Less successful was Jake and Ryder’s duet. The duo have clearly had problems since the beginning, but ever since Ryder kissed Marley before Grease, it’s a regular 90210 up at McKinley. I’m definitely pulling for the Ryder angle of this triangle (math joke!): his conversation about girls liking guys who say what they want may have been a little too aware for the typical 16-year-old, but my heart was definitely listening. But just like that earlier convo turned into a hallway brawl (with Marley acting as Bella Swan, lip bite and all!), so too did Jake and Ryder’s duet.
When an exasperated Finn (I bet he’s racking up some serious sympathy for Schuster!) talked to Jake and Ryder afterwards in the auditorium, he was direct. They each had to confess something about themselves to each other -- Kryptonite! -- and then they could better understand each other. It was a nice idea in theory, but I was already rolling my eyes in practice. To my surprise, Finn’s idealism kind of worked. Jake confided that he always felt out of place, being a bi-racial Jewish kid, and later Ryder confessed that he really struggled in school. Props to Jake for being a decent human being, and telling Finn about Ryder’s problems. Finn staged a mini-intervention with a counselor so that she could run some tests on Ryder, where we then learned what many of you instantly called: Ryder has dyslexia, which is why he had problems with schoolwork.
In the Serious Moment of the episode, Finn and Ryder have a heart to heart after his tests, and Ryder confided the pressure he feels from his parents to do well in school. I thought Blake Jenner did a great job with this scene (on The Glee Project, his acting was considered his strong suit, and probably had a lot to do with his winning). Ryder is going to get the extra help he needs, and now that Jake has done something nice for him (UNINTENDED RESULT!) Ryder can’t be too mad at Jake when Jake winds up with Marley.
That’s right. After a call to his big bro Puck (Puck cameo!), Jake’s advised that no girl will be able to stay away from him. But his real success comes when Ryder had to bail on his Friday night date with Marley. So far this season, I’ve been on Marley’s side, but I really didn’t like how this played out. Ryder told her about needing to study Friday night, and then explained he had a doctor’s appointment the next morning. Yes, it definitely sounded like a blow-off excuse. I know high school is misunderstanding central, but Ryder was honest and he gave her an alternative date. Of course, Kitty was around to pour some poison in her ear. But instead of having the intended consequence of Marley feeling bad for herself, Marley took some of that Sandy-At-The-End-Of-Grease confidence and told Jake they had plans after the football game. I did enjoy Kitty’s look of confused disgust when she realized that Marley now had a date with both Jake and Ryder. Her?
NEXT: Blaine has a decision to make...