New Directions puts on a benefit concert, Sunshine returns, and Holly Holliday takes her final bow of the season

By Sandra Gonzalez
April 20, 2011 at 11:54 AM EDT
Adam Rose/Fox
S2 E17
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  • TV Show
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The weeks without Glee have made my soul as barren as the auditorium during a New Directions charity concert. (Yeah, not even their parents showed up.) But they were back this week, with several treats, like two guest stars, half a Tina song, a sexy display of tough from Darren Criss’ Blaine, a Schuester moment that didn’t make me want to clean my skin with an electric toothbrush, a little cat humor, and a shout-out to a little magazine you might have heard of. (Hi, Becky!)

Shall we recap?

New Directions needed money. And Mr. Schue needed a math tutor. (I believe it should have read “20,000 x .25 = $5,000.” Back me up, fellow mathletes…or fifth graders?) Point being, the Cheerios money promised to glee was lost in offshore accounts, and they needed a way to pay for a trip to Nationals. So naturally, Schue decided to sell saltwater taffy. “We pushed this stuff like crack,” he said of his days fund-raising at the school. Too bad they weren’t selling actual crack, because they could have considered their money problems over. But in the spirit of plot — and because Glee isn’t The Wire — they later opted to have a charity concert (an idea that came from Holly Holliday, who was back…again). The event would, in part, benefit the Brainiacs, the school’s monetarily challenged, final-bound academic decathlon team. Why? Because Tina, Mike, and Artie were in it…and (twist!) so was Brittany. They needed money so they could travel to Detroit after their collective knowledge of cat diseases and white rappers (which probably have more in common than we think) earned them a spot in the finals.

Meanwhile, Sue had gathered her League of Doom, which consisted of the coach from Vocal Adrenaline Dusty Goolsby (Sergeant Handsome), former glee coach Sandy Ryerson (the Pink Dagger), and Terri (Honey Badger). Honestly, I think Sue failed as an evil League leader — although that can probably be attributed to the fact that she put Sandy (who generally fails at life) in charge of the important task of heckling the glee kids during their fund-raiser. That’s not something that should be left to an amateur.

Over in Schue’s living room with a crackling fire in the background, he and Holly Holliday (Gwyneth Paltrow) were either getting ready to film a ’90s-era R&B music video or trying to set a sexy atmosphere. Oh, there was pizza. Never mind. But Holliday (in addition to giving Will the idea for the charity concert) suggested they sing only songs by neglected artists. The kids reacted like we all probably did: “Huh!?” The pizza must have been herbal.

Nonetheless, the kids got to work, but there was a snag: Mercedes wasn’t feeling the love from everyone else. She wanted more spotlight, blah, blah. We’ve done that, right? And, I believe, we had reached some sort of resolution. Now, suddenly, we found ourselves covering the same issue, with the same character — only this time she had Lauren Zizes as her backup instead of Kurt. (Not that Kurt would ever put up with the divasaurus behavior she displayed last night.) Get Mercedes a love interest, stat! Or a puppy! Or an orphan to adopt. Or an orphan-puppy love interest. (Ewww.) I don’t care. But if she’s entangled in one more “fighting for the spotlight” plot, her membership in the League of Awesome will be revoked and given to Sunshine Corazon (Charice!).

NEXT: Sunshine of our life

Ah, yes. Sunshine! She returned in this episode, and despite what everyone in New Directions thought, she came in peace. She wanted to perform at the benefit and offered to bring all 600 of her Twitter followers if she had the chance to sing. (Pffft. I can’t even get half of that to retweet recaps.) So the gang decided that spy or not, Sunshine could bring a crowd, and they invited her to perform. Rachel was not thrilled. But displeasure has become as common an expression on her face as desperation. So her protests don’t seem to carry much weight within the group anymore. Side note: I loved that Sunshine had a self-deprecating joke in there! It kept her from appearing too perfect/exempt from the signature Glee humor. Back when she first appeared, that was the initial issue I had with the character. I liked her so much more this time around.

Speaking of things with little mass, Ms. Pillsbury was going through a difficult time after Dr. Carl (John Stamos) left her. ‘Tis a sad day to see the sort-of progress she made recovering from her OCD get thrown down a (spotless?) toilet, but I have to admit, the idea of cleaning the counters with a battery-powered toothbrush? Kind of brilliant. She told Will that he’d asked for an annulment, and because they never “consummated the marriage,” he was legally entitled.

I have my own issues with Will Schuester (which I’ll maybe explore in therapy one day), but they all seem to dissipate when he’s around Emma. Take the scene in last night’s episode, for example. The semi-creepy let’s-have-sex voice he always uses when, say, Holly’s around lifted and gave way to a softer, sympathetic tone when he was sitting down with Emma. And that speech with the grapes? Adorable. I’ll come right out and say it: I love Will and Emma. If that doesn’t happen eventually, I’m going to need more than one fresh puppy to dry these tears of disappointment.

In fact, I need a few Pomeranians now, because I was a little saddened at the lack of Kurt and Blaine in this episode. Much of the hype in the last episode came from the epic kiss the pair shared, and suddenly, the entire thing took a backseat to a rather disjointed story line about a failed benefit concert. I understand the show needs to share the spotlight among the characters and I applaud the effort to do so, but either think of something worthy to give the side characters or stick with what works.

It’s easy to see that the plot between them and Karofsky is building, though. Their hall confrontation in yesterday’s episode was troubling — and mildly hot if you factor in Blaine’s reaction to Karofsky’s bullying. Also, three cheers for Santana’s tough-as-nails attitude, but I also wondered why they didn’t sic her on the hecklers. She and her hair of razor blades no doubt would have made them shut up a whole lot faster than stuffing them full of taffy.

NEXT: The week’s best lines

So this is how we wrapped up: Sunshine dropped out of the benefit concert after Sergeant Handsome made her, Holly stopped the hecklers who made Tina cry, Rachel had a chat with Mercedes after a diva meltdown that had a rather confusing message (Did she really tell her it’s better to be a star than have friends?) but at least got her to sing, Sandy ended up making a large donation to the cause, and Holly and Will broke it off after she got a job teaching French. (Where’s my tiny violin?)

We know that Holly won’t be back for the rest of the season, and I know many are celebrating that fact. (I may or may not be one of them…) But at least they rounded out her arc and gave it a proper ending (for now…).

It’s time for talking points!

Were you as confused as I was by the message in this episode? Do you think Mark Harmon is handsome? Were you saddened by the lack of Kurt/Blaine in the episode? Does Mercedes deserve a new, fun arc? Did you enjoy Tina’s 30-second appearance? Are you glad Holly’s gone for the season? Did you like how her story ended? (Although, again, everyone has teased that she’ll be back next season.) Were you glad to see Sunshine back? And what did you think of the episode in general, Gleeks?

“ALL BY MYSELF”

I don’t want to like it, because she’s the enemy!! But I can’t help it. The girl has pipes! A

“FOLLOW RIVERS”

Poll: Will Tina ever get to finish a song? Well, judging by the 20 seconds we saw, she certainly deserves to. B

“BUBBLE TOES” (IN DANCE!)

Hey, it’s still a performance. And honestly, it’s one of the best of the season. A

“TURNING TABLES”

Hmmmm… What was that thing Holly taught the hecklers? If you have nothing nice to say…I’ll take a page from the Randy Jackson dictionary (which probably has fewer pages than an IHOP menu) and say It was just a’ight for me, man. B-

“AIN’T NO WAY”

I had trouble connecting to this song for some reason, and it’s not for lack of Mercedes’ ability to belt it out. Maybe it was the fact that a choir suddenly appeared from nowhere or that her behavior prior to the performances was less than appealing. But it just turned out to be uncharacteristically average, which is, of course, still 10 times better than a normal person. B+

QUOTABLES

“I love salt water.” — Brittany

“I’m still trying to remember his name right now.” — Lauren re: Mike Chang

“Is it because two of them are Asian and Artie wears glasses?” — Puck

“I bet you’re all wondering why I called you here in the dead of night when I’m normally out bow-hunting for hobos.” — Sue

Sandy: Are you single?

Dusty/Sergeant Handsome: I’m not gay.

Sandy: I don’t care. You’re hunky, and I’m what you call a predatory gay.

“It would be hard to be married to you.” — Sue

Sergeant Handsome: “Why would I want to get involved in this?”

Sue: “Well, Sergeant, you strike me as a bit of a tool who enjoys playing mind games with your opponents.”

“She’s looser than a thrift-store turtleneck and probably just as diseased.” — Sue

“Sandy, how do you manage to walk into a building without setting off all the fire alarms?” — Sue

“Seriously, with your size, you easily could have sat in the air ducts for days.” — Artie to Sunshine

“I’m all alone at the top. Also, I’m really short. So even when I’m in a group of people, it feels like I’m wandering all over a forest.” — Sunshine

“Those aren’t eggs in those fallopian tubes, they’re rare, exotic pearls.” — Sergeant Handsome

“Let me tell you something about Will Schuester: That man has tiny baby hands. Seriously, it’s weird. Once I saw him try to pick up a Big Mac; he couldn’t do it. He had to eat it layer by layer.” — Sergeant Handsome

“Also, I have razor blades in my hair.” — Santana

“I’m ‘The Beckster’ on the Entertainment Weekly chat rooms.” — Becky

Follow Sandra on Twitter: @EWSandraG

Jane Lynch, Lea Michele, and high school anxiety star in Fox’s campy musical.
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  • 05/19/09
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