What if I told you Glee was going to tackle the comeback of gay-bashing in New York City and the social/economic realities of interracial dating in a post-Obama world, and that it was going to do so with restraint and grace and power? I know. I know. I started watching with one-and-a-half eyes closed also, but they kind of crushed it? I don’t want to infuse you with a false sense of hope or anything, but these last few weeks have been a complete Gleesurgence (sorry), harkening back to those precious first 13 episodes in season one when things made sense a full two-thirds of the time and the performances caused big ol’ fat tears roll down your cheeks and you couldn’t wait to see how your favorite characters were going to come correct next week.
It’s almost like the writers and producers heard the cries of its anguished fan base and the critiques of critics who stuck around, and decided, OK, fine, here is the show you fell in love with. Too bad it’s too little, too late. The ratings are plummeting just when the show is re-finding its soul.
So, it’s Sondheim week and kicking things off is a haunting rendition of “No One is Alone” as Rachel and Kurt and Blaine walk down the street bearing candles and white roses, a vigil for a gay friend of theirs who was beaten into critical condition. Unsurprisingly, it is Kurt who is most deeply affected by the news and the sight of the mementos honoring their friend. We met him when he was getting tossed into a dumpster and we’ve lived with him through a dozen kinds of bullying over the years. I don’t have a lot in common with Kurt Hummel. He possess more courage and poise than I could hope to have in a zillion years, but the quiet rage that simmers in his blood when he feels helpless? Boy, do I ever get that.
Funny Girl‘s producer meets with his cast and crew and reminds them that the coming weeks of tech and rehearsal are going to require 30 hours of their days, every day. Rachel is on board, of course; like Blaine, she neither sleeps nor blinks on account of the brevity of life compared to the things that need to be accomplished. The thing is, though, that it’s time for NYADA’s midwinter critiques and if there’s one constant in the Gleeverse, it’s that Carmen Tibideaux accepts exactly zero shit, so Rachel needs to show up and be on point. Her producer says that’s fine. She can have one lone hour to do other things.
Sam is up late on Mercedes‘ couch watching Facts of Life. (“It’s about this old red-headed lady who runs this boarding school for lesbians and I think the boarding school burned down so now the old red-headed lady opened up this pot dispensery called Edna’s Edibles. They all work there.”) He’s chomping on a bucket-sized bowl of Lucky Charms and laughing super loud. Mercedes comes downstairs to ask him to be quiet but no one can resist the charms of the lesbian show about weed, so she joins him.
He tries to talk to her about how their relationship was over before it even began and it just doesn’t seem fair. She rolls her eyes because is it his first day on this show, or what? No one cane date anyone for longer than ten minutes if the producers are going to pair literally everyone with literally everyone else before the show ends! And anyway, she performed “I Will Always Love You” during their breakup, so what else could we possibly ask for? (Answer: Nothing else. None of us deserve to hear Amber Riley‘s voice. It is a heart-kiss from the gods bestowed upon us in their most benevolent moments.)
Of course she follows up her rejection with some hardcore making out, so you can see how Sam would be even more confused than usual.
(But wait! There’s more! When Sam can’t sleep at night, Blaine reads him Star Wars fan fiction. Sam doesn’t like the canon(ish) bullshit George Lucas churns out under a pseudonym. Sam likes the good stuff. If you stumbled onto Sam’s Tumblr, there’s no way you’d walk away thinking he was straight. Anyway, that’s what he tells Mercedes before the level seven canoodling.)
Monday night pot luck is a go. During their second feast, Artie catches Sam and Mercedes playing footsie under the table, which makes everyone think about how no one ever knew what the heck was actually going on with them because they didn’t participate in the New Directions tradition of airing the minutiae of their relationship during every rehearsal with a special song and dance to be critiqued by Mr. Schue. (The relationship drama, I mean. That’s what Mr. Schue critiqued. Not the actual performances.) Kurt brings up the midwinter performances and Rachel announces that she will be blessing them all with a Sondheim rendition of her own.