This week on a very special “Glee,” everyone’s in search of their true selves. Kurt ditches his identity and goes butch to please his dad, Puck loses his mojo (and his mohawk) and tries to regain his popularity, and Rachel loses her voice, leading her to wonder who she’d be without those pitch-perfect pipes.
It all leads to standout performances by a few Gleeks beginning with Finn, who displays a shocking amount of confidence in his unabashed pursuit of Rachel AND manages to teach her a Very Important Lesson: Quit whining already — at least you’re not a paraplegic! On top of that, Finn leads off the episode with a number that we should have seen coming, singing “Jesse’s Girl” with some righteous, Rachel Berry-loving passion.
But even Finn’s best Rick Springfield was no match for the dueling attitudes of Santana and Mercedes, who give Brandy and Monica a run for their money. And then came the second coming of Kurt Hummel, who gets not one but two SOLO numbers this week including a show-stopper that would make Gypsy Rose Lee herself proud. Everything’s coming up Kurt!
[Full recap of Tuesday’s (May 11) “Glee” after the break…]
Something is wrong at McKinley High. Very, very wrong. Puck has shaved off his mohawk… and the act has neutered his reign of terror, upsetting the very balance of the universe! To get his mojo back, Puck sets his sights on Mercedes, because now that she’s a Cheerio dating her will make him popular again. Mercedes, however, isn’t interested in dating Puck. For now.
Meanwhile, Rachel’s paid the AV club to bug glee practice to find out who isn’t singing at full volume, revealing that at least half of the Gleeks are half-assing their vocals. Will decides to save the day with yet another patented Will Shuester Problem Solving Homework Assignment: everyone is to pick a song that describes how they see themselves, to help them find their own voices. Or something.
Kurt finds out that his dad has set up a sporting man date with Finn, and you know what that means: Bring on the “Kurt love-hates Finn and wants his dad to himself” drama!
Rachel volunteers to sing her “voice” song first; she’s chosen Miley Cyrus’s “The Climb,” an inspirational song about overcoming obstacles! Only to Rachel, those obstacles are her fellow Gleeks, who aren’t pulling their own weight. But wait a second and HOLD THE PHONE — pitch-perfect Rachel Berry is suddenly singing off-key, for the first time in her life! So off-key that even Mike (Harry Shum), the dancing Asian who never has to sing or say a word, has unleashed the world’s biggest stink face.
Sue Sylvester accosts Kurt to find out why he wasn’t at Cheerios practice the previous day. He reveals that he’s afraid he’s losing his father because of his sexuality — and Sue responds by issuing her own version of sage advice: how does Kurt even know he’s gay if he hasn’t tried kissing a girl? (Banter between Kurt and Sue is one of the very magical things about “Glee.”) Kurt comes away from the conversation hatching an idea of his own… cut to Kurt, dressed like a lumberjack, who’s decided to sing a John Cougar Mellencamp song as his assignment. His transformation finally gives Kurt and his dad something to talk about!
Finn has accompanied Rachel to the doctor, where she learns she has severe tonsillitis and needs to have her tonsils removed. Rachel resists; Finn can tell she’s afraid of losing her singing mojo if she has surgery. With Jesse away on spring break (why is everyone else still in class?), Finn takes the opportunity to plead his case again; he still wants to be Rachel’s boyfriend. But she still cares for Jesse, which leads to the first musical number of the show. How did I not see this coming? Finn sings “Jesse’s Girl” as his assignment for glee club! (So that’s why the writers named him Jesse! Brilliant thinking, folks. The pay-off was totally worth it.)
Finn sings his super obvious song in front of class, with a mortified Rachel watching. Even Shue’s into it; it’s like when any Rick Springfield song comes on at a bar and everyone in the place starts singing along. Quinn gives a polite golf clap, if anyone’s noticing. Not to be outdone, Puck asks to sing next, and in rolls the jazz band to back him on Sammy Davis, Jr. hit, all part of Puck’s plan to get Mercedes to go out with him. Since the first song is “The Lady is a Tramp,” Santana naturally thinks Puck’s singing to her… until Mercedes jumps up and joins him in a duet.
After clicking with Puck, Mercedes is walking on air. She admits to her new bestie-from-two-weeks-ago Quinn that she’s kind of into Puck now, and Quinn gives her blessing because living with Puck and his mother has been annoying. She warns Mercedes to watch herself — not because Puck will break her heart, but because a jealous Santana is now on the warpath.
The newly butched-up Kurt moseys into glee club to sing the song about his true inner self, only he’s picked John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses.” Nobody’s quite convinced; even Kurt looks a little dead inside as he’s singing about America while wearing heavy flannel. Will tells Kurt he missed the point of the assignment. Kurt is stopped on his way out of class by Brittany; she’s only person dumb enough to buy Kurt’s new straight act, and since he’s the only guy at McKinley she hasn’t made out with, she wants to get a piece of that Hummel action. But does Kurt want a piece of Brittany? Kurt takes Brittany up on her offer and has her over to his place to make-out. He orchestrates a plan to have his dad walk in while he’s frenching a girl, just to show him how straight he is. His dad is surprised, but tells Kurt he’s fine whether or not he ends up liking girls or boys and leaves Kurt to his straight act.
Finn finds Rachel in the hallway looking like a cat lady. She hasn’t slept in three days because of her tonsillitis and she’s feeling sorry for herself. If she has tonsil surgery and loses her voice, she’ll be NOTHING: “I’m like Tinkerbell, Finn — I need applause to live.”
Mercedes is finding that dating Puck is tedious. But just as Puck begins learning how to make Mercedes happy, he finds out his popularity has reverted back to normal and starts making eyes at Santana again. Mercedes sees Puck’s fidelity starting to fade, and she speed dials Santana to duel-duet it out over Puck, a la Brandy vs. Monica! Puck revels in the attention as the two girls battle it out in a catty version of “The Boy is Mine” that ends in a shoving match. (In case you were wondering, Mercedes is the Brandy to Santana’s Monica.)
Finn takes Rachel to see an old football friend of his, Sean, who was left paralyzed after a bad tackle. Rachel sees the meds and the wheelchair and hears how miserable Sean is after losing the thing he loved most, but learns that he’s found other talents to fill his life with. Like singing! Rachel is way weirded out by the surprise and leaves reassessing her life.
Mercedes quits Cheerios, even though it made her uber popular. It was never truly her thing, so she’s giving it up to go back to the bottom of the food chain and effectively calling things off with Puck.
Meanwhile, a new couple is grossing out everyone at school: New Kurt and Brittany. But Kurt’s dad is once again taking Finn out for some sporty male bonding time and again hasn’t invited Kurt along, even though he’s now New Kurt. As his dad walks away toward his man-date with Finn, a hurt Kurt begins singing his true inner voice song, “Rose’s Turn” from Gypsy, which morphs from an emotional hallway monologue into a dazzling Broadway-style number, complete with Kurt on stage singing solo with his name in lights: “Everything’s coming up Hummel!” “Everything’s coming up Kurt!”
Kurt finishes his number to a darkened theater, where his father stands applauding. Kurt’s dad blew off his man-date with Finn to make sure Kurt was okay. The two Hummels have a heart to heart, in which Kurt’s dad FINALLY tells him to knock off the victim routine (thank goodness). Tears and “I love yous” ensue, and Kurt and his dad finally patch things up.
Meanwhile, Rachel goes to visit Finn’s friend Sean. Her tonsils are back to normal and she’s no longer scared of having them removed some day, because Sean has taught her that she can be happy and fulfilled even if she were to lose her muchness. Rachel offers to give Sean weekly singing lessons as a thank you, and they sing U2’s “One” together. Their a capella duet turns into an entire stage number by the Gleeks, and we’re left with a multi-culti feeling of goodwill washing over us.
Next week: NPH is in the house as Will’s old glee nemesis and Rachel finds a clue to who her mother is in an episode directed by Joss Whedon!
Sue Sylvesterism of the Week: “So you like showtunes? It doesn’t mean you’re gay. It means you’re awful.”