I’ll be honest with you, dear readers. I’m in a quandary. Glee is possibly the most inconsistent show ever, and I find it difficult to hold back the snark when an episode like “The Rise and Fall of Sue Sylvester” happens so soon after “A Wedding.” How can such a solid, heartwarming, well-written episode so quickly be followed by something so…lackluster and off the rails as this week’s episode? I guess this is a question I’ve been thinking about for a long time, but with only two episodes left of Glee, I can’t help but dwell on it. I know I promised to see Glee in a new light during its final season, and I think for the most part I have. Some have told me my criticism wasn’t biting enough, but I really have tried to turn over a new leaf. The only problem is the show hasn’t.
Last week, Glee really wanted us to become invested in the newbies, and we kind of did. This week, however, we really don’t get to cash in on that investment. This week is all about Sue and Schue, which I’m pretty sure was the opposite of what most fans have been clamoring for. At least the episode kicks off with Jane leading the New Directions in a solid version of “Rather Be” by Clean Bandit. Their chemistry is improving, as is their dancing, and Will gleefully watches their progress from the auditorium seats. He’s so happy, he barely notices when Kurt and Blaine glumly walk into the theatre. Apparently Dalton Academy, which has been standing for something like 200 plus years, burned to the ground and is nothing more than charred mahogany and the ashes of so many blue blazers. Blaine is out of a job and the Warblers are without a home.
Dalton’s loss turns out to be the New Directions’ gain, because the Warblers need somewhere to warble and the glee club needs to fill their ranks. Everyone seems to take the news fairly well, except Sue. When she finds out that Will went over her head and directly to the Superintendent, she once again vows to ruin him. Yeah, yeah. We know.
The only person more upset about the Warblers is Becky Jackson. With her boyfriend in tow, she angrily confronts Sue about trying to block the Warblers from transferring over to McKinley. For some reason, of all the terrible things Sue has done over the years, this is the straw that breaks Becky’s back. Like any college student, she’s had a chance to grow now that she’s left the nest, and Becky’s heart just can’t take Sue’s machinations anymore. Becky breaks off her friendship with Sue, and Sue tries to blame Becky’s fellow, but this is all on Sue Sylvester.
Meanwhile in New York, Rachel has decided that NYADA is where she needs to be, so she plans to beg Carmen Tibideaux for forgiveness and a chance to be a student once more. Yeah, I was surprised too. Anyway, Madame Tibideaux agrees to see Rachel, but her assistant warns Miss Berry that Tibideaux is been planning to give her hell, so have fun.
Sue puts on her best face for a meeting with Superintendent Harris, and is surprised to see Will sitting in his office as well. Will is pretty clueless as to why they’ve both been summoned but Harris gets right down to business. He knows about the Hurt Locker. In fact, he’s seen it with his own eyes. All the crazy collages and pictures with the eyeballs scratched out, the wall of Klaine, and even a mini replica of his nephew Myron. There is also apparently a Penthouse spread, which Harris seems overly focused on. After everything Sue has done, the Hurt Locker is her downfall. He tells he can’t allow her to be near any young people, and terminates her right then and there. She’s gobsmacked.
Sue goes straight to Geraldo Rivera to attempt to clear her name. Instead of helping her, Geraldo just helps seal her fate. He and his “fact checkers” prove that all the the crazy, amazing stories Sue has been telling us for six years haven’t been true. She wasn’t the tambourine player in Wilson Phillips, she’s not a national hero, and most crushing of all, Michael Bolton is not the father of her child. The singer goes on the record to tell the world that he doesn’t even know her. For some reason, this expose really just made me sad. There was something about all these tall tales, these ridiculous stories that I sort of hoped were true. Wouldn’t that have just been amazing? But sitting there, watching Sue reduced to some pathetic, unbalanced, pathological liar, was just…sad. She’s a monster, but she’s our monster. Her fall from grace brings me no joy.
The former New Directions (including Joe!) appear on the show to tell the world how Sue was awful to them. Worst of all, it turns out Becky Jackson is the one who has exposed Sue. Knowing that her one and only friend has betrayed her, just breaks her leathery heart.
Sue’s one saving grace is Coach Sheldon Beiste, who stands up for Sue and isn’t ashamed to do so. He even tells them to ditch the dark lighting and vocal disguise. Sue stood tall for him, and he’ll do the same for her.