New Directions has made it to regionals! How, you ask? Because the Warblers were disqualified for their Lance Armstrong-ing (too soon?). Their performance-enhancing cost them the competition, but also meant the glee club would have to put down some cash to travel to regionals. Tina (Jenna Ushkowitz), ever-desperate to attract Blaine (Darren Criss), coins the idea of a "Men of McKinley" calendar. I applauded at this point.
Mostly everyone was stoked, particularly Sam (Chord Overstreet), who made sure to be extra-chiseled for this purpose and walk around in swim trunks. After being beaten by his girl Brittany (Heather Morris) in the SATs (yeah, that wasn't expected) his overt display of confidence seems to be hiding something more serious. Very quickly, the audience and Blaine see that Sam is hiding his insecurity about his future and the gang bands together to make him feel better about himself. He soon realizes via their testimonials that he's much more than meets the eye, and that he does have a future beyond standardized test scores. Oh, and that calendar? It made over $300! And Sam again charms the audience with his personality and devotion to being a good friend when he poses fully dressed to support Artie's (Kevin McHale) decision to participate clothed (more on that below).
If Marley (Melissa Benoist) and Jake (Jacob Artist) were any more coy (and irritatingly so) about their affections and obvious feelings, I would think this was a Bollywood movie. However, this episode is where their banter results in something entertaining: the dropping of the "L" bomb. Marley requests Jake's presence to help pick a song for regionals, and they sing the most adorable rendition of Christina Perri's "A Thousand Years." When they finish this odd choice for a public competition, it's obvious Marley wants to tell Jake she loves him but then trails off into how much she loves the song. Later, in glee club practice, Jake adoringly sings Ne-Yo's "Let Me Love You" to her. During an awkward exchange between Jake and Ryder (Blake Jenner) over what Jake should do, Ryder gives him surprisingly profound advice about being "naked emotionally" and proactive in how he feels. What does that mean to Jake? Writing "I love you" on a half-naked picture of himself. Symbolism and irony at its finest.
Oh and that love bit between them? It may not have been an explosive sequence for them, but as a member of the audience, I have to remark: wasn't Jake just contemplating hooking up with Kitty (Becca Tobin) last episode, and now he "loves" Marley? Please.
Rachel (Lea Michele), Kurt (Chris Colfer) and Brody (Dean Geyer) have a threesome. Kidding. They don't, but Kurt's combined frustration with Rachel going topless for a student film (which he feels is ill-advised) and Brody parading around sans clothing at their place has him feeling annoyed. I would be too if I could only look at Brody and not touch, but I actually think Kurt has a legitimate complaint.
When Rachel disagrees, the Lima team rolls in: Quinn (Dianna Agron) and Santana (Naya Rivera). Is it just me or do you feel these girls just keep inserting themselves into Glee episodes randomly and that it's not quite flowing all that smoothly? Regardless, Santana has Rachel considering the "2-2-2" rule, which I also found incredibly insightful. Would she regret it in two days, two weeks, or two years? Rachel realizes that after a couple years go by, she would regret it, personally and perhaps professionally.
The clincher ends up being less about Rachel's struggle and subsequent epiphany and more about a leading comment from Santana that implies she may be sticking around New York.
While back in Lima I can easily point the finger at Tina for having a useless love interest — Blaine refocuses his romantic energy into being the best friend he can be to Sam. It's heartfelt and admirable the way he conspires to provide Sam with the confidence he needs to believe in himself. Finn (Cory Monteith) also exhibits a fair share of compassion when Artie initially wanted nothing to do with the calendar because of his own insecurities (girls aren't the only ones with body image issues!). It was also pleasing to see a guy be so supportive of another in that regard.
1. "Torn," sung by Lea Michele, original by Natalie Imbruglia. This was amazing (YouTube it now!).
2. "Let Me Love You," sung by Jacob Artist, original by Ne-Yo: Adorable cover — can't compare it to the original but it's what may give Jacob a career if he ever gets tired of Glee.
3. "Love Song," sung by Lea Michele, Dianna Agron and Naya Rivera, original by Sara Bareilles. It was an uplifting mini-reunion that induced joyful musical bliss.
Alright, folks! This episode has given us more than enough to discuss. I can't completely trust Jake, but I don't know what Marley's hesitation is based on, unless she's far more mature and perceptive than I imagined. Does she know something incriminating or is it just level-headed concern over saying such a significant word? Do you think Santana is going to stay in New York, and will Rachel have space for her? Is Tina's relentless persistence going to be fruitful? Thoughts on this episode? Rant or rave below!
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