Glee Season 5 – The Backup Plan – Recap and Performance Videos (UPDATED)


Titled “The Backup Plan,” the iconic Shirley MacLaine will guest star as a wealthy socialite who takes an interest in Blaine (Darren Criss). The only problem is that fiance, Kurt (Chris Colfer) saw her first!

Also, Rachel (Lea Michele) is presented with an opportunity to audition for a television pilot in Hollywood. The only problem is that she may need to sneak behind the back of her Funny Girl producer!

Meanwhile, Mercedes (Amber Riley) tries to get Santana (Naya Rivera) in on her recording deal, putting her own career on the line in the process.

Click to Listen to FULL SONGS from The Backup Plan.

Jim Rash, from Community, co-stars at the FOX network producer who recruits Rachel for the pilot.

As always, I’ll be back with videos and a recap later!

“The Back Up Plan” is about ambition. What’s worth risking to reach your dreams? Do you put your relationships on the line? Blaine has to decide between love an career as a wealthy socialite takes him under his wing, but makes clear she wants Kurt out of the picture. Do you shake up the status quo? Rachel risks her Broadway dream for the chance at a part in TV. Or do you butt heads with the powerful people who can make you or break you to follow your vision? Mercedes insists on including Santana on her album, because she feels they are better together. Artie and Sam don’t play a role in this week’s episode. Not sure what was up with Chord Overstreet (Sam), but Kevin McHale (Artie) spent a few weeks in Connecticut filming a movie.

It’s only been 3 weeks since Funny Girl opened, and Rachel is the toast of the town. She autographs the newspaper covering a homeless guy who has fallen asleep on a park bench with her photo on it. You know, instead of stuffing some money in his pocket. “This is the place where dreams really do come true! And now…he’ll find one of his dreams came true too!” Rachel’s view of the world is becoming a little warped!

Rachel’s career is going so well, that she has even signed to top agent, ICA.Anticipating TV and movie offers, she gets a huge comedown instead, when her agent (played by Richard Kind) reminds her that she’s got “a face for radio.”  Can you imagine that shnozz on a 40 foot movie screen?  No, Rachel’s future is playing Fanny Brice wherever and whenever, for many years to come. It’s an exaggerated story, but emblematic of what many actors go through when they are almost TOO perfect for a role. Rachel is learning all about the cruel, cruel side of show business.

Meanwhile, Kurt couldn’t be more excited. The famous socialite, June Dalloway (played by Shirley MacLaine) is coming to NYADA for a special ceremony dedicating the dance studio in her name. Kurt, as one of the school’s rising stars, has been asked to perform. June is a great patron of the arts and even did peyote with Joe Kennedy. Allegedly. Blaine is  too cool for school, until Kurt invites him to sing “Story of My Life” with him at the ceremony. “C’mon, we’re a team!” says Kurt, “If something exciting happens to one of us, it happens to the other one too.” Poor Kurt is about to get hit with a giant reality bomb.

Meanwhile, Mercedes arrives home, upset that her producer listened to her finished album and “didn’t find a hit.” He warns her that the label won’t give her a release date, and she’ll just be another major label artist who crashed before she even got out of the gate. Remember the Troubletones from season 3? Mercedes does. She remembers how awesome she and Santana were as a duo, and enlists her help in the studio.

Cut to a deflated Rachel, sitting at her dressing table. She sings “Wake Me Up” as she envisions night after night after night of playing Fanny Brice. The camera does a cool thing– editing Rachel in a montage of repetition. We see multiple Rachel’s walking out to the stage, creating a sense of the mundane passage of time.

Wake Me Up – Rachel

Cut to a bouquet of dying Happy Opening flowers in Rachel’s dressing room.  “46 shows, 5000 more to go!” chirps the stage manager. Rachel is about ready to kill. At this moment, she doesn’t know how good she has it.  She has the world in the palm of her hand without realizing fleeting nature of fame.

Enter, a strange man, who turns out to be a FOX executive, played wonderfully by Jim Rash of Community. Rachel has no idea who the guy is, until he reminds her, as part of a very funny and self-involved stream of digressions.  The bottom line is, he caught the show while in NYC for the upfronts (let the meta begin!) and immediately thought of Rachel for a pilot FOX is producing called called Glee Song of Solomon.  He sets a meeting up for her in Los Angeles  and won’t take no for an answer. Unfortunately, it’s a Tuesday, which means Rachel will have to skip a show. “Guess your understudy is going on!” he says before flying out the door.

Rachel tries to wheedle a day off from the show during a dinner with producer, Sydney, at the Spotlight. He doesn’t bite. She’s too important to the success of Funny Girl. The only way she could take off is if her HEAD CAME OFF or midtown was invaded by aliens.  In which case everyone would be dead? At any rate, Rachel is destined to play Fanny all day, every day, into infinity.

Meanwhile, Santana and Mercedes are working in the studio, and things are just not jelling.  She’s got to finish the last track this week, or she loses her release date. Santana suggests Mercedes “get out from behind the glass”  to add a real New York vibe to her sound. The two end up rapping a Lauren Hill tune as the producer follows them with a mic. They try an elevator, a bathroom, a hallway, finally settling for a spot in the basement.

Doo Wop (That Thing) – Mercedes and Santana

Cut to the loft. Kurt is annoyed with Rachel AGAIN. First she quits NYADA, now she wants to risk her Broadway career. The girl gets handed things some people only dream of, and she’s ready to toss them away.  When Rachel namechecks all the stars who left Broadway for TV (Lea Michele. Heh), Kurt points out that none of them quit their shows after only a month. Wouldn’t Rachel have signed a contract to do a certain number of shows? Can an actor just quit a Broadway show if they are unhappy?  Remember Jeremy Pivin faking mercury poisoning to get out of HIS Broadway contract?  He was mocked so much as a result, and will never work in that town again.

ANYWAY. When Rachel reveals she’s going to lie and take a sick day, Kurt is upset until he realizes he would probably do the same thing. Well, probably not lie about it. But ditch NYADA to audition? Yeah.

At the June Dalloway soiree, Blaine and Kurt perform a lovely rendition of “Story of My Life.” Now, you’d think they would sing a classic Broadway number for an 80 year old socialite. But no.  Blaine, ever the flirt, serenades June in the audience and finishes with a gentle kiss to her hand.  Kurt kinda sorta tries the same maneuver, but it’s pretty awkward.  June looks completely besotted as the pair croon in her direction. But we come to find out that she’s really only interested in Blaine.

The Story of My Life – Kurt and Blaine

When June extends an invitation to a pricey charity event, because she has “a very discerning and tasteful eye for the extraordinary” that she loves to “hone like a rough diamond,” Kurt excitedly babbles “I am your lump of coal!”  June shoots Kurt a look and says, “Not you dear.”  Damn.  You can see Kurt’s heart just sink.


Kurt helps Blaine get ready for the party. When Blaine wonders if he should just stay home with Kurt and watch Scandal,  Kurt shoos him out the door. He’s a little jealous, he insists, but not resentful.  “Try to have fun,” says Kurt after telling Blaine he looks just like Montgomery Clift in his tux. BEFORE the accident. “Whatever door June opens for you, I’ll be right there walking next to you.”  As Blaine takes off with an “I love you.” Kurt looks after him, wistfully. Tonight’s twitter trend?  “Poor Kurt.”

Here’s the thing. Just TWO weeks ago, Blaine was super passive aggressive when it seemed like Kurt was pulling ahead of him in life. He was actually pretty whiny about it. Never mind that Glee’s shitty writing has their fortunes completely switched two episodes later. Is Kurt now supposed to play the supportive boyfriend on the sidelines, while Blaine wins at life? Or will Kurt take care of himself first?

At the party, Blaine tries to bring up Kurt’s name as much as he can, but June is unimpressed.  She says friends are everything, and that if she is going to launch Blaine’s career, they have to spend loads of time together. HELLO RED FLAG! If you aren’t careful Blaine, you’re going to end up face down in a swimming pool (Sunset Boulevard reference.)  Whoa. Look at Eric Roberts playing an assistant. Like one step up from an extra. Guess that’s Ryan Murphy doing his BFF, Julia Roberts a favor. Please find my brother some work!

When Julia’s brother informs June that the cash take for the fundraiser is a little disappointing, she grabs Blaine for a performance designed to “inspire” donations.  But June and Blaine’s bizarre rendition of Janis Joplin’s “Piece of My Heart” should have patrons forking over dough to get them to stop. What a mismatched pair. It’s like the Leonard Nimoy School of Musical Theater. They do raise a butt load of money. She introduces Blaine as her “new discovery.”

Piece of My Heart – Blaine and June

Back at the recording studio, Mercedes is so grateful to Santana for helping her out, that she insists they duet on the last song.  Her producer says no. He’s impressed with Santana, but she’s nobody.  She can sing backgrounds on the record. But a duet should be with somebody famous, like Alicia or Katy. When Santana senses tension, she uncharacteristically shrinks back. “I know what I would do if I was in your position,” says Santana, “I’m just not worth it.”

Cut to Rachel on the phone with Sydney putting her acting skillz to work. In between fake coughs she claims she has the flu and will stay in bed all day to be ready for Wednesday’s show. As Sydney freaks out on the other end of the line, the camera pulls back. She’s on the Paramount lot in LA.

Rachel enters a room full of FOX executives. There are posters on the wall of New Girl and Bones and you can’t help but think WHERE’S THE GLEE POSTER? Wouldn’t that be a crazy way to end the show–Rachel cast in a musical comedy!  Weirdly, she thinks she IS in a musical, as she immediately launches into “The Rose” after introducing herself. The executives are confused, but they politely sit and listen. “We really don’t need you to sing,” says one of the execs, after she finishes. “The show is not a musical,” says another (She speaks like she’s partially deaf? A bit of an oddball casting choice). Well, any excuse for a song! She’s actually there to read with the show’s handsome lead.

The Rose – Rachel

Rachel never got script. She figured “Song of Solomon” had something to do with music. Actually, it’s a “sci-fi space opera,” explains the exec.  But wouldn’t an opera include music? In any case. It’s hilariously awful. As one exec explains, it’s like “Guardians of the Galaxy meets Game of Thrones” with, adds the maybe deaf one, “a strong Grey’s Anatomy element.”  Rachel’s read  is a disaster. She overacts like she’s on stage, and her scene partner plants a big wet kiss on her, just because he can. Awkward, awkward, awkward.

After she’s abruptly shown the door, she sees that Sydney has been frantically trying to reach her.  As she reiterates her commitment to Broadway and the show (she KNOWS she made a huge mistake) she learns that her understudy had an accident. Rachel HAS to be at the theater later to perform.  She hops into a cab.

Back in New York, Blaine has dinner with June.  He wants to be her when he grows up–at the center of the universe, like she is.  June says that you attract in what you put out. If you radiate charisma, the universe will see to it that it comes back.  “Like attracts like,” she says, “That’s why I’m so in like with you.” RUN BLAINE RUN.  But instead, he’s super flattered. June suggests a showcase. Which will, of course, require the two of them to spend oodles of time together. Blaine has one request. He wants Kurt to be included, because the world really needs to see his talent too. June disagrees. She just ain’t into Kurt. What’s more, she doesn’t think Blaine should be either. Love is fleeting. First love especially so. “I loved Richard Burton and Howard Hughes,” dishes June. “But so what.” It’s time to dump the things that might hold him back. “Are you going to settle,” asks June, “or are you going to venture out into the unknown,  like a samurai, and realize your full potential.”  NOW IT’S TIME TO RUN.  BLAINE. RUN. But he just sits there. Eyes down cast.

Back in LA, Rachel is stuck in traffic.  No way is she going to make her flight. She calls Kurt in a panic. She’s afraid to tell Sydney the truth. She’s counting on Kurt to get her out of a jam.

Back at the Broadway diner, Mercedes arrives with a contract for Santana to sign so they can record a duet. (Really. The talent presents a contract to another singer, without the label or lawyers involved. Nope.) Santana refuses to sign at first. Mercedes insists that Santana makes her better. Hell, they were the TOP BITCHES in the McKinley High Glee club. Santana admits that she hasn’t been a good friend. Mercedes calls her a work in progress, and worth the wait. As Santana signs, Kurt flies into the restaurant.  “WE HAVE TO DELAY TONIGHT’S PERFORMANCE. LIKE MAYBE A BOMB THREAT,” he says breathlessly and quite crazily. Wouldn’t that be cool to be arrested for domestic terrorism. Orange is not your color, Kurt! or maybe they could run into the lobby and scream “Hey BARBRA’S IN THE PARKING LOT AND SHE’S DOING A CONCERT FOR FREE.”

“All of your ideas are horrible,” says Santana, stating the obvious. And before you know it, she’s in Rachel’s dressing room telling Sydney that his star will NOT be making her performance, but Santana, the former understudy, is ready to take the stage.

Cut to the loft. Santana has saved the day, and Rachel cooks spaghetti as a thank you. Santana said she had a blast on Broadway, but would not want to do it every day.  Rachel is surprised to find out that Santana actually wants nothing in return. The spaghetti maybe. But that’s it. She’s gonna try to be a better friend.  “The world is even colder than I am,” says Santana. “And the only thing you can do to keep from freezing to death is have good friends around you to keep you warm.”  She’s decided to use her bitch powers to protect the people that she cares about.  And she cares about Rachel, who made it in time for Santana’s second act, “You were really good.”

Rachel is afraid she’ll be fired, after spilling the truth in an email. She laments that she had everything, but then threw it away for nothing.  Santana assures her, that no matter what happens, she’s the type of person who can’t be held down. “Like Johnny Carson or Russell Crowe. No matter how awful you are,” says Santana, “People are going to want to work with you.” The two bond over their mutual awfulness.

Back at chez Mercedes, Blaine and Kurt are finally getting some alone time. Blaine has been spending all day everyday with June, and Kurt is a little mad, because Blaine hasn’t been sharing any gossip. You mean like, “June sees you as a threat?”  Blaine says there’s no gossip. “It’s just me and June.”  Kurt gives Blaine a side eye, “Is she being inappropriate?”  Well, yes, if you count the suggestion that Blaine dump you. “NO GROSS,” says Blaine, his mind immediately going there.  Blaine finally admits to working with June on a showcase.  Kurt , totally excited, wants to know why Blaine waited to spill. Blaine lies, saying he’s fleshing out Kurt’s part for the program. POOR KURT becomes even MORE EXCITED. “I thought she hated me!” he says, giving Blaine a kiss and a big, appreciative hug.

Rachel meets with Sydney in his office. He calmly tells her he won’t be firing her. He SHOULD fire her. He personally feels betrayed and WANTS to fire her. The team AGREED to fire her. But, despite being an ambitious, irresponsible child, she’s a star and essential to the success of the show.

Then, he shifts into mean. “If you ever pull something like this again, I will not only fire you, I will sue you back into the stone age for breach of contract. And you’ll never be able to work on Broadway again.” By now, Sydney is out of his seat, towering over Rachel. It’s very intimidating. “And, your reputation will not exist.”  He ends, “Get the hell out of my office.” Whoa.

She’s out in the hall crying when her phone buzzes.  It’s the FOX executive calling to tell Rachel that her audition sucked, but he still wants to sign her to a development deal.  FOX wants to create a TV show around HER and call it Glee.  She’ll be paired up with a writer who is set to fly out to New York City to work with her…

Next week, it’s the Chris Colfer penned episode, and I CANNOT WAIT!

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About mj santilli 33688 Articles
Founder and editor of, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!


  1. Best line of the show: No matter how awful you are people are always going to want to work with you.

  2. My favourite part was the Santana/Mercedes story. I wish they had shown more of their friendship throughout the seasons instead of the relationship dramas and diva offs.

  3. I find Rachel/Lea tedious so skip her parts. I love Santana so will enjoy what little there is of her remaining. Blaine and June together are fun. I hope he listens to her and breaks up with Kurt. I find Kurt tedious as well. I can’t get my teen to watch this show anymore. I only enjoy Santana and Blaine. I didn’t bother watching any of that episode with Sue and Schu. Ugh.

  4. No Sam or Artie? Missed them. Jim Rash is funny. He couldn’t sit still or stop talking. And Sidney sure read Rachel the riot act. Now she gets to go to work every day, see him, and remember how disappointed she made him feel. Mercedes needs to realize that she’s a new artist and isn’t going to have full control. She has to listen to her label and her producer. And June looks to be the person who spells doom for Kurt and Blaine. She got Blaine a showcase, and he wants people to see Kurt’s talent as well. And June said no, nobody wants to see that. And that Blaine should break off their engagement. I have a feeling she will want Blaine to pretend he’s straight and break up with Kurt to cover up being gay. I can see Blaine saying no, he won’t do that. But Kurt finding out and not wanting to stand in Blaine’s way, gives him back the ring. And we have the cliffhanger necessary for GLEE!

  5. I expected a different ending to the episode. Santana to get amazing reviews and she replaces Rachel. Of course, if Rachel actually continues her dalliance with this TV producer and Sydney gets wind of it, all bets are off.

  6. Beware Santana. I was actually yelling at the TV set when Mercedes was trying to get her on the cd. Beginning of a Dream Girls-like plot. The duet becomes the single and skinny girl gets all the photo-shoots. etc.

  7. The montage was sort of cool at first, but became so repetitive and boring that I didn’t think it would EVER end. I guess that was the point but it lost me completely.

    Something that really bugs me is where are Rachel’s gay parents? They didn’t come to her Broadway debut and haven’t shown up for any performance? Much as I’m beyond sick of the Rachel show, this was a missed opportunity.

  8. I feel that we are getting a little peek of the entertainment business. It can be ruthless. I am not sure what more Rachel wants. Maybe she doesn’t know? I agree, where are Rachel’s parents? Wouldn’t they want to view her success? Wouldn’t any “kid” want their folks to share their happiness and success? Big hole here in the plot.

  9. Someone (maybe at Glee Forum) recognized the “deaf” woman. She’s Geri Jewell, best known as “Cousin Geri” on The Facts of Life.

    I don’t think she’s deaf or hearing impaired. She has cerebral palsy.

    (Isn’t this FoL undercurrent fun? Maybe they can give cameos to Blair, Jo, Tootie, and Natalie.)

  10. Thank you for posting, I was on my way to add this. Geri Jewell Is a comedienne and motivational speaker. I was thrilled to see her on TV last night. And yes, she does have CP.

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