Music Room. "Remember," Sue grits, hissing into Mercedes's ear, "I want this diva-off to be a bloodbath!" "Oh, trust," Mercedes assures her, "it's about to go down." Meanwhile, Rachel's just now arriving with her fashionable little couture twin, Brittany, the latter of whom has replicated Rachel's signature sexy schoolgirl-librarian chic down to the last itchy detail: Nun-like woolen leggings under a heavy above-the-knee plaid skirt, with the carousel-horse sweater up top accented by a fussy little bow at her neck. "This has to go viral!" Rachel urgently whispers. "Is there any way you can cut class for the rest of the day just so you could walk down the halls?" "Totally!" Brittany enthuses. "Most teachers think by cutting class, I might improve my grades!" So, there's that settled, then. And over in the cheap seats, Single-T Tina's noticed Finn's new Bieber-inflected "style," but as that joke already played itself out many, many minutes ago, we'll be ignoring Frankenteen in favor of listening in as Mr. Schue calls things to order.
On second thought, let's skip right ahead to the much-vaunted Battle Of The Divas, shall we? After an initial bit of trash-talking between the girls, Rachel orders the glee club's house band to hit it, and with that, the ladies plunge into "Take Me Or Leave Me" from Rent, which is a musical I utterly abhor, so imagine my surprise when I found myself grinning like a big ol' hateful idiot once Rachel and Mercedes really started tearing into this number. Both Lea Michele and Amber Riley kill their individual bits dead, of course, but it's really the infectious sense of joy they display while singing with each other that suckered me in against all my better instincts. As far as it relates to the plot, well, you could call it an anthem, I guess, and now that I think about it, I wouldn't mind seeing them turning it into full-blown Regionals performance, but I doubt that's going to happen. The important thing to know is that Rachel and Mercedes end the song with a newfound and genuine appreciation for each other's talents, thereby thwarting Sue's latest nefarious efforts to do away with the glee club for good, much to Sue's vocal irritation. "Where's the hate?" she peeves, leading Will to fart out yet another of his platitudes I'll not be bothering to transcribe.