Recap / Glee S 2 E 16 Original Song

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"...you wanna be, a Loser Like Me".

Summary

It's time for Regionals, but before we get to business, we need to establish context. See, as with any show, a key to making it successful is to change up the established formula. Now that by defintion is risky, but can also pay off big. In this case, the producers of Glee wanted to change up the formula by using original songs, hence the title. Original songs will continue to be used until the final season.

In any case, we start proper business at Dalton where what is ostensibly a Warbler meeting is instead an excuse to break out the Maroon 5. However, there is a slight change, namely that Kurt is starting to get a little tired of his Gilded Cage, not really into the performances as much as usual. Afterwards, Kurt tells Blaine that he's sick of being back-up vocals while Blaine takes all the songs, which Blaine is surprised at. As established, the Warbler council decides solos, but Kurt says that sometimes it feels like the Warblers are simply Blaine and his numerous backup singers. Blaine stand stunned as we toll a bell and hit the Title Card.

Choir room. Rachel brings Finn in and says she listened to his suggestions and has a better original song prepared, called called 'Only Child'. Unsurprisingly, her efforts still suck, and Finn politely tells her this, saying that she's playing scared and that she's only dealing with surface pain; she needs to deal with the internal pain. Thing is, she's not the only one, as we cut to outside where we see Quinn and we cue a V/O taken right out of Season 1, where evidently the only reason she cheated on Sam was because Junior Prom's coming up and she wants to be Queen, and thus needs a King. As we'll see later in this episode, and in two episodes time, there's a lot of pain here. Her V/O even spells it out mixed with crazy; Q wants control, wants power, wants validation. She doesn't know it, but there is someone who'll give her all the validation she needs. She ends the V/O by resolving to watch Rachel, her enemy, close. Obvious wishful thinking from someone who's only enemy is herself.

Cut to Kurt's house, where he's taking care of Warbler mascot Pavarotti. At least he was, as suddenly, after failing to reply to Kurt's whistling, we see that this parrot has ceased to be. Cut to a Warblers meeting where Blaine suggests that they wear red jackets with blue piping rather than blue with red piping. GASP! BLASPHEMY, SCANDAL, HERESY! Kurt arrives in funeral black, informs the Warblers, then asks to sing a tribute to Pavarotti. He then produces a cassette with the relevant The Beatles; midway through, Blaine stops and stairs like he's been hit over the head with a crowbar. And he has, as the obvious Love Epiphany hits him and he finally realizes that he's madly in love with one Kurt Elizabeth Hummel. Took him long enough.

Back to the choir room where we get a hook from two episodes prior, as Will announces that My Chemical Romance has issued them with a cease-and-desist letter, so they can't use "Sing" for Regionals. We then cut to Will confronting and to the surprise of anyone without higher brain functions, Sue was behind it, another step of her revenge on Will for her losing the Unholy Trinity. Everyone starts wondering what to do next. Well, since the title of the episode is a dead giveaway, Rachel suggests writing original songs. Quinn, ulterior motives in play, backs her up, even offering to write with her; after a discussion, Will decides that everyone will write an original song and they'll decide which to use. Cut to Brittany finding Santana at their lockers. As you'd expect from the heartbreak of last episode, Brittany's upset that Santana's angry at her, but Santana's upset that Brittany blew her off for Artie. Sue interrupts them and after a reminder that she likes to play dirty, they open their lockers to find that Sue was literal, as mounds of fine soil fall on them.

Cut back to Dalton, where Blaine's Love Epiphany made him realize that it has been all about him, so therefore he proposes that one song be a duet. The Warblers refuse to break the Strictly Formula... until Blaine mentions who he wants to duet with, at which point they do a one-eighty that leaves viewers' heads spinning. Kurt insist on proper auditions, but the Warblers vote that Kurt will sing with Blaine - Wes smirking all the while. We cut back to the choir room for ND's first song-writing seminar. Santana, deciding to save face by keeping up the pretense of dating Sam, sings a smokey-lounge tune called "Trouty Mouth". Given that the song is nothing but comparisons between Sam's mouth and the lips of various fish and amphibians, Sam is not impressed and Mr Schue tactfully rejects it as an option. The name "Trouty Mouth" will of course serve as Sam's nickname in-series as well as in these recaps for a stretch of Season 4, as protest for one of the biggest storyline blunders Glee ever had. Puck offers a tribute to Zizes, "Big Ass Heart", which gets slightly more approval but is also rejected. However, slightly more important happenings occur afterwards. We cut to Quinn at Finn's locker, going on a... slightly unhinged (just a bit) rant about how prom's after Regionals and she basically wants to hit the Reset Button on everything over the past two seasons and just be the HBIC again. Quinn, you really should know it doesn't work that way. Hell, Finn knows, hence why he'd rather wait until after Nationals; being a bit presumptuous yes, but Quinn sees through it, despite the fact that it was Rachel who cheated on Finn, he still has latent feelings for her. Quinn then all but strongarms Finn into going to prom with her as we see someone watching and three guesses who.

We return from break to see Kurt making a casket for Pavarotti as Blaine approaches him about practicing their duet, something more emotional than normal. Kurt, suspecting the answer, asks Blaine why he was picked for the duet. Blaine says there is a moment where you say to yourself, "Oh, there you are, I've been looking for you forever". He then says it was Kurt singing "Blackbird" that made him realize his feelings, and that the duet is nothing more than an excuse for him to be close to him. And then, in a moment long expected and anticipated, we get a Big Damn Kiss. Passionate, and for quite awhile. They break apart, and Blaine fumbles to say that they should practice. Kurt, with absolute joy in his eyes, simply says that they thought they were. And thereupon Blaine surges forward to kiss the everloving daylights out of him, in a way that suggests he won't be stopping said kissing any time soon as Kurt gets his true first kiss.

As all the Klaine shippers squee, faint in excitement, and break the Internet, we go back to the choir room where Mercedes has turned her Catch Phrase into her submission. Will agrees that it's an awesome song, but says that it's not really suited for Regionals.note  He asks what the Glee club's favorite songs are, Brittany of course uttering "My Headband", sigh. According to Will, the best songs come from a place of pain. Well, pain is obviously not in short supply, as we cut to Sue on the warpath, throwing sticks at Mercedes, trying to forge a name change for Tina to Tina Cohen-Loser et al. Finn says that while it hurts, it also gives ND motivation to win. Will agrees, naming their original song for Regionals "Loser Like Me".

And now, for a moment that has been coming for a while. See, up until this point, these recaps have made little remarks and comments about Quinn, seemingly implying that there's more to her ennui over Rachel than we think. You're about to see what we're talking about.

We cut to the auditorium where Quinn sits at a piano. Rachel approaches and after mentioning Shelby adopting Beth, asks if she's back with Finn and Quinn confirms it, asking how long will it be before Rachel moves on. Rachel realized Finn chose her at first and Quinn simply asks how long that lasted? When asked why she's being meaner than ever, we get Quinn answering in a way that caused a stir. Quinn replies that the way this ends is thus: Rachel goes to Broadway, gets famous, while Quinn gets Finn, settles down and becomes a real estate agent. Quinn says Rachel doesn't belong in Lima and that she can't get mad at Quinn for trying to send her on her way. When Rachel makes one more try to say it's not over with Finn Quinn replies with a phrase that really, given what's to come next season, Rachel should've taken to heart, but for the moment simply causes her to leave in tears.

"If you keep looking for that happy ending then you are never gonna get it right".

And now we pause the recap to explain a few things. See, from the get go, gleeks praised Dianna Agron & Lea Michele for their amazing chemistry. Eventually they, again, using their ability to take something and run with it, offered up a simple in-universe explanation for said chemistry, and used this scene as an example. Now the above scene has two layers of Alternate Character Interpretation:
  • 1: The first one is that Quinn, despite having Finn, is so utterly broken, completely shattered from everything she's done over the past season that she's clinging to Finn as a lifeline, while realizing Rachel's the best of all of them and is trying to hurt her to help her, getting her to realize she's never gonna have Finn and thus should focus on graduating and getting to New York.
  • 2: The second is that the reason Quinn is so desperate to cling to Finn... is that it's the closest thing she'll have to Rachel. Yes, the second ACI is the obvious one; that Quinn is madly in love with Rachel, but is frightened to tell her, so she settles for being the Loving Bully, the classic "pulling of the pigtails". And thus, for the remainder of these recaps, as a Running Gag, there will be at least one mention per recap of Quinn's love for Rachel.

And now, back to business.

After we see Rachel bawling while getting the motivation to write, go to and return from break with Will dressing as Sue approaches to taunt, revealing that, surprise surprise, she lied about her machinations involving My Chemical Romance and is so confident that much like last year, Aural Intensity made a custom set list for each judge. We then cut to the stage for Regionals and reveal the judges: Rod Remington, natch, Kathy Griffin as your basic Tea Party member, and a former stripper turned nun. Aural Intensity go first, and please at least the Tea Partier. Then, to break up the monotony, we cut to backstage and an unusually nervous Kurt. This is his first competition duet and he's scared he'll forget lyrics, have no voice et al. Blaine simply calls him adorable. Klaine of course goes out there and kills it (although it's not entirely certain that they were aware that there are, in fact, other people in the room). This is of course followed by the big number, some P!nk for the mood, and the Warblers end up with a standing ovation.

We return from break to see Rachel prepping when Finn approaches. Rachel reminds him of last year, Finn responding by finally complementing her song. We then see what happens when pain is channeled positively, as Rachel goes into "Get It Right", Finn standing offstage mesmerized, while Quinn stands behind him, either staring at him, or what she believes she can't have... After Rachel's standing ovation, the rest of ND arrive for the showstopper. If "Don't Stop Believing" was Glee's anthem, this served as the backup, a song about embracing everything about oneself good or bad. Hence the name, "Loser Like Me". The ending is a nice touch, as Mike wheels in a slushie machine and ND hit the crowd with confetti laced Big Quenches. The crowd simply rocks out as do the Warblers while Sue sits concerned.

Now for the home stretch and judges vote; as with last year, disagreements about. The Tea Party judge, not so surprisingly, says that Kurt and Blaine's duet is wrong for sending a 'gay is OK' message, that people shouldn't celebrate being losers, and that Aural Intensity should win. Shocking. The stripper nun liked the Klaine duet, while in a change-up from last year, Rod gives ND their props and calls for a vote.

We're back to the stage where the results are to be announced by the governor of Ohio's drunken wife... yay? And, since there's six episodes after this and this is a 22-episode order, the results should surprise no one. What does shock slightly, and even then, there's really no shock is that Sue responds to her loss by walking up to the governor's wife and putting the punch in punch drunk. Cut to Klaine burying Pavarotti while Kurt laments the Warblers loss. Blaine reminds him that more than any competition, they've got each other, so Kurt won after all. We end in the choir room, where Will has decided that though winning Regionals was a team effort, there was one who rose above the others. Therefore, Will's giving out an MVP award to Rachel. She's stunned, accepting the trophy by saying that she's won trophies but still felt like she never got the brass ring. However this award coming from her teammates, made her feel special, and chosen. We get a group hug and we're out.

Next time: Sunshine returns and some neglected supporting characters get one more night in the spotlight.

Songs

  • "Misery" by Maroon 5, performed by Blaine and the Warblers
  • "Only Child" by Rachel Berry, performed by Rachel
  • "Trouty Mouth" By Santana Lopez, performed by Santana
  • "Big Ass Heart" By Puck, performed by Puck
  • "Blackbird" by The Beatles, performed by Kurt and the Warblers
  • "Hell to the No" by Mercedes Jones, performed by Mercedes and the New Directions
  • "Jesus is My Friend" by Sonseed, performed by Aural Intensity
  • "Candles" by Hey Monday, performed by Blaine, Kurt, and the Warblers
  • "Raise Your Glass" by P!nk, performed by Blaine and the Warblers
  • "Get it Right" by Rachel Berry, performed by Rachel and the New Directions
  • "Loser Like Me" by the New Directions, performed by Rachel, Finn, Mercedes, and the New Directions

Tropes

  • All There in the Manual: The song "Get It Right" was originally explained as being written by Rachel and Quinn.
    • After Quinn stops Rachel from singing a terrible song called "Back In My Arms" about wanting Finn and then coming on to her. No, really. "Well you, lady, are perfect the way you are. Don't change" and "Rachel, you're so much more... I don't know, awesome now that you're single" with the stage direction 'Quinn grabs [Rachel's] hand, smiles sweetly'.
  • Big Damn Kiss: Blaine and Kurt, finally.
  • But Not Too Gay: A-fucking-verted!
  • Catchphrase: Mercedes' catchphrase gets its own song.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The Tea Party Judge who thought that "Loser Like Me" was celebrating losing.
  • Duet Bonding: Blaine and Kurt, with "Candles".
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?
  • Held Gaze: Blaine and Kurt, during "Candles".
  • Love Epiphany: Blaine for Kurt.
  • Shipper on Deck: The Warblers, and how.
  • So Bad, It's Good: many people actually liked "Trouty Mouth" if only because it is hilarious. Same can be said about "Big Ass Heart" and "Hell to the No", but is YMMV if they are actually bad in the first place.
  • Stylistic Suck: The majority of the original songs.
  • Take That: Tammy Jean Albertson, the Tea Party Judge. She is a cross between Sarah Palin and Christine O'Donnell, going as far as saying "I am not a witch."
  • Too Dumb to Live: As any die-hard MCR fan (or anyone who has access to The Other Wiki) knows, My Chemical Romance doesn't even have a drummer (as of the episode's airing) so Sue couldn't possibly have gotten a cease-and-desist letter. New Directions falls for it hook, line, and sinker, nevertheless.
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