The episode opens with Will introducing the club to their "show choir consultant" Jesse St. James, and Rachel is the only one who seems any sort of pleased at all. Finn especially does not trust Jesse, and is worried that they'll get tricked into doing something stupid. note
Will says that they're doing original songs: a duet and a group number. Finn immediately volunteers himself and Rachel to sing the duet (much to Quinn's displeasure). Jesse 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. Will says they'll hold auditions to determine who the soloist is. Finn protests it's not their style, but nobody agrees with him because there's too much at stake.
Sue and Terri have a plan to screw up the Glee kids' flight to New York by sending them to Libya
. While Sue is displeased that Terri brought her Howard Bamboo instead of an expert computer hacker, it's still not that bad as all they have to do is e-mail the agency with Figgins' e-mail note
, asking them to reroute it to Tripoli, and the only holdup is that they don't have his password. Sue correctly guesses Figgins' password (1234
). Terri notes she's rather grumpy
Becky and a woman who we later find out is her mother intercept Will in the hallway and ask to talk to him about something. In the auditorium, Becky asks to join Glee club because Sue kicked her off the Cheerios. Will tells her that he can't right now because Nationals is coming up fast
, but promises her she can join next year. Later, Will confronts Sue in the cafeteria, asking why she kicked off Becky, who was sweet and loyal, where Sue bitterly informs him that Becky reminded her of her sister
, who had died the day before due to minor pneumonia.
Rachel walks down the hallway, narrating how much things have changed since last year. However there is still one thing that still hasn't changed.
No, her dreams. Finn walks past her and Rachel calls after him, asking why he hasn't signed up for the auditions yet. Finn's upset that Jesse ruined his hard-earned self-confidence in a matter of ten seconds, and Rachel assured him that he's good. He thinks he's "Lima good," though, not "New York City good."
Emma helps Will pack for Broadway. It turns out that rehearsals for April's "Crossrhodes" begin two weeks after Nationals, and that he's bailing on them afterwards. He then tells Emma that the kids don't know that he's leaving, saying that he can't let anything distract them.
Kurt and Finn come into Sue's office carrying flowers and stuffed animals. 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, and asks why it was sweet, caring Jean who died and not her.
We cut to the choir room where Kurt and Finn present the idea of helping Sue. Santana 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 wisely takes them up on that point, saying that a week before nationals is not the right time to be planning a funeral, especially since they have no setlist yet. And there's also the fact that Vocal Adrenaline is doing some pretty rigorous training right now. (Also when someone dies in a performance, they end up being used as a prop.) However, Finn won't be swayed.
Will comes up to Sue and congratulates her for asking help from the glee club. Sue tells him that they volunteered. Also, she makes a crack at his hair because it isn't a proper episode without one.
Auditions for the solo start, and 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
. This is proven right after he slams Santana's performance of "Back to Black" (she didn't go deep enough into the emotional aspect), Kurt's performance of "Some People" (he wasn't quite sure he filled the shoes left by Merman, LuPone, or Peters), and Mercedes' performance of "Try a Little Tenderness" (she didn't practice). For Rachel's performance of My Man, though, he has nothing but praise note
. Will tells the kids that he'll tell them who the soloist will be by Friday.
Kurt and Finn 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 and the Chocolate Factory
was Jean's favorite movie).
The actual funeral. Sue is shocked to discover that Jean brought in a full house. When she is asked to give a speech, Sue breaks down after two lines and Will stands up and finishes her speech (about being "tethered" to somebody) for her
. Afterwards, the glee kids stand up to sing "Pure Imagination" to a video of Sue-and-Jean moments.
Quinn climbs into Finn's car, where she tells him she's proud of him. Finn then breaks up with her
because he doesn't feel "tethered" to her like Jean did to Sue. Quinn tries to deny that they're breaking up, but Finn calls her out on her shallowness
and asks whether she still feels anything, which drives Quinn to tears. She then asks him if he's satisfied and leaves him alone in the car. Finn then eyes Rachel leaving the funeral parlor.
Glee club room, where Brittany 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.
Meanwhile, Becky stops by Sue's office and drops off the pompoms and the megaphone. Sue apologizes for kicking her off, claiming that she was going through menopause and only fired Becky due to "womb-rage."
Also that she'd be more than happy to have Becky on the team again, who will be cheer captain next year
. But she asks Becky to give her a hug before she leaves, which the former does.
Cafeteria. Sue tells Will 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. Unfortunately, there's still the matter of the rerouted flight to Tripoli, and Terri appears in the doorway saying she could fix that. The scene cuts 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 his club's sob-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. Will's happy for her and gives her a hug, saying he had no regrets about their relationship, leaves her standing there, before meeting up with Emma. She tells him to follow his dreams because he deserves it, and gives him a light kiss on the lips before walking away.
Jesse walks into the auditorium and is pleased to see that Rachel 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. She's scared, though, that 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.
Oh, and Finn apparently saw all that, and we get a shot of the flower he was going to give Rachel. Oh, dear.
They 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.
We see this meeting, where Will informs them that he's ditched the Vocal Adrenaline strategy and 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.
- "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 and 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.