Recap / Glee S 1 E 19 Dream On
Keep on dreamin'!

Episode Summary

Joss Whedon is in the director's chair this week. No one dies.

We commence with Will in Figgins' office, being introduced to the newest member of the school board... naturally, since Will's dreams exist only in his nightmares, this turns out to be former McKinley ubermensch Bryan Ryan, who got Will's solos and his women. We then cut to early 90's McKinley, full of mullet's aplenty, Bryan doing his best Monkees with some magic attached. We then see Will agast at this as Ryan talks the smack. Cut back to the present where Ryan plans to audit the curriculum, and by that, naturally, he means glee. Ryan then reveals that after he graduated, he was a soloist in a review at a theme park, then the cruise ship circuit, before that dried up and led to him waking up in a crack house. He cleaned up, and now runs a group for ex-show choir members; we then cut to a meeting featuring Molly Shannon's character from the last episode. Ryan wants to speak to New Directions, Figgins asking what's the worst that could happen?

Any time anyone asks that question, we get the answer in the next scene. Ryan is introduced, and he asks ND to write their dreams on paper. We then see him rip Artie's piece of paper off and crumple it into a ball, and tell the kids their dreams won't come true, that Will's show biz dream didn't come true, and neither. Will. Theirs. as. we. hit. the. Title. Card.

In the Library, we see Artie trying to reach a book as Tina approaches. The book was on a famous director, since Artie is never gonna be a performer, he'd figured he'd go down that route. He'll prove to excel at it. Tina asks if that was his dream; when he says yes, she reveals she found the paper in the trash with the word "dancer". Tina then offers to have Artie dance with her since Will didn't actually give them an assignment for this week. Cut to Rachel in her ballet studio; we then pan over to see Jesse. After Rachel reveals her dream: Evita, Funny Girl, and Laurey in Oklahoma (one out of three's not bad, especially when events pertaining to it lead to humbling a raging ego.). Jesse states that a dream is something that fills up the emptiness inside, the one thing that if it came true would make all the hurt go away. Her dreams are an inevitability. They embrace as we cut to the McKinley hallway, where Rachel reveals her true dream: to meet her mother. Jesse offers to help as we cut to Tina getting her tap on. Artie then follows with taps on the wheels. Unfortunately, Artie sees the reality and cuts the music, asking Tina to hand him crutches borrowed from a student with Cerebral Palsy. Seems Artie wants to know if pushing the chair gave him the upper body strength to leave it. This being Glee, as we are wont to do, we spot the outcome from a mile away and sure enough, despite Tina stabilizing him, he moves two inches and collapses. And to drive it home, he then breaks down and lashes out at Tina.

Cut to Ryan taking stock of the Home Ec supplies as Will enters and offers both a beer and an olive branch as we break. We return to Rachel telling Jesse that her mother is Patti LuPone. Right. Jesse pries and we find out Rachel's afraid of who her mother might be. He then suggests using whatever baby items she has for clues. Rachel points out her dads kept file cabinets of documents and that's a good place to start. Cut to a bar where Will recites how popular Bryan Ryan was, only for Ryan to reveal the one who got away... Terri. Explains a lot. Will says music helped him recover from dumping her, saying ND is about expressing yourself internally as well as externally. We then get the truth about Bryan Ryan: He tells his wife thrice a year he's going on business trips, only to see Broadway shows, even keeping the Playbills in his basement. Will then tries to motivate him by going to the jukebox for some Billy Joel, afterwards, Will reveals the local theater gild is doing Les MisÚrables and they are both going to audition.

Cut to Artie apologizing to Tina, saying he lives in denial and being confronted with the reality made him lash out. Tina produces current studies on spinal cords, telling him not to give up. Cut to Rachel and Jesse bringing in boxes of her stuff, Rachel calling it both creepy and flattering. As they look through things, baby teeth and sonogram amongst them, we then see that Jesse knows more than he let on, as he slips a cassette into one of the boxes. When it is revealed, Rachel is stunned to see the words "FROM MOTHER TO DAUGHTER". This evidently makes things all too real for her as when Jesse attempted to play it, she freaked, saying she wasn't ready.

Cut to Lima Community Theater, where both Will and Ryan plan to audition for Jean Valjean with the same song. After we see the director dismissing an American Idol level bad singer, the two take the stage for the obvious Aerosmith. After the break, we cut to Tartie in a mall, Artie having bought taps. When Tina leaves to get a pretzel, we then go into another hallmark scene: Artie daydreaming about being out of the chair for a flash mob, complete with Mike, Matt, Brittany, Kurt, and Mercedes mixed in among the dancers and BTW, with the exceptions of said dancers and the main cast, no one else is an extra, so their reactions are legit. Afterwards, we Mood Whiplash back to sad reality with a visit to Sylvester's house of venom and triumph, although not much right now as it is revealed, not so shockingly, that it was Sue who sent Bryan Ryan after ND. Ryan admits he was, only to have a change of heart after getting his performing mojo back. He then flips it on Sue, threatening to go after her due to studies suggesting music-based programs improve intelligence. Sue counters saying athletics promotes group activities, problem-solving and social skills. And then, Ryan gets turned on. Hmm.

After the break, we see a rain-soaked Jesse enter a car and tell the occupant she won't listen to it; we then pan over to see Shelby and let's go ahead and say it right now: When we said Idina Menzel's casting was deliberate, we weren't kidding. Shelby is in fact Rachel's mother. Jesse then reveals that dating Rachel and getting into McKinley was on her orders, only for him to legit fall for her. When Jesse asks why she couldn't just introduce her, Shelby states that as part of the surrogacy, she can't contact Rachel until she's 18; Rachel has to come to her. We then get backstory: struggling actress Shelby accepted an ad for a surrogate due to the money being enough for her to move to New York, after Rachel was born, Shelby didn't even get to hold her, that being her one regret. She implores Jesse to get Rachel to listen to that tape.

Cut to Emma's office, where Artie reveals the studies about spinal cords to her, saying he'll need her help when he starts walking again. And now, Reality Ensues as Emma points out that as many therapies he could take to try and walk again, it will still take years for them plus medical sciences to find any sort of way to repair the damage. Artie is naturally crushed. Cut to the Magiglee Shop where Bryan Ryan is handing out new outfits and sheet music bought by siphoned Cheerios! budget. Of course, this is almost too good to be true and that of course summons Sue to reveal Will got the part in Les Mis. Ryan takes everything back and says he's cutting glee. We then cut to him rehearsing his one line as Will arrives and reminds him of high school, saying you're labeled the second you show up. He produces the yearbook picture to show Ryan ND has no labels or preconceptions, just their true spirits. Will then offers Ryan his part, and of course he accepts.

We begin the home stretch with Rachel finding Jesse putting Shelby's tape in the player and saying she's ready to hear it. We then get a duet of the Les Mis song appropriate for the occasion; afterwards we cut to Tina begging Artie to reconsider, but Artie says she's worked too hard on her routine to have "half" a partner. He does agree to sing as we cut to Will confirming the obvious about glee's status, then letting Tina have the stage for her routine. And thus we end with Artie flexing pipes to the moves of his girlfriend and her future boyfriend. Dream on gleeks.

Next Time: New Directions gets theatrical while Finn goes to his yelling place. It's not pretty.


  • "Daydream Believer" by The Monkees. Sung by Bryan Ryan and the 1993 WMHS Glee Club
  • "Piano Man" by Billy Joel. Sung by Will Schuester and Bryan Ryan.
  • "Dream On" by Aerosmith. Sung by Will Schuester and Bryan Ryan.
  • "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats. Sung by Artie.
  • "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables. Sung by Rachel and Shelby Corcoran.
  • "Dream a Little Dream" by The Mamas and Papas. Sung by Artie with New Directions.

Tropes present in this episode:

  • Daydream Surprise: The flashmob sequence.
  • Flashmob: Safety Dance.
  • Out of Focus: Tina, Artie, Rachel, Jesse, Will, Sue, Shelby, and Bryan Ryan are the main focus. Everyone else is either in the background, have one token line, or assist in the flash mob. For once, Matt's not alone.
  • The '80s: The flashback to Will's high school days. Doing the math, Will would have graduated in 1993; if Bryan was two years older, the scene takes place about 1991. The Eighties hangover, especially in smaller cities, was strong in the early 90s, and the acid wash, big shoulders, Cosby sweaters, and mullets in the scene are perfect.