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Will and April sing "Fire" by Bruce Springsteen Glee Kurt Hummel Kristen Chenoweth  I'm back, gleeks! While deeply saddened to have missed recapping the All Madonna episode, I must heap thanks and praise upon Miss Banshee for knocking that one out of the park. Last night's episode brought the return of April Rhodes and—to my shock and bemusement—almost nary a peep from Rachel. 

We open with Sue, who has a dilemma. It’s about Mercedes and her track suits. At first she thought it was a charming homage, but now she just wants Mercedes in a gender appropriate cheer uniform. Mercedes says she doesn’t feel comfortable in the cheer skirts, but it isn’t a body image issue at all—she just doesn’t want to show too much skin and cause a sex riot. However, Sue is sure to make sure Mercedes develops a nice, normal body image complex and tells her to lose ten pounds. She also wonders how Kurt and Mercedes don’t have their own Bravo show, which I would TOTALLY watch, by the way. When Kurt balks at the short timeframe Sue has issued Mercedes to lose a whopping ten pounds, Sue tells Kurt he could stand to lose a few off those womanly hips of his. Kurt, in case you’ve fortgotten, looks like he weighs about 80 pounds soaking wet.

Shortly after Sue completes her quest to raise the number of eating-disordered McKinley students by at least two, Will comes in to bitch about the padlock on auditorium. If Schue had checked the signup sheet for the space—conveniently kept in Sue’s waistband—he would know that the Cheerios have the auditorium for practice this week. Foiled again, Schuester!

Schue relates the setback to the kids, who are gearing up for regionals and need all the practice time they can get. Rachel recommends they organize a sit in to protest Sue’s monopoly on the auditorium, and an always even-tempered Puck recommends they torch the place. Shue demurs on both those suggestions and says he’s going to look at offsite locations.

After the pow wow, Kurt seeks out Finn’s decorating advice (or rather his JOCK). He’s going for an aesthetic that conveys “hunting lodge meets Tom Ford’s place in Bel Air.” Finn indicates that he lives in a closet with cowboy wallpaper and maybe isn’t the best person to look at swatches with Kurt. 

In the cafeteria, Kurt chides Mercedes for her sensible lunch of skinless chicken breast with a salad, dressing on the side. She has to lose ten pounds in a week, Kurt reminds her, and she can’t play around with things that have calories. For example, Kurt is having a lunch of peeled celery, and for breakfast he had Splenda. He tells Mercedes not to screw this up, and I kind of want to smack him. I guess since the rest of the guys were assholes last week, it’s Kurt’s turn this week. 

Ahead in the lunch line, Brittany confides in Santana that she thinks her cat is reading her diary. Mercedes asks the Mensa twins how they stay so skinny despite ostensibly eating actual food. It’s easy. They’re on Sue’s special diet drink, the ingredients for which include water, maple syrup, lemon juice, cayenne pepper and ipecac. Sue proudly declares that she hasn’t eaten a solid meal in decades. Brittany sometimes adds sand to hers. I’m...not sure how that helps, but I guess maybe I should consider the source and maybe not add that to my morning Fat Burner Shake™.

At the Hudson house, Finn’s mom is selling her old bedroom furniture, and Finn is pissed that his mom would sell the bed where he was conceived. Ew, dude. Exasperated, Mrs. Hudson tells Finn he was conceived on a pinball machine. Sadly, this does not lead into a rendition of “Pinball Wizard.” When the buyer of the bed expresses interest in his dad’s recliner, Finn protests. “It’s a chair honey, it’s not him,” Mrs. Hudson says. Finn asks what’s up with the new clothes and hair and selling their old furniture. She’s seeing someone, and she thinks she’s in love. And it’s Kurt’s dad. 

Will and April sing "Fire" by Bruce Springsteen Glee Kurt Hummel Kristen Chenoweth
 

Will goes to a roller rink, and who should be announcing the couples skate but April Rhodes, former glee club darling and current drunkety drunkface-cum-roller disco owner. She spots Will and gives him a shout out over the PA. “I just had a sex dream about you!” She demands a duet, and they sing and skate to Fire by The Boss.


Afterwards, April and Will catch up. April has finally realized her dream of being mistress to a strip mall tycoon and owner of a cabaret roller rink. Will lets it slip that he's getting divorced, which apparently excites April. “So you’re free to date by which I mean you’re free to sleep with people, by which I mean you’re free to have sex with them, by which I mean you’re free to have sex with me.” Will doesn’t take the bait, but does indicate he’s looking to sublet his apartment now that it’s just him paying for it. April expresses interest in coming over to check the place out in a thinly veiled attempt to get into Will’s pants: “I’m gonna get myself a bikini wax and I’m gonna see you tomorrow,” she declares.

In the gym, Sue weighs in the Cheerios. Becky has successfully lost two pounds, and Sue congratulates her on being like any normal teenager girl, “sadly obsessed with vanity.” Next up on the scale is Mercedes, but despite her healthy eating and exercise habits, she’s gained two pounds. Sue tells her she has four days to lose the weight and, when Mercedes whines about how she can be expected to do that, Sue suggests she drop the attitude. “I’m sure there’s a few pounds in that.” 

Finn approaches Kurt in the halls and asks if he knows anything about their parents hooking up. Know about it? Kurt set them up and gave Finn’s mom a makeover. Flashback to the parent teacher conference, where Kurt oh-so-subtly introduces his dad to Mrs. Hudson: “You both have dead spouses, you should talk!” Kurt’s dad compliments Finn’s mom’s acid wash, and with that, their eyes filled with hearts and flowers bloomed beneath their feet.

Kurt figures, at this rate, he and Finn will be roomies with Finn by midterms, a notion that appears to not only give him delight, but also seems to be the impetus for his little Chuck Woolery routine. Finn is less than delighted about the romance, however. He doesn't want his mom to date, and he hates that she's changing and moving on with her life.

Schue tells the choir about the new practice space, which doesn’t garner much excitement from the kids. Santana asks, “weren’t roller rinks outlawed in 1981 for being totally lame?”Kurt says they all need to explore their idea of a sense of place. He hands some music to the accompanist and begins singing “A House Is Not a Home.” He looks meaningfully at Finn as he sings. Finn, shown back at home, sings along to his father’s ashes. 

That night, April shows up at Will's to sleep with him, I mean, uh, to look at the apartment and get a feel for it. Will sees through her whole “I need to sleep in a place to know if I can live there,” schtick, and she admits she's lonely. Her oldster sugar daddy is in the hospital "for a new kidney or a lung or something." Will says she can stay but sends her to the couch. “And no funny business.” Unfazed, April puts on some music and says, “sometimes you just need a little Burt.” Will tells her the liquor cabinet is off limits. “Don’t worry, I brought my own.” 

They go to bed in separate rooms as April begins to sing Burt Bacharach’s “One Less Bell to Answer.” Will, from the bedroom, sings as well, and the song leads into a reprise of “A House is Not a Home.” It occurs to me at this point that a) this episode is the most like a traditional musical of any so far, and b) the glee club hasn’t sung together even once so far. Very interesting. As the song continues, April makes her way to Will’s bed and the go to sleep holding hands.


At Breadsticks, Kurt, Finn and the parents are having dinner. Kurt excitedly compares their communion with the Bouviers’ and Kennedys’ first meal together. However, once Finn and his dad start bonding over sports;  Kurt grows upset. He hadn’t banked on the fact that Finn might also hit it off with his dad. Later on, at home, Kurt angrily puts away fabric swatches, and his dad makes a comment that they all look “grey,” causing Kurt to snark that maybe if they were different colored sports, Mr. Hummel would be able to tell the difference. Kurt expresses his anger that his dad obviously found in Finn the son he’d always wanted. ”Suddenly I'm not the guy who sat through Riverdance three years in a row?" When he defends his engaging in “guy talk”  with Finn, Kurt gets even more up upset, but Mr. Hummel stands his ground: “Why did you fix me up? Was it to make me happy? Because that’s what you told me.” Kurt, on the verge of tears, says he’s behind on his moisturizing routine and asks his dad to leave the room.

The next day in the lunch room, Mercedes is yelling at everyone because she's so hungry and cranky about trying to fit in at school. Our once confident and vibrant Mercedes is caving to rigid body ideals, and I think she needs a sandwich, because suddenly Tina is an ice cream cone, Arty is a piece of chocolate cake, and Rachel is a cupcake. Actually, everyone looks like food to her. And then she passes out.

After the commercial, Mercedes is in the nurse’s office, having passed out from low blood pressure. The nurse goes to call her mom, as Quinn shows up to talk some sense into Mercedes and offer her a granola bar. “Thanks, I’m not hungry,” Mercedes says. “Yeah you are. I know, I’ve been there.” Quinn makes Mercedes take the granola bar and confides that she starved herself all the time when she was head cheerleader. However, eating for two has changed her relationship with food: “If I'm willing to eat right to take care of this baby, why am I not willing to eat right for myself?” She tells Mercedes that she’s beautiful and she knows it, but she’s allowing Sue to take that from her. Quinn, who not too long ago never said more than two words to her—typically the words you” and “suck”—now tells Mercedes she's staying with her until her mom comes to get her. 

Shue tells April that he doesn’t want to make a habit of sleeping together, even if it’s not euphemistic sleeping. Actually, Will didn’t even get much literal sleep, since April kept him up all night kicking. “Them’s the night terrors,” she asserts. Shue asks her, doesn’t she deserve more than being drunk and a mistress? April agrees. She says it’s time to kick the old man to the curb and maybe rethink this roller rink thing, since it’s losing $8K a night, and thanks Will for always giving her such good advice.

Kurt approaches Finn with a plan to break up their parents. He feels like the guy who set up Liza and David Guest. Finn is totally on board—he doesn't like that his mom is forgetting his dad and, no offense, isn’t jazzed about moving in with Kurt. Back at the Hudson house, Finn dramatically grabs his father’s urn and tells his mom he's going to flush his dad's ashes. She starts reading Finn the riot act about clinging to his father and living in the past. She puts the ashes in the recliner and says maybe they should sit down as a family and watch basketball. Finn says their family works just fine, but Mrs. Hudson argues that it’s more accurate to say this family “manages.” “We get by," she says, but Finn only knows that way. What he doesn’t know is that she takes that urn to bed with her every night to talk to him about her day and ask him for advice, waiting to hear his laugh and for him to tell him that he loves her, but he never does and never will. She wants to move on, but Finn says he’s not ready.  “You didn't know him, Finn," his mother reminds him. “I love you so much. We don’t need any more memories or ghosts. we need a family - a home." 

Speaking of homes, where is Quinn living? Anybody? Bueller? Last we knew she was living at Finn's and now she does what? Bunks with the Puckermans? Sleeps in the choir room? This is a huge plot hole, people. Also, Kurt's dad and Finn's mom have been dating for a month and they're moving in together? I guess when you reach middle age you gotta carpe the diem and all that.

The next day, the gym is SRO for a pep rally. Freelance reporter Tracy Pendergrass, who turns out to be a dude to Sue’s surprise, marvels at the turnout. Sue says she had the school fumigated, and the gym is the only place with breathable air. Tracy assures Sue his will be no fluff piece. After much tension building delay, Mercedes comes out in a track outfit, rather than the cheerleading costume Sue demanded she fit into. Before she starts belting, Mercedes has something to say: "Most of you know Cheerios is about perfection and winning, looking hot, being popular. I think is should be about something different.” Taking a deep breath, she continues.  “How many of you at this school feel fat?” Quinn raises her hand. “Not worth very much? Ugly? Have too many pimples, or not enough friends?" Little by slow, most of the kids at McKinley raise their hands. "I felt most of those things about myself today, and that ain’t right." She launches into “Beautiful” by Christina Aguilera. Kurt seems conflicted—does he stand with Mercedes or the Cheerios? As the Cheerios are inspired to stand and sing along with Mercedes, Kurt comes around, too. Quinn gets up and stands with the Cheerios defiantly, and everyone in the gym but Sue gets up and sings. When she finishes, everyone cheers for Mercedes. Kurt apologizes to her and they hug it out.


In Sue’s office Tracy Pendergrass dresses her down. He instantly disliked her, thought she was a beast, and “the fact that you called me rerun twice makes me think you’re a little racist.” He was all set out to expose her. BUT? After Mercedes’s empowering speech and song about being beautiful, after seeing Cheerios of all shapes, sizes and colors, now he thinks Sue’s a visionary. Unfazed, Sue says it’s what’s inside that counts, and Tracy assures her when his piece hits the newsstands, it will mean big things for her. Ain’t nothin’ gonna break her stride, ain’t no one gonna slow her down, oh no.


And now it’s time for a man-to-man talk between Finn and Mr. Hummel. Mr. Hummel tells Finn he doesn't want to replace his dad and never could, but he loves Finn’s mom. “She’s like this angel that came down to wake me up after all these years.” Mr. Hummel says he won't be Finn's dad but he'll be his mom’s  hero for as long as she’ll take him. Moved, Finn asks him to watch a game and lets him sit in his father's recliner, moving his father’s ashes. Not one to dwell in tender moments, Mr. Hummel sits down and remarks, ”I hate Duke like I hate the Nazis.” The picture of Finn’s dad sits between them, and Kurt looks on from outside in tears. Could this be the end of his crush on Finn and the start of some sibling rivalry?


April tells will that she went to tell Buddy he had to dump his old lady or lose her, but before he could do anything about it, he had a stroke right in front of her and died. She feels great now—she’s been sober for 45 whole minutes even! The wife gave April hush money to the tune of $2M, so April used a portion of it to buy the auditorium for the glee club, which building is now called the April Rhodes Civic Pavillion. With the rest of the money, she plans to do an all-white version of The Wiz. I think I’ve seen that before. I think it’s called...The Wizard of Oz?

In a big white evening gown, April sings “Home” from The Wiz to Schue, with the glee club as backup. It's beautiful, and Will is deeply moved, by the song as well as April's philanthropic gesture. New Directions has a home. 



Next week? 







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Comments

Mighty Hunter

"I hate Duke like I hate the Nazis."

You know? I used to like Mr. Hummel.

Jean

OMG, was totally wondering myself what Quinn is doing now...they let that one slide completely!

As a lover of the show and after last weeks Madonna spectacular, this week's episode was very meh for me. I am not a fan of April (even though she has an amazing voice) and she's very extraneous to the rest of the show.

Loved Mercedes singing "Beautiful" and the message the show was trying to impart...so important to today's young women.

Also, love the Kurt and Mercedes are getting more vocal time :)

Bethany

I've also been wondering where Quinn is living. I do like that they show her growing up with her pregnancy and turning into a nicer person.

jodifur

Thanks for showing the last song, b/c my DVR cut off. I also thought I was the only person on the planet who knew that song was from the WIZ.

I love the white person's WIZ line. Because you know, that hasn't been done, it's not, THE WIZARD OF OZ.

This was my favorite episode of Glee so far.

mommymae

as soon as i realized that the songs were all about home i hoped that they would do "home" from the wiz. when april cracked the joke about doing the all-white version i was thrilled (right after i laughed my ass off.) it was a little more mellow, yes, but i really liked it.

Suzy Q

This episode was annoying to me in some ways. That whole in-bed scene between April and Shue seemed forced, as did the Cheerios' singing at the pep rally. Aren't they cheerleaders? When did they become a second glee club?

Of course, Sue Sylvester gets an A+. She can do no wrong in my eyes.

Jill

This is tied with "wheels" as my favorite episode so far.

I was wondering about Quinn, too. I hated that it was bothering me through the whole scene with Finn and his mom.

I LOVED Mercedes' Beautiful. AMAZING.

The April storyline was much better this episode, I think. The duets between her and Will are some of my favorite songs of the season. During the whole scene where she was at his apartment, however, had me cringing and thinking "PLEASE don't let them hook up!!"

Susan

Kristen Chenoweth is AMAZING. No wonder Rachel didn't sing this episode - it would only highlight how forced and pained her singing is - how she bites off words and sings beyond her true range in comparison to KC. They should keep her on staff as a voice coach and all around Goddess of Broadway (though all I could thing about during the Will/April duet was "Man, her makeup is going to leave marks ALL OVER those white pillowcases!").

Muirnait

I found myself wishing the ep had a little more energy, but I love love love Chenoweth so that more than made up for it, for me ;)
I didn't miss Rachel, I loved the dynamic between Quinn and Mercedes, (although YES WHERE IS SHE LIVING. GAH.) aaaand I felt sad for Kurt but also kind of felt like he was being a big baby. (Or, yknow, acting like a high school kid, I guess!)




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