It’s the day of the show y’all! Well, technically the night before the day of the show and Rachel is stuck in a nightmarish hellscape. It’s every bad dream rolled into one. She’s suddenly naked (yea!), her teeth fall out (boo!), and her friends and adversaries are all gathered to watch her shine or fail. Becky is there to act as the nagging voice in Rachel’s head. “You are a hack. You don’t deserve this.” Suddenly Rachel is sophomore year Rachel, with her reindeer sweater, plaid skirt and knee socks. She sings “Lovefool” by The Cardigans, as her voice goes in and out of pitch, the world around her spinning, the haters booing. She wakes up in a cold sweat.
That morning, Kurt tries to calm his friend’s nerves. The critics thought she killed it in Syracuse, and she’s going to be amazing on Broadway. Rachel doesn’t care, because she’s been trolling all the Broadway message boards and comments sections, where jealous actors and fanatical theatre fans have come to gather and delight in tearing her apart until there’s nothing left of her but a bobbed wig and sinew. Of course, all this is a very meta commentary on well, commentary. Kurt doesn’t want Rachel to get mired in all the negativity so she takes away her phone and promises to shield her in a love bubble, filled with only her close friends. I call that happy hour.
At McKinley, which I though burned down or was a strip mall by now, Sue Sylvester finds Will walking through the hall. Emma is hella pregnant, so she can no longer use her plane ticket and Sue wants it. Will is confused since Sue recently went on a diatribe about New York on her news segment, “How Sue ‘Cs’ It.” In it, she said NYC was shaped like a dong (true) and smelled like pee (also true), but it turns out that Sue had never actually been to the Big Apple before. (It’s our dong-shaped, pee smelling island, and we love it, dammit.) Will agrees to give her the ticket, but makes her promise to attend opening night of Funny Girl. She agrees and when Will leaves, she has a little fantasy sequence of her own. With a shake of a snow globe, she and Will are transported to the best community theatre version of Annie you’ve ever seen. They sing “NYC” and it’s beautiful, with a classic flair. As the song ends, they actually find themselves in the city, running with their luggage through a sea of yellow cabs.
Sue and Will aren’t Rachel’s only visitors. Tina is in from Brown, with tales of her roommate and her new gay boyfriend. Rachel is on vocal rest because that is something we singers do to save our voices and be as insufferable as possible. It’s true. All is grand until Tina starts talking about the awful blog posts and commenters. Kurt and the gang mercifully stop her. Rachel claims she is fine and sequesters herself away to take a nap and cry quietly. Mercedes scoops Tina up and takes her back to her apartment to keep her out of Rachel’s hair.
Kurt wakes up in the middle of the night with a start. He follows the voice of a young woman saying terrible things about Rachel. He finds Rachel watching a vlogger tear her apart, while sitting in a pile of printed negative reviews and crumpled kleenex. It’s time for an intervention.
The gang all shows up to try and make Rachel feel calm and loved. Sam plays acoustic guitar in her face, Blaine offers a massage with his magic hands, and Kurt presents Rachel with a gift basket from the one and only Babs. Rachel knows she’s being conned however, because any self-respecting gay boy would know that it’s Barbra, not Barbara. She blames Tina for the treachery. To make matters ten times worse, Sue Sylvester shows up and invites herself to stay at the Hummelberry loft. Will accidentally booked a room with only one bed, and Sue is convinced he’s an adulterous perv now. The gang all stares at her, their faces contorted with shock and horror. Thank heavens that help is on the way. Help just happens to be slo-mo hair-flipping, high heel leather boot-wearing, Santana Lopez. Too bad that pigeon had to ruin the moment.
It appears that seven months of nonstop Hawaiian scissoring with Brittany has done her a world of good. She walks into the shitshow and gets to work. Rachel doesn’t think that Santana’s tough love is going to work, but she’s never really understood the magic of one, Ms. Santana Lopez anyway. Santana whips out her phone and starts reading terrible reviews out loud. Rachel’s heart sinks, until she finds out that the reviews were actually of Barbra’s performance as Fanny Brice. Babs had haters too, but she knew the mirror had two faces, and both of them told those assholes to piss off. Santana reminds Rachel that failing is not in either of their natures. So time to get up, get out, get up get out and live it. Rachel emerges from her room, pumped and ready to open the show. Group hug time. I wish Quinn were there.