Previously, Quinn got knocked up, not by handsome dim bulb Finn but rather by scowling sex machine Puck, though Finn thinks otherwise, and either way, Teri plans to raise the baby as her own, Ashley Abbott style. Also, Emma is dating Ken even though dead Civil War veterans can see she's in love with Will. Also, it's not mentioned, but Kristin Chenoweth rocked the shit out of damn near everything. That also happened.
We open on Glee rehearsal, as Matthew Morrison shows off some of his more endearingly geeky white-boy moves. P.S.: Just for reference's sake, I should tell you that beyond Rachel, Finn, Puck, Quinn, and Kurt, I don't know any of the other Glee kids' names. So we're gonna go with Blonde Cheertator and Brunette Cheertator, Jock 1 (the black guy) and Jock 2 (the Asian guy), and Posh Spice, Turkey Sub, and Spazzy McGee (Asian girl, black girl, wheelchair). So anyway, Will's teaching a rather listless group here. He tells them to get it together, for there are Sectionals coming up. I'm growing to love how amorphous this whole concept of competitive Glee is. Competitions and Invitationals and grudge matches and Sectionals and Regionals and All-State Medal Rounds and we keep getting assured that this is all leading to some kind of Super Bowl of Glee, but honestly, it's just a random carrot at the end of the stick that is each episode. And...like, whatever. It's not like we're in this to see if they win a trophy. How Rachel would that be, anyway?
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So, but anyway, Turkey Sub is all, "Oh please, Sectionals are gonna be a cakewalk," but Will stresses that if they coast at Sectionals, they'll get creamed at Regionals (see??), but nobody's listening and Kurt's too busy laughing at the grape-stomping YouTube lady. So at lunch, Will sounds off to Emma about how complacent the kids have gotten lately, but Emma's too fixated on the giant blob of mustard currently residing on Will's "cute Kirk Douglas chin dimple." After an unsuccessful but still disturbingly alluring attempt to lick it off, Will has Emma get it with her plastic-gloved hands. Emma, it should be noted, is wearing a bright yellow top with a gigantic bow right on the collar, a look that has been successful for no people at any time in history. Back to the kids, though: We flash back to a week ago, when Will made the mistake of announcing their competition for Sectionals would be an academy for the deaf and a halfway house for girls just out of juvie. The kids high-five all around, not realizing that at this moment, those glee clubs could be starring in their own inspiring and darkly comedic TV series. You just never know. So Will needs to figure out a way to motivate them. What to do?
Emma starts suggesting a sticker-board or something else similarly cutesy and Emma-like, when finally we reveal that Sue Sylvester has been sitting at the next table the whole time. Now, let's talk, you and me: Jane Lynch is enduringly amazing, on this we should all agree. But her praise for this performance has thus far been slightly outpacing what's actually been onscreen -- mostly due to inconsistent writing. However, much like the show itself, that's been getting steadily better these last few weeks, and this week might be the best yet. And so, since she's already become the Mary Cherry of this show, you'll forgive me if I end up just quoting her verbatim a whole bunch: "Stop talking," she tells Emma. "I'm trying desperately to ignore the treacly-sweet inanity of your asinine conversation, but now I've got bile in my mouth. And I will hold my tongue no further." She shows Will her clipboard and explains that once a week, she'll shitcan one of her Cheerios, just to keep the rest of 'em on their toes. She reminds Will and Emma that they're dealing with children. "They need to be terrified." She advises Will to unleash the competitive beast within his kids, then turns to Emma and says "Ellen, that blouse is just insane." God, THANK YOU! Emma's scandalized, but Will thinks she may have a point.
After the credits, we see Will has set up photographic examples of great competitors in nature: Bill Clinton and Newt Gingrich (current!), a great white shark and a grizzly bear, and a photo of lightning and a swimming pool, the latter of which confuses Kurt greatly. Will soldiers on and separates the group into boys and girls (Kurt needing to be reminded to stand with the boys because HA HA Kurt is a fairy girl). Will sets the terms: Boys versus Girls. One week from today, they'll each perform a mashup, and the winning team gets to choose the number they perform at Sectionals. Puck asks what a mashup is. Well, Puck, a mashup is what some of us would like to do to your face. With...our faces. Gah, mental note: delete that sentence before publishing. Anyway, Will tells them to go all out, costumes, choreography, the Full Rachel, so to speak. Speaking of whom, Rachel (who is apparently showing solidarity with Emma by wearing her own ugly collar bow, this time in blue-and-gold plaid) asks Mr. Shu who's going to judge, since his gender makes him biased. And since gender-adjacent Sue Sylvester is probably not interested, Will promises a "celebrity guest judge." Hope you saved your parking pass, Josh Groban. Turkey Sub thinks they've got this in the bag, while Rachel plans to start storyboarding the choreo immediately.
On the way out, Will notices that Finn's been yawning and blinking and generally holding up a neon sign that says "SLEEP DEPRIVED" over his head, and asks what's up. Finn just says he's been busy, and Puck drags him off to
Sue, meanwhile, keeps a journal. Yes. YES! This way, when she finally commits that murder-suicide we all know is coming, we won't have as many lingering questions. "Feeling listless again today," Sue journals. "It began at dawn when I tried to make a smoothie out of beef bones, breaking my juicer." Okay? She notes that she spotted a quiver in Quinn's leg at cheer practice that day -- the first sign of impending imperfection. And without perfection, no endorsements; and without endorsements, no hovercraft for Sue. And since Quinn brushes it off as just being tired from Glee, it sets Sue off on an anti-Glee rant: "Every time I try to destroy that clutch of scab-eating mouth-breathers, it only comes back stronger, like some sexually ambiguous horror movie villain. Here I am, about to turn thirty [HAAAAA], and I've sacrificed everything, only to be shanghaied by the bicurious machinations of a cabal of doughy, misshapen teens." Naturally, Will is to blame, him and his store-bought home perm. She notes that she spotted yesterday's Will/Emma flirting and decides this week she'll try destroying Will.
Cut to Sue taking a lunch with Teri, which can't ever be good news. She cuts to the chase: "Your husband is hiding his kielbasa in a Hickory Farms gift basket that isn't yours." Ah, The Talk. I remember it well. Anyway, Teri's shocked -- SHOCKED -- that all her suspicions are proving true. Sue notes that Teri's put on some pounds -- and her pregnancy's no excuse either. Sue's never had the urge to procreate herself -- "Don't have the time, don't have the uterus." Sue advises that Teri take Will, pack up, and move out of town, "unless you want to lose your man to a mentally ill ginger pygmy, eyes like a bush baby." Okay, clearly American Idol picked the wrong choppy-haired blonde power lesbian to be their new judge, right? Sue advises Teri get into the school and "sniff out those sex pheromones" for herself. They happen to have an opening now that the school nurse took a tumble down some stairs and is in a coma (and yes, Sue did trip an old lady so she'd fall down the stairs, how'd you guess?). Teri says she's no nurse, but a mere Sheets N Things employee. "I'm not an American citizen," Sue counters, "I was born in the Panama Canal Zone, but I still managed to get a passport; I've run for office twice."
Clearly inspired by Sue's Panama Canal Zone-bred chutzpah, Teri meets with the principal. She notes her Sheets N Things first-aid training and has used a defibrillator. And so before you know it, Teri's there in the break room, freaking the shit out of Will and Emma (Will had just asked Emma to be the celebrity judge, which ... is a big fucking letdown, is what that is. Sorry, was Idina Menzel too busy NOT planning her return to Broadway to show up?). Anyway, Teri shoots her crazy hysterical-pregnancy Eyes at Emma and explains that she doesn't so much need training as it's a public school. That's sadly the least outrageous argument anyone will make this week.
In the locker room, Ken is blah-blahing about some blocking formation while Finn nearly dozes on the bench. Which transitions us into my least favorite segment of every episode: Finn does his voiceover which is generally dumb and not illuminating and only makes me think of how he sounds exactly like Chris Klein in Election, which makes me think of how weirdly amazing Chris Klein was in that movie, given the sorry state of the rest of his career, and then I think about how Corey Monteith should therefore enjoy the wave of this show while he has it, and oh by the way, Rachel's inner monologues are equally Tracey Flick-like and I almost wish they'd jettison those segments altogether. So. The point of Finn's little journey to his emotional core: It's exhausting being Finn. And he's kinda into Rachel, some more.
Finn woozily drifts into and out of consciousness while Puck, Kurt, and Spazzy McGee try to rouse him into rehearsing their Bon Jovi/Usher mashup. Sounds disgusting, which means it'll probably be great, because that's how this show works. Puck suggests strapping some trash cans to their feet and stomping the yard but is rudely shot down by the nerd contingent. Puck suggests Finn go to the nurse. "Every day I go in there, say I have a headache, and nap for three hours. I haven't attended a math class in two years." Suggestion taken, says Finn.
Meanwhile, Rachel tries unsuccessfully to motivate the girls, who might be even more complacent than they were before. Beating up on deaf kids and reform-school cholas is one thing, but beating the crappy boys will be even easier, is apparently the logic. Turkey sub suggests they "wing it" with their "Halo"/"Walking on Sunshine" mashup. Rachel asks after Quinn, and Blonde Cheertator says she's probably out getting elastic waist expanders, which draws a cross-caste snicker from everyone but Rachel: Nerd With Feelings. Everyone votes to wing it, so Rachel leaves, disgusted and superior as ever.
Finn hits the nurse's office and subjects himself to a Sheets N Things-approved medical consult. Teri recognizes him as Quinn's baby daddy, so she's interested in his well-being and bone structure. She gets him to open up a smidge about what's been weighing on his mind daily, and he's all, "Football, Glee, and girls." Teri's transference means she's totally offended that Finn's mind is wandering away from Quinn, and poor Finn just wants to take a nap. Teri recounts how her high-school life included a 4.0, cheerleading, and holding down Will ... and she remembers that she did so with the aid of her handy pseudoephedrine pills. "I would pop two of these blue meanies every morning and I would be a firecracker for the rest of the day." Man, before I found out about the whole meth connection, I totally thought I was on to something whenever I'd take Sudafed, write rambling (but kind of hilarious) movie columns until 4AM, and then crash until noon. Point being: Whatever glue you're sniffing has been sniffed by some burnout decades before you -- you ain't being clever. And OTC medications are the ties that bind. That makes sense, right? Anyway, Finn is skeptical (shocking), but Teri assures him that the pills are so very over-the-counter and he should take two a day. "Sweetie, I'm a school nurse," she says. "I know what I'm doing." And much as I think squeaky-voiced Teri has been just this side of too-cartoony so far, I like Jessalyn Gilsig a lot, and she plays this week's arc well.
So Finn takes the pills and the effect is something like a combination of Adderol, cocaine, and stem cells from the late Billy Mays. It's kind of hilarious as Finn bounds into the boys' rehearsal all set to go and kick ass and build houses for Habitat for Humanity, all due to this awesome new vitamin the school nurse gave him. "Vitamin D," he episode-titles, and passes out samples to his brethren. And then? It's time to rehearse! The guys' "It's My Life"/"Confessions" mashup is exactly as predicted: silly and filthy and kind of amazing. It's the matching greased-lightning jackets that really sell the Velveeta smoothness of it all. Though I need to mention once again that it's too canned for its own good, and now I'm officially convinced that Spazzy McGee doesn't do his own vocals. And Finn's voice, which actually does belong to him, kind of blows. But his crazy drugged-up enthusiasm makes up for it. And the intensity beaming out of Kurt and Puck is delicious. And Jock 2 shows some Mia Michaels-worthy choreo. Best sequence of the week, from Finn's coked-up entrance to the girls' jaw-dropped reactions to the mashup. Will flips and tells the girls they better bring it tomorrow.
After the break, Rachel tracks down Quinn at her locker. She's noticed that Quinn's been MIA lately and knows why. She tells her that Glee's gonna be there for her when everybody else in the school is making her the butt of every joke -- and even though we've already seen one-third of the female contingent of Glee already doing just that, I won't quibble, because all Rachel's doing right now is offering to be the one person not to do that. Rachel says despite exterior pressure that they be enemies, Rachel doesn't hate her, even though Quinn says she probably should. Quinn says if the situation were reversed, she wouldn't be that generous to Rachel, and Rachel knows that. "You have seven months of your youth left," Rachel says, straight faced but kind of hilarious in its candor. "You should enjoy it."
Teri calls Howard at Sheets N Things and tells him to go score 36 boxes of Sudafed for her at the drug store. She's got a nurse's office to keep stocked. Afterwards, Ken stops by to "talk frank" about how Will and Emma are obviously in love with each other. She comes clean to him about only taking the job to spy on Will -- they need to take care of this situation so she can quit. "You see, I'm not built to work five days a week." Ken suggests he and Teri see each other on the side as a remedy, a suggestion which Teri doesn't dignify with a response. And when he starts to moan about his psoriasis and undescended left testicle, Teri tells him to nut up (so to speak). Her solution: to propose to Emma. Um...brilliant? In Teri's defense, she does hand Ken a whole packet of cold pills.
Back at girls' rehearsal, Rachel is hectoring the group that they should have listened to her. They underestimated the boys, and now they're up shit's creek. And worse, Rachel will be humiliated if and when the girls lose. So what's to be done? Lucky for them, Kurt has shamefully decided to betray his brothers by ratting out their use of Usher's little helper. Kurt, Kurt, Kurt. Even after that whole football team episode, it looks like we need yet another lesson in "Being gay doesn't make you a girl." As that mashup performance just taught us, you can be plenty gay just being a boy.
Finn's still striding through the halls with the crazy eyes when Rachel angrily confronts him about being a deplorable cheater. She even threatens to call him "F-Rod," which offends Finn greatly. Normally, I'd roll my eyes at such kneejerk fat-cat-bashing and Yankee hating, but just hearing "A-Rod" reminded me of his 5 RBI in the Yanks' sweep of the Twins, while the Red Sox choked away their final game en route to being swept themselves and ... where was I? I kind of went to a very happy mental place. Puck was there. So Rachel combats Finn's performance enhancements with a recitation of her own regimen of sleep and exercise, set to that "Nobody gonna break-a my stride" song. And remember, everything I said about Finn's Election-baiting voice-overs goes for Rachel too, so let's just move on. Oh, the one thing we should note is that her motivating poster is a Grammy statue with the name "Rachel Berry" on it. Back in the hallway, Finn bottom-lines for Rachel that the girls' mashup still can't best the boys', so there.
Cut to Teri handing out the happy pills to the girls, except for Quinn who gets folic acid. Y'all, I'm glad Glee is reminding us all in this Juno- and Secret Life of the American Teenager-saturated world how totally sucky and not cute it is to be a pregnant teen. You don't even get to do uppers with your friends!
Teachers' lounge. Ken is speed-shredding documents while Will chides Teri for her terrible nursing. As Emma arrives, Terri decides to combat what appears to be Will's chronic mustard-face problem by licking it off his upper lip, which grosses Will out. He says they need a bit more separation in the course of a day, a claim that's kind of borne out by Teri wanting to accompany him to the bathroom. Meanwhile, Emma's there with another egregious collar bow. Which must do it for Ken, because he picks this moment to pop the question. Emma is freaked, for more than just the usual OCD reasons, though Ken's kind of sweet. He picked a cubic zirconia because he knows how affected she was by Blood Diamond. Still, we cut to commercial before Emma can answer.
At the girls' performance, Rachel speed-reads through their introduction. It sounds like Rachel doing competitive policy debate, which, by the way, would be absolutely terrifying and worthy of a two-episode arc in Season 2. "If there's anything this country needs right now," Rachel frenzies, "it is sunshine and optimism. Also angels." The "Halo"/"Walking on Sunshine" mashup is okay, except for a) it doesn't blend as seamlessly as the boys' song ("I can see your halo / and don't it feel good"? Um...sure?), b) the choreography is too manic, and c) forming a halo with your fingers and putting it over your own head is a disqualification. Or at least it should be. Weirdly, Puck seems totally impressed and into it, not that I'm constantly looking for him wherever he is onscreen. Regardless of the flaws, Will seems equally impressed with this performance, so maybe Teri put him on the uppers as well.
Will asks Emma to talk out in the hallway, and they congratulate each other on their awesome motivation idea. He then somberly asks if it's true that Ken proposed to her -- is she gonna say yes? She asks him if he can think of any other options she has. "Is that really a reason to marry someone?" he asks. But that wasn't what Emma was asking. Down the hall, Teri spots this close moment and springs into action. She corners Emma in her office, which has Emma unnerved for no less than a dozen reasons. Teri decides to cut to the chase: Emma has no chance with Will and that a competition between Teri and Emma is like a competition between a hammer and a nail. Emma gets equally blunt and says Will deserves better than Teri. Teri swings back with a decent point: "You're so superior because you're nice to a man who you see one, maybe two hours a day?" So superior she'd steal a man from his pregnant wife. She advises Emma to marry Ken. "Sure, he's dumb like sand and his fondue pot of nationalities is gonna open your kids up to a host of genetic diseases, but he's kind, and he's generous. And he's available." Point, and several of them, goes to Teri there. Shrew as she is.
Later, Quinn meets Teri in the hallway. She wants to take Teri up on her offer to raise the baby as her own. Quinn's got cheerleading, a life she likes, and she's even enjoying Glee -- it already feels like too much (sensing a theme, are we?) and she can't add a baby to it. Plus she doesn't want to add to Finn's eventual heart attack. She just doesn't want Mr. Shu to ever find out. However, when Quinn tries to push her luck and get Teri to shell out for medical expenses, maternity clothes, et cetera, Teri's selfishness elbows out her pragmatism, and she tells Quinn if she's gonna foot the bill for this kid for 18 years, Quinn can pick up the next nine months. Oh, that's gonna come back and bite you, Miss My Belly Is as Fake as My Hair Is Feathered.
Emma meets Ken in the locker room -- a toxic environment for her if there ever was one, so she can't stay long. She tentatively talks herself into marrying Ken under the following conditions: She wants to keep her last name, keep living on opposite sides of town, not see each other after school, not have a ceremony, not tell anyone, and generally keep it secret. It's better than Ken figured he'd get. But neither of them wants to end up alone, so it looks like they'll get married? Look, I get that this is the show Saying Something about small towns and limited options, and that Ken knows what he's signing up for and is totally asking for it, and Emma's screwed up enough to not be wholly reprehensible for wanting to keep people at arms' length, but ... how does this make me not hate her just a little? Right?
Out in the hall, Finn greets "A-Rach" and compliments the girls' "energetic" mashup performance. Rachel justifies that they were just leveling the playing field (true), but Finn lays on the guilt and gets her to admit she feels terrible. To be fair, so does he -- he doesn't even remember performing. (Uh...find a gay dude with an iTunes account, he'll remind you.) Rachel suggests they both disqualify their respective squads, then apologizes for being such a harpy about the pills. "I guess I get caught up in the competitive hysteria too," she says. "My goals are too selfish. It's time for me to stop competing against everyone and start competing alongside them." Guys, I think we have our Rachel-Related Breakthrough About Teamwork and Unselfishness of the Week!
Cut to Will and Teri in the principal's office, him flipping out on her for giving drugs to his students. Teri, exasperated: "I'll say it again: They're over-the-counter, FDA approved, and if I didn't give it to them, I'm sure the kids would just find a way to get it for themselves." No, says Will; they're good kids. Good kids preyed upon by a crazy-eyed pusher lady. "Nothing bad happened!" Teri stresses. Not true, says Principal -- Howard got arrested on suspicion for running an underground meth lab. Teri: "I never told Howard to get them all in one place." HA! Man, some excellent line readings from Jessalyn Gilsig this week. Will is aghast and even brings up the "how are we supposed to have a baby?" thing. "Every time I light a fire in my life," says Will, trying to coin a phrase, "you find a way to make sure it burns the forest down." Well, I don't see Hallmark biting on that one, but best of luck! So Teri gets shitcanned, obvi, but Will also gets disciplined for letting it happen on his watch. As punishment, he's about to be saddled with a co-chair on Glee club.
And if any one of you didn't totally call Sue Sylvester as that very co-director, you are now obligated to go an donate a hundred dollars to the Tomato Nation fall contest. No, seriously. No, SERIOUSLY. Go. Even if you did call the Sue thing. Help some kids out. Fund some extracurriculars of your own.
So Will uncorks this eye-roller for his penitent kids: "Glee is supposed to be about what's in your heart, not what's coursing through your veins." Sorry, I must be getting sympathy morning sickness with Quinn because HOOOARF! Foot off the pedal on that kind of thing, Ryan, damn. So enter Sue Sylvester. She's all full of fake enthusiasm and can't wait to start "singin' and dancin' and maybe puttin' on the ritz a little bit." It can only go awesome from here.
Less awesome: the increasingly anchor-like Emma storyline. She tells Will she accepted Ken's proposal, and Will pretends like it's not breaking him in half, and we end on the truly bummer (and clichéd!) note of them staring at each other from opposite sides of the hallway. There's distance between them now! Mission accomplished, Sue Sylvester and Teri Shuster!
Oh, but we do get one more scene of optimism: Rachel's morning routine now includes a different motivational poster: "SECTIONALS!" Looks like somebody took her weekly teamwork epiphany to heart!