After such a solid return from hiatus last week, it’s the usual Glee MO to fall into a lull and drop all the interesting points from the week previous. With luck, “Trio” mostly avoids this fate -- Rachel and Santana are still feuding and nowhere near an easy resolution, the rest of NYC is heavily featured (especially our soon-to-depart special guests Adam Lambert and Demi Lovato), and Ohio keeps the focus on our longstanding graduating class. Even where the show lags, we’re so close to the freedom of an all-NYC Glee that going through the necessary steps to get there feels more like a victory lap than an endless trek.
This show continues to ask us to care about Will and Emma, and for the sake of consistency it’s nice that we get to find out they’re trying to have a baby -- and are going to succeed. It’s sweet, and Matt Morrison sounds lovely singing “Danny’s Song” by Kenny Loggins, but it’s the same level of care the audience would have if they were asked to watch a Jake and Marley storyline right now; apathetic if not outright hostile. The only important McKinley stories now are the wrapping-up ones, because it’s time to move on to NYC for everyone.
Tina definitely isn’t ready to move on. The trio of Blaine, Sam and Tina burst into the room singing the Destiny’s Child number “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” for no reason beyond Destiny’s Child are awesome and that particular pairing has never sung a song together. As she realizes this fact, Tina gets weepy about the idea of leaving behind the comfort of McKinley and the ease of friendships ruled by convenience. She weeps over Blaine and Sam trying on their graduation robes and the cancellation of their 1-day-old plan to throw a big Senior lock-in. The only things that bring her out of her depression are Sam complimenting her boobs and Blaine proposing a secret trio-only senior lock-in that night. Dressed as Nightbird, Blaine leads the breaking and entering through the choir room window, and the gang caravans down the halls singing Simple Minds’ “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” in homage to The Breakfast Club -- a road we’ve already traveled down this season in “Puppet Master,” but there’s nothing wrong with going back such a plentiful well.
Their fire extinguisher racing and Cheerios-outfitted spins around the halls are interrupted by Becky, who has also snuck in and who blackmails them into playing Twister with her lest she calls the police. After just a few rounds, Blaine realizes both Tina and Sam have gone missing, only to find them locking lips aggressively in a classroom. He runs, screaming in terror, and the next day lashes out at how they’d broken up his ideal little trio and made him a third wheel. Change is hard for Blaine, and even if his future is somewhat set, even he isn’t ready for high school to be over. His perfect senior year has become, in his words, “so weird and really hard,” which is the understatement of the century. You can understand why the extra wrench of one last glee club sexual shakeup sent him reeling. He apologizes for his freakout, and the gang finally invites Artie into their little Senior group to sing one last number before Nationals and the year’s end, “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips, which intersects the NY and Lima storylines.
In NYC, Rachel went right from the loft to new pal Elliott’s door, got him to give her his bed, and has him fetching her green tea with honey and lemon. Lest you think he’s whipped by the whirlwind of Rachel, he rankles when she calls him her “New Best Gay” and won’t be content to sing backup on the whole Funny Girl oeuvre. Instead he gets her out of her Broadway shell and into some Heart with “Barracuda.” The pair absolutely slays, but unfortunately this doesn’t keep Elliott out of the Rachel-Santana crossfires. When he goes to the loft to pick up Rachel’s sheet music, Santana realizes she can get back at Rachel by paying a cash-strapped Elliot to run lines with her, both stealing her new friend and angling to get her out of Funny Girl. When the Starlight Diner manager asks Rachel to sing “Gloria” for a patron, Santana butts in on the opportunity to show her up at the Laura Branigan number. They drag Elliot into the mix, tugging him between each other as they try to one-up each other. The only thing that’s clear at the end of the number is someone should give Elliott a chance at Fanny Brice because he outshone both of them without even trying. Those who grew up in that dysfunctional choir room might be used to these kind of shenanigans, but Elliot is a fresh breath of the real world and he’s D-O-N-E. No more band, no more hyper-close friendship, no more being used in this weird little game.
All episode Kurt Hummel has looked exhausted and perplexed in the background. With Elliott’s ultimatime he makes one last ditch effort to help the girls patch things up, but when they can’t he delivers the harsh news -- they’re no longer welcome in the band. Surprise, NYC has it’s own new Trio, and it’s not plagued by any pesky heterosexual makeouts like McKinley. With Rachel and Santana out of the band, Kurt, Elliott and Dani reform as One Three Hill, New York’s sexiest queer vocal triumvirate. At their first (and sadly probably only as Demi Lovato and Adam Lambert have almost finished their guest tenures) show, Rachel and Santana put the fight on pause to support, and then both get visibly jealous when the trio’s rendition of The Supremes’ “The Happening” brings the house down. As much as Santana and Rachel resolving their issues is the goal, watching the pure joy of Elliott, Dani and Kurt is a nice side effect, especially in such sharp tuxes. The gals meet once more and almost get to the core of their issues -- Rachel begs to know why Santana went after her role, and Santana says Rachel would have done the same to her, it was just an opportunity -- but before anything settles the NYC trio bustles in and the girls depart, leaving them to join in on the McKinley “Hold On” sing-a-long. Kurt, Dani and Elliott and finding a new friendship rhythm between them, and Rachel and Santana are alone in New York without backup.
Ohio wants us to believe the choir room bonds are forever, and New York shows us that this isn’t always so. Rachel and Santana both don’t have real female friends -- they both lost their partners, and they don’t talk to their so-called friends (Tina or Quinn) anymore. Now they’re tied together by their ambition, and learning that the same competitiveness from high school doesn’t go away, it only gets harsher. Yes, we’ll get the new New York gang as a collective unit in a few more weeks, but those connections are going to be tested and hard-won in their new city. But if the gang holds on they’ll probably get a pretty happy ending.