What is Finn's clever scheme to get his mother to dump Burt? He takes his dad's ashes and threatens to flush them down the toilet, since that's what Carol is doing to his memory by dating someone else. She takes the urn and puts it in his dad's recliner, which is just so creepy. She says they should sit and watch TV as a family, pretending like they have for the last 15 years. She talks to the ashes and asks them if they want to watch the basketball game that's on TV. Finn tells his mom she's crazy, and she tells him he's selfish. She likes Burt, and she hasn't liked a guy like this since her husband died. Finn thinks their family is fine, and he doesn't want it to change. She thinks he's okay with it only because he doesn't know anything else. Then she sits on the arm of the recliner and tells Finn (with tears in her eyes) that she actually does talk to the ashes every night. She takes the urn to bed and talks about all the things she would talk about with a husband who was alive. And the ashes never have one single thing to say back to her. Finn tells her that his father wouldn't want her to move on, or move in with someone else, if Finn wasn't ready. Carol: "You didn't know him, Finn." She refuses to give in to her son's emotional blackmail, and tells him that she loves him but that they need to move on. Again, great, great work in this scene. (Also, remember how I said I had been in the same emotional space as Finn and Finn's mother? My partner died 16 years ago and I'm still wearing my metaphorical denim vest. So I have not one damn snarky thing to say about this scene.) Commercials.
Pep rally. Didn't they just have one of those last week? Sue is sitting with Tracy Pendergrass, the reporter from Splits magazine. But Tracy's actually a dapper black man, not a woman. Sue, with her insistence on clear demarcations of the boundary between genders, was confused by his name. He notes the high turnout for the pep rally, and she tells him, "On assembly days, I arrange for the rest of the school to be fumigated, leaving the gymnasium as the only place with breathable air." She advises that he start writing down some of her witticisms for his article. He tells her that he's actually a hard-hitting investigative reporter doing a freelance job for the magazine, and he intends to approach his article about her with the same intensity nearly won him a Pulitzer for his piece on high school athletes going pro. Sue is actually a bit rattled. The lights go down and the Cheerios take the floor. All those boy Cheerios we saw last week? They're all gone, except for Kurt. Sue tries to talk up her own genius to Tracy, telling him to prepare himself for the "smoking intro," which she then amends won't happen for a few seconds, to let the tension build. And then build some more, as Mercedes has not made her appearance. And then Mercedes walks out, in her tracksuit pants. She takes the microphone, but instead of singing whatever she was supposed to sing, she starts to talk about how being a Cheerio is supposed to be about winning, but she thinks it should be about something else. She gets people to raise their hands to admit that they feel fat, or ugly, or pimply, or stupid, or just feel like a big old loser. And Mercedes has felt all of those things at one time or another. I swear that Carmen gave this speech on an episode of Popular, but I'll be damned if I'm going to read every recap to find it. (Of course, Carmen addressed most of her speeches to junk food, not assemblies. Maybe I'd remember it if I tried to think about it from the viewpoint of a cupcake.) Anyway, all of this is prelude to Mercedes singing Christina Aguilera's "Beautiful." Before long, the floor of the gym if full of people singing, while the audience in the crowd stands and sways. All except for Sue, who looks terrified. As Mercedes finishes, Tracy tells Sue that they'll finish the interview in her office tomorrow. And Kurt approaches Mercedes and says, "Thank you. I was wrong." Commercials