You have to appreciate a show that resolves its cliffhangers less than 60 seconds into its first episode back.
Quinn lived! Finn and Rachel didn’t get married! David Boreanaz won full custody of his baby with Sue! (The last one is a prediction of how the next nail-biter will play out.)
So the episode starts with Quinn rolling up in a wheelchair to greet Rachel and Finn on her first day back at WMHS, and my first thought is, “I wonder if Dianna Agron actually likes yellow, or if they just make her wear it all the time because she can pull it off.”
After a bubbly duet with Artie (Elton John’s “Still Standing,” naturally), Q tells everyone in the choir room her wheels are likely temporary because, despite her compressed spine, she’s already regaining sensation in her legs and feet. Oh, and DON’T TEXT AND DRIVE. Anyway, Artie looks skeptical as she promises to be dancing on the stage at Nationals.
Thus for the rest of the episode, we are left to waffle between thinking that Quinn is remarkably and instantly well adjusted to this unexpected twist in her path… or that she’s in super denial.
It takes another bubbly duet in a yellow top with Artie before Q is willing to address out loud that her life could be permanently changed, which she flatly refuses to accept.
Denial it is.
Maybe she'll walk again. But if not, I think they have wheelchair ramps and skate parks in Connecticut. The Yale dream doesn't have to die, it just has to be revised. Girl, you survived junior high as Lucy Caboosey and you spent your sophomore year pregnant. You got this.
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Speaking of awkward pregnancies, Sue's delicate condition has caused her vigilance as cheerleading coach to wane (something about bats in her vajayjay). Figgins is desperate for the cash prize a Nationals win would bring to the school, so his solution is to ask Olympic bronze medalist Roz Washington to co-coach the squad.
I appreciate that NeNe Leakes isn’t afraid of a little nose-to-nose slander slinging, but perhaps the “Glee” gods could come up with other things for her to do so that her scenes are less predictable.
Sue’s plan to get back sole power of the Cheerios (which is not a bid to be Overlord of Cereal, which would be infinitely more epic) is to help New Directions win at Nationals, therefore getting Figgins his Benjamins and rendering Roz unnecessary.
Her initial tactic is to spew vicious yet mildly accurate verbal abuse at Booty Camp. When Schue angrily confronts her about straying from his encouraging methods (which involve encouraging the kids to believe they can win a competition with songs they write the night before), he somehow gets roped into accompanying Sue to the OB/GYN with Emma. The doc reveals that Baby Sylvester-Boreanaz is a girl, but she also informs them that Sue’s amnio showed irregularities.
In the end, hoping that a sense of decency will rub off on her daughter, Sue promises the glee club she’ll be nicer if they work harder.
You're wondering how I've gotten this far without mentioning Blaine's positively repulsive (by which I mean exceedingly handsome) brother, right? Well here ya go.
McKinley High students get a glimpse of mega-stardom when Cooper Anderson (Matt Bomer), the face of a popular credit score ad campaign, drops by to see his little bro, Blaine.
Sue is so starstruck that after having him autograph her boob and declaring him a Disney prince, she asks Cutie McWhiteCollar to give New Directions a master class in acting to prepare them for show business.
Some needling from Rachel prompts the brothers to perform a Duran Duran mash-up in the choir room. It is easily my second favorite choreographed routine performed by TV siblings. (My favorite should be obvious-it's Ross and Monica Gellar's routine for "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve.")
Later, Cooper begins his class. It perfectly blends the wisdom of Derek Zoolander and Joey Tribbiani into a heaping load of crap, but the glee kids are so dazzled by Lieutenant Prettyface that all but Blaine furiously take notes.
Blaine's issues are based on years of falling victim to his brother's know-it-all attitude and unflagging ego. He makes a couple of attempts to sing out his feelings, which will get further attention below. The siblings are ultimately able to forge a new relationship of friendship and understanding after Cooper recites a speech that he stole from Bernadette Peters on "Smash" about his daughter Ivy brother Blaine being so talented that she he had to be tough on her him.
That leaves almost-weds Finn and Rachel. Puck points out to Finn that if they moved to L.A. instead of N.Y.C., Finn could be a partner in Puck's pool-cleaning business while Rachel pursued her career. When he brings this up to Rachel, she freaks because "her" future (whoopsie, not "their" future) is in New York. Their fight and the episode ends with Finn saying she should be "really sure you're in love with me and not who you want me to be."
More lighter notes:
Best musical number: Cooper chimed in on Blaine’s second musical catharsis, Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used to Know.” It was an interesting twist to an awesome break-up song. Plus it was the first time Cooper seemed more like a person with thoughts and feelings and less like a cartoon.
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Best Sueism: Her “apology” that called out the implausible sexual tension between Mercedes and the Kentucky Fried Stripper and the millions wasted on the laser show for Sandbags to dance with the night school’s Polynesian janitor.
Best Senior Ditch Day idea that absolutely does NOT sound like torture, Santana: Kurt’s Gershwin-Sondheim scavenger hunt
And some low notes:
Worst musical number: Blaine’s first round of song therapy was a sketchy start to “Fighter.” It probably got better—if you’re into sing-boxing and angry showers—but Darren Criss channeling Xtina got my mind wandering about how I’d have to write this Gleecap instead of watch “The Voice” results show live….
Most noted absence: No zingers from Santana this week. Boo.
Saddest casting realization: Just when I was thinking how nicely Sugar Motta fit into the group, it occurred to me that I felt the same way about Lauren Zizes this time last year, and guess who’s not still around.