After Emma enters a crazy person's fugue state and unwittingly proposes to Will in the teachers' lounge, Will decides he needs to pop the question. Which leads him to assign New Directions to find him the perfect proposal song. Man, I wish I could outsource my love life. Artie thinks he should lead with his hips and sing something that shows off his sexy dance moves. The girls propose a sweet, romantic number. Will makes the mistake of asking Emma's horrible parents for permission, and they fill his mind with doubts about how awful it would be to be married to someone with Emma's level of OCD. Will, ever the idiot, actually shares these doubts with Emma, and she grows a spine and tells him to shit or get off the pot. But not with those words, because that image would likely make Emma vomit. So he does, with a chlorine-drenched proposal that would make any germaphobe happy. And she says yes.
After Sam and Mercedes share the story of their summer fling with everyone else, Sam clearly wants to restart things with Mercedes. She reminds him that she's dating Shane, and Sam decides that the reason Mercedes is drawn to Shane is that he has a letterman's jacket. He wants to get his own jacket, stat, but there's only one team with open spots -- the synchronized swimming team. Which means (a) shirtless, wet Sam and (b) a kickass turn by NeNe Leakes as the synchronized swim team coach. (Really, what I thought was going to be some awful stunt-casting turned out to be a great performance.) Mercedes realizes she still has feelings for Sam while singing a romantic song.
And there's even more love. Becky has decided that she wants Artie to be her boyfriend. He humors her, and even enjoys their dinner at Breadstix. But things get a little more complicated when she decides that she wants to go all the way. Sue gives him some genuine advice, and he levels with Becky. And then Sue even gives her some love and comfort when she cries over her broken heart.
Finally, in a non-love-related plot, Finn tells Will that he's made a decision about his future -- he's going to follow in his father's footsteps and join the army. Will rats him out to Burt and Carol, and Carol is forced to tell him the truth about his father, which is that he was in the army, but didn't die in Iraq. Instead, he came out of the service with a drug problem, and died of an overdose. Finn is understandably upset, and thinks his life has lost all meaning. After Rachel sings a romantic song to him, he decides that she now gives his life meaning. And he proposes to her, leaving us with quite a cliffhanger.
Featuring: "Summer Nights," from Grease, performed by Sam and Mercedes as the story of their summer fling; a mash-up of Maroon 5's "Moves Like Jagger" and the Rolling Stones' "Jumping Jack Flash," performed by Artie, with sexy dancing backup from Will and Mike Chang; "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face," most famously performed by Roberta Flack, here performed by Rachel, Tina, Santana, and Mercedes; Rihanna's "We Found Love," performed by Rachel and Santana, with an assist from the synchronized swim team; the 5th Dimension's "Wedding Bell Blues," performed by Emma; and David Guetta's "Without You," performed by Rachel.
At long last: Get a sneak peek at >Rachel's two dads.
Lima must be having the warmest January day in history, as the girls of New Directions make their way to a table at the improbable outdoor lunchroom, some of them in skirts. Tina wants Mercedes to finally give them all the scoop on her summer fling with Sam, now that he's back at McKinley and making eyes at Mercedes. And then we're with the boys on the bleachers, where Puck asks Sam to tell them everything. And then Puck kisses Sam's hand. For real. That is a thing that happened on my TV. If Ryan Murphy thinks that having Puck go gay all of a sudden is going to get me to give the show higher grades -- well, he's right.
Anyway, the hand kiss is just prelude to both sets of kids singing "Summer Nights," from Grease. It's pretty much a direct copy of the scene from the movie, in all its hip-thrusting glory. Although I'm glad they cut the line that implies the only way to get a girl to have sex is through force. Of note, Sugar Motta gets to sing a line! And Kurt is, as per usual, with the girls. Although I don't mind, since he gets to deliver one of Rizzo's lines. Title card.
Becky's at her locker while we hear her inner monologue. Her inner voice, with its crisp British accent, is clearly not provided by Lauren Potter, but it took me quite a while to realize it was Helen Mirren. As the voice-over tells us, "You may be wondering why I sound like the Queen of England. It's simple. In my mind, I can sound like whomever I want. So lay off, haters." This idea is genius. [Note: Though it does imply that Becky would never choose to have Potter's actual voice, which in offensive in its own way... but whatever, this is the same show that forgot Rachel Berry was Jewish. -- RS.] Anyway, Queen Becky reminds us that she's the number one bitch at McKinley, what with being co-captain of the Cheerios and president of the Perfect Attendance Club, not to mention her participation trophy in rhythmic gymnastics. So it stands to reason that she could get any dude she wants.
Unfortunately, she tells us that she's very picky. As she walks down the hall, she tells us why so many guys are unacceptable to someone with her discerning taste: "Rory grins too much. He looks like an insane person. Is that a mohawk, Puckerman, or did someone glue a squirrel to your head? No, [Mike] Chang-Du, I'm no rice queen." But then she sees someone that does meet her standards: "Sweet, sexy, and handicapable, like me, with a voice as velvety as my favorite Sunday church dress. It's decided. Artie Abrams, you're my new boyfriend." Well, alrighty then.