ALL THINGS GLEE
RECAP: Glee - Funeral
This week, Jesse St. James tries to help New Directions prepare for Nationals, but the death of Sue's sister has the club focusing on a funeral instead. Old grudges are put aside and more than a few characters have a change of heart.
Will announces that he's bringing in Jesse St. James in as a consultant to help get New Directions ready for Nationals in New York City. Finn, the alpha dog of the group, really balks at the move, but the rest of the club sides with their teacher, thinking he's the best way for the group to work on their weak spots. Jesse advises the group to decide who the undisputed top talent is in the group, and center their whole performance around that one person. Rachel couldn't be happier. But first, she's gotta audition for the part.
Sue has a computer expert brought in to help her League of Doom take down Will and New Directions. Together they break into Principal Figgins' computer in order to reroute the Directions' plane tickets to the Big Apple through Libya. Very devilish stuff. So much, in fact that even Honey Badger (Will's ex-wife) calls out Sue on waking up on the wrong side of the bed.
It's true. Sue is even grumpier than usual, and when Will gets a visit from Becky asking to join the Glee club, he goes to her to discover why. The adorable Becky, afflicted with Downs syndrome yet a member of the Cheerios and one of Sue's most supportive followers, was kicked off the cheerleading squad. Will demands to know why, and Sue reveals that it's because she reminds her too much of her own sister Gene, who just died. Gene also suffered from Downs yet exceeded all expectations and lived into her 50s. Sue is clearly devastated, and in this exchange we suddenly see that she and Will are holding hands. She admits that she doesn't know how to deal with her tragic loss.
Kurt and Finn bring her flowers along with their condolences, and instead of a heartfelt thanks she turns on them. She's angry that her sister, the kindest person she knew - would be taken from her, while she, in her own words, "one of the meanest," would get to live on. The guys realize she isn't handling the loss and hasn't even made arrangements for a funeral, so they go to their peers to help out.
But Jesse doesn't like the idea. It's taking your eyes off the prize, in his view. Finn, after earlier being humiliated by the group's new addition, asserts himself here, declaring that New Directions will help Sue. Everyone nods in approval.
Meanwhile Emma helps Will pack for the trip. They sort through his various sweater vests and talk about whether or not he'll ever return... whether he's told the kids... it's all very vague. It sounds like Will is going to try his luck on Broadway after all, yet is also banking on coming back for the beginning of the next school year. He and Emma nearly have an intimate moment, but she deflects it with a vest and tells him that it's time for him to put things in his rear view mirror.
At the vocal competition, Glee is afforded the rare opportunity to mock their peers in the Reality TV show world, as Will and Jesse get in the stands to judge the contestants. Jesse gives a pitch-perfect impression of the merciless judges from shows like Idol and Dancing With The Stars as the singers duke it out.
Santana is first up, singing Amy Winehouse's "Back to Black." Solid performance, and she even sounds a bit like the raspy-voiced vocalist. Kurt's next, and does "Some People" from the musical Gypsy. The show's most high profile gay character doing another showtune feels tired at this point, and Jesse calls him on it.
Mercedes gives it her shot next, and does "Try A Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding. True to form, she gives it her gospel-loving best, but again Jesse's praise is in short supply. He tells her that she doesn't practice enough, and her choreography is virtually non-existant.
Rachel comes up to tackle the Barbra Streisand song "My Man," the closing number from Funny Girl. Jesse asks her if she's singing it to anyone in particular, alluding to himself. She says no, but then it cuts to a montage of Finn, looking all cute and full of schoolboy charm. Naturally, she kills it, and Jesse tells her it was a brilliant performance. Will announces that he's taking some time to deliberate on the winner. However, the others think it's rigged and that she's going to win it either way.
Sue comes to Gene's funeral, where she's surprised to find New Directions has decorated the place with props from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Gene's favorite movie. She tries to speak about her sister, but breaks down. Will gets up and helps finish the speech. The Directions sing "Pure Imagination" and Sue cries, once again taking Will's hand. When they're done she whispers "thank you" to the group.
Finn breaks up with Quinn, telling her that he can't help but feel like their relationship is a sham. She calls him out, saying that it's because of his feelings for Rachel.
Sue accepts Becky back, telling her that she fired her in a fit of menopausal "womb rage." She promotes Becky to captain of the Cheerios starting next year, and the two share a warm embrace. She makes further amends by telling Will she's sorry for all of the mean things she's done to him, and that she can't hate on the Glee club anymore. He's got a pure heart like her sister, and she can't begin to thank him and the Directions for helping with Gene's funeral.
In an act of kindness Terri (the honey badger) finagles Will and the team first class tickets to the Big Apple. Just like, Sue, she seems to have had a change of heart. She's leaving her cruel ways behind, and apparently her conquest of Will as well. She tells her ex-husband that she's going to move to Miami to try her luck down there, and he wishes her well.
Jesse finds Rachel rehearsing in the auditorium and tells her that she's won the solo at Nationals. Finn enters the room just as the two kiss, and instead of presenting Rachel with a flower he turns leaves instead.
However, tacked up in the hallway, they find that no winner was announced, but Will has called an urgent meeting. There he says no one will be the centerpiece, and the group will do the same thing that has got them this far: work as a team.
NEXT WEEK: New Directions heads to New York to compete in Nationals, and the team learns of Will's plan to try his luck on Broadway.
Justin Starling (@CitadelNow) for Citadel Digital © 2011