Recap: "Throwdown"

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“Are you a moron?”

Future YDN-reporter Jacob: “Have you been reading my blog?”

Stunning young ingénue Rachel: “Of course not. You’re a gossip monger, and your blog is nothing but trash and lies.”

Read on for this week's trash and lies (spoliers ahead).

When Will and Sue decide to each direct their own numbers for sectionals, Sue realizes that “the minority students” are feeling unheard, and decides to sow discord, picking an all-minority team and finally allowing Kurt and Mercedes to “try something a little more black.” Drama ensues. After publicly accusing Mr. S. of “bigotry” and burning his music, Sue vows to get him fired. On his lovable wife’s advice, Mr. Schue gets “down in the gutter” and flunks almost all the Cheerios. Turns out girls are “functionally illiterate” -- one misspelled her name and drew sombreros as her answers in Will’s Spanish class. Surprisingly, Principal Figgins finally puts his foot down, ending Sue’s “free passes.” He even forbids her from picking up and throwing a child during her ensuing tantrum! Is there no end to his tyranny?

Meanwhile, Finn and Quinn are growing apart, and it gets nasty. “Why can’t you be more about Rachel?” he snaps. Quinn pounces on the competition, but Rachel won’t have any of it, and calling her out for working against glee with Sue: “Every time you whisper in her ear, you empower her to do more damage.” Last week it was sweet when Rachel tried to present New Directions as a refuge, but she’s quickly finding it empowering that glee will be Quinn’s only sanctuary when Sue finds out about the baby. In related news, Terri and her awful, awful sister Kendra exploit small-town dynamics and bully the local obstetrician into performing a fake sonogram for Will to attend. “I’ve been a really crummy wife lately,” says Terri. O RLY? Sue and Schue eventually shout it out, and Will tears her apart: “You have no class. … You spend every waking moment of your life figuring out ways to terrify children to make yourself feel better about yourself and the fact that you’re probably going to spend the rest of your life alone.” Sue steps down as glee co-chair (although she chooses to retain consigliere privileges), and then confronts Quinn about her pregnancy. Rachel had been keeping Jacob quiet with panty payments, but once he let the news slip to Sue, the coach forces him to publish on his blog. With her popularity threatened, and with possibly nothing left but glee, Quinn is distraught, and the club rallies around her in the final number.

Musical Numbers

“Hate on Me” by Jill Scott

This forgettable number lacks a center. We realize the scene is supposed to be a first-run, justifying the visual aimlessness, but the song’s emotional footing is uncertain as well. The performance is happy without capturing a sense of empowerment. It’s just flat, and we know Amber Riley can sing, so we’re not sure what went wrong. The choreography somewhat comes together halfway through – FlyBy enjoyed Mercedes walking along on those chairs – but what in the world did they have Kurt doing?

C

“Ride wit Me” by Nelly feat. City Spud

YES. This attempts the same serendipitous, organic feel, but gets it right. The choreographed scene looks unplanned, or at least believable, and that’s a hard task, as Expressions learned this week. The enthusiasm in the nostalgic jam session makes glee look like the funnest class ever, proving the show isn’t just production values smoke-and-mirrors. Our only caveat: it’s a little problematic that the two modern, “black” pieces in this diversity episode weren’t actual performances. We got an unplanned rehearsal and a jam sesh vs. major production numbers. Awks.

A for effort

“No Air” by Jordin Sparks with Chris Brown

Thanks to Will’s orders to practice even “between classes” we’re treated to a hilarious school-hallway-as-music-video-wind-tunnel situation, and we completely approve. Rachel’s great here, and Quinn’s seething is perfect, but Finn’s heavily autotuned voice is distracting. Still it's an enjoyable number. However, FlyBy is vehemently opposed to anything that sanctions the continued career of the monster that is Chris Brown.

F