Episode SummaryWe start our "somber" business in the choir room where Will is introducing New Directions' new "show choir consultant" Jesse St. James. Seems Jesse slipped Will his business card from last episode and there we go. There is only one person thrilled by this and we need not say who. Finnegan, accurately and especially after the fight at prom last episode, distrusts Jesse, is worried that they'll get tricked into doing something stupid. note Will, after reiterating that he's still in charge and, figuring that the key to winning Regionals was original materials, announces more of the same for Nationals; specifically, a duet and a group number. Finn, naturally, promptly volunteers himself and Rachel for the duet (much to Quinn's and ours displeasure). Couldn't wait, could you Hudson? No wonder you blow it for everyone next episode. He says Finchel killed it with "Faithfully" at Regionals last year, only to be reminded by Dear Lucille that ND was killed thereafter. Jesse promptly puts Finn on blast, saying everyone but Finn can sing better, yes even Mike. In fact... You kinda sing and dance like a zombie who has to poop. Harsh, but somewhat accurate. After being lightly chastised for his critiques, Jesse basically says that a Drill Sergeant Nasty win at all costs attitude is the only way to secure a win. Basically Sue, but minus the overt insanity. Jesse then says that the Vocal Adrenaline strategy (as we saw with "Highway to Hell" and "Bohemian Rhapsody") is to build the performance around their star performer; we of course know who his pick is. However, for the purposes of supposed fairness, Will announces proper auditions. Finn protests it's not their style, and of course it's not, but with so much at stake, no one's inclined to agree with him as we hit the Title Card.Sue's office, where she is all but berating Terri (in Jessalyn Gilsig's last appearance until the Grand Finale.); ND's heading to New York next week and Sue needs a hacker to screw up the flight plan. Terri offers her personal minion Howard Bamboo (also not to be seen again until the Grand Finale.). Terri notes that all travel goes through Lima's local travel agency, and that all they have to do is e-mail the agency with Figgins' e-mail note , and the only holdup is that they don't have his password. Sue correctly guesses it (1234); then, for the first time, hits a blatant Moral Event Horizon by rerouting ND's flight to Libya. While Sue will posture and assert, she's not known for blatant murder, as Terri notes she's rather grumpy. We'll soon get an idea why as we cut to Will being intercepted by Becky and her mother. Cut to the auditorium where Becky asks to join ND because Sue kicked her off the Cheerios!. Will is floored, saying that she can't join right now because Nationals is coming up in a week, but promises her she can join next year. In the lounge we see Will, obviously not knowing the whole situation, tap into his latent rage and unloads on Sue, asking why she got rid of her most loyal minion. Sue, in a rare unguarded moment, bitterly informs him that Becky reminded her of her sister, who had died the day before due to minor pneumonia.Cut to a familiar knee sock and penny loafer clad set of legs walking down the hallway, Rachel V/Oing about how things have changed the last two years, as we get a visual Call Back to the Pilot with her signing up for the audition gold star and all. However there is still one thing that still hasn't changed. Her handwriting you ask? No, her dreams. However there's an ND member with broken dreams as Finn walks past her and Rachel calls after him, asking why he hasn't signed up for the auditions yet. Finn tries to deflect with aloofness before admitting that he's upset that, as per custom, he's built up hard-earned self-confidence only to have someone (Jesse) ruin it in a matter of ten seconds. Rachel assures him that he's good, but Finn thinks he's "Lima good," not "New York City good." Man, unintentional or not the Foreshadowing for Season 3 has been coming fast and furious. Cut to Emma helping Will pack; turns out that rehearsals for April's "Crossrhodes" begin two weeks after Nationals, and that he's bailing on them afterwards. He tries to act nonchalant, but Emma sees right through it, telling him he's afraid to admit he's leaving for good. She asks if ND knows and of course they don't, Will saying that he can't let anything distract them. Wemma then use his various and sundry vests to reminisce, ultimately Emma plays the Love Martyr card by saying Will's following his dreams and that he has to move forward.Cut to Sue's office, where Furt arrive with flowers and stuffed animals, expressing condolences. Sue asks them why they bothered, and Kurt replies that they've both lost a parent and therefore know how she feels. Sue admits that she's not coping well and she doesn't want to sort through Jean's stuff or plan the funeral, she's essentially disowned their mother, and asks why it was sweet, caring Jean who died and not her. Cut back to the choir room where Kurt and Finn present the idea of helping Sue. Santana, not surprisingly, plays the "Why-are-we-doing-this-guys-it's-Sue-Sylvester" card, which Kurt and Finn trump by playing the "We're-doing-it-for-Jean-who-was-an-underdog-like-us" card. Jesse, for once not coming from arrogance but a misplaced sense of priorities, wisely takes them up on that point, saying that death is a part of life, and that one can't put their life on hold. A week before Nationals is not the right time to be planning a funeral, especially since they have no setlist yet. Finn is of course offended. Jesse then adds that, as we've seen, Vocal Adrenaline is doing some pretty rigorous training right now, specifically, week 3 of 24/7 rehearsals with IV drip. Also, if a VA member dies in a performance, they end up being used as a prop. Finnegan of course will not be swayed, finally exercising some leadership skills by declaring they will help Sue plan Jean's funeral.Cut to Sue in her mourning shades as Will comes up and congratulates her for asking help from ND. Sue tells him they volunteered. Also, because she needs the release and it isn't a proper episode without one crack about Will's hair, when he says Sue can lean on him, she retorts that she can't because there's enough grease for her to slide off. Cut to the auditorium for the auditions, where Jesse tells Will that he once took a class at judging reality TV and that he knows how to give advice that is both blunt and unhelpful. Will is aghast, but Jesse proves him right as he slams Santana (she didn't go deep enough into the emotional aspect) and Kurt (he wasn't quite sure he filled the shoes left by Merman, LuPone, or Peters). After Jesse tells Will he should talk more, we cut back to the choir room where Kurt grumbles, Rachel playing Jesse's sycophant despite Kurtcedes reminding her of how he ended it with her. Back to the auditorium for Mercedes' try, Jesse simply saying she didn't practice. Then it's Rachel's turn; after asking if she's singing it to anyone in particular and getting a denial (which of course is Blatant Lies, she sure wasn't thinking about Jesse), she goes into the end of Funny Girl and since it's obvious who he wants for the solo, it surprises no one that Jesse has nothing but praise. Will tells the others that he'll tell them who the soloist will be by Friday, the Foregone Conclusion already stamped on their heads.Cut to Jean's room, where Furt help Sue sort through Jean's stuff. Eventually Sue gets frustrated, picks up an old stuffed animal of Jean's, and tells the two of them to just chuck the rest of the stuff into the dumpster and leaves (but not without telling them that Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was Jean's favorite movie). This gives Finn an idea as we go to break. We return to Sue in her Le Car staring at a picture of her and Jean. We then see her enter the funeral home, Will leading her in, where she's shocked to discover that Jean not only brought in a full house, but that the area around the casket is dressed to look like the chocolate room from Willy Wonka. A pastor then begins the service; when asked to give a speech, Sue breaks down after two lines and Will stands up and finishes her speech for her.
I miss my sister. Every night, at 10:00 or so, she used to call me on the phone, and when I asked her why, she'd tell me that her body told her she wanted to hear my voice. I miss my sister. The smell of her shampoo, the way she could always convince me to read her another book. When you love someone like I loved her, they're a part of you. It's like you're attached to an invisible tether, and no matter how far away you are, you can always feel them. And now, every time I reach for that tether, I know there's no one on the other end, and I feel like I'm falling into nothingness. Then I remember Jean. I remember a life led with no enemies, no resentments, no regrets, and I'm inspired to get up out of bed and go on. I miss my sister so much. It feels like a part of me has been ripped off. Just one more time I want to hold her. Ten more seconds. Is that too much to ask? For 10 more seconds to hold her? But I can't, and I won't, and the only thing keeping me from being swallowed whole by sadness... is that Jean would kill me if I did. So for now, I'm just gonna miss her. I love you Jeannie. Rest in peace.Then, in tribute, set to a video of Sue-and-Jean moments, New Directions go into a signature song from Willy Wonka. Afterwards, we see Quinn climb into Finn's car, where she tells him she's proud of him. Unfortunately for her, she picked a bad time. See, as Will was reading Sue's speech, Finn was struck by it. As it turns out, he was evaluating his relationship with Quinn and realizing that she really didn't seem so much invested in keeping him so much as keeping him away from Rachel. Therefore, in what qualifies as a case of Kick the Dog due to the timing, Finn breaks up with her, saying that getting back with her was an attempt to fix everything from last year (presumably meaning keeping Puck away from her despite his feelings for Rachel), but he can't. He talks about how Sue was "tethered" to Jean and that he doesn't feel the same way towards Quinn. Quinn, knowing the answer, asks if he feels that way towards Rachel. Then, in the Fabray custom of attempting to reassert control, denies the inevitable, only for Finn to ask whether she still feels anything and what the fuck Hudson god you're an idiot. Okay, you don't wanna be with Q, fine. But asking her if she feels anything? Lucille Fabray has a tremendous poker face, but crack that and you'll get ALL the emotions. In this case, tears, as she asks him if he's satisfied and leaves him alone in the car. Finn then eyes the real love of Q's life leaving the funeral parlor.After the break, it's back to the choir room where Brit-Brit is filming the results of the auditions. Will asks Jesse if giving Rachel the solo will get them a win at Nationals. Jesse agrees that it's in the bag. Cut to Sue's office where Becky stops by to drop off the pompoms and the megaphone. Sue, back to type, claims that she was going through menopause and only booted Becky due to "womb-rage.". She not only apologizes, but makes Becky cheer captain next year. She then asks for a hug, which Becky is more than happy to give, Sue happy that in an abstract way, Jean lives on. This sends up to the lounge, where she finds Will and says he has what Jean had, a pure heart. Sue then says that she's backing off terrorizing the glee club and is instead going to run for congress to make the world a better place for people with disabilities like Jean. Obviously that ain't happening, though the running for congress part will. However, there is a matter of a certain rerouted flight to Tripoli. Fortunately, Terri appears in the doorway saying she could fix that. Cut to the hallway, where Will's marveling at the first-class tickets Terri managed to get him. She admits that she told the vice president of American Airlines, who's a supporter of the arts, ND's story and he agreed to sponsor their flight. She then tells him she's moving to Miami to be a manager at Sheets-'n'-Things, saying she faked a pregnancy because she loved him so much. Will, equal parts happy for her and happy to see her gone for good, gives her a hug, saying he had no regrets about their relationship, and leaves her standing there, finally out of his life. He then meets up with Emma, who tells him to follow his dreams because he deserves it, and gives him a light kiss on the lips before walking away, torn between his happiness and her own.We start the home stretch with Rachel in the auditorium as Jesse arrives, pleased to see that she still remembers "the masculine click of his designer boots." He tells Rachel that she'd been chosen as the soloist, which she is delighted about, and gives him an excited hug. However, in contrast to what we've seen for the bulk of the season, she's scared Kurt, Mercedes, and Santana would hate her. Jesse responds that they already do, but that's the price of fame. He then tells her that he used to think that fame was the most important thing in the world, but that changed when he met her, and he leans in for a kiss. They then walk away, not knowing that they had an audience and do we really need to see who it was? He even had a flower. Oh, dear. St Berry walk into the hallway and see Kurt, Mercedes, and Santana frowning at the supposed list. Rachel asks them not to take it personally, but is shocked to discover that instead of her name on the paper, it instead calls for New Directions to meet for an urgent agenda. Cut to Will informing ND that, since the VA strategy led to infighting, they're going back to original songs sung by the whole group, and then he tells them that they have to start songwriting, because he expects them to rehearse and perfect those original songs while lounging in their first-class plane seats to New York. Finn then thanks Quinn for not quitting glee when he dumped her. Clearly Finnegan spent too much time having a high opinion of himself, because he failed to notice Dear Lucille's patented smirk of ill tidings, which bode much in the way of revenge. She says she has plans, and we'll see them...Next Time: Start spreading the news...
- "Back to Black" by Amy Winehouse. Performed by Santana.
- "Some People" from Gypsy. Performed by Kurt.
- "Try a Little Tenderness" by Otis Redding. Performed by Mercedes.
- "My Man" from Funny Girl (as performed by Barbra Streisand). Performed by Duh.
- "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. Performed by New Directions.
Tropes present in this episode:
- Award Bait: All over the place. Especially in the eponymous funeral.
- Brick Joke: Rachel's gold stars come back.
- Bury Your Disabled: Although the whole series averts it with Artie, Jean is killed off due to minor pneumonia possibly brought around by her Down's Syndrome.
- Call Back: The entire sequence of Rachel signing up to the be the lead vocalist is a callback to her first audition in the Pilot.
- Funny Background Event: A blink-and-you-miss-it one, but when Rachel sings "My Man" and imagines singing to Finn, behind him you can see a poster advertising the "Nessie Club".
- Glasses Pull: Sue.
- Hope Spot: Sue was told her sister wouldn't live past thirty. And then she turned fifty and Sue thought the two of them could grow up together. And then she died.
- It's Always Sunny at Funerals
- Jerkass: Jesse, most prominently in this episode. He's a dick to pretty much everyone except Rachel.
- Little Black Dress: Rachel wears one during her performance of "My Man."
- Lonely Funeral: Sue is scared Jean's funeral will end up this way, which is why she agreed to letting the glee club help.
- Trailers Always Spoil: Averted with the promo, which didn't even show any details about the funeral plot.