‘Glee’-Cap 2.16: “The Opening Salvo of World War Sue”

Last week, the ‘Glee’ kids made it to Regionals. This marks both Sue’s declaration of all-out war to destroy Will Schuester, and also the debut of the New Directions’ secret weapon to foil her plans – the dreaded original song. Can there really be any winners in such a battle?

Episode ‘Original Song’ begins with an unexpected cold open. Without warning, the episode bursts straight into the Warblers singing Maroon 5’s “Misery.” It’s actually a pretty fun performance, and Blaine exclaims that the team has found its number for Regionals. Kurt, however, is feeling pretty blasé about the choice. “Been there, done that,” he bemoans. He says that he’s getting tired of being a background swayer in “Blaine and the Pips.” He has a point.

Over at McKinley, Rachel is still plugging away at writing that original song she promised/threatened. Having failed miserably with “My Headband,” she’s moved on to a new emotional ballad called “Only Child,” which contains a truly cringe-worthy line about being “the only Berry on my family tree.” Finn politely tells her that it’s better than her last song, but that she needs to keep working on it.

Quinn is on a quite tear in this episode. She’s decided that she wants to become Prom Queen at all costs. She turns into kind of a huge bitch about it, which feels really far out of character considering everything she’s been through. Because she needs Finn to be her Prom King, and because she feels threatened by the attention he’s giving Rachel, Quinn sets off on a plan to become Rachel’s BFF and secretly undermine her. Step 1 is to support Rachel’s bid to write the original song for Regionals when the group is informed that they can’t perform that My Chemical Romance song they’d planned (due to devious interference from Sue). The rest of the class is a little perturbed by this. They request that they all be allowed to write their own songs. Will thinks that’s a great idea.

Back at Dalton, the Warbler’s mascot, Pavarotti the canary, has died while in Kurt’s custody. He’s heartbroken, and expresses his sadness with a weepy performance of The Beatles’ “Blackbird.” When watching this, Blaine is overcome by Kurt’s sensitivity and emotion. First, he tells the team that he can no longer lead every single one of their songs. He wants instead to perform a duet with Kurt at Regionals. (It’s not like he’s stepping aside or anything, though.) Later, he tells Kurt that he’s had an epiphany. He’s suddenly realized what was right there in front of him the whole time. In the episode’s biggest Awwwwww….. moment, he gives Kurt a big kiss and tells him that he wants to be his boyfriend. Good for Kurt!

In other relationship news, Santana is still mad at Brittany for not dumping Artie, who she refers to as “Stubbles McCripplepants.” As a result, Santana has continued to date Sam, but has turned very passive aggressive towards him. For her original song, she performs an incredibly sultry number called “Trouty Mouth” about his ridiculous fish lips. Sam is pissed. Personally, I’d get over it if I were him. Sure, the song is mean, but damn, it’s also h-o-t.

Next, Puck writes a song for Lauren, in hopes of making up for that “Fat Bottomed Girls” fumble from a couple episodes ago. His song is called “Big Ass Heart,” and it has a really fun Stray Cats rockabilly vibe going on. Lauren is into it. The scene wraps up with Mercedes delivering a soulful number called “Hell to the No.” These songs are all kind of awesome in their own ways, but Will tells the class that they still haven’t found the perfect material for Regionals yet. He encourages them to dig deep and find inspiration from the one thing they all have in common – the abuse they take from Sue.

After pretending to be her friend, Quinn takes a sharp turn into raging bitch mode and tells Rachel that she’ll never have Finn. It’s clear to us, though, that this is actually Quinn’s sneaky way of being nice to Rachel, and firing her up to write a decent song.

When we finally get to Regionals, we’re introduced to this year’s panel of celebrity judges. Rod the anchorman is there again, of course. His two co-judges are a ridiculous Right-winger Tea Party candidate (a hilariously cast Kathy Griffin) and a nun who used to be a stripper (Loretta Devine). As coach of Aural Intensity, Sue unveils her master plan to suck up directly to the judges by having her team perform “Jesus Is a Friend of Mine.” The Tea Party lady loves it almost as much as she pretends to love Jesus, but the nun is offended at being pandered to.

The Warblers hit the stage next with “Candles” by Hey Monday. As promised, Blaine and Kurt do this one as a duet. I’ll be honest, I don’t think that Kurt’s voice is strong enough for songs like this. They follow that up with Pink’s “Raise Your Glass,” and Blaine is right back to being solo lead singer again. So much for big changes at Dalton.

Then the big moment arrives. The New Directions shock the audience with two completely original songs, both by Rachel. One is an emotional solo called “Get It Right,” and the other is a peppier group number called “Loser Like Me.” Honestly, they’re both pretty good, especially the former. That should be proof enough that they weren’t actually written by 16-year-olds. The performance ends with the kids throwing Slushee cups full of confetti into the audience.

The audience loves it, and so do two of the three judges. The New Directions win Regionals. Sue is so pissed that she charges on stage and punches the Lt. Governor’s wife (who presented the award) in the face.

The next day, Kurt is disappointed that his team didn’t win Regionals, but is consoled that he and Blaine are finally together. Meanwhile, Will names Rachel the MVP of Glee Club, which makes her choke up with a little uncharacteristic humility.

I’ve had my issues with ‘Glee’ this season, and I’m not particularly thrilled with the Quinn storyline here (I also feel that Sue was underused), but I have to admit that this is otherwise a really gangbusters episode that reminds us exactly how well this show can work at its best.

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