Sectionals time! You know what that means! Time to cram as many lighly autotuned covers as humanly possible into 60 minutes... plus commercials. What did you expect? Plot development? There's a bit of that too, plus a new Gleek!
For the first time since the Rocky Horror fiasco, Emma is back. Schue is already trying to weasel his way back into her life by enticing her with what I'm sure are very hard to get tickets to Sectionals in East Bumblefuck, Ohio. They went together last year, after all. Why wouldn't she want to again? But instead of falling for his charms, she just casually makes fun of his predictable sets: Open with a Finchel duet, close with a Mercedes high note. He seems surprised, as if he hadn't been watching the same show we have for two seasons. And to drive the point home, she rambles on through some metaphor about stars and constellations burning bright that he pretty much ignores everyone else in the club when it comes to performing for competitions. Finally, someone had to say it.
Taking her advice, out of love or lust or fear of losing, he switches things up by incorporating dance to show off Mike Chang and Brittany. And, much to Rachel "I'm a psycho" Berry's chagrin, Schue puts her aptly coined power couple nemeses, Ken and Barbie, as the soloists because they won the duet competition.
Nice one, Berry.
So... correct me if I'm wrong, but is this... progress? Involving characters other than Kurt? I mean, the duet episode was weeks ago. The fact that they're not only going back to that point but promoting two singers because of something they won is... refreshing! Then Santana drops the bomb about taking Finn's virginity, while singing Madonna in a sleazy motel room last season, all over an already broken Rachel. And we get to see her face like this.
A+ Glee writers. A+ all around. Bringing up past situations + said situations directly leading to Rachel Berry's misery is is just wonderful. It's like they read my mind.
It's as if the happiness from Rachel floated over to Kurt at Dalton, because he waltzes through the halls of that school like the merriest, most well dressed boy in the world. How cute does he look in that red lined uniform?
Then we find out he's already made it into the Warblers. Like all private school clubs, they meet in a giant secret wooden room and he's initiated into the group by being given his own canary (which he names Pavarotti... obviously) to protect and cherish as he does his own voice. It's basically the gay version of The Skulls. Too bad the canary doesn't protect him from being a try-hard, because Kurt's creative direction and lame jokes aren't as welcome at the Warblers as they were at New Directions. Trouble in paradise already, Kurt?
Back at McKinley, Rachel scheduled a mini-counseling session with Emma for her and Finn. Instead of giving good advice like not lying to one another and trying to work it out, Emma suggests they sing Eagles betrayal songs as therapy because she's not a very good guidance counselor. Whatever, I don't really care about Rachel. Even when she's crazy her storyline is still the most boring one. Not boring? Brittany being paralyzed with fear over performing that she couldn't even allow herself to pee.
When Artie finds her facing the corner like a bad dog, he, being the smart one with glasses and ugly sweaters and all, tells Brittany about his magic comb. The magic comb that makes it impossible to lose! What a great boyfriend! Because Brittany has the IQ of a shoe, she's immediately taken with his tale and wants the comb. With a little reverse psychology, he allows her to have it, but only because they're on the same team. And a win for Brittany is a win for Artie. Now, that's a power couple right there.
Since Kurt is too busy looking uniformly fabulous and taking care of canaries, New Directions ended up being down a member. Without a full group, they can't compete in Sectionals. So, Schue enlists the post-juvie Puck to be the "badassador" for glee club. Surely Puck's charms can recruit a new member. Not so much. The football meatheads (including our favorite creepy closet case!) beat him up and call glee lame. Then they lock him in a Porta Potty, Jackass style. After spending hours among his fellow students' muck, he's saved by the goth girl who loved Twilight last season, aka my favorite bit character of all time. We learn her name is Lauren and she drives a hard bargain. A hard bargain of out of Cadbury eggs and making out with Puck. And he loved it. So the gleeks get their final member and all is well... until stupid Rachel goes and tries to screw it up for everyone because she's a drama queen, for the 80th time since the show's premiere.
She rolls up with duct tape over her mouth, which would be a blessing if she didn't keep taking it off to explain just how upset she is by Kurt being gone and not having a solo and blah blah blah. And then Schue finally, finally gives her the talking-to she deserves and she crumbles. With nobody to turn to, Puck, fresh out of his porta potty pray session in which he promised he'd be nicer to Jews, comforts her. Does this mean more Puckleberry action and cheating on Finn? Obviously. Haven't you ever heard of foreshadowing?
In the hall, Tina storms up to Artie looking like a goth cheerleader meets Sally from The Nightmare Before Christmas.
She explains the outfit is because Mike Chang likes cheerleaders, and that's why she thinks he's cheating on her with Brittany during their dance rehearsal time. Artie assures her that Brittany is making herself scarce because its Shark Week. I love them. Either way, Tina puts ideas in his head and sure enough, when he tries to talk to her later, she makes excuses and heads to rehearsal without even looking at him. Poor Artie.
Later, Kurt finds Rachel sulking next to the stage piano. The only reason he braved coming back to McKinley to find her is so she can help him with his solo audition for the Warblers. Naturally, she convinces him to sing "Don't Cry for Me Argentina" because she relates to it in a psychotic "I envision people being upset over my death because they won't realize how amazing I am until I'm gone" kind of way. I'm sure he's happy just because it's a show tune. His try-hard nature returns, as he mimics the quintessential Evita diva arms, even after being told not to. Rachel just straight up climbs to a balcony like she's possessed by her Argentine ghost. Which, she probably is.
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Anyway, Kurt doesn't get the solo. Boo hoo.
Just as New Directions is leaving for sectionals in the worst moods ever, Emma shows up and digs the knife she has placed square in Schue's chest a little deeper. She not only got his entire group mad at him for switching things around, but then she decides to not go to the concert because it would piss off her hot dentist boyfriend she's now in love with. She clearly doesn't give care about supporting the kids. Everyone on this show is so selfish! But her Steve from Blues Clues coat was totally cute, so I'll allow it.
And then somehow Kurt and Rachel become friends because they're no longer in direct competition? If he makes her his new hag and dumps Mercedes we're going to have a real problem.
At long last, they made it to Sectionals. First up? The Hipsters. I thoroughly enjoy The Hipsters. Mostly because the hippest thing about them is that their granny glasses are totally authentic. Take that, Williamsburg. Poor eyesight is earned, damn it. The oldies shuffling around are just so darn cute, but I don't know if the look of fear on the gleeks' faces was out of fear of competition or fear that they were staring at their future selves.
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Total sidenote, I couldn't help but wonder if the members of The Hipsters were actually the members of the Young@Heart choir from the most touching and tear-jerky documentary I've ever seen. I mean, how many famous old people choirs can there be?
Second up is Dalton singing Hey Soul Sister, which everyone's been talking about all week so just go here if you want to see it. They were once again voiced by The Beelzebubs from Tufts and The Sing Off fame. Yet, once again, the Bubs were too geeky to actually appear on screen. The Warblers were good, and Schue gave another one of his stank faces in their general direction. Who's the spoil sport now, huh? Not Rachel. Rachel was cheering! So was everyone else. Bad Schuester, bad.
The pressure mounted backstage and all the lying and cheating came to a head, while new gleek Lauren watched the rest of the group flip out on one another. Cue the Michael Jackson Popcorn GIF.
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Turns out Brittany wasn't cheating, she just lost Artie's magic comb by accident, and she felt so bad about it she couldn't face him. He confessed he only did it to give her the confidence she needed to be awesome on stage. And then they hug it out. Best weird couple ever. Ken and Barbie sang that song from Dirty Dancing that I hate so much I can't even mention it, and it was good, but Santana, Mike Chang and Brittany totally killed it with Amy Winehouse's Valerie.
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Turns out both the young groups were too good to let go of and there was a tie between The Warblers and New Directions. That, or a tie was the only way to keep the cute boys in the show for a few more episodes. But that wasn't the only shocker to the gleeks. Emma and Carl got married in a quickie wedding. Burn, Schuester. And then, of course, Finn broke up with Rachel for cheating on him with Puck. He really needs to stop doing that to his bro.
But no, the episode isn't over yet. They had to work in one more song to "celebrate" their "win" or whatever. At least it was Florence and the Machine. They should have given that car seat baby a walk on.
And this happened at some point in Finn and Rachel's relationship, which begs the question, why didn't he break up with her sooner?
And I think I'll leave it at that.