Ready, set, GO! Mr. Schue bursts into a crowded hotel room somewhere in "Chicago" to find the lovely ladies of New Directions -- minus Rachel, of course, but plus Coach Sylvester -- swarming around the bed upon which a deathly-ill Mercedes reclines, a mighty pout firmly affixed to her face. "What's going on?" I'm sure he shouts, offering the ever-efficient Coach Sylvester an opportunity to reply, "Her temperature's a hundred and one degrees, and given the fact that Weezie's complaining about an upset stomach, it's either Amazonian dengue fever or the H1N1 supervirus." "Or I have food poisoning," Weezie whimpers, a diagnosis that Santana Lopez is more than happy to confirm. Seems the lovely ladies of New Directions -- definitely minus Rachel, though Coach Sylvester's participation remains in doubt at this point in time -- decided to snag some Mexican for lunch, and while most of them opted for the relative safety of the local Chipotle, Mercedes decided to get all daring and "Let's try something real Chicagoans actually eat!" about the whole thing and somehow ended up at the infamous Taco & Burrito Palace on Halsted Street. I mean, I'm pretty sure that's what happened. In any event, the raging case of E. coli-related gastroenteritis Mercedes proceeded to contract has obviously laid her low, and it has also left New Directions without one of its primary vocalists on the very eve of this year's Nationals competition -- a Nationals competition White Sue needs to win in order to wrest control of McKinley High's Cheerios back from Black Sue, as I'm sure you'll all recall. Whatever will they do?
Cue Mr. Schue and Coach Sylvester springing into action, with Mr. Schue immediately ordering Quinn and Single-T Tina to begin rehearsals in order to replace Mercedes in her big number, should that particular need arise, while Coach Sylvester vows to place Mercedes on a Vitamin B12 drip, flush her system with Pedialyte, and plunge her into an ice-filled bathtub in a desperate attempt to get her ambient body temperature back down to normal. "Worked in Jacob's Ladder," Coach Sylvester correctly notes, marching off towards the suite's bathroom as Mr. Schue concludes this insane flurry of activity with a gung-ho "Let's do it!" Title card.
Hotel Hall. Will slumps dejectedly against one of the walls and, after an adorably-attired Emma wanders on over to wonder what gives, he frets that should they blow this year's Nationals as badly as they blew last year's, the graduating children will never have had a chance to roam the hallowed halls of dear McKinley High as champions, and it'll all be his fault. Now, I gave up trying to keep the children's ever-shifting allegiances straight a very, very long time ago, but aside from Idiot Rachel, hasn't every other graduating senior had a chance to roam the hallowed halls of dear McKinley High as a champion, either as a member of the nationally-renown cheerleading squad or as a member of a game-winning athletic team? Or, in St. Gay Of Lima's case, as a member of both? And as far as Idiot Rachel goes, wasn't she just crowned Prom Queen last week? SHUT UP, WILL.