Tonight’s Glee, titled “Bash” will explore the aftermath of gay violence. The kids attend a candlelight vigil for a friend who is a victim of a gay bashing. Later, Kurt (Chris Colfer) becomes a victim himself–a shocking event that brings all the kids together.
Meanwhile, it’s time for the winter showcase. Rachel (Lea Michele) and Blaine (Darren Criss) perform a duet, and things don’t go so well. Kurt makes a triumphant return after his assault. Whoopi Goldberg returns as Carmen Tibideaux.
Plus, Mercedes (Amber Riley) and Sam (Chord Overstreet) attempt to sort out their relationship.
I’ll be back with a longer recap later!
Can Glee stay in New York City forever? Another great episode of Glee explored the aftermath of homophobic violence. Yes, gays are bashed even in New York City. This storyline is actually ripped right out of the headlines.
There’s more going on here than just hate crimes. Rachel and Mercedes both make big decisions. After Carmen chastises her for cheating on her mid-winter exam (she duets with Blaine), Rachel quits NYADA in order to focus on her Broadway dream. Mercedes decides to pursue a relationship with Sam, regardless of the consequences. Kurt makes a decision of sorts too. He decides to stand up to bullies, no matter how high the price.
The theme for this week is about taking risks. Rachel leaves the comfort of NYADA for an unknown show biz career. Mercedes follows her heart and hooks up with Sam, despite being warned that an interracial relationship could jeopardize her career. And Kurt literally risks his life–going toe to toe with some bullies–to save another man’s life.
The episode opens with a candlelight vigil. Russ, a friend of a neighbor, has been beaten unconscious. A group of people, including Rachel, Kurt, Blaine and Sam march slowly to the spot where he fell. They sing “No One is Alone” from Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods. Tonight’s episode will serve as a tribute to the Broadway great, with 4 of his songs featured on the soundtrack. The harmonies are absolutely gorgeous here. Lea and Chris sing in octaves. The latter displaying his sturdy lower range. It sets a somber note for the episode. Kurt, in particular, is gutted by the tragedy.
No One Is Alone – Rachel, Kurt, Blaine, Sam
At a Funny Girl meeting, the producer warns the cast and crew that they NEED a hit. Tech and previews are in the next two weeks, and it’s all hands on deck. One thing. Rachel has a problem! Her NYADA mid-winter critique is coming up, and she needs some time off. Sydney, the producer, thinks she’s over extending herself (don’t forget her part time job at the diner!), but reluctantly gives her two hours off to get it done.
Cut to chez Mercedes, where Sam is now living. He’s plopped in front of the TV, with a giant bowl of cereal, watching The Facts of Life, which he describes, hilariously, as a show about a lady who runs a boarding school for lesbians. But of course, he’s watching the later years when she ran “a pot dispenser” called “Edna’s Edibles” where all the graduates work (JUST LIKE NEW YORK GLEE). Sam, missing Blaine a little, describes how his former roommate used to read Star Wars fan fiction to him to soothe his bouts of insomnia (ANOTHER BIT OF META). Cut to Blaine reading some SUPER BAD fan fic, which he NO DOUBT found on Tumblr…
Back to the couch. Sam thinks it’s a load of crap that they broke up. Mercedes rattles off the list of all the girls he’s dated. Sam had no idea that school nurse was almost 30. “That’s why she got clingy,” he murmurs. Mercedes says she can’t be messing around like that. Sam laments that the relationship never got off the ground, before it ended. There’s obvious chemistry between the two of them, he claims, and he doesn’t know what to do with it. Mercedes insists that’s the end of it. But then in the next breath she jumps his bones. So much for that.
Back at the loft, it’s Potluck Dinner Week 2. Mercedes picks up a photo of Russ she finds on the counter. He was attacked while walking down Bleeker Street in the Village, Blaine explains. Some guys jumped out of a pickup truck and beat the crap out of him. He’s lucky to be alive. He theorizes, that with LGBT rights gaining more ground, the bigots are pushing back.
Kurt reveals that the theme for the annual mid-winter showcase will be the music of Stephen Sondheim! Blaine suggests he and Rachel do a duet. Artie catches Mercedes and Sam playing footsies under the table. Oops. Mercedes is all NUH UH No we’re not! Her denial gets a big side eye from Sam.
Later, the two are on a date in the city. Sam expresses his displeasure that Mercedes is STILL trying to keep their relationship a secret. They aren’t in high school anymore. They can be whoever they want to be and do the things they’ve always dreamed of doing, he says.
Walking along the East River, Sam throws in a handful of coins, while making a wish that Mercedes will open her eyes and see that they are perfect for each other. Then a lady comes along and yells at him for throwing random crap in the river, ruining the romantic moment. Not to be outdone, Mercedes throws in her fake fur coat, after Sam teases her about sending the wrong message to her potential fans regarding the killing of animals for vanity. All of this is somehow supposed to prove that they belong together.
Nope. Still not seeing the chemistry. The two of them suddenly hooking up feels really contrived–just a convenient way to drum up another romance. In “Moving Out” there was a hint that Sam and Rachel might get together. BUT, I think the producers decided it was too soon after Finn’s death to fix Rachel up, especially with a friend.
Mercedes sends Sam back to the apartment so she can mull over their relationship. But not before setting some ground rules. They stay apart while they’re both in the apartment. That sounds doable! Not. After, Mercedes belts out “Natural Woman” on a carousel, with a bevy of backup singers and musicians, riding the ponies. The scene switches from day to night, back to day again. Not clearly a fantasy, it’s a little disconcerting.
You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman – Mercedes
Later, Mercedes and her backup singers, both “sisters,” have coffee. They can’t believe she’s dating a guy that she met in high school. Sam shows up, and immediately begins acting like…well like Sam. And it’s horrifying–including bad impressions, and jokes about weaves. Example: “Why do hip-hop artists name their kids after cars?” One of the singers, named Tesla, points out that her parents, Rob and Sherrie, named her after the famous inventor. FACE PALM.
Cut to the NYADA showcase. Rachel and Blaine are dressed to the nines, as they perform “Broadway Baby” from Follies. It’s a fabulous number. Carmen looks pleased as Rachel kicks things off. But when Blaine joins her, that smile quickly turns upside down. Why she mad? Because the assignment wasn’t a duet. She flunks them both, but changes her mind when she considers the awesomeness of what she just saw. Carmen demands that they both come back for separate do overs, or flunk.
Broadway Baby – Blaine and Rachel
Uh Oh. Rachel is in the middle of tech rehearsals for her show. She can’t reschedule. Heck, you know the duet was all about making that performance easier, as it was. Carmen doesn’t care. Either she does it this week, or she fails. Later, in her office, Rachel pleads her case to reschedule after opening night. Carmen won’t budge. Rachel is underperforming, barely scraping by. Carmen doesn’t feel she deserves special treatment. Is Rachel is part of the community or not? She wonders if Rachel only cares about the spotlight. Rachel’s goal was to make it to Broadway. She’s achieved her dream and won’t turn her back on it. Carmen admits Rachel has talent and drive, but lacks a foundation. “You don’t listen, and you don’t take direction,” she says. “That’s why you NEED NYADA. You’re not ready.”
Rachel insists Carmen is wrong. “I don’t need NYADA anymore,” insists Rachel. “Especially if it holds me back.” She QUITS.
It turns out Mercedes’ friends don’t think Sam is awful. His impressions are kind of funny! Even that Tempest Bledsoe impression. “I’m surprised he found a toe-hold here,” says Tesla. But let’s get real, they say. The problem with Sam is that he’s a white boy. A really REALLY white boy. And if Mercedes wants to be an R&B star, that’s not going to fly with her audience.
Back at home, Mercedes breaks the bad news to Sam. She’s breaking up with him. She’s worried about what people are going to think. She admits that it’s the racial thing that’s breaking them up. “How many black female artists do you see dating white dudes?” I bet I could come up with some. Here’s one: HELLO MARIAH CAREY WAS MARRIED TO HER WHITE MANAGER AT THE FRIGGING HEIGHT OF HER CAREER! Dating a white dude will be making a statement to her community (Really???). Mercedes isn’t sure it’s a statement she wants to make. “When we were back in Glee club,” Sam says angrily, “there were all kinds of people! Black, white, gay, straight, TINA …” Tina. The gift that keeps on giving!
“We are not in high school anymore,” Mercedes reminds him. “This is the real world. This is just the way that it is.” She asks him to move out.
Rachel meets Kurt in an Italian restaurant for dinner. He’s PISSED. He heard through the NYADA grapevine that she quit. When Kurt insists that staying at NYADA will give her options if her Broadway career doesn’t pan out, Rachel becomes defensive. She doesn’t NEED or WANT other options. If Kurt doesn’t believe in her talent, he really isn’t a friend. Rachel has the opportunity of a lifetime staring at her in the face, and she won’t let anything or anyone get in her way. When Kurt begs her to reconsider, Rachel is enraged, “You’re afraid, ” she says, “You need a place like NYADA where it’s one big safe group and nobody takes any risks.” Kurt looks at her slack jawed. “You guys can just avoid actually having to grow up and be an adult.” Oh, that’s rich coming from someone, who after failing her first audition, chased Carmen from Lima to Chicago to beg for another chance…
Kurt responds with a “Screw you Rachel.” At which point, she leaves in a huff.
Cut to Kurt walking down the street. He notices a man being attacked in an alley. Without even hesitating, he rushes to intervene. “Shut up fag,” one of them says to the man he’s pounding. When Kurt surprises them, the victim takes off, and Kurt is left to defend himself against two attackers. He’s so angry, he shows no fear. One of them makes a mocking effeminate gesture, and Kurt pushes him. “I’m not afraid of you!” Kurt screams, pushing him again. “You’re a bunch of cowards!” But the other comes from behind and hits Kurt in the head with a brick. After Kurt falls the man he pushed begins punching him in the face. Then the two jump into a pickup truck (Russ’ attackers!) and take off, leaving Kurt, unconscious, on the ground.
Back at the loft (where Blaine appears to still be living with Kurt), Sam and Blaine are having a heart to heart about Mercedes. “It’s really hard to be a straight white male these days!” whines Sam. “We better change the subject,” says Blaine, who offers to read Sam some Star Wars fan fiction, about polygamous Ewoks, to calm him down. “How is that fan fiction? Of course they’re polygamous!” insists Sam.
Blaine’s phone buzzes. As he listens, his face turns into a mask of fear. Cut to Sam calling Mercedes. “Sam, I don’t want to talk right now,” she says before comprehending the bad news. “What’s up girl!” says Artie to Mercedes, before she changes his mood. Rachel is rehearsing on stage when she’s interrupted by an urgent phone call. I loved this scene, the way the shots were framed, and how this community of friends connected like a circle as they broke the terrible news to each other.
They all meet at the hospital, where Blaine, designated as Kurt’s next-of-kin, is briefed by the doctor about his condition. Kurt has a hairline fracture above his right eye socket , cuts and bruising, but he’ll be OK. He’s heavily sedated, but the kids can go visit. Rachel feels guilty, but Blaine insists Kurt would have done the same thing, even if Rachel had been with him. Blaine wishes Kurt could hear him, so he could know he was there. Rachel assures him that he can. (Isn’t that what people always say as comfort in those situations?)
In a beautiful, and moving scene, Blaine sings “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeny Todd as he sits beside Kurt, holding his hand lovingly. Cut to the NYADA concert hall, where Blaine is finishing his assignment with an emotional rendition of the song. Carmen and the rest look on. The scene shifts back to the hospital room, where Blaine is alone with a still unconscious Kurt, singing to him tenderly, tracing his battered face with his finger, cradling his cheek. He finishes the song beside him, singing softly in his ear.
Not While I’m Around – Blaine
Sam meets Mercedes in the recording studio. She realizes that breaking up with him over what other people might think about their interracial relationship was really foolish, and wrong. “Telling someone I can’t date them because they are white is like me telling someone I can’t be their friend because they are gay.” She has nothing to say. Except through song, of course. She heads into the recording booth, to sing a brand new original tune, “Colour Blind” which is obviously for her new album. “Call me white chocolate!” Sam greets the producer. As Mercedes pours her heart out, Sam looks on all moony-eyed. Before Mercedes even finishes, Sam rushes into the booth to wrap her in his arms. Well, THAT take was ruined!
Colour Blind (Original Song) – Mercedes
Daddy Burt arrives at the hospital, and he’s REALLY upset. “Kurt what were you thinking!” he shouts. “Those guys could have had a gun!” Kurt says Burt wouldn’t have run. Burt says he was a football player. Kurt reminds him that he was too. “As a kicker!” Kurt is defiant, “That’s the same attitude that makes these guys think they can do whatever they want.” Burt wishes he would have called the cops, gotten help. Kurt has been fighting these guys all of his life. He’s not going to back down. Burt is angry, but it’s really a new found fear that his son isn’t safe anywhere, not even in New York City, where stuff like gay bashing isn’t supposed to happen. “Look at your beautiful face,” says Burt. But Kurt isn’t upset. He’s hoping for a scar. “You know what?” Kurt says, “Now I know who I am. Without a doubt. Your son. The man you raised.” Burt leans in, kind of teary, “I’m glad you’re OK. Just don’t do it again. Unless I’m right next to you.” He smiles, “We’ll take them together.”
Kurt doesn’t regret a thing. He’ll wear his scars as a badge of honor. Even though it scared the crap out of Burt, and his first instinct was to protect, he couldn’t be more proud of his son. I LOVE KURT AND BURT SO MUCH.
Kurt and Blaine meet in the street. Kurt, still bruised, is in sunglasses. They head to Russ’ memorial. Blaine is worried that he’s not up to it, but Kurt insists. “I heard he woke up, ” says Blaine, “I heard he’s going to be OK.” Kurt lays flowers by his photo. They’re brothers now, having gone through the same experience.
Back at the loft, Rachel talks to Kurt. Once again, gently this time, he tries to persuade her not to quit NYADA. But she stands firm. “College just isn’t for me,” she says. Kurt continues her thought, “Because it’s too safe. Because it’s for people like me who never take any risks.” SAYS THE GUY WHO JUMPED IN BETWEEN TWO SCARY MEN WITHOUT A THOUGHT OF HIS OWN WELL BEING TO SAVE A STRANGER’S LIFE. Alrighty then. Rachel assures him that he’s the most talented person she’s ever met, and that he’s taken more risks in his life than she ever has. “I don’t want another minute to go by without telling you that I love you, and you’re my best friend.”
“God your sappy!” says Kurt, who assures her HE loves her too. HUG IT OUT KIDS. Just in time for Monday night pot luck!
Mercedes and Sam announce they’re in a relationship. The others laugh, recounting their weird summer fling and subsequent relationship that never got off the ground. “I don’t think any of us saw any chemistry,” says Kurt, basically echoing the sentiment of the entire Glee fandom. To prove it, Sam grabs Mercedes for a kiss. Nope. Sorry. Still don’t see it! Rachel reminds everybody that Kurt will be singing at NYADA for his mid-winter critique. Everybody be there or be square!
As the gang toasts Kurt, cut to the NYADA concert hall, where he begins “I’m Still Here” from Follies. It’s one of those great big blowsy Broadway numbers, like “Roses Turn” or “I’m the Greatest Star.” These songs, originally sung by female divas, have basically become Kurt’s signature. He’s battered. He’s bruised. But he’s KURT HUMMEL BITCHES AND HE’S STILL HERE. There to witness his triumphant performance are Blaine and Burt, who both couldn’t be prouder. Cutest moment ever: Burt singing along with every word! Blaine looks on lovingly, while Rachel, Sam and Mercedes cheer him on from another table. FUN FACT TO KNOW AND TELL: Chris Colfer’s real life boyfriend, Will Sherrod, is an extra, standing in the back (blond hair, beard and shoulder bag)! Kurt finishes the number, atop a baby grand. Carmen looks on, pleased. A group hug ends the episode.
NOBODY puts Kurt in a corner. Nobody.
I’m Still Here – Kurt