Glee recap: Listen to the (Happy) Critics

Rachel plays the lead in tonight's Broadway-centric Funny Girl episode, sharing the spotlight only slightly with a confusing return to Lima
Ep. 17 | Aired Apr 22, 2014

Tyler Golden/Fox

Santana lovers rejoice; Santana haters, rest easy. As the line "things could not possibly get any worse" is uttered, the scene cuts to the street outside, where Santana is exiting a cab, looking fabulous. Thank goodness Santana and Sue both got the memo that when arriving in New York, you should always be draped in a black trench coat. Santana probably should have completed her Carmen San(tana)diego look with a hat, though, because a pigeon immediately flies into her head and It. Is. Awesome. Bring on the physical Santana humor, Season 5!

I get whiplash from trying to keep up with whether Santana is being mean or just regular-level sassy, but it seems her nine-month (nine months?) trip to the island of Lesbos has done her well: She’s on her best behavior tonight. Kurt has called her in to do the job that only she can do: kick Rachel Berry’s ass into gear. Santana stomps into Rachel's room, informs her she’s not there for a pep talk, and immediately starts reading her something from her phone that sounds like a particularly cruel response to Rachel’s Funny Girl performance. It's actually a comment from 1964, in a review of Barbra Streisand’s original portrayal of Fanny Brice...and if everyone can’t appreciate Barbra, then everyone just has to be comfortable with a little negativity sometimes. Santana tells Rachel there’s no way she can do poorly; all she has to do is get on stage and open her mouth, because they both only have two speeds: "Awesome or Not at All." With that in mind, Rachel is ready to be Awesome.

And also with that, we are suddenly thrust into a storyline about Sue falling in love with Chris Parnell/Dr. Spaceman...in New York...in the middle of the Funny Girl episode. I understand the need for another plot to break up the Funny Girl storyline, but just about any other plot would have made more sense to be paired with Rachel’s debut than this one. In a meet-cute worthy of Sue Sylvester, Mario (Chris Parnell) and Sue are both trying to scalp their Funny Girl tickets outside the show; Sue takes notice of Mario and seems to immediately become enamored with him. Will still drags her inside, where she promptly complains about the show, leaves five minutes into the performance, runs into Mario who has also left, and goes with him to the empty restaurant he owns to eat dinner. It all ends in making out, and I just…I don’t…Why? Sue is plenty funny, and I laughed at her casually telling Mario that her parents were famous Nazi hunters and mentioning leaving her food-taster (Becky) at home. But could she not have had the same New York storyline, abbreviated to exclude the falling in love part? Or could this perfectly fine subplot have just been used at some other, less solo-oriented time?

Will goes to see Rachel in her dressing room and the tightening in my chest is immediate. That guy is an acquired taste, but he loves his students and his students love him. Rachel is elated to see him, and Schue tells her he always knew she would end up here. Well, first he says he always knew "we" would end up here, because he’s Will Schuester, but at least he catches himself. Rachel tells him that she knows it’s weird, but she got Finn a seat at the show. He always made her promise that she would get him a ticket for her fist show on Broadway, so she did. Will tells her that’s not weird -- I tell myself I’m not crying -- and Rachel says she’s just nervous to sing "Who Are You Now?" because she always thinks about Finn on that one. Will's suggestion to just find him in the audience if she gets nervous is quickly voided when he gets the call that Emma’s water just broke, and he has to make an early exit, leaving Rachel with the parting thought that she’s "making [his] dreams come true too." Oh, Schue…

NEXT: A simple, funny girl...


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