This week we learn about confidence by way of Billy Joel. Faced with Sue completely ignoring careers in the arts at the school’s first annual career fair, Schue has the club celebrate Billy Joel, an artist who struggled to become a legend when the world was against him.
Two of McKinley’s own are off on step-one of that struggle -- Blaine and Sam duet on “Movin’ Out” as they leave the choir room, stumble into every cheerleader possible down the hallway, emerge on a NYC street and torment some poor Brooklyners on the bus until they reach the Bushwick loft. Sam has some college interviews (and a shot at a prestigious Channing Tatum Former Stripper scholarship) and Blaine’s got his big audition at NYADA, although he’s hedging his bets with a few other college interviews to be safe. Kurt is fully confident in Blaine’s abilities, and send him on stage at the diner to get some Billy Joel practice in with “Piano Man” as the rest of the staff twirls with candlelights. He’s good, as always, but the next day at the loft he tries to convince Kurt that he doesn't really want to audition anymore. What about a school where he could learn to be an incompetent teacher like Mr. Schue, or pursue his secret non-existent passion for being a doctor instead of a purely performance-based education? Kurt just chuckles -- he knows his future husband, and he knows this is just his rarely-seen scared-face. He reminds him that he’s Blaine Anderson and the spotlight is going to find him no matter what, and that Kurt Hummel is in this together with him, right by his side to make it safe, even if Blaine fails.
Meanwhile, Sam pretty much bombs his college interview (Hint: Never start a sentence with, “So you’re black!”) and admits to Rachel that he’s not really interested in college. All he’s ever wanted to be since he was a little boy is a male model, and so Rachel pulls some strings with a photographer and gets a set of test shots done in the living room. He looks good, and we get Weird Sam and Rachel Moment Number 1 as she rubs oil on his bare chest before his underwear photos. Um. Then it’s off to Bichette, premiere modeling agent played by Tyra Banks because all the adults of NYC are only the most perfect humans. She’s cold, harsh and cutting, but she’s inspired by Sam’s look. There’s just one hitch, Bichette demands Sam lose 10 pounds in a week.
Back at the loft, Blaine thinks its an appropriate hostess gift to deliver a piano for the roommates’ use, and as they try to explain to Sam that Bichette is mental and he doesn’t need to lose any weight, they put it to good use. For a moment it’s like the fever dream of the split between NYC and Ohio we’ve endured for a season and a half has broken and we’re in heaven. A sizable New York crew has convened around a musical instrument and are expressing themselves in various states of harmonies -- Kurt and Rachel, Kurt and Blaine, Blaine and Rachel, Kurt and Sam, Sam and Blaine. Even Santana, who’s had it up to here with the never-ending parade of singable moments, busts in hairbrush in hand for a verse of “Just The Way You Are.” We end on Weird Sam and Rachel Moment Number 2, as they awkwardly part from a dance embrace. In the Glee of yesteryear we could expect them to never mention these hints again, but post-Finn the kid gloves are going to be on for all of Rachel’s potential romances. Is Sam preferable to introducing a new character? Is this just a way to keep him in the NYC loop? We’ll proceed with caution. Heck, we’ll take the possibility of this being a big old mess if it means more NYC and quick.
For now, of course, we still have Ohio. After Blaine and Sam montaged off to New York, we were left with two Billy-Joel-narrated plotlines for the McKinley kids. Boring first, the love life of Marley Rose. Jake tries to win her back with roses, promptly gives up and singing “My Life“ about how he’s going to bang all the ladies now. It’s unfortunate all his emoting has to be around such a snooze of a plotline, because watching Jake move is a great pleasure, and one of the more delightful performers left in the club. Ryder wastes no time swooping in, serenading Marley with “An Innocent Man,” taking her out on a date and immediately Instagraming about it. Super clingy, and super awkward since Marley’s BFF is Unique, who had a very upsetting crush via Catfishing Ryder last season.
The better Ohio moments belong to Artie and Becky, who’ve always had a complex and interesting relationship. Becky’s got no plans to leave McKinley, but Artie is worried about her living in fear of her future. When Artie’s disability isn’t a Katy Perry jungle sight gag, he’s actually paid attention to its relationship to his future and when he researched schools for himself he also came across places with programs for students with Downs syndrome. To get through her defenses, Artie serenades Becky with “Honesty” to encourage her to be honest about her wishes. With Sue’s reluctant blessing, he and Becky visit a college and she decides to apply. Everyone reconvenes in the hallway where Sue continues to belittle the idea of a career in the arts. The only answer? A grand glee club performance of “You May Be Right“ despite her protests.
Know what wasn’t mentioned this week? Nationals. Next week we’ll get a puppet-filled dose of prep, and then it’s Magical Nonlinear Christmas Episode before a hiatus, meaning when we come back to Glee (and back on it’s original Tuesday nights) at the end of February we’re still not done with last school year. This episode was thoroughly enjoyable -- even the Ryder/Marley/Jake aspects featured good numbers -- but at some point Glee needs to bite the bullet and let these poor kids graduate. They can talk (and sing) all they want about moving on but eventually the bandage has to come off, painful or not.