It's Britney Spears all hour while Brittany has a breakdown and Rachel gets closer to Brody

By Erin Strecker
Updated September 21, 2012 at 04:42 AM EDT
Mike Yarish/Fox

Oops…I think they did Brit again. They made us believe, tributes would come to an end. (Oh baby.) Tribute episodes! The love-it-or-loathe-it Glee mainstay was once again upon us last night for “Britney 2.0,” a.k.a Brittany S. Pierce’s breakdown, a.k.a I assume a nice corporate tie-in for X Factor starring Britney Spears. Thursdays on Fox!

These types of episodes are typically enjoyed most if you just kind of buckle in for a wild ride and don’t worry too much about the plot (with double the usual amount of songs, they have a lot to cram in). In this case, the plot was Brittany’s total emotional breakdown. Feeling abandoned by a college-obsessed Santana, and also being kicked off the Cheerios because of her shockingly bad grades (F-), Brittany was feeling totally overwhelmed and all alone — NOT UNLIKE a certain troubled pop star circa 2007. Noticing that Brittany was down in the dumps, Schuster decided to declare this week’s theme “Britney 2.0,” (Hey! That’s the title of this episode!) and told everyone they had to once again perform a Spears song. Convenient and mostly entertaining, the gang got to work covering some tracks that weren’t sung in the first round. Alas, no snakes this time.

It was all fun and games during “Boys,” but during a performance of “3,” Brittany hit a breaking point and went for the razor to shave her head. If she can’t wear a Cheerio high ponytail, she doesn’t want hair at all. The Glee kids stop her before she can go through with it, but she left the room and went full-crazy storming around school hitting the school’s paparazzo with an umbrella (Where were the milkshakes?) and causing a random student to scream, “LEAVE BRITTANY ALONE!” I have to give credit to the writers — they got a lot of small details (Chris Crocker, Cheetos, her 2007 VMA outfit) of the Ms. Spears legacy into the episode. Impressive.

But of course, Brittany couldn’t hit actual rock bottom until later in the hour. The newly still-kind-of-popular Glee club was invited to perform at a pep assembly, and Brittany wanted them to lip-sync their performance of “Gimme More” so that they could concentrate on dancing (No pop stars do that, right guys?). Anyway, the whole thing blew up in their face later in the episode, when Brittany walked around onstage, seemingly drugged and confused and a complete mess, not unlike a certain Video Music Awards performance, embarrassing herself and the club in front of the entirety of McKinley. End scene.

NEXT: Rachel and Kurt tackle New York

Mr. Schuster freaked (he was so disproportionately upset about lip-synching than anything else those kids have ever done!) and then Brittany resigned from Glee club. She had a sweet heart-to-heart with Sam in the auditorium, where he told her that she was intentionally trying to hit rock bottom. Brittany agreed, saying that it was so she “could have a glorious comeback, like Britney.” Sam promised her that they’ll remain friends and he’ll stick up for her, like Santana would have if she were there. Brittany informed him that she planned to get back on the Cheerios. Sue and Brittany then have a talk where Sue told her she wanted her to graduate by the end of the year and Brittany promised she would — helped by weekly tutoring sessions with Schu and Emma. Remember: Glenn Close is not George Washington.

Meanwhile, in NYC, Rachel and Kurt moved into their new HUGE Bushwick apartment (For the non-New Yorkers, it’s in Brooklyn) and proceed to bike around (Because they can?) and have a charming convo where Rachel asked about Finn a lot and Kurt kindly didn’t tell her to shut up. Rachel complained about Cassandra some more, because she’s still making her life miserable. Kurt perks up and informed her that Cassandra once had a promising career, but she had a meltdown onstage — not unlike Patti Lupone’s epic freakout — and now she’ll never work again. As it always happens when you hear anything awful about someone you hate, Rachel was instantly cheered up.

Unfortunately, Rachel still had dance class problems. With Cassandra deciding she wasn’t sexy and being short one guy in class, Cassandra made Rachel sit out learning to tango, which is a problem if she ever wants to star in Evita. Which she most certainly does. She got bold and creative, however, and asked new, casual “Just Friends” hot pal Brody if he would be her dance partner. Would you believe he was into it?

This lead to a sizzling, albeit red-leather-bodysuitless, version of “Oops…” for Cassandra. She may not have been impressed, but I think viewers definitely were. Unfortunately, Cassandra told her she wasn’t that good and Rachel snapped and said what all the Real Housewives do when they feel attacked: You’re just jealous. “We’re the future, and you’re just some YouTube joke,” she declared. Well, you can’t talk to people like that, and Cassandra told her she was done.

NEXT: Jake gets into a fight, and Puck returns

Later, Rachel went to apologize, and the two had a pseudo heart-to-heart where Cassandra said that if she had her choice, she wouldn’t let Rachel back in her class. But school policy says she has to, so Rachel was back in, with a better understanding of why Cassandra is the way she is, and the knowledge that one mistake can ruin you. Will the two become friends? Unlikely. But Cassandra is going to push Rachel to where she needs to be, and that’s important.

Meanwhile, back in Lima, a lot was going on with the new kids at McKinley while Brittany was having her breakdown. Marley had an obvious crush on Jake, and Unique warned her that she knows just what Jake is — a womanizer. Like all high school girls ever, Marley ignored this sensible advice and crushed hard anyway. And it seemed like he liked her back! They flirted in the stadium and Jake got into a fight when some kids make fun of her mom.

(PARAGRAPH-LONG ASIDE: Puck is back, briefly! After the fight, Schu brought Jake to Puck in the choir room where the two half-brothers met for the first time. Puck told him that he understands trying to seek approval from someone (their Dad) who isn’t going to ever give it. He points out that he’s done the bad boy thing (slept with every girl in school twice!) but that the thing that made him a man was Glee club. If you don’t think about it too hard, this scene was really sweet. If you think about it, it’s ridiculous. Schu should not have orchestrated their first meeting. But I digress.)

Because of this chat, and his burgeoning feelings for Marley, Jake decided to join the Glee club. But before Marley could update her Facebook status to smiles and butterflies, Mean Girl Kitty swooped in and reminded Marley that she and Jake were dating now. Of course they are. Poor Marley. She’s so devastated that only one Britney song can truly capture how she’s feeling: “Everytime,” which she sang while sadly gazing as Jake, while Brittany sadly gazed at a computer screen and Rachel sadly covered up the word ‘Finn’ painted on her wall because – sorry, Finchel fans – Rachel may have turned down that impromptu apartment kiss, but she definitely has feelings for Brody. Oops.

NEXT: Musical grades

Musical Grades (for performances, not just vocals):

“Hold It Against Me”: Like all from Brittany S. Pierce, vocally not the strongest but performance-wise – in this case a choreographed Cheerio number on the football field — just incredible. NO surprise from the woman who originally was one of Beyonce’s back-up dancers. B

“Boys/Boyfriend”: In this Britney/Bieber mash-up in the choir room, Artie and Blaine put a surprisingly fun teeny-bopper spin on one of Brit’s most shamelessly sexy tracks. Adding in some newly grown-up Bieber was frothy and enjoyable –even if the track seemed more autotuned than usual. B

“Womanizer”: The Glee club ladies featuring Unique. I enjoyed that they used some of Britney’s original video choreography, and the editing in this number was sharp. B

“3”: Joe, Tina and Sam (on guitar!) gave us a pleasant acoustic-ish version of one of Spears’ most computerized-sounding singles. But was anyone else concerned that JOE WAS SINGING ABOUT THREESOMES? B+

Crazy/(You Drive Me) Crazy”: I genuinely loved this one. The Aerosmith/Spears mash-up was inspired, and Jake and Marley’s voices complemented each other nicely. A-

“Oops…I Did It Again”: Rachel does sexy with a bunch of back-up dancers. And it was awesome. A-

Gimme More”: The wound is still raw, Glee. Real talk: Can you be a Britney fan and enjoy this song? Or does it just bring you to a dark place (cough 2007 VMAs cough) Regardless, the Glee club performed this at the pep assembly (Who else was nostalgic for “Push It”?) and Brittany has a Britney breakdown right on cue. They lip synched, which is not acceptable. C

Everytime”: Aww. This was gorgeous thematically and well done from an emotional-punch standpoint. It’s one of Britney’s few ballads, y’all. I forgot how much I missed it. A-

NEXT: Top lines

Quick Quips:

–“I finally know how Jesus feels in his house in the North Pole because I’m on top of the world.” -Brittany

–“Who are you talking to? “I thought I was doing a voiceover.” –Blaine and Brittany

–Happyville: The town where math was never invented (Kurt and Rachel are in Heaven)

–Pamphlet: So You Look Like Crap

–Kiki

–“If the national show choir board gets wind of this, we could be barred from competing.” –Mr. Schuster says the line of the night that makes me literally laugh out loud.

–“Tons of people do this now. Kristen Stewart, James Earl Jones.” -Brittany

–“I had my first threesome at 7.” –Puck

–“I got to get back to LA. I’ve got a date with a chick who was third runner up on The Bachelor.” –Puck. God I missed Puck.

–“I just miss the little things. Like her laugh and the smell of her armpits. Yes, we had interesting lady sex but she was also my best friend.” –Brittany

–“[Britney] got paid 14 million dollars to be on X Factor. She looks great, and she has a new perfume that you can smell from miles away.” –Brittany

–“I will respect your boundaries. But just know when we’re together, whatever we’re doing, I’m thinking of kissing you.” –Brody. Well, that friendship is doomed.

–“Did that song come out this morning? Because we scraped the bottom of that Britney barrel” –Artie. Not true because they still haven’t covered “Someday (I Will Understand),” a.k.a the one where she walks around pregnant with her first child with Keven Federline and the whole video was shot in black and white and was “artsy.” 2005, am I right?

What did you think of the second round of Britney? Did you enjoy Brittany’s storyline? Excited to see where things go with Marley and Jake? Intrigued by Brody’s feelings for Rachel? Tell me your favorite Brittany lines — I’m sure I forgot a few. Which Oscar nominees have you gotten confused with Presidents?

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