Glee returns to FOX tonight with the “Frenemies” episode, featuring guest star Adam Lambert. As Blaine advises his future husband, Kurt, “keep your friends close and your enemies closer!” In this episode, rivalries explode, pitting gleek against gleek.
I’ll be back with a recap later! In the meantime, Discuss!
Hey. Tonight’s Glee didn’t make me want to stab my eyeballs out! I’d attribute that to the mostly New York City storyline. When the action did move to Lima, it centered on characters I still care about–Artie, Tina and Blaine. There was blessed little newbie action this week. Just the way I like it!
It was a very dramatic episode, with old resentments between friends bubbling up to the surface. And also rivalry between new friends. There are 3 situations. Only two of them get resolved. What also made “Frenemies” super awesome was the return of Adam Lambert as Elliott Gilbert. He’s the closest thing to a real mensch Glee has ever had. For all of his glittery fabulousness and confidence in his own shining star, there isn’t a mean bone in Elliott Gilbert’s body. He could teach the gleeks a thing or two about karma.
The action begins at the Starlight diner. Santana has had it up to HERE with rude patrons mistaking her for an illegal alien. Rachel wonders why she’s being particularly patient with a rude customer, and Santana replies, “I’m saving up for a noose to hang myself.” She’s sick of being the “girl with the yeast infection.” (most of you remember Santana’s hilarious breakthrough moment as the queen of feminine hygiene!)
Rachel reveals that as the star of Funny Girl, she’s got a cover story lined up with New York Magazine. Santana coos and congratulates Rachel, but somehow it doesn’t feel sincere. Hoping to nudge Santana out of her doldrums, Rachel offers her friend a spot as a background model, which also doesn’t feel quite as magnanimous as it sounds. Just how much IS Rachel enjoying lording it over her “friend”?
Cut to McKinley as Artie and Tina have lunch together in the auditorium. Apparently, this is a usual Tuesday thing (Although we’re ONLY hearing about this tradition now, 3 years in…). They both marvel at the way they’ve remained good friends, despite ups and downs that include Tina dumping Artie for Mike Chang when they were sophomores. Oops. While Artie has been accepted to a cool film school in Brooklyn, Tina worries that she’s been waitlisted at Brown with only crappy Ohio state and a dumb veterinarian school to fall back on. Artie is sure that by next year she’ll be knitting scarves for those chilly New England winters. Tina is not soothed. As they only have a few Tuesdays at McKinley left, Artie suggests they make it about music that will cheer them up. The two launch into a sugary sweet rendition of “Whenever I Call You Friend” with the action moving into the choir room and New Directions eventually joining in.
Whenever I Call You Friend – Tina and Artie
It’s all sweetness and light until Becky bursts into the room. “Close the door when you’re singing crap like that!” she demands. Sue Sylvester wants to see Tina and Artie in her office, stat. It turns out the two friends have TIED for valedictorian. “Unlike some members of the Glee club who come and go for months at a time, with no explanation, you two losers are always in that choir room.’ Yes. We’ve noticed. “Even if for an entire week, the only thing you have to do is say something inconsequential like “Kitty’s right!” or “Blaine, are you serious!” Nice of the writers to point out their FAILURE to give Tina and Artie meaningful storylines over the years.
They both can’t be valedictorian (actually they could…but this is Glee) so Sue proposes a little friendly competition. The two will have to deliver speeches to “a blue ribbon panel of idiots” of Sue’s choosing. There will be NO MUSICAL NUMBERS. If either of them breaks into song, she promises that every beverage they drink, until the end of time will have a “tiny bit of my pee in it.” Whoever wins the speech-off, will be valedictorian.
Cut back to New York City, and the New York magazine shoot. Rachel is dressed in her very best Barbra Streisand. Santana attempts to be as supportive as she can muster, even bursting into a performance of “Brave” with Rachel. Santana is off to the side watching, and as the dancers strike a pose, she suddenly emerges in a fabulous dress, finding herself front and center with Rachel. But as the number ends, we discover it was just a fantasy. Rachel turns to Santana, still standing in the back, and asks her to get ready.
Brave – Rachel and Santana
Back at McKinley, Tina marches up to Artie in the hallway and hands him a prepared speech, which would have him announce his withdrawal as valedictorian. This is basically a repeat of the Rachel/Kurt standoff in season 3. Remember when Rachel insisted she needed to win class president to give her that extra edge? Tina is convinced she won’t get off the Brown waitlist, unless she wins at SOMETHING. Artie reminds her that she won prom queen, but Tina heard that Ivy league schools look down on such triviality.
Tina begins to whine about how she spends her time making costumes and swaying in the background while everyone else gets what they want. “It’s time you heard this,” Artie fumes. “Everyone’s convinced that sometime between junior and senior year, an alien invaded your body and made you shallow and desperate!” Yes. Tina became awful. Thank the writers! “Says the nerd who’s dating the Cheerio!” Tina shoots back. “SAYS THE HAG WHO VAPO-RAPED BLAINE!” Oh no Artie didn’t! HE DID. Tina admits she had a crush on a guy who couldn’t love her back. But so does Artie. She accuses Kitty of not really loving him. Yep. Things just got real. Real mean. Tina suggests Artie can make his speech about how he made a last ditch effort to be popular by dating McKinley’s BIGGEST BITCH. “Actually Tina,” says Artie, “YOU’RE McKinley’s biggest bitch. And I’m going to win this!” OH SNAP.
Cut to Kurt venting to his fiancé Blaine on the phone, about how Starchild (Adam Lambert) is attempting to take over HIS band, Pamela Lansbury. It all started when Elliott scored an interview with the Village Voice, telling them how alive HIS band makes him feel. And he’s writing songs for the band. Kurt is sure Elliott is plotting a coup. “I mean,” sniffs Kurt dramatically, “He’s a psychopath!” Blaine’s advice? Don’t let on that he’s worried. “Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer,” advises Blaine, before chirping, “I love you!” as he hangs up the phone. A bit of advice Blaine is destined to regret.
As Kurt pockets his phone, he reminds Rachel and Santana about band rehearsal later that day. A preoccupied Rachel announces that production is auditioning an understudy for her part. Something that will NOT BE NECESSARY as she plans to NEVER miss a rehearsal. But really, it’s Rachel’s insecurity rearing its ugly head. “It’s really hard being a star,” she says, looking over the top of her big, pretentious sunglasses. Santana just rolls her eyes and announces that if Berry isn’t rehearsing, neither is she.
Back at McKinley, Will announces that a decision needs to be made about the second Nationals solo. Of COURSE the first has already gone to Blaine, because he was voted the New Rachel eons ago. He smiles smugly in the knowledge that HE GETS EVERY DAMN THING. Tina immediately volunteers for the second solo, but Artie is all “oh no you’re not.” Will suggests a sing off, because that solves everything, you know. The two face off with “My Lovin (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” They circle and snarl as they sing, with the New Directions offering backrounds and a breakdown. The showdown comes to a climax when Tina pushes Artie and his chair tips over. As Sam picks him up, Tina stands horrified, as she realizes the feud has gone way too far.
“My Lovin (You’re Never Gonna Get it) – Tina and Artie
Back in New York City, it’s just Kurt and Adam having a little “boys night” without the girls. Kurt layers on a ridiculous amount of smarm as he kisses Elliott’s ass, claiming to want to “get to know my new friend” better. Kurt, offering Elliott a cucumber sandwich, wants to break it down “Andy Cohen style.”
“You just may be the breakout star of Pamela Lansbury!” coos Kurt so insincerely, that Elliott just gives him a big ole side eye. “Well, I am” Elliott shoots back, trolling. “Sorry?” says Kurt, stunned. “C’mon now! Everyone is bringing something essential to the mix,” says Elliott, a little exasperated. “Right right…says Beyonce right before she left Destiny’s Child,” snarks Kurt under his breath. “She was better…” Kurt cuts him off. “You were saying…something?”
It turns out that Elliott’s first time on stage was 5th grade when he played Schroeder in “You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown.” (A little factoid plucked straight out of Adam’s childhood. FYI). Kurt, turning up the passive aggressive charm, wants to know all about Elliott’s “ruthless and ambitious journey” to becoming Starchild. “Qualities that I admire of course!” Kurt adds, “And I wish I had myself.” Elliott explains that he began music lessons as a young child and is now learning guitar. Kurt gushes that he’s sooo talented, he could even be front man for Pamela Lansbury. “Do you want to?” he asks worriedly.
Elliott, who can barely keep his amusement under wraps, trolls Kurt a little more. “Yes” he says. But when Kurt’s face falls, he cuts him a break, offering to help him learn guitar.
Cut to the Fanny understudy auditions, as a terribly off key singer warbles on stage. Rachel insists that she does not get sick. Therefore, no need for an understudy. Rupert reminds her that the Union REQUIRES an understudy, as does the producers and the insurance company. As poor Rachel struggles to shake her insecurity, the next auditioner takes the stage. And much to her horror, it’s SANTANA who proceeds to KILL “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” To add insult to injury, this is Rachel’s signature song. Santana’s version is jazzier, laid back with a hint of sexiness. Very different from Rachel’s but still REALLY GOOD. Rachel is horrified as Rupert goes absolutely crazy over Santana’s performance. When he learns that the two are school chums, he wants to know why Rachel didn’t tell him about her. He also wants to know how “one high school produced both of you!”
Don’t Rain on My Parade – Santana
In the meantime, Elliott brings Kurt to a guitar shop to pick out an instrument. The manager eyes them suspiciously, instructing them NOT to “touch the axes” which totally confuses Kurt. To change the guy’s mind, Elliott asks a dude toying with a guitar if he knows “I Believe in a Thing Called Love” by the Darkness. As soon as he hits that first chord, Kurt and Elliott forget their differences to join forces in a campy, fun rendition of the song. Elliott kills the high notes as Kurt works a stripper pole (which JUST HAPPENS to be in the middle of an edgy guitar shop) like a pro. It’s pure awesomeness, between these two charismatic stars. There’s no denying Adam Lambert’s incredible vocal talent. But that Chris Colfer? He’s a little scene stealer, he is. These two have major chemistry. MORE DUETS PLEASE. Needless to say, Mr. guitar shop dude lets them touch his axes. Heh.
“I Believe in a Thing Called Love” – Kurt and Starchild
Later, back at the loft, Rachel complains bitterly to Kurt about Santana stomping on her territory. Kurt reminds her that she does NOT own the song. But somehow, Rachel believes that when Babs is gone, it will be her responsibility to sing it. Kurt can barely deal with the crazy. “Do you know how insane you sound?” When Santana arrives, Rachel demands to know why she auditioned without telling her. Santana figured they could fight about it afterward, before Rachel had a chance to torpedo her. Rachel tosses in the race card, comparing Santana playing Fanny Brice to her presiding over the Puerto Rican day parade. Rachel claims her objection isn’t personal. Santana calls bullcrap accusing Rachel of continuing to nurse resentment over shit that went down in high school, and that Rachel loves having something over her. Every old wound is opened here. Santana rubs it in Rachel’s face that she was able to be popular AND talented, and that Rachel just can’t stand it. As things escalate, Kurt tries to defuse the situation, but to no avail. Rachel charges that Santana can’t handle the fact that her old rival has made it in the big city. Santana is just BEGGING to be her understudy, Rachel says. Santana calls her bitter. “I was better than you then, and I’m better than you now.” Then, she ups the ante, “You are short and you are awful, and that is never going to change.”
Rachel whips around. SLAP. Kurt gasps audibly. “I think you should move out,” Rachel says calmly. Santana’s phone rings, and it’s Rupert telling her that she’s got the part. “I’ll see you at rehearsals, Berry.”
Back at McKinley, Tina and Artie are ready for their valedictorian face off. Sue, Will, Beiste and Figgins will decide the winner. But instead of competing against each other, both have decided to throw the race, sharing in hilariously over the top speeches about how the other changed their lives for the better. As Figgins, Will and Beiste tear up as Sue fumes. “What a treacley stomach turning waste of time!”
Back in New York, at rehearsal, Rachel arrives to find Santana in her dressing room, touching up. Rachel orders her out. “You will never get this part!” she screams. Just as Rupert enters the room. He is not delighted that his ladies are cat fighting. There’s a narrative out there. One that the New York press is dying to embrace. That of the two high school BFFs discovering stardom together. They WILL get along. Joined at the hip. And will become twice as famous as a result. He orders Santana to work closely with Rachel to learn all of her parts. “It’s all puppy dogs and rainbows from now until the show closes,” he adds. “Well,” says Santana, “At least we know who the rainbow is and who’s the dog.”
As the two sing “Every Breath You Take” by The Police, they follow orders, Santana warily taking Rachel’s lead as she mimics her performance. They circle each other unhappily, suspiciously.
“Every Breath You Take” – Santana and Rachel
Back at the loft, Elliott and Kurt are bonding. Who knew Kurt had a T. Rex album in his vinyl collection? “Be still my glam heart!” cries Elliott when he discovers it. He offers to help Kurt pick out perfect records to add to collection because “I’m magic like that.” And Kurt is kind of magic at baking pre-packaged goods with extra glazing! It’s all very domestic.
Elliott confesses that he’s so glad he’s met Kurt, “You’re the first gay friend that I made in the city that’s not crazy, or just trying to hook up.”
But…Elliott admits that he knows why Kurt is spending so much time with him. “I’m not trying to take over the band!” Busted. Kurt apologizes, saying he was just trying to figure out what his deal was. And here IS the deal. And what should be the takeaway from “Frenemies.” “You guys are awesome,” insists Elliott, “You’re good people. You’re talented. You know what? So am I.” He continues, “Let’s not be these smiley frenemies who backstab each other. Let’s go out and kick ass together!”
Kurt, finally assured that Elliott isn’t some backstabbing psychopath, wants to document the moment with a selfie. And just as Kurt snaps the photo, Elliott plants a smooch on his cheek! “Awwww cute!”exclaims Kurt as Elliott giggles. Not so cute when your fiancé finds out, sweetheart!
Back at McKinley, Tina and Artie clasp hands in Sue’s office as they wait to find out who won the speech off. “Congratulations morons,” announces Sue, “You split the vote. It’s a tie.” And for some reason, Sue has no recourse but to make them co-salutatorian and to elevate the student that ranked #3 to valedictorian.
And of course OF COURSE that student is Blaine Anderson. WHO DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING UP FREAKING FIFTH AVENUE. “WHAT” shrieks Tina, pretty much in unison with the rest of us. Blaine falls all over himself apologizing. “This sounds like a humble brag, but honestly, I feel like sometimes things just get handed to me!” Perfect meta, as Blaine speaks for Glee fans. Everywhere. “REALLY?” asks Artie. REALLY EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US ANSWERS BACK. “I never noticed that.” HA HA HA HA.
Just as Blaine explains how he doesn’t understand why Mr. Shue hands him all the solos, Becky comes out of nowhere, “Hey gay Blaine, when did you break up with pancake face?”
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t call my FIANCE pancake face and we’re not broken up…”
“Yeah, you are!” says Becky as she reveals THE selfie.” Oops. “Don’t worry,” Blaine says nervously. “Kurt and Elliott are just friends.”
“JUST FRIENDS MY ASS,” snarks Becky. “Speaking of ass. Pancake face is getting some. OH SNAP.” Oh dear.
Back in the choir room, we learn that Tina and Artie have “demurred” from having solos at Nationals. It’s their last competition at McKinley and they won’t get solos? That kind of sucks. Blaine, who already has a solo, announces that he plans on turning his valedictory speech into a song. And that should go well with Sue. I hope he likes pee in his drinks. And, since he knew Artie and Tina both wanted to be valedictorians, he asks them to make it a trio. Tina and Artie get solos after all! And what’s more, Blaine suggests sending a rehearsal video to the artsy farts at Brown. Oh Blainy!
Back at the loft, things are still super tense, as Rachel and Santana battle it out over exactly WHO should move out of the loft. Kurt refuses to choose sides, which ticks off Rachel. Kurt, who has learned so much from Elliott about keeping a generous spirit, is disappointed that Rachel can’t find the love, in her heart, to wish Santana well. Rachel accuses Kurt of being naive. She’s convinced Santana is after her part. “Look at that!” says Santana, “Pasty gay siding with me!” Kurt just wants to order a pizza, sit down and talk it out. Not Rachel. She decides to leave, “You and I have just been pretending to be friends, ever since we did that stupid number in the choir room after graduation. ” Rachel piles on, “You and I have never been friends. Never have and never will.” Kurt is devastated.
“I am going to be a star on Broadway, and I’m not going to let one moment of this amazing life altering experience be ruined by two friends who aren’t even my friends.”
And you’re still grieving Finn. And so is Santana. And Kurt too. Can’t you guys just see that and hug it out? Nope.
The episode ends with Blaine, Artie and Tina singing “Breakaway” in the auditorium as a montage of Rachel packing up to leave the loft plays. She hugs Kurt. But when she faces Santana, she rips up the photo she kept in her locker at McKinley. Best friends. Not forever.
Breakaway – Tina, Artie and Blaine
Next Week’s Promo – Trio Episode 10
So it looks like Rachel shows up at Elliott’s door after she moves out of the loft!