'Glee' Recap: We Will Always 'Heart' This Episode
Valentine's magic may have given us the "Glee" we've been waiting for this season -- a good set of plot points, a timely tribute to a fallen star and good music all in one episode!
"Heart" doesn't pull any punches in the "Glee" arsenal, combining ballads both classic and modern, radio-friendly songs and upbeat throwbacks, and kooky plot devices mixed with a touch of real-world drama. Love isn't as clearcut as it seems at McKinley, and most of our couples or would-be couples have to wage their own battles this episode as we build toward the winter finale and hiatus.
Everyone seems full of romance in glee club as we open the show, except a morose Kurt since Blaine is still doing a stint on Broadway -- we mean, still recovering from his eye surgery. Mr. Schue wants the club to become singing telegrams to raise Regionals funds, but Sugar pulls out a wad of cash to avoid this embarrassing fate. Perhaps the integration of Sugar into the club means we'll never have to deal with a half-assed assignment plot from Will ever again! She also announces that Valentine's is her favorite holiday, she'll be holding a big party to celebrate at Breadstix, and that no one will be admitted without a date, even Sugar herself, thus commencing the quest for her hand by both Rory and Artie.
Meanwhile, Finn and Rachel are both mysteriously summoned to the auditorium under the promise of Mandy Patinkin, only to be met instead with two of "Glee's" most anticipated characters -- Mister and Mister Berry. They roll in on a piano singing "Going To The Chapel" and reveal to a shell-shocked Finn and Rachel that not only do they know about the impending nuptials, but they also approve of the plans. For a pair that have been noticeably absent from the show for two and a half seasons, they cram a ton of character moments into a single scene, including a very curious Tony Danza fetish/argument that we wish got its own entire storyline.
Faith hasn't been something Glee has shied away from in the past, but with the introduction of Joe, the previously homeschooled Christian who, in a wink to Glee's indecision on character's grades, "guesses he's a sophomore" and has named each one of his dreads after a book of the Bible, we get a further look into Glee's Christians as part of the God Squad -- Mercedes, Sam and Quinn. They decide to take up the mantle from glee club as singing telegrams to raise money for charity. In the cafeteria Puck is doing some charity work of his own, planning to take an entire sorority as his dates to Sugar's party. Kurt is out of his sulk thanks to all his Valentine's cards and gifts that he assumes are from a bedridden Blaine. When Artie points out that they're all signed "Your Secret Admirer" Kurt is nonplussed, but the audience knows this won't end with flowers and rainbows and a Blaine reveal, but the real drama is staved off by the comedic drama of Artie and Rory's fight for Sugar's heart, underscored by Tina and Mike's charming performance of "L-O-V-E." Artie has one sugar heart, Rory has an entire bag. Rory has a giant heart pillow, Artie showers Sugar in confetti hearts, Artie has a stuffed dog and Rory pulls out a live puppy, on and on while glee's longest standing couple dances sweetly.
Britt has made Santana a playlist of all the songs that go through her head when she thinks of her girlfriend, but she could only get so far as putting together the list and not actually burning the CD, so she brings Santana her entire computer instead. As the girls lean in for their first on-screen kiss ever, Figgins appears, bellowing "teen lesbians!" They are pulled to his office and informed of complaints by the students about their displays of PDA, and we're flashed back to a tame peck from the previous week. Santana points out that at the same time Finn and Rachel were having a much less gracious display of affection to no complaints. The entire exchange is both a perfect jab to the fans who've long complained about Brittana's lack of PDA on the show, and a very real explanation of why our gay couples aren't expressing as much outward affection in the halls -- it's not going to be met with open arms, even in a post-Bully Whip McKinley. It's revealed that a religious student's complained, which ties nicely to the arrival of Joe and the God Squad. Santana points out the insane double-standard at the school before she storms out of the office.
Back in hetero land, Finn and Rachel announce their engagement to mixed reactions. Tina and Mike are supportive, but Kurt and Quinn both express reservations. While the shock of the announcement has barely warn off, Artie hijacks the moment to perform "Let Me Love You" for Sugar, with Kurt, Sam, Puck and Mike doing an impressive job as boyband style backup (somewhere, Blaine Anderson is weeping behind his eye patch and he doesn't know why). In the end, Sugar leaps into Artie's lap and has him roll her to her next class, he's won this round. Out in the courtyard, the God Squad serenade Rachel with "Stereo Hearts" courtesy of Finn. Sam does his best Travis McCoy impression, substituting Trouty for Travie (yet we couldn't get Blaine instead of Ben a few weeks ago...). As they finish, Santana asks them if they're willing to deliver a singing Valentine to any student, then requests they perform for her girlfriend. Cue dramatic commercial break.
Rory tells the group he found out he'll be deported next year, which is clearly a lie to win Sugar's heart, and combining it with a crooney performance of Buble's "Home" is like kryptonite. Sugar says she feels even worse for Rory than she does for Artie and asks him to be her date. The God Squad gather to discuss if they're willing to sing to same-sex couples, although Sam points out that they're in Glee club so they sing to gay people every week. Joe's the only odd-man-out, and says he's never met anyone gay before. Mercedes explains that one in ten people is gay, and thus one of the apostles would statistically be gay (Simon, she says, is the gayest name). Joe says he needs more time to think about it.
Sam continues his quest for Mercedes heart with a valentine, but she tells him she cannot be with him even though she's come clean to Shane about their kiss. The cheating and lying has filled Mercedes with guilt and she wants to be single until she figures herself out. Then, in a moment that was almost prophetic in it's pop culture timing, she breaks into Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" as Sam walks away, transitioning from a hallway spotlight to a choir room performance to a stunning auditorium back-lit shot where Mercedes wears the hell out of a red ballgown and a besotted Sam looks on. We finish back in the choir room, where a single tear tracks down both Sam and Mercedes faces before Sam flees. While all this was shot and selected before Houston's passing this weekend, Mercedes stunning take on the classic are definitely an apt tribute to the diva, and the tribute screen at the end of the episodes feels a tad unnecessary; this song could stand on it's own as honor.
The Berries and the Hummel-Hudson's meet for a dinner party punctuated by a performance of "You're The Top" from Rachel and her dads that leaves Carol, Burt and Finn a little dumbfounded and explains everything you ever needed to know about what made Rachel Berry into Rachel Berry (her parents met while they were both in Up With People, of course.) While Hiram makes some masterful lubricant and rubber double entendres (it could be about sex, but it's actually about car maintenance!) they reveal that the real purpose of the dinner was to give Rachel and Finn a test run at domestic bliss by allowing them to have a semi-supervised sleepover. We're treated to Rachel's elaborate nighttime routine, and when that bucks up against Finn's bathroom wishes and the realization that, yes, when they're married Finn will actually have to use the bathroom in the same place as Rachel, the two devolve into a fight that uncovers the underlying issues of Finn's ambition and Rachel's expectations, ending with Finn storming off downstairs and Rachel throwing her beloved hairbrush.
Kurt shows up early at the Sugar Shack to meet his secret admirer, but instead of Blaine under the gorilla mask we find former bully Dave Karofsky (did we really think Blaine was going to sneak out of his sick bed and wander around dressed like a primate?) After their brief talk at Scandals a few episodes back Dave realized his anger and attention on Kurt was wound up in hating himself and admiring Kurt for his bravery. He says he loves him, and that Kurt has helped him so much and he's almost ready to come out now. While Kurt tries to be nice, he gently pulls back from Dave's touch and explains that he's with Blaine, and that Dave only thinks he loves Kurt, he doesn't really love him. Embarrassed, Dave makes to flee but is noticed by a new school mate who clearly isn't fooled by Kurt's casual remarks about being old classmates who just ran into each other at Breadstix.
The Misters Berry realize that Rachel and Finn have gone quiet, and their plot to try and break up the engagement through reverse psychology may have backfired. It's done even worse than that -- the lesson in cohabitation has encouraged Rachel and Finn to accelerate the wedding plans. They head off to the Sugar Shack with a promise of more details for the shell-shocked Berries later. The God Squad had decided that love is love, and they will sing a mash-up of tracks by The Association and Madonna both named "Cherish" for Britt, at the end of which the girls share their first real on-screen kiss. The collective breath their fans have been holding could be heard from the moon. Then Sugar reveals her surprise guest, Blaine Anderson, who sashays in with a heart shaped eye-patch that he rips off to perform the B-52's "Love Shack." He even convinces Kurt to join him (he had his own microphone at the ready, natch), and the whole crowd erupts into a celebration of love and retro splendor.
Last season's Valentine saw a much more buttoned-up Blaine performing at Kurt's lonely hearts bash on the same stage, and while in a year we've seen love shake-ups, the mood is definitely more optimistic than before. However, "Glee" has been promising a crash to this sugar high all season, and next week's winter finale should bring the reality that's been edging in these past few episodes to the forefront. Rachel moves forward with her bridal plans, the thread of Sebastian returns with Regionals, and that Karofsky loose end will likely unravel further. How they leave us before the final arcs of the season remains to be seen, but if this season is anything to go by it will be big, brash and unexpected.