We zip over to Sue Sylvester's office, where there follows a scene between Sue and Bryan Ryan that's so drearily earnest in its arguments for parity in the funding of physical education and arts programs in the public schools that it ends up completely out of whack, tonally speaking, with the rest of the series, and it is such a bizarre aberration that I'll be speeding through the major points. Long story short, Bryan Ryan has come to understand how important arts funding actually is, as exposure to the arts improves math, foreign language, and reasoning abilities, and he now seeks to reduce the Cheerios budget because that one squad is gobbling up, like, 75% of the high school's resources for extracurricular activities. Sue, naturally, is outraged at this latest assault on her award-winning cheerleaders, and counters that the decline in our nation's physical education standards has not only led directly to an unprecedented obesity epidemic, but has also negatively impacted the problem-solving and social skills of an entire generation of American children. And when they're finally done thus lecturing the audience, we return to the Glee I originally signed up for. "You're an impressive woman," Bryan Ryan admits. "I can't tell you how much you turn me on right now -- have you ever heard of the term 'anger sex'?" "The only kind I know, Bryan," Sue replies, matching his simmering level of low-key and slightly dangerous ardor while getting right up in his face. "I should tell you I'm married," he warns. "Not a problem," she shoots back. "I'm still cutting half your budget." "You win some, you lose some." "Should I lock the door?" "No, I got a secret room upstairs. Like Letterman." HA! And yes, if it's ever referred to again, I will be calling it "Sue Sylvester's Secret Annex," because: Ew! Commercials.
And by the time we return, night has fallen. Along with about eight inches of rain, by the looks of the monsoon now raging outside Idina Menzel's car. From points unknown, a dangerously wet Jesse St. James hops into the passenger seat and -- without even offering his evil mentor so much as friendly hello -- blurts, "She has the tape, but she won't listen to it!" Idina Menzel's all, "That cursed brat! Oh, what a world, what a world! Who would have thought a sheltered little diva like her could destroy my beautiful wickedness? Ooooh! Ooooh!" Or maybe she gets a fretful look on her face and babbles, "She has to listen to it -- that's the point of all this!" "I'm doing my best!" the dangerously wet Jesse St. James protests, dripping all over Idina Menzel's upholstery. "Look, when you told me to seduce her..." Here Idina Menzel abruptly cuts Jesse off to correct him. "'Befriend' her was the word I used, actually." Jesse: "Whatever." Heh. "The thing is," he explains, "I was into it because I thought it would be a good acting exercise, but now I think I kind of like her." Of course he thought it would be a good acting exercise. Of course. Hee! "I don't want her to get hurt," he stresses. Idina Menzel assures him that their current plot should last no longer than one additional week, after which Jesse St. James can return to Vocal Adrenaline where he belongs. Jesse St. James helpfully confirms what everyone in the audience knew all along by noting, "I don't understand why you can't just go up to her and say, 'Hi! My name's Shelby! I'm your mom!'" And strap yourselves in for a massive information dump, kiddos, because we're about to get all of Idina Menzel's tumultuous backstory. Long story short, she signed a contract with Rachel's dads that stipulated she have no contact with her biological daughter until Rachel's turned eighteen. "She has to come to me," Idina Menzel emphasizes, adding, "That's why she has to listen to the tape -- once she hears it, she won't be able to sleep until she finds me." And we'll just go with that, because the first half of this boring episode nearly killed me, and I haven't the strength at this point to question Idina Menzel's addled reasoning. Besides, I'm pretty sure Idina Menzel could knock the living crap out of me.