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

Previously on Glee, Brittany tried to convince Santana’s grandma to reconcile her centuries old religious piety with her modern day love for her lesbian granddaughter and RSVP to their gay wedding, but Santana’s grandma couldn’t/wouldn’t do it. Kurt and Blaine continued to be in deep and abiding love with each other but kept telling themselves they were only kissing for “science” and so “Sue’s demonic murder puppet didn’t chop them into pieces.” Mercedes came to town and pep talked Rachel into trying out for a new Broadway show because Rachel + NYC = OTP. And but most importantly, there was an Emma Pillsbury stunt double that we only ever got to see from behind and it was one of the top ten moments in Glee history, easy.

Will Schuester is livin’ The Life, y’all. Being the coach of Vocal Adrenaline means that he’s got a massage therapist, a nutritionist, a company car, a million dollar paycheck, sweater vests made of real gold, champagne in his coffee mug, sharks in his swimming pool. And best of all, he doesn’t even have to come up with lessons on the spot anymore because Vocal Adrenaline starts and finishes practice before he ever even arrives at Carmel High. Unfortunately, The Life is not everything Will thought it would be. Sure, he was poor at McKinley and Sue was always trying to systematically destroy his life, but at least he felt like he was making a difference with New Directions. He tells Emma he wants to figure out how to have all the money and power and get treated like a hero for his insufferable and mostly offensive lessons on morality. She tells him to become a United States Congressman.

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Haha. Eggsterminate. Very funny. I look like Doctor Who, I get it.

Their conversation is derailed when Blaine and Rachel show up at the park covered in breakfast. Turns out the Vocal Adrenaline kids ambushed them in the parking lot with eggs like the Jessie St. James-led days of yore. Like some hoodlums from an ’80s movie about karate, or dancing your truth.

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Listen up, fives. A ten is talking.

Mr. Schue decides to teach Vocal Adrenaline a lesson by singing “Same Love” and it’s as awkward as you’re imagining, and only made bearable by the voice and presence of Unique, who walks onto stage looking fierce as hell and warming the cold, cynical cockles of my Gleecapping heart. Unique! I thought you were gone forever! Vocal Adrenaline doesn’t care, though. About Unique or Will or having a soul or not being 45 years old and in high school. The leader of the group — an elderly man named Clint whose accent keeps changing from like Australian to a caricature of a person from to the Bronx to maybe Ukranian to Bostonian back to Australian — is inspired by Will and Unique’s performance. He says they’ll stage some kind of intolerant act to sabotage New Directions’ preparation for Regionals.

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Have you heard the latest teenage gossip? Do you want to get over-involved in it?

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I transitioned. I didn’t get Will Schuetser’s brain transplanted into my head.

Coach Bieste returns to McKinley, presenting as male, and is met in the hallway by Sam, who is eager to begin guy talk with Sheldon immediately. Topics include: His crush on Rachel. His crush on Mercedes. The list of pronouns he wrote down to make sure he doesn’t misgender his favorite football coach. Bieste feeds him a treat and pets him behind the ears until he falls asleep on the floor, all tuckered out from such an exciting morning. Sue also meets Bieste when he arrives, wrapping an arm around him and talking about how she has destroyed the scourge of cis-normativity and trans misogyny at this school because she has always stood firmly against bullying. (HA!) And then she scampers off to do the morning McKinley High fat-shaming ritual.

As promised, Vocal Adrenaline shows up to act like a bunch of assholes, covering Beiste’s car with jock straps and spelling out slurs and screaming ignorant, offensive shit at him. So Sue calls Will into her office to explain the situation. And Will apologizes and promises that no one gets away with going after his friends. And Sue LOLs at that because she’s been going after his friends and getting away with it since literally the pilot episode.

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Honestly, is anyone even going to watch this show after Brittany and Santana’s wedding is over?

Rachel’s Dads sold her childhood home, despite the fact that she has been actively sabotaging all the realtors by dressing up as that woman from The Ring and hanging around in the shower growling. She is kind of losing her mind about it. In the teacher’s lounge, Sam tries to explain that home isn’t really where the house is, and he should know because there were plenty of times when he was living out of his car, but Rachel will not let him shame her into feeling guilty about moving from one fancy house to another fancy house just because he was a homeless teenager who was forced to strip to buy food for his family at one point. #ThatsSoRachel

And so Sam calls for an intervention hosted by himself and Kurt in Rachel’s basement to help her let go of being a child and embrace being a grown-up. Mercedes rolls her eyes like a Liz Lemon, but agrees to join in on the shenanigans. Artie too. And Blaine. There’s no explanation for why these three are hanging out at their old high school but the current students have accepted it as fact and have stopped asking about it. When Kurt announces in choir practice that afternoon that this week’s lesson is about helping Rachel move past her hangups and transition into adulthood, the kids are like, “So, this week’s lesson is for … Rachel?”

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Psst, you’re the only character on this show who hasn’t had a crush on me. What’s up?

Clint’s plan worked! All Vocal Adrenaline had to do was commit a hate crime against a trans teacher at McKinley and immediately New Directions stopped preparing for their upcoming competition and began practicing songs about a how the theme of that crime is very loosely related to a thing going on in the life of their teacher! Diabolical!

Artie has prepared a gameshow-style wheel with everyone’s names on it to determine who will sing a duet with whom at the upcoming basement party. Sam doesn’t want to play because he doesn’t want to chance not getting to sing with Rachel, so that’s that. Mercedes spins Roderick, who just about pees his pants for the chance to perform with her. Kurt spins Artie, but gives the wheel a liiiiiitle nudge so it looks like he really spun Blaine. He’s like, “Oh. Huh. Okay, I guess. What a completely innocent surprise that required no cheating and contains no larger meaning.”

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What’s an egg’s least favorite day of the week?

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Fry-day, duh.

Blaine: [Walks down the hallway smiling and shaking his head]
Kurt: [Gallops up beside him like a pony]
Blaine: What are the odds that wheel would land on me and not Artie, right?
Kurt: Math-wise, I’d say one in ten times I land on you. Fate-wise, I’d say ten billion out of ten billion times I land on you.
Blaine: Just don’t tell Dave, if you see him. He thinks there’s still something going on between us.
Kurt: Oh, come on. He can’t get mad about us just singing together.
Blaine: Yeah. “Just” singing together. ‘Cause singing with you is definitely not a more intimate experience than half the sex I’ve had in my life.
Kurt: Right, me neither. It’s not like we’ve (homo)sexualized the entire canon of Christmas music.
Blaine: For sure. And we’ll sing something up tempo, anyway. Or slow tempo. Either way. We won’t gaze into each other’s eyes with longing and silent promises of eternal affection, whichever tempo we choose. I’m going to awkwardly hug you now and run to my car to cry.
Kurt: Okay cool bye.

GAH! These two still get me every time! It’s very fashionable in fandom circles to trash talk Kurt and Blaine, but I’ll tell you, I got a little drunk at brunch the other day and carried on about them for like an hour. I can love these guys and Brittany and Santana, too, you know. There’s enough room in my heart for them both!

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VALIDATE ME!

At Vocal Adrenaline practice, Mr. Schue gets into a brawl with Clint Many-Accents about how he can’t just go around bullying people. Winning isn’t the most important thing in life, he says. Will finally kicks Clint off the team. Clint yells about how he is the team and storms off the stage in his leather jacket to go ride his motorcycle down to the docks to smoke cigarettes and feel misunderstood, while Will goes home to repair a baby stroller and whine to Emma about how having a bunch of money makes him feel like a man but not having constant affirmation from teenagers makes him not feel like a man. It’s an existential puzzle! Emma tells him to quit his job and they’ll live off the earnings of her Pamphlet of the Month club, but Will says they can’t feed themselves and a growing baby with only three dollars per month.

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Who wants to make out with me later as I rebound from Sam?

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THIS GIRL!

Basement party! “Blame it on the Alcohol” throwback! Mercedes and Roderick sing “All About That Bass” and Amber Riley slays as usual. During the first song, Sam and Rachel sneak upstairs to stare at the wall of photos that she can’t bring herself to pack up. It’s just that it used to be her and photos of Barbara Streisand and Bernadette Peters alone in this room, and then she found this group of stray, golden-hearted friends to be in pictures with her, and she’s scared that taking down this wall is symbolic of losing those relationships. Sam tells her to remember exactly where all the photos go on the wall because one day her room will be recreated in a Broadway museum, and then they full-on do it on Rachel’s childhood bed. My goodness!

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 1218 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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