Glee recap: Photo Finish
I hope that Will has somewhere comfy to crash tonight — he’ll need a good night’s sleep after ”Mattress.” While New Direction’s dedicated (ex-?)director expended a lot of energy in this episode fighting for a yearbook photo for our music geeks that would serve as a moment of underdog triumph (mission semi-accomplished), he also uncovered the wicked truth about Terri’s dummy tummy, and he made a costly choice in sleeping arrangements. Meanwhile, Emma drew some boundaries with him, and New Directions ”Jump”-ed into minor TV stardom without him. Bottom line: Stuff happened this week, and it felt like a step forward after last week’s all-over-the-place hair toss. And how about that poignant ending? One of Glee‘s best. Better still, we’re now just one week from Sectionals (finally!), and I’m ready for New Directions to put a musical hurt on the competition. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Pull up a cushiony object — still wrapped in plastic, natch — and let’s revisit the developments that made ”Mattress” a bouncy delight.
The reign of Terri is over! (Maybe…)
Did the writers actually listen to our grumbles/ pleas to wrap up this nutso story line? Whatever the case, it’s all out in the open now: Will knows that his wife is a big fake-fat faker! Ahhhh! Feels like a breath of fresh air just to say that.
The frustrating volcanic pressure that had been building for weeks in that faux-pregnancy plot created a compelling display of emotional fireworks when released last night. There was Will in his apartment bedroom, rummaging through drawers for a pocket square, when he happened upon a pregnancy pad. He confronted Terri in the kitchen, and when she tried to pretend that the pad was an aid for trying on maternity clothes, the mood turned tense and dark; Will whipped the pad across the room and demanded, ”Pick up your shirt.” She didn’t. ”Think about what you’re accusing me of,” she said nervously. ”…turn around and go find your pocket square.” Good Will Husband was gone — he grabbed her arm, lifted up her shirt, and ripped the lie off her. ”Why did you do this to us? I don’t understand!” he asked with fiery-watery eyes. Everything was coming to the surface now. After Terri accused Will of changing once he took over Glee Club, Will declared: ”I should be allowed to feel good about myself.” Terri: ”Oh, who are we kidding, Will? This marriage works because you don’t feel good about yourself!” (Oh my ouch.) Will careened between anger (”You made yourself a stranger to me now! Are you happy??? Are you satisfied???”) and sadness (”I loved you, Terri. I really loved you”) as she tried to explain the hysterical pregnancy mess. Disgusted and overwhelmed, he finally marched out the door despite her begging him to stay.
Was it the end? Felt like it… until that scene in Emma’s office, where Will was beating himself up over the mattress misdemeanor. Emma advised him to focus on his own life: ”You know, divorce is a really big deal.” ”Who said anything about getting a divorce?” responded Will. (Well, you did tell Figgins and Sue that you were thinking about leaving Terri.) Next, Will asked Emma, ”Is that what you would do?” and she concluded her awkward answer by saying: ”Her methods were wrong, but, uh, I totally understand her intentions… You’re a lot to lose, Will.”
Interesting moment for Emma: She could’ve thrown Terri under the bus, but instead gave her the benefit of the doubt… and yet was still unable to hide her own feelings for Will. Earlier in the episode, Emma had tried again to stomp out those embers of affection (often fanned by Will). Will told her he believed that Ken had purposely scheduled their VFW wedding to conflict with Sectionals so Emma couldn’t go. ”Come on,” he said, ”we both know how he feels about our… relationship.” (Maybe Ken feels that way because you call it a relationship, Will.) ”I’m marrying Ken, Will,” Emma declared. She conceded that she’d given Ken reason in the past to be jealous, but ”I need you to know that I’m done with that now.” The way Emma saw it, Ken’s got 74 flaws and substandard hygeine, but he’s good with the students and ”he’s absolutely full of compassion.” (Slow down that love train, girl!) Will apologized — ”I was out of line. It won’t happen again” — before walking out. But with that ”lot to lose” comment still hanging like unfinished business, we’re left to wonder: Will Emma go through with that passion-free exchange of vows next week? That would be devastating. And crazy.
NEXT: Just following the rules
A Mattress Land mattress lands Will in a world of trouble.
Two thoughts: (1) Did not see that twist coming. (2) A stack of mattresses is probably not the best way to thank teenagers for their hard work.
Sue got the ball of destruction rolling after taping a particularly mean ”Sue’s Corner” (”All I want is just one day a year where I’m not visually assaulted by uglies and fatties”). Leaving the studio, she caught a glimpse of Glee’s Mattress Land commercial, and later the stack of freebies in the choir room, one of which was used by Will to crash on following his spat with Terri. These events led to an increasingly familiar scene in Principal Figgins’ office: Sue brings an accusation against Will, accompanied by a searing insult (”You’re too busy chasing tail and loading your hair with enormous amounts of product! I mean, today it just looks like you put lard in it”), then Figgins regretfully informs Will that his hands are tied. In this case, the rule book stated that clubs receiving any kind of payment would forfeit their amateur status. Will reasonably suggested that they return the mattresses, but in a headscratching move, Figgins insisted it was too late. (C’mon, let Will tape up the plastic! Or pay for it!) Fending off Sue’s accusation that he commited ”craven acts of adultery” with Emma, Will then confessed that he’d slept at the school on a mattress because — no, Will, don’t give Sue the satisfaction! — he was thinking about leaving his wife. ”Well, I didn’t see that one coming at all,” she quipped. Figgins wasn’t much more help: Glee Club was over.
Er, not exactly. Somehow, Will worked it so he — not New Directions — would take the fall, given that he’d slept on the mattress. The Glee kids weren’t happy to lose their director. ”We can’t do this without you, Mr. Shue,” fretted Finn. ”Hell, we probably can’t do it with you.” Will gave them a touching speech about self-reliance, noting, ”The best teachers don’t give you the answers, they just point the way and let you make your own choices, your own mistakes…. If you can’t win without me there, then I haven’t done my job.” Call it corny, but I was looking forward to seeing Mr. Schue lead the troops next week. However, this Will-can’t-cross-into-the-Promised-Land development does generate a little unexpected drama… before someone figures out a loophole that gets Will his old job back.
NEXT: Blackmail 101
No one puts Quinn and her baby in Sue’s corner.
Disgraced ex-cheerleader Quinn, who’s been slowly evolving into a more sympathetic character, enjoyed a breakthrough this week by matching wits with her old mentor. Missing her old Cheerios uniform, Quinn approached Sue in the hallway and confidently told her that she wanted back on the squad and in the photo. ”Oh, is that what you want?” retorted Sue. ”Well, what I wanted was a head cheerleader who wasn’t going to hoist her legs behind her ears in the back seat of the first station wagon she could jimmy open, throwing away any chance she ever had in life.”
Quinn went in again later and this time, she really backed up her bluster. Dressed in her cheerleader’s outfit, she dropped by Sue’s office, disrupting Sue during evil journal time. ”It’s like looking at a porno star in a nun’s habit,” Sue said to Quinn, and ordered her to take off the outfit. (Is Sue harder on Quinn or Will? Discuss.) Quinn called her a hypocrite for blowing the whistle on Glee, then threatened to tell Figgins all about how Sue showered the Cheerios with free shoes, haircuts, tanning sessions, etc. Cornered, Sue reluctantly reinstated her to the Cheerios, but Quinn wasn’t finished: She wanted one of the Cheerios’ six Thunderclap pages for Glee. For free. Sue praised Quinn’s ruthlessness with the highest of compliments: ”You’re like a young Sue Sylvester. Now get out of my office, if you can manage to squeeze through the door without your water breaking all over my new carpet.” Quinn did, but not before a final dig: ”You know what? I don’t think I want to be a Cheerio after all. I don’t want to be on a team where I only appear to belong. I’d rather be a part of a club that’s proud to have me — like Glee Club.” Congrats on serving Sue, Quinn, but I’d keep that blackmail card tucked in your backpocket. I have a feeling she’ll be plotting something sinister in that journal soon enough.
Thunderclap photo time: The thrill of victory and the agony of graffiti.
What annual ritual truly screams high school? Yes, you’re right, prom. But what else? Yearbook photos. And Glee signified the importance of this event — the 50th edition of the Thunderclap — by having Sue stroll into the teacher’s lounge, showing off the eyelift she got as preparation for her photo shoot. ”And while they were in there, I told them, go ahead and yank out those tear ducts,” she added. ”Wasn’t using them.” (Brilliant!) Oh, she also brought news to Will: She’d persuaded Figgins to keep New Directions out of the Thunderclap because the kids were always humiliated when their photos were vandalized.
While Mr. S. prepared to fight for the Glee right to take a yearbook photo, Kurt effectively sided with Sue: As he explained to his friends, Glee’s relative anonymity had generally afforded its members shelter from the more heinous acts of high school terrorism, like swirlies and patriotic wedgies, or flagpole wedgies (which Artie claimed made him ”feel more American”). Best to stay under the radar, recommended Kurt. With the aid of old Thunderclaps, he showed how Glee Club members never recovered from their photo defacings; Peter Gellar had a nervous breakdown and became Patches, the homeless man who sleeps in front of the public library. (”He barks at my mom,” said Brittany, delivering another plain-wrapped gem.) While Kurt’s presentation was amusing, I wish it’d been delivered by someone else; Kurt is a pot-stirrer, someone at home with his identity, and it seemed odd to have him advocating a head-down, lay-low strategy.
NEXT: Photo op
In any case, Will was angling to get Glee in the yearbook. Figgins agreed to sell him a $325 quarter page (below Uncle Sandro’s Chicken Inside of a Waffle ad), which could fit a photo of two members. Figgins suggested the good-looking, non-pregnant cheerleader and the QB because ”their faces are less likely to be scratched out with safety pins.” Although Terri buzzkilled Will’s idea of spending a few hundred bucks on a Glee photo, Will wrote a check to Figgins anyway. (See? Fake pregnancy aside, this was not a healthy marriage.)
Will broke the ”good” news to an unenthusiastic New Directions at the next meeting, and asked them to elect two captains/photo reps. Beyond ready for her close-up, Rachel was gladly chosen by everyone, including Rachel. ”School pictures are everything to me,” she explained earlier to us. ”They’re great practice for getting photographed by the paparazzi.” Indeed, the grating-but-gifted Glee-va shined in this episode, showing off her driven, star-in-training side. Liked the montage of her many Yearbook group photos (did she really cheerfully brandish a fist in the Black Student Union one?) and the sequence of her struggling to find a co-captain: Mercedes? ”No time. Kwanzaa.” Artie played the wheelchair card and warned that if she leaned over him in the photo, it’d look like she had stomach rolls. Brittany didn’t want to be in a picture that got defaced (which it would, because Brittany would be the one doing it). Ultimately Rachel won Finn over with a you-are-a-born-leader speech, and she gave him a how-to smile lesson via her comely if conventional cover of Lily Allen’s ”Smile.”
Come photo time, though, Finn was a no-show; he’d gotten cold feet after Karofsky and his buddy marked him up in the locker room as practice for defacing his yearbook photo. Battling disappointment, Rachel issued a pep talk to the mirror, asking herself, ”What’s that song about overcoming professional and personal disappointments?” (Her entire world is a stage!), and sang a few lines of ”When You’re Smiling,” before giving herself over to the camera. Alas, her big moment was over in a flash (”That’s it? I practiced over 18 different poses for this shoot…”) because the photographer had to go to a commercial casting session. Rachel impressed him with some fake tears, proudly noting: ”I can cry on demand. It’s one of my many talents. I’m very versatile. And aside from nudity and the exploitation of animals, I’ll pretty much do anything to break into the business.”
NEXT: The club Jumps on the commercial bandwagon
She certainly didn’t forget her Glee-mates on her rise to quasi-fame. She told them that they were all going to blossom into celebrities — ”no one messes with celebrities or defaces their pictures,” she naively noted — by filming a Mattress Land commercial. (And didn’t they actually seem excited to hawk mattresses?) That commercial scene: Pure joy. Balking at the director’s stitled lines of dialogue, Rachel pitched a performance instead, and suddenly everyone was happily hopping around on mattresses in their pajamas, belting out a supercheery version of Van Halen’s ”Jump.” While the others flipped and flopped in union, Artie held a sign in his wheelchair that read JUMP. (He was briefly seen lying on a mattress, out of his chair.) Mercedes rocked out the high notes at the end, capping off the frothy triumph.
We were treated to a deeper, bittersweet musical moment at the end of the episode, set to Rachel and Mercedes’ graceful take on Charlie Chaplin’s ”Smile.” Instructed by Will to take that Glee Club photo with pride, the girls and boys primped in their respective bathrooms (Finn and Puck did some last-minute arm-toning with weights). Will posed solemnly for his faculty photo, and then watched wistfully from outside the door as New Directions took their photo. A smile crossed his face before he walked away, leaving us with a glimpse of Glee Club’s warm celebration, which was juxtaposed with shots of this very photo being defaced. Geek Club! LOSERS! NO DIRECTIONS! Karofsky doodled all over Kurt & Co. while his jock buddies laughed it up in approval. It was a pitch-perfect scene — the geeks got their moment, the jocks got to ruin it; it was just high school nature, running its course.
Additional lines of awesome.
”A pocket square’s going to make you look like Ted Knight.”
”Of course the wedding was going to be in Hawaii, but then they told me I couldn’t bring my own fruit.” ”There’s a stack of mattresses in the choir room piled as high as the empty hair gel bottles in the dumpster outside your apartment!”
”If I took the glee club photo, they’d make me choose between the Hitler moustache or buck teeth, and I can’t rock either of those looks.”
”His big ol’ potato head — you could write a whole haiku on that thing.”
”I gotta go hit the gym and load up the guns of Puckerone for the football picture.”
”We here at Mattress Land believe that mattresses aren’t just for sleeping and fornicating anymore.”
”I want my kids to be able to look back at these books and see who I was, make them proud — not the bastard one I’m carrying now, of course — the ones I’ll have when I’m married and ready.”
And finally we have reached the last page on the yearbook episode. So, what did you make of ”Mattress”? How glad were you to see Will learn the truth about Terri? Will he divorce her or have a change of heart? Will Emma getting married next week? Inscribe your thoughts on this page.
Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.