Glee recap: 'Jagged Little Tapestry'
A declaration of love and a life-changing decision are both celebrated.
Be true to yourself. There are people in this world who will try to convince you to think a certain way, act a certain way, or pretend you are something you’re not. They say that honesty is the best policy, but what good is that motto if you don’t apply this knowledge to your own life? Fabricating truths to impress or appease others is sadly a common struggle for many people, and Glee tackled this issue head on with a multitude of storylines. These moments of self-revelation were soundtracked by the lyrics of two remarkable women who once released iconic breakup albums. At first the breakup theme seemed odd, but if anyone knows exactly who they are, it’s Alanis Morissette and Carole King. Or maybe, it’s ironic. Don’t you think?
When Rachel and Kurt decide this week’s assignment is an Alanis and Carole mashup, I became very nervous. Will the newbies even know the sheer brilliance of Jagged Little Pill? Has it really been 20 years since Alanis’ angry voice belted out from the car speakers? What about Carole? She’s from an even earlier generation! The kids need to respect the woman who has written dozens of standards that we all know and love. Will the millennials watching realize that she is more than the woman who owned the music store on Gilmore Girls? Can they grasp the legendary work they are about to squish together?
Luckily, Kurt steps in and educates the Glee kids—and the viewing audience—on the wonder that is Carole King before introducing the Tapestry and Jagged Little Pill assignment. The challenge is to combine easy and smooth with edgy and dark. No problem. But if you have trouble, feel free to consult the entire Glee Club from two years ago who managed to ditch school, work, and military duties to help out this week. Three cheers for convenience!
Over in the locker room, Sam catches a quick sniff before ironing the team’s jock straps. I’ll let you marinate in that sentence for just a moment. He’s concerned that something is wrong with Coach Beiste because she’s been missing practices. According to Beiste, she’s struggling with a bum knee, so she’s going to have to rely on Sam more in the future. When Spencer comes in to ask her if he can try out for quarterback, he is denied. Sam consoles Spencer, admitting that he would give him a shot if he were the coach. If Spencer had a mustache, he’d be twirling it right now.
Another former student is roaming the halls of McKinley High—and she’s wreaking havoc. Gird your loins people. Becky is back! She’s mean, she’s crass, and she’s been lying to her boyfriend Darryl. She told him she was in the Glee Club, and she enlists Tina and Quinn to help her convince him that she’s musically inclined. (This sounds like a job for Carole King if you ask me.) However, when Sue meets Darryl, all bets are off. Everyone assumed Becky would be dating a boy with Down Syndrome, but instead, Darryl is a young adult without disabilities.
But Becky and Darryl aren’t the only lovebirds visiting Lima. Santana and Brittany’s relationship is apparently on again, because Santana suggests that Brittany move to New York with her, and she agrees. Then Santana tells Brittany that she loves her! They celebrate this reinvigorated love with a mashup of “Hand In My Pocket” and “I Feel the Earth Move.” There was very little choreography, and the group seemed to like it, but I was confused. I had one hand in my pocket and the other was wondering what was up with Brit’s shirt? Two fried eggs in the nipple region is a bold choice.
Once the performance ended, Santana sat Brittany down in one of the maroon choir room chairs, told her she was her favorite person in the world, and that she didn’t want to live her life without her one true love. A random member of the band passes a tiny red box to Santana. She gets down on one knee and proposes! Brittany squeals a yes! Everyone hugs and congratulates the happy couple, until Kurt stands up and squashes the moment. Clearly they are too young to get married. Bitter, party of one.
NEXT: I didn’t see that coming.
Santana confronts Kurt for his ridiculous outburst and chastises him for a solid two-minute rant. Insults include, but are not limited to: Kurt being compared to an extra in one of Andy Dick’s more elaborate dreams, a more feminine Quinn Fabray, having a strange obsession with old people, and not knowing more than three dance moves, one of which requires rainbow-colored tassels adhered to his hips. In short, Santana insinuates that things didn’t work out with Blaine because Kurt is utterly intolerable.
One of the insults must have struck a chord because Kurt apologizes to Brittany for being so rude. She immediately forgives him and then demands he get over Blaine since he and Karosfsky have just moved in together. Kurt is devastated and Brittany tries to console him using the analogy of a melted Mars bar as poop in her hand. The strange example flew over my head, but Kurt finally decides to let go of Blaine.
You know who is not letting go? Darryl. When he is bombarded by questions from Tina, Quinn, Sue, and Roz regarding his intentions with Becky, Darryl defends Becky’s right to have a normal relationship like anyone in that room. He enjoys hanging out with Becky. Sue decides to address the huge elephant in the room by asking Darryl point blank if he’s having sex with Becky. The answer is no. The reason is because they aren’t ready. They need to jump on this train because Darryl is here to stay. Mic drop.
Later that afternoon, Jane (her afro is still fabulous) and Mason pair up to sing their mashup: “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” and “Head Over Feet.” The auditorium stage has been transformed into a cool, hip den for the jazz ensemble. They croon and sway in all the right places, but Kurt can’t seem to stop daydreaming about Blaine the entire time. The scene flashes to a montage of Klaine moments as tears well in Kurt’s eyes. Rachel praises her protégés just as Kurt reprimands them. Once again, our co-leaders are not on the same page and the tension rises to a slow boil.
Speaking of slow boil, Sue is out to get Coach Beiste. After Spencer tattled on her lack of committing to a potential championship team, Sue took two milliseconds of soul searching before deciding to rifle through Coach Beiste’s desk. She found a ton of pills and wants to know: Does she have cancer?
The answer is yes. Coach Beiste stammers an apology and Sue interrupts. She will do everything she can to help Coach get through this time. Is someone showing her true colors?
Sue rushes to the choir room to see Becky’s performance with Tina and Quinn. The trio sit on stools and when it’s Becky’s turn to “jump in and wail like Mercedes” Becky chooses to jump off the stool and run away. Becky is upset that Darryl will know that she lied about being the president of every club at McKinley. It’s Santana who is the voice of reason when she describes Becky as lazy and toxic. She accurately reminds Becky that finding someone who puts up with the real you is rare. If Darryl doesn’t like her, it’s his loss. But she needs to show him the real Becky. Becky lays it all out on the table at Breadsticks, and Darryl promises to always have her back.
Just as you think everyone has decided to embrace their true selves, Coach Beiste and Sue call Sam into the office to tell him that he will be taking on more responsibility as assistant coach. Sue drops the c-word and it’s Coach Beiste’s turn to interrupt. She lied about having cancer. She is in the process of transitioning from a woman to a man. Sam tries to understand, and Coach Beiste offers a simple explanation—her outsides don’t match how she feels on the inside. She’s never felt at home in her own skin, but she knows she is strong enough to face this reality. Sue promises Coach Beiste that her job will be waiting for her when and if she decides to return. Group hug! True colors!
Back in the auditorium, Rachel and Kurt have made amends. Rachel confesses that she needs Kurt’s brutal honesty to keep her sharp. They may have different views, but both regimes can work together. That’s the beauty of the mashup. And that’s beauty of this show as EW critic Jeff Jensen pointed out this week.
NEXT: Music notes and sound bites
“It’s Too Late” by Carole King
Kurt and Blaine’s duo was mellow and folksy like the original. It was an interesting directional choice, with Kurt fantasizing about Blaine all over town. I liked the dueling pianos and soft ’70s vibe.
“Hand In My Pocket” / “I Feel the Earth Move” by Alanis Morissette / Carole King
Brittany and Santana did a great job singing this mashup, even though I felt Brittany’s voice sounded a little overproduced. There was very little choreography, but they seemed to have a fun time with facial expressions and hand gestures. I think the song morphed together beautifully.
“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” / “Head Over Feet” by Carole King / Alanis Morissette
“Will You Love Me Tomorrow” is a little punchier when The Shirelles sing it, but the arrangement Jane and Mason sang was brilliant. The song definitely showcased Samantha Ware’s voice. I was a little distracted wondering if we were supposed to feel vibes between Jane and Mason. I felt like I was supposed to, but I didn’t believe them.
“So Far Away” by Carole King
This was the first time I noticed that Brad the old piano guy is gone! I will miss our bearded buddy. This number was again, soft and mellow, performed by Quinn and Tina. It was a bit tired. It’s probably best that the number was cut short by Becky’s boisterous exit.
“You Learn” / “You’ve Got a Friend” by Alanis Morissette / Carole King
The mashup begins with the old Glee Club gang singing and ends ever so eloquently with the newbies joining in. The mashup was flawless. I was pleasantly surprised that I enjoyed how both songs layered over each other in perfect harmony. This was definitely the musical highlight of the night.
Kurt: What good is having sheet music if you don’t have the soundtrack of Smash?
Blaine: I know. It’s a show choir hate crime.
Rachel: Each week will begin with a lesson where we explore every piece of music under the sun!
Quinn: But mostly Katy Perry and show tunes.
Brittany: We are so awesomely in love. I would totally hate us if I didn’t know us.
Sue: I can’t just fire anyone for yelling. I’m teaching a pedagogical screaming class over at the community college. I’d look like a hypocrite.