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Demian: B | Grade It Now!
We'll Always Have Branson

...Principal Figgins is introducing New Directions to a wildly appreciative audience. The curtain rises, and the kids plus Orange April stand silhouetted against a cactus- and sagebrush-bedecked backdrop for a moment before kicking into Carrie Underwood's "Last Name," which -- in the grand tradition already long-established on this show -- is both wildly inappropriate for high school students to be performing and delirious amounts of fun. The choreography owes much to Madonna's "Don't Tell Me" video, and Artie, God love him, gets a very special moment live onstage when the number ends with Orange April standing on his wheelchair's armrests, and between his glasses and her fringe-trimmed skirt, I'm reminded of a seminal Broadway classic I'm certain Rachel hates, because there are no roles in it for her. Predictably, the crowd goes nuts at the end, rising as one to its feet to cheer and applaud, and as the kids plus Orange April -- especially Orange April -- bask in the adulation, the camera cuts over to Rachel, hiding in the back of the auditorium looking miserable. Poor princess.

We return from the final commercial break to find Will cooling his heels outside the ladies', where Orange April'd gone to tinkle away some of the hairspray she Kitty Dukakised earlier in the evening. Long story short, Orange April broke her promise to Will, and he therefore cannot allow her to return to the stage. Surprisingly enough, Orange April's fine with that. "It didn't feel right," she explains to him. "I got that standing ovation, Will, and it felt amazing, like every bad decision I'd ever made just went away, and I was back in the game. But then I look over, and I see these sweet faces of these kids, and I think, 'I'm hoggin' their sunshine! It's their turn now, not yours.'" She gets a little emotional as she concludes, "They're so lucky to have you because you won't let what happened to me ever happen to any of them!" But, you know, it's probably just the Listerine talking. They joke about her taking the act down to Branson, and as the opening vamp of "Maybe This Time" plays softly underneath, April Rhodes walks out of Will's life once again, presumably this time for good.

Music room. The kids are still on a collective high thanks to that standing ovation, so of course Will has to wander in to piss all over their parade by announcing that the rest of the evening's presentation has been cancelled. Fortunately, Rachel's been lurking in the hallway, and she enters to offer both an apology and her services. Of course, because she's Rachel, she's a tad obnoxious and socially tone-deaf about it all, but still. Applaud her for trying, I suppose, and for realizing that "being a star didn't make [her] feel as special as being [their] friend." Santana Lopez's eyeroll at this "friend" bullshit is delicious. Nevertheless, Rachel's quit the musical, and now wants to rejoin Glee. "I know all the words to the song," she notes, arguing for her inclusion. "You don't know the choreography," Quinn immediately shoots back, much to Santana Lopez's delight. "Then we're gonna have to give her a lot of help out there," Finn smiles. Will tells her to suit up, and we're off to...

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