In "Comeback," Sam tries to win Quinn over using Bieber Fever, and Sue joins New Directions with old tricks up her sleeve.
Credit: Adam Rose/Fox
The fourth season of Glee was full of ups and downs, but one consistent bright spot was Lea Michele's Rachel Berry, who stretched her wings…
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Oh, Glee, you fickle madam. You have more peaks and valleys than Will Schuester’s hairline, and last night (save this Bieber Fever I knew I’d catch) was unfortunately a valley.

That’s not to say it was bad — it was just a bit off. Let’s take a closer look.

Sue was feeling sue-icidal after the Cheerios failed to qualify for nationals. When a vitamin A overdose didn’t do the job, Emma suggested she join Glee to get back some of the champion spirit that helped win her a house full of trophies — and to stop her from rampaging through the halls in search of Glee kids to throw against lockers. Cue Schu’s bitch-face, which, if you’re keeping track, is two parts vexation, one part fear, one part constipation, and two parts hell-to-the-no. But Emma used her magical powers of persuasion on Schu (meaning she winked one of her gigantic eyes and turned him into a state henceforth known as Pillsbury’s dough) and he agreed, knowing it was also a chance to keep an eye on Sue. And Sue, of course, had a plan to destroy Glee from the inside.

Meanwhile, Sam and Quinn found themselves in tough times as Quinn became increasingly uninterested in Sam’s vanilla ways. (By the way, Quinn, crafts can totally be sexy. Ever seen Ghost?) We also learned that Quinn and Finn had fabricated a story about their rumored kiss (and subsequent mono), claiming that she’d saved him from choking on a gumball. Sam sympathized, saying he, too, had had a run-in with a dangerous gumball once upon a time. Ugh. Did anyone else’s heart break for poor, gullible Sam?

Sam didn’t need our pity, though. He planned to get Quinn’s attention back no matter what. So with the determination of a hunter and the sense of a teenager, he formed a one-man band, the Justin Bieber Experience. After a hair makeover (you know, the one where it looks like the back of your hair is trying to eat your face) and a wardrobe overhaul that included the addition of dog tags and a purple hoodie (that’s a confident man right there), he took his act to the ever-competitive bat mitzvah circuit. He found great success and a lot of girls who like to stroke hair. Creepy.

Back in class, Schuester announced that this year’s regionals competition had a theme: anthem. (And there’s your likely title for the season finale, in which the word anthem will likely be used about 150 times.) For Sue, this was a chance to manipulate Mercedes and Rachel into a diva-off, which they eventually settled through song. I was thrilled that their squabble lasted only half an episode. I really love their friendship. It gives Rachel a rare chance to be selfless, and Mercedes gets to have a plot that doesn’t involve her trying to escape Rachel’s shadow. I hope they last longer than most couples on Glee.

Speaking of couples, the boys went to Sam after his Bieber performance got the girls swooning and begged to join his group. Artie’s and Mike’s relationships had fallen into a post-Valentine’s Day slump that couldn’t be solved by ab-flashing. (Shocking, I know; abs are the penicillin of love ailments.) Finn was the odd man out, dissing the Biebs and spending most of the episode jealous of Sam’s mojo. (He finally caved, though.) Finn Hudson, your douche-ectomy is overdue; I hate not loving you.

NEXT: Breaking up is (normally) hard to do

While we’re on the subject of love and hate, I loved the exploration of Brittany’s natural sense of style, but I didn’t care for the subplot about Rachel wanting Brittany’s help in making a comeback. It was too much of a regression for Rachel as a character. After a few episodes of her showing growth as a person, she slipped back into old, desperate habits — but perhaps maybe that was the point. Maybe it was part of the plan to have her fall back and then comeback. Anyway, I still think that someone in the costume department placed a too-large order for sweaters from Kids ‘R’ Us, and they needed to write in a scene where all the female characters rocked sexy schoolgirl/librarian chic. I honestly could have done without that story line. (P.S. I want one of those sweaters.)

One thing I can’t do without lately: Puck and Lauren scenes. At this point, they are as endearing as they are unrealistic (but who cares?). Puck showed a lot of sincerity this week when he helped Lauren overcome her nerves by telling her that he usually pictures people in their underwear. (Funny, Puck, I do the same to you — when I’m not singing.)

While the kids dealt with their drama, Schu dragged Sue to a children’s hospital in hopes of showing her the power of music. I won’t go into this too much because one part of me hates seemingly random emotional manipulation and another part of me fought back tears during the entire thing (which, if Internet reports are to be believed, was filmed at a children’s hospital with real patients). And it’s also hard to consider this scene part of the show since it clearly involved little to no acting. Seriously, Sue Sylvester who? That giant ear-to-ear grin was all Jane Lynch, and I love her for it. I’m surprised she remembered she had a line.

Back at school, Santana finally helped Sam realize Quinn had been lying to him about making out with Finn, and as a result, he broke up with Quinn. She seemed devastated, but like her postpregnancy body, I’m sure she’ll be back in shape shockingly soon. Overall, I’m tired of couples breaking up, and of Santana and her airbags being there to soften the blow. Forget James Earl Jones, I’d been hoping to see Sam imitate a guy with some self-control. No such luck.

Schu didn’t fare much better in his quest to drain the mean out of Sue with their visit to the House of Sad. She ended up taking her newfound appreciation for music straight to Aural Intensity. That’s right — they’re rivals once again.

NEXT: Grading the performances and the week’s best lines



I love it when one of Glee‘s unfortunately underrated vocalists steps up for a solo, and Sam didn’t disappoint. And once he added in the übercorny dance moves that made me ache for the boy-band era (tiptoe poses, a chair routine, and the exploding heart!), I was like, “Baby, baby, baby, oh!” A


At first I thought the slo-mo chalk clap was awesome. Then I Google-searched for the video that accompanies Bieber’s single and realized that the group’s take was an almost perfect re-creation. I wasn’t as enamored with it after that.I had the same problem with the Britney Spears episode; I like to see the songs and visuals interpreted, not rehashed. The vocals were still good, though. And Puck’s hair was hilarious. B+


There was so much to swoon over during this Rent classic (originally sung by Glee guest star Idina Menzel and Fredi Walker). Rachel and Mercedes belted their hearts out and found out that the healing power of music extends to petty gripes. I find myself partial, however, to ballads for diva-offs because they discourage oversinging throughout the entire song. B


This performance earns at least a C for the shots of everyone in their underwear. It gets a C+ for Sue’s undergarments alone. But that’s when the deductions start, with major points off for lack of basic musicality. This song is the flag equivalent of a big fist giving the rest of the world a finger. C-


Allow me to commit a sin against my personal rules of decency and say: Rachel was right. This song is not regionals material. My Chemical Romance are great, and I love red checkers as much as the Brawny man’s one-toothed cousin who lives in a boxcar, but the performance was lacking. We need to be blown away. The question is: Can they do that with original music? B

Like I said, Gleeks: peaks and valleys. Now open up your giant mouths to me and answer these questions:

Which was your favorite item on Rachel’s to-do list: “Celine Dion’s b-day!” “Friend-request Barbra Streisand again,” “Ann-Margret in concert,” or “Avatar on Ice audition”? What did you think of Brittany as a fashion icon? Will this plot point last more than one episode, or will we find out next week that the Teen Vogue reporter was accidentally given directions to an address in the sewers and never seen again? What did you think of Schuester and Sue’s visit to the House of Sad? And what were your favorite/least favorite parts of the episode?


“I just stopped my own heart. That’s my CIA training.” — Sue

“Will, you have more grease in your hair than the guy behind WikiLeaks.” — Sue

“I wore a tank top today because I thought it was summer. No one ever taught me how to read a calendar.” — Brittany

“Hey, Will. Esmé.” — Sue

“I agree with SpongeHair SquareChin.” — Sue

“You’re lucky I left my blowgun at home, Airbags, because I got a clear shot at your nonnies.” — Sue

Schuester: “Who can tell us what an anthem is?”

Brittany: “The bottom of an ant’s pants.”

“I’ve got to get that girl on my Cheerios.” — Sue re: Sam

“I’m at the end of my Lauren Zizes rope. I need to get into those enormous pants.” — Puck

“I can’t. My uncle lost his job and his goat was going hungry, so I spent it on food for the goat. Well, sorta. The goat just ate the money.” — Brittany

“Honestly, although my love would crush him, I’m totally turned on by the Biebster. That is, until I remember that he looks like he’s 12; then it’s sort of creepy.” — Lauren

“Most teachers think that by cutting class, I might improve my grades.” — Brittany

“And William, I don’t care how adorable those kids are, if I hear one song from that classic-rock outfit Journey, I will start pulling catheters.” — Sue

“When people look at you, they don’t see what you’re wearing. They see a cat getting its temperature taken and then they hear it screaming.” — Brittany

“Every time you open your humongous mouth to do an impression or moisten an enormous stamp for a lazy giant, you get one step closer to everyone seeing you’re actually a dork.” — Santana

Be a geek and find me on Twitter. (No, I didn’t forget the “l” in that word.) @EWSandraG

Episode Recaps

The fourth season of Glee was full of ups and downs, but one consistent bright spot was Lea Michele's Rachel Berry, who stretched her wings…

Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox's campy musical.

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