Rachel is finally having just a touch of trouble balancing full time rehearsals of her Broadway production with a full course load at NYADA. Funny Girl is about to go into two very important weeks of tech rehearsals, but she needs to ask for just a few hours off for her Midwinter Critique at school. Her producer relents with the instruction that he will need her full focus after this. So naturally, it makes sense for her to disregard that this is a solo critique of her personal journey as an artist by singing alongside Blaine. They perform “Broadway Baby” from Follies, which sounds great (and looks dynamite with Blaine in tails and Rachel in tea-length formal). Still, the song makes Rachel look sort of like a jerk; she's singing about how swell it would be to get a gig on Broadway when she is currently the lead in a huge Broadway revival. B+
The actual offense, of course, is that Rachel and Blaine completely disregarded the parameters of this assignment, and Madame Tibideaux is having about 0% of it. She gives them mercy, though, and says they can reschedule a make-up performance for next week.
Coat throwing in the East River aside, this is where the logic of this episode really takes a left turn. You see, Rachel can’t reschedule her performance because she already had to beg her producer for this time off. Madame Tibideaux won't be swayed: She tells Rachel that all of her professors have said she’s barely scraping by. Tibideaux isn't going to give special treatment to someone who hasn’t earned it within the confines of NYADA’s walls. Does Rachel care about the work, or does she just want the prestige of the degree? Being Rachel, she wants it all -- but also being Rachel, she decides that if this is how things are going to be, she doesn’t need NYADA. She’s well on her way to fulfilling all her dreams without an expensive degree, dammit!
Now, I get where Madame Tibideaux is coming from; Rachel is disrespecting the school by not giving it her full attention. But I don’t know exactly what she’s suggesting. She wants Rachel to quit Funny Girl? Don’t be ridiculous. No performing arts teacher would ever suggest a student give up on a Broadway play because they don’t have enough "foundation." Why does nobody seem to get that a "leave of absence" is a very real thing? This would be the perfect time for Rachel to take one from NYADA, then return back for a little more foundation after she sees if this thing sinks or floats.
Rachel should have figured that out on her own -- but if she had just taken the logical way out, she couldn’t have the big blowup that leads us to what we’ve all known is coming in this episode. When Rachel meets Kurt out for dinner, he’s already heard her news through NYADA’s supremely efficient gossip train. He encourages her not to quit because a degree from NYADA will give her options. Again, I don’t know what exactly he's suggesting, because clearly it’s not that she should QUIT a Broadway production (one that doesn’t have an understudy, mind you). Rachel says Kurt is just afraid of taking risks, and he needs a place like NYADA because he’s scared to "grow up and be an adult." (So she screams at her 19-year-old pal in the middle of a restaurant.) All right, settle down, Fanny.
NEXT: A tough scene to watch...