For the first time in a long time, I don't feel like they just threw eighteen different plotlines at my face just to see which one would stick. Some extremely minor bits of character business were touched upon tonight, sure -- and yes, Quinn and Finn, I am staring directly at your boring asses as I type this -- but for the most part, this episode told only two stories. Had I a heart, I'd say it told both of them well, but that goddamned manipulative funeral was giving me hives even before it began, and there I go, getting all ahead of myself again. Let's start at the beginning, shall we?
The evening opens with Mr. Schue hiring Jesse St. James -- swoon! -- as the Glee Club's "show choir consultant" to help the kiddies prepare for their impending performance at Nationals. First on Jesse's agenda is selecting the primary soloist around whom the rest of the gang's routine will be built, because that's how they do it over at Carmel, and to that end, he convinces Mr. Schue to hold auditions. Santana Lopez, Kurt, Mercedes, and Rachel are the only four children to sign up, and the middle section of this evening's installment is devoted to more-or-less full-length versions of the songs they've chosen to dazzle Mr. St. James. And while Santana Lopez definitely gives Miss Berry a run for her money, Rachel's so obviously the best of the four, the whole thing's not even funny. Well, except for just about every nasty, evil, unctuous, smarmy, hysterical line from Jesse St. James's mouth, but those are best left for the recap proper.
Of course, Dumbass Mr. Schue then decides to throw the results out because the children perform best when they're not competing with each other, or some such bullshit, and on top of that bit of stupidity, he announces they'll be presenting original songs at next week's big competition -- original songs they're apparently meant to compose, arrange, orchestrate, costume, choreograph, rehearse, and perfect whilst lounging in their first-class seats on the American Airlines flight from Allen County Regional Airport to JFK, because of course. Of course.
The second major storyline revolves around the sudden off-screen death of Sue's beloved sister, Jean, and how poorly Sue's dealing with it, and trust me: I was with them on this one -- or rather, I was with the magnificent Jane Lynch on this one -- until they hit the aforementioned manipulative funeral sequence, which made my insides curdle with...well, I was going to say "lactated rage," but that doesn't make any sense at all. Then again: Whatever. At least Kurt didn't quite succeed in making it all about him this time around, so that's a blessing.
The upshot of it all is that Sue vows never again to torment Will and the children because they all share the late Jean's effervescent spirit, or something, and she promises to instead invade The United States House Of Representatives as the first duly elected member of The Sue Sylvester American Liberty Party, just because. We'll see how long all of that lasts.
In other news, Frankenteen breaks up with Quinn, Howard Bamboo gets a cameo, and Crazy Terri does one last favor for Will before moving to Miami, where she plans to develop a crippling sex addiction while humping an exceptionally narcissistic and well-endowed plastic surgeon before plunging to her death from a rooftop mid-bang.
Featuring a smoking-hot version of Amy Winehouse's "Back To Black," as performed by Santana Lopez; an astonishingly anemic version of "Some People" from Gypsy, as performed by Eddie Munster; Otis Redding's version of "Try A Little Tenderness," as performed by Mercedes Jones; Barbra Streisand's version of Fanny Brice's version of this song, as performed by Rachel Berry; and a tune from Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory, as performed by (most of) the children at Jean Sylvester's wake.
Which Glee stars were left out of the show's Emmy submissions? Find out.
"New Directions!" Mr. Schue begins right there in the music room, and the group's name sounds even filthier when it makes up the first words of the episode, but that's sort of beside the point, I guess. "I'd like to introduce you," Mr. Schue continues, "to our new show-choir consultant, Jesse St. James!" The camera pulls back a bit to reveal a smiling Jesse St. James standing at Mr. Schue's side while Rachel bursts into immediate and obnoxiously enthusiastic applause from her place over in the cheap seats with the rest of the children. "I don't trust this guy," Frankenteen announces to the room at large. "How do we know he's not just gonna trick us into doing something stupid so his alma mater wins?" "I don't think I need to do much tricking to get you to do something stupid, Finn," Jesse replies, and point to Mr. St. James. Hilariously enough, all of the kids visible in the reaction shot are popping their eyes out and mouthing stuff like "Hooooo!" and "Buuuuurn!" except for Finn, who just sits there looking like a slackjawed dumbass, and Santana Lopez, who casts an appraising eye upon Jesse St. James all, "And people think I'm a bitch? Damn."
Mr. Schue insists that Jesse's merely a consultant and promises that he himself will be making the final call on all aspects of the group's impending Nationals performance, because that's such a comfort to us all given the impeccable judgment Mr. Schue's always shown in the past. Mr. Schue also tells the kids, "We should continue with our successful trend of doing original songs for the competition," and do I need to point out that once is not a trend? Good, because that's not really the point of all this. The point of all this is that Mr. Schue is also of the opinion that they should perform one group number and one duet. Finn immediately and loudly claims the duet should be his and Rachel's, boasting, "We killed at last year's Regionals with 'Faithfully'!" "Yeah," Quinn mutters at his side, "you killed us -- we lost." Wow. Is this gonna be an episode where everyone just dumps on Finn for an entire hour? 'Cause I would be totally fine with that. Just saying.
Jesse interrupts at this juncture to note he agrees that Rachel should take one half of the proposed duet. "But Finn," he adds, "I think it's best if you sit this one out." Here it comes. "Fact is," Jesse continues, never letting that bright, upbeat tone I love so much leave his voice, "most of the other guys in here are better singers, and Mike Chang -- who can't even sing -- can at least dance. You kind of sing and dance like a zombie who has to poop." Kurt, Puck, Lauren, Sam, and I dissolve into giggle fits while Frankenteen immediately gets all outraged and such, lurching about in his chair and bellowing, "You see what I'm talking about? This guy's a jerk!" Meanwhile, Mr. Schue -- and God love him for this -- doesn't even bother disputing Jesse's assessment of Finn's so-called gifts, and instead chooses to suggest that Jesse be a little "gentler" with his criticisms. "Gentle?" Jesse eyebrows. "I'm sorry," he states, of course not sorry in the least, "I didn't realize we were training for the 'Good Try!' ribbon at Nationals -- I thought we were in it to win the whole damn thing." Lauren Zizes is intrigued. "And there's only one way we can do that," Jesse suggests. "Poison darts?" dear little Brit-Brit guesses.