'Glee' Recap: Ricky Martin Is Sexy and He Knows It
For all that last week was about ambition and goals, with characters pontificating the facts of their circumstance at each other instead of with one another, this week followed through with characters who actually talked to one another -- or had good reason not to. So while on the one hand the plot was actually consistent and well managed, with believable motivation, response and action all around, on the other hand the songs were mostly forgettable and generally useless to advancing the plot. Perhaps "Glee" can't rub its stomach and pat its belly at the same time, but can you really complain when Ricky Martin comes to visit?
The episode starts with Will's teaching ability finally called into question, as evidenced by his sub-par "La Cucaracha" performance (and not his general horribleness over three seasons) and that he's now up for some sort of tenure teaching position becase the hilarious lady who has taught every single subject at McKinley is now gone. To get the position, Figgins suggests Will actually learn Spanish, which leads to his enrollment in night classes taught by Señor David Martinez, played by Ricky Martin and from now on simply called Ricky Martin. Ricky Martin takes up the majority of the speechifying mantel for the episode, but it's forgiven since all his exposition is about the influx of Spanish into America and concludes with some practical Spanish instruction for communicating with your dentist. Impressed, Will invites Ricky for coffee in the dark teacher's lounge where he can't even fake understand Ricky's basic Spanish. We learn Ricky was a former tooth model but quit because he wanted to make a difference in the world and teach kids. The only problem is there aren't enough jobs around, and while the obvious solution is Ricky replaces Will, since this is "Glee" we need an episode of lessons before our hero can realize this, so instead Ricky just inspires Will to teach Spanish through music as a last-ditch attempt to prove his worth and win tenure.
Sue Sylvester wants a baby, and since the selections at the local Lima sperm bank are slim, she turns to the Glee club to creepily drum up donations. After Will calls her out on it she requests a sample from him too, in what appears to be a plastic water cup. She too is after the precious tenure position, but her place is threatened by Roz, who wants to shake up the cheer team with new moves, her Olympic medal proudly displayed. NeNe Leakes might be the Glee breakout star of Season 3 a la Darren Criss if she keeps this up.
Will puts his all-Spanish plan into action by asking the Glee club where they will be in 2030 (Kurt and Rachel -- Broadway, Artie -- Walking, Puck -- Jail, Dead or Both.) He explains the rapid approach of a bilingual society (Britt chimes in that she, too, is bilingual!) and that for this week's lesson that class will only perform Latin songs or songs by Latin artists or possibly just sounds that sound Latin, because this is "Glee." When Santana calls him out for not knowing any Latin people, Ricky Martin arrives and everyone's eyes turn into giant hearts. Sugar might actually transform into a cartoon and solely exist in that state from now on. Ricky Martin explains "duende" and then demonstates with LMFAO's "Sexy And I Know It," a song that ironically lacks all the "duende." However, in Ricky's hands it causes everyone to lose their minds -- Sugar is doing push-ups, Kurt pulls some legit stripper moves (which reminds us -- where is Sam? Did they send him back to his actual parents? Mercedes is also missing; is there a broom closet scandal happening right now?)
Video: Ricky Martin & the New Directions, "Sexy And I Know It"
All our questions are answered after the break when we find Sam and Mercedes in a counselling session with Emma, who provides them with pamplets about "two-timing hos." When Mercedes admits she can't hear what her heart is telling her between her current boyfriend and Sam, Emma suggests they both really listen to themselves and stop talking to each other until the end of the week. In the middle of that instruction Sam tweets that Mercedes smells good (and says he won't stop until it's trending, perhaps a nod to "Glee" fandom's incessant trending campaigns of love for the actors), but that's his last chance because even electronic communication is off-limits.
Under Roz's instruction, the Cheerioes go super intense, more dance troupe that tumblers. Sue accuses Roz of trying to wait until she's on maternity leave to steal her job, and then Roz delivers some of the best lines ever about Sue delivering a full grown adult with a briefcase, then lets us know about her sexual escapades with Michael Phelps. "Glee" should never let NeNe go. Sue, who like Will and Emma, is an adult trapped in a Lima high school by a victim her circumstances (she may be the best, Sue responds as Roz walks about, mostly to herself, "I can do this I can do anything.")
We drop in on a Kurt, Rachel and Mercedes slumber party, three characters who've been struggling and striving for the same sentiment as Sue. The trio is watching Twilight and discussing true love, but when Kurt calls them out for being weird and serious, Rachel decides to tell them about her secret engagement. They react as any pair of hyper-ambitious teens would, with doubt and disbelief. When Kurt even threatens to go home and talk to Finn about all this, Rachel calls him out on what he would do if Blaine proposed to him. Kurt's non answer as he settles back into the bed is answer enough, and Rachel explains that she knows she has the right person, that the hard part was "choosing to know it."
Mercedes is figuring out her romantic choice now, but her silence doesn't extend to musical numbers, so back in the choir room she sings Gloria Estefan's "Don't Want To Lose You" to the club, but mostly to Sam, and sounds flawless. After the commercial, Sam and the boys perform a mashup of "Bamboleo" with "Hero" with really intense Mexican hipster boots (Kurt admits he was in it mostly for the boots, since he doesn't often sing with all the boys.) Santana points out that Will needs to perform a Spanish song as well, since it should be his speciality. While he panics about this, Emma confronts Sue about her inappropriate request for Will's sperm. As much as Sue can be a cartoon villain, her motivations are often founded and genuine once you pull the layers back, as evidenced in episodes like "Funeral" or "Grilled Cheesus." In this case, she explains that she vibrates rage, and never wants a child of hers to experience things like she does. Will's genetics and predisposition to kindness, even in the face of her, would offset this. "He's not going to do it," she says to Emma, and Emma says that Will should be the one to tell her, but that she does think Sue should have a child. In that moment, even the audience starts to want that for Sue, proof that "Glee" can still take something patently ridiculous and make the viewers buy into it.
Video: Sam & the boys, "Bamboleo/Hero"
Kurt shows up while Finn is weight-lifting with college pamphlets, all New York centered. When Finn tries to brush him off with a "college isn't for everybody," Kurt counters with his knowledge of the engagement. Chris Colfer and Cory Monteith often shine together in scenes, especially one-on-one, and this is no exception. There are layers of brotherly tension ("Why didn't you tell me? I thought we were supposed to be brothers?" an echo to Kurt's lack of communication during "Grilled Cheesus") and rivalries ("I'm not you," as Finn explains why he's not trying for fame like Kurt or Rachel) backboned by Kurt's unwavering support for Finn as he tells him that while he can marry Rachel, he shouldn't do it because he thinks it's all he's got, because his time "isn't over yet."
With the pressure of the upcoming Spanish performance and the hope of tenure looming, Will is on edge at home with Emma, who just wants to show him her newest pamphlets. He's dismissive, then outright rude, and even though he realizes it, the damage is done for now.
McKinley's lighting budget could fund at least 10 low-income school districts, but if they did then Santana and Ricky could not sing "La Isla Bonita" with a full club laser set up. While the pair don't have any chemistry, they're both very pretty to look at and listen to, which more than makes up for it. Their interpretation of Latin culture is modern and sexy, Will, however, is dressed as a authentic matador and sings "A Little Less Conversation" translated to Spanish with Mike and Britt dressed up as bulls.
Video: Will, "A Little Less Conversation"
When it ends, Will realizes by the look on Santana's face that she was the one who complained to Figgins about his teaching. When Will tries to shame her about messing with "adult things" she fights back saying it's her education and she takes it very seriously. She asks him what he wanted to be when he grew up, and why he became a Spanish teacher, and he admits it was the only teaching position that was open at the time. He too is trapped in his circumstance of Lima, and making things work. He leaves that defeat to find Emma in the teacher's lounge as Beiste raves about the effectiveness of Emma's pamphlets, noting that they are orders for her atheltic genital hygiene one at all the Big 10 schools. Ricky told Will that he dreamed about changing lives, and Emma is the one who has thus far succeeded. Inspired, Will gives up his Spanish class so Ricky Martin can come teach at the school, while he'll move on to History. He's not enthused, but Will also has no where else to go, so he's making the best. Meanwhile, Becky helps Sue with her hormone injections and admits she's the one who lodged the complaint. Instead of going ballistic, Sue's mothering instincts kick in and she admits that Becky's criticisms were founded and she needs a new resolve to actually focus on the cheer team's success. Becky, as she leaves, tells Sue she'll be a great mother.
Lunch rolls around and it's finally time for Mercedes and Sam to communicate, only Mercedes' boyfriend shows before they can speak, and she walks away with him with a glace at Sam over her shoulder. "Glee" is getting more romantic tension mileage out of this duo than you can shake a stick at, and it's delicious, especially with Valentine's around the corner.
Although the episode ends way less dramatically, with Will both apologizing for his actions and celebrating Emma's new-found tenure with a dinner, sometimes you don't need a big bang to get oomph out of an episode. The kids are still striving for their mode of Lima escape, and figuring out just who they want to take with them on that journey, the adults are finding ways to shape and change the terms of their confinement. The episode stitches together the beginning of the end from last week post-Lima becoming real that is set off with Quinn's college acceptance to the impending real end in the coming weeks with ultimatums -- Finn needs to decide if he can believe in himself, Mercedes needs to listen to her heart. If only the music stood out this episode it would have been a home run.
Also, while we finally addressed one of Glee's greatest mysteries -- where has Sam Evans been living lately (Answer: Kurt and Finn's house), the most pressing question this episode leaves us with is -- where is Tina? She's been missing since midway through last week's episode with no slushie eye injury to attribute it to like Blaine. Let the Tina Cohen-Chang prayer circles commence.