bieste about how his differences make him special, but also assuring him he’s not alone, a thing she will prove to him if he’ll just come to the auditorium with her.

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Clear eyes, full hearts …

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… can’t lose.

Meanwhile, two completely not-believable things: 1) Will tells Vocal Adrenaline he’s going to help them hecka prank New Directions tonight, so dress like A and come with him to McKinley. 2) The apartment Blaine and Karofsky share.

I mean, I get it, Blaine was trying to recreate with Dave what he had with Kurt, but no way he ever would have moved in with this guy. And Dave knows it. That’s how come when Blaine spills the beans about snogging his old beau, Dave goes, “Yeah, that was inevitable, but it was fun dating you for a little while!” I think the point here is that when Karofsky conquered his internal homophobia by coming out, his rage went away. And the best way to make up for the bullying he did to Kurt is to not put up a fight when the love of Kurt’s life wants him back. So, okay, I suppose.

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I’ll send three U-Hauls for my bowties and cardigans.

Anyway, Blaine runs like a wild thing to McKinley, down the halls, and stops short when he finds Kurt and Aaron Echolls getting ready to go on a double date with Rachel and Sam. Kurt says Blaine should bring Dave next time, for a triple date, and Blaine says yeah okay and throws up.

What Will leads Vocal Adrenaline to at McKinley is an ambush of love. It is Unique singing “I Know Where I’ve Been” for Coach Bieste with a trans choir of 200 people! Coach Bieste joins them and sings and cries and everyone holds hands. This motherfucking goddamn show. Making me want to spit fire one week and making me cry like an inconsolable little baby the next week. I have watched this five times and sobbed every time. It’s Coach Bieste finding out that he’s not alone, that there’s this whole giant community ready to support him; but more than that, it’s this slick misdirection where you think Rachel & Co. (or, horribly, Will) are going to rush on stage to do that thing they always do (horrible Will, especially), like with the deaf choir, but then the curtain goes up and it’s trans folks speaking to a trans person about trans experience, with Unique in the spotlight — literally and metaphorically — the whole time.

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Everyone board the bus and get out of here before the show fucks it all up!

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I can fit six people in my SUV!

Season six is Glee‘s apology tour, and of course the show has borked that up because it can’t even say “I’m sorry” without flipping you off in the next breath. But Riese was saying yesterday that we should take some time to celebrate the actually really wonderful, groundbreaking things this show has done for the queer community. And I think this moment was one of the best.

Sue adds to the ambush of love with an ambush of angry dogs, chasing Vocal Adrenaline back to Carmel High to think about how they suck as human beings.

Unsurprisingly, Will quits his job and joins Kurt and Rachel as the coaches of New Directions. He’s not back in the position for three seconds before he starts condescending to them about What Really Matters when you’re a teacher and calling them his best friends.

Next week: Glee breaks Tumblr.

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Heather Hogan is an Autostraddle senior editor who lives in New York City with her wife, Stacy, and their cackle of rescued pets. She's a member of the Television Critics Association, the Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and a Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer critic. You can also find her on Twitter, and Instagram.

Heather has written 1221 articles for us.

29 Comments

  1. I am really disappointed, Autostraddle. I was really looking forward to coming here and reading the critique of the treatment of Beiste vs. the treatment of Unique. But no, there’s nothing but the praising of the transgender choir that was brought out for Beiste.

    Don’t get me wrong — the transgender choir is amazing, the support for Beiste is amazing. But why didn’t Unique get this treatment? Why didn’t Unique get the unwavering support from Schue WHEN HE WAS HER TEACHER? Why didn’t Unique get the transgender choir to come support her? Why was Unique brought back as a supporting detail to Beiste’s story – she was literally used as a step for Beiste to stand on and shine.

    One article said that Beiste’s story is a “storyline that will make a difference.” What’s wrong with Unique’s storyline? Why is it the white trans man that gets the choir and the label of a “making a difference storyline” and not the black trans woman?

    Why are the voices of trans women of color continually ignored? And why isn’t Autostraddle commenting on this?

    • Hey, Jenn. Our trans editor Mey wrote a whole article about the difference between the way the show has treated Unique and the way the show is treating Bieste.

      I am never going to be one to give Glee the benefit of the doubt, and I have called this show out repeatedly for its transphobia — every time that I have seen it happening, in fact, over these zillion seasons — but I do think in this episode Unique was portrayed as the ultimate hero. As a triumphant, confident trans woman who has overcome every bit of bigotry and ignorance and violence that has been leveled at her. I think having her talk Bieste through his loneliness (instead of Will or some other cis white dude on the show) and having her lead the choir of trans people with a show-stopping musical number was a huge step for Glee. Unique as the voice of wisdom. Unique as the voice of strength. I think the literal voice of a trans woman of color was being showcased here as heroic.

      I agree that there’s an enormous problem in our society with silencing trans women of color, especially black trans women. And I loathe to my very core the way the show treated Unique. LOATHE it. But, like I said, I feel like this season is an apology tour in a lot of ways. I feel like they’re taking at least some of the very valid criticism to heart and trying to find a way to send off their queer characters triumphantly. And I think this was that for Unique. It doesn’t make up for what came before, obviously, but I felt really moved to see Unique as the hero here. I felt really moved to see trans people speaking to trans experience.

      What do you think? Obviously I’m a cis white lesbian woman, and so my my feelings are colored through the lens of my own very limited experience. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

      • I have… very mixed feelings on this. On one hand, I did love seeing a bunch of real trans people have the opportunity to be on TV, including some I recognized (Cherno Biko!) and it was… nice? to see glee specifically mention the word transmisogyny and to point out that the t-word is terrible. And I was really happy that Unique wasn’t bullied this episode.

        On the other hand, it did make me mad that they used a trans man to teach that that word is terrible. The vast majority of the time it’s used against trans women and it’s roots are in transmisogyny specifically. Also, glee has used it before as part of a joke! (in the rocky horror episode that they even bring up in this episode!) And the show has continued to make transmisogynistic jokes about Unique as recently as several episodes this season. So it’s kind of hard to forgive and forget when Sue and Rachel keep calling Unique “crossdressing Mercedes” and a “transvestite.”

        So I was definitely angry for a lot of this episode. But I also don’t see any other show on network tv having multiple trans characters, using the word “transmisogyny” or inviting hundreds of real trans people on the show.

        • I also really liked the re-framing of Unique in this episode and do feel they’re trying to learn from their mistakes. And I also feel like the whole thing would’ve felt 500 times more awesome if any character at all — but ideally Sue or Will — had said, “we messed up with Unique, treated her like shit, refused to use female pronouns, made her a jokey port-a-potty, let her be bullied, and we’re not going to make that mistake again.” If I’d been in that writers room I think that’s what I would’ve suggested — don’t just do better, acknowledge that you’ve done poorly in the past. Make it apparent. As it stands, we’re forced to draw that conclusion on our own, and not everybody will, they’ll just see a black trans woman treated poorly and a white trans man treated well and think it’s all part of the same set of ethics. When Sue said the word “trans misogyny” out loud I was like OMG! But I also would’ve liked her to acknowledge that trans misogyny isn’t about trans men, it’s about trans women?

          • Yes! I think this hits it right on the head. I would have looooooooved some sort of apology to Unique. or at least some sort of acknowledgement that they had treated her poorly.

            And I pretty much had the same reaction, at first when she said “transmisogyny” I was like, “yay!” and then a second later I was like, “hmmm…” because, like you said, they made it seem like it somehow applied to coach beiste.

          • “we messed up with Unique, treated her like shit, refused to use female pronouns, made her a jokey port-a-potty, let her be bullied, and we’re not going to make that mistake again.”
            yes.

          • Yeah, definitely. I was like, look at you, saying words and things. How nice. But the writers seem to not actually understand what transmisogyny is…so…ok. Or they do understand and the joke is on Sue, but NO ONE GETS THAT JOKE except people who already know what transmisogyny is. And I agree with Mey that I can’t forget that as recently as this season, Sue has dismissively called Unique a “transvestite” and “cross-dressing Mercedes.” So it’s hard to take Sue fawning all over Coach Beist seriously.

            Also, I wanted to throw something at the TV when Will was all like, “I’ve been working all week helping assemble this trans choir.” SHUT UP, WILL. GO AWAY.

            Oh, also also, why so much emphasis on Coach Beist’s first name? It was such a struggle to get anyone to call Unique by her name, but here, for a character who doesn’t even go by his first name on the show, it is important to say it multiple times? To what…drive home the point?

            I was moved by the all trans choir with Unique at the front. I set the bar real low in my head so I could make it through the episode. It was not as bad as it could have been, but I wasn’t thrilled. Definitely felt like “being thankful for crumbs” as Heather wrote.

  2. Could there be a spinoff series about Unique? I would watch. I just desperately want her back on the show. Maybe just Santana and Brittany and Unique and Jane and everyone else goes away. That is my ideal Glee situation.

  3. I’ve never understood why it’s fashionable in the Brittana fandom to hate on Klaine. I’ve been shipping them both since the beginning. With all the Klaine and Brittana this season, I’ve been a very very happy camper. Great recap! Tumblr really will break with the next episode!

  4. I think the dislike of Klaine has more to do with some loud Klaine shippers and the vitriol that gets hurled at queer women (read: Brittana fans) online. Many Klainers (many of whom identify as straight women) will be all about LGBT representation and the epic love of Klaine but then turn around to shout down and erase Brittana and their fans as “stupid dykes” who are just “gal pals” when Brittana gets any focus at all. While obviously both Klaine and Brittana have ample space to exist in the same world (it shouldn’t ever be a competition), it’s hard to sometimes wrap my head around this–and by extension get behind Klaine–when so many fans of the gay male couple are all too happy to erase the value of queer women on the screen and in real life.

    • I’m so sorry you’ve had bad experiences with the Klaine fandom. I’ve been active there (and in the Brittana fandom) for years, and once you weed out the very loud straight girls, you’ll find that many Klaine shippers are queer and feminist too. The obnoxious straight girls that fetishize their precious gay boys…. they are just the loudest.

  5. Glee managed to not be offensive shitheads towards trans people for an episode?? Oh my god, maybe Faberry CAN happen after all!!

    Per usual, now that I’ve read the recap, I will watch this episode. Still supremely disappointed that the transmisogyny towards Unique was not acknowledged or repaired, but impressed that Glee seems to be learning -some- lesson about trans characters.

  6. That choir blew me away. So powerful. Glee has been so good this season! I don’t think I’ve gone through so many of their shows in a row without getting pissed off. You can tell that they are doing this for the fans. If only Glee was this good in the previous seasons.

    Also I cannot deal with how cute Kurt & Blaine are. It’s ridiculous. They should have their own movie, or TV series or something.

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