It's back, babies. And better than ever. So let's break it down. First, the Glee kids are certain that their victory at Sectionals will lead to newfound popularity. But they just get more slushie facials. And then Will reminds them that they'll have to face Vocal Adrenaline at Regionals -- and if they don't place, Glee is over. So he thinks they need a new beginning, which leads to lots of songs with the word "hello" in the title. It all makes sense in Will's squishy brain.
And then there's all the relationship drama. Rachel is now dating Finn, but he's still kind of hung up on Quinn. Sue decides to take advantage of Rachel's fragile ego by getting Santana and Britt-Britt to steal Finn away from Rachel, with the hope that this will lead to her humiliation and resignation from New Directions. But Santana and Brittney's sapphic machinations aren't really necessary, because Rachel meets Jesse St. James (played by the delightful Jonathan Groff), the star of Vocal Adrenaline. It's a match made in pushy, neurotic heaven. So Finn and Rachel are over, for now. Of course, nothing's ever easy for Rachel -- the other members of the Glee Club are concerned that Jesse's interest in her is actually some plot to undermine New Directions, so they demand that she dump him or quit the club. She's certainly not going to break up with the delightful Jonathan Groff, but she does make him agree to keep their relationship secret so she can stay in Glee.
Let's not ignore the adult relationship drama. Will and Emma are tentatively exploring their new kissy status. But there are complications. First, Emma's a virgin, which kind of slows things down. And then Terri confronts Emma and clues her in on the fact that the song Will picked as their song was the song at Terri and Will's prom. Which makes Emma realize that Will has spent his entire adult life in a relationship. She decides that he needs some time to figure out what it means to be alone before she jumps into a relationship with him. Of course, this doesn't mean Will is completely without prospects, because he meets the director of Vocal Adrenaline (played by the formidable Idina Menzel) and they almost immediately start making out.
(Did you like how I glossed over the fact that Sue is back? It turns out she slipped Figgins a roofie, put him a compromising position, took a picture, and blackmailed him into giving her back her job. I missed you, Sue Sylvester.)
The opening bars of "Don't Rain on My Parade" play as Rachel struts down the school hallway, a big smile on her face, and a song in her heart. She's greeted by Mercedes (who calls her "babe" and tells her how good she looks) and then by Kurt, and they all walk down the hallway together. They're all smiling like fools. Mercedes thinks that ever since they won Sectionals, the whole school looks at them differently. Jew-fro trails behind them and says, "I want to be with you, Rachel." Which is pretty much how he's always looked at her. Rachel tells them that they're stars, just like the jocks. "It's the dawn of a new era here at McKinley, and we are gonna rule this school!" Cue a triple slushie attack. Wow, they really increased the corn syrup and cut back on the ice in the slushie formula. If these kids aren't careful, they'll all become diabetics. The chief slushie thrower is the hockey jock who once threw a slushie in Finn's face.
Principal's office. Will is gobsmacked -- since the Glee Club won Sectionals, he can't believe Figgins is telling him that if Glee Club doesn't place at Regionals, the club will be shut down. Since Will was the one who originally made that deal with Figgins in the pilot, I don't see why he's so surprised. I mean, other than the fact that he's rather dim. Figgins, always about the bottom line, tells him, "Those spotlights in the auditorium don't run on dreams. Our electricity consumption is up two percent." Also, now that it's getting cold out, the Cheerios can't practice outside and need the auditorium. Will: "But the Cheerios don't even have a coach." Sue: "Oh yes they do." DUN! She walks in (green tracksuit with orange stripes) holding two cups of coffee. "Hey buddy. Get a haircut? Looks awful." Will asks Sue what she's doing there. Sue: "Just dropping off a mocha for my maharishi. I took the liberty of making it a double whip. Because after our conciliatory dinner, I happen to know that there is nothing you won't eat whip cream off of." And then she blow in her maharishi's ear. Eeeeeewww. And also, hee. But mostly ew. Sue: "I would have gotten you one Will, but I don't like you." Sue leaves and Will asks Figgins how Sue got her job back after being suspended. Figgins, with his keen grasp of things like logic and the English language, reminds Will, "The point of suspension is reinstatement."
Cut to a basketball game between McKinley and some no-name school. The bleachers are full of cheering fans. Finn is on the team, playing about as well as you would imagine after seeing him dance, all while giving us some voice-over narration. "In some ways, I'm happy football season's over. I did set the single-season record for being sacked, but we only won one game. So, I'm hoping basketball can be a fresh start." As he's slowly dribbling down the court, he exchanges a look with an exasperated Puck and then sees Rachel, cheering like a maniac and wearing a "Team Finn" t-shirt. And then an opposing player steals the ball away from him. The V.O. tells us that Finn is actually kind of depressed.