We start the proceedings in the choir room. As established, New Directions are going to Nationals. However, the price tag to get there is 5 Large, so Will gets the genius idea to sell saltwater taffy, as he did when his glee club went to Nationals. He's charging a quarter a piece. So the road to Nationals is paved with 20,000 pieces of taffy. Will, you're an idiot. Santana points out yet again the irrelevance of ND's achievements when compared to their social standings; we see evidence of that as we cut to Santana tasting a Big Quench thanks to Karofsky, and in front of Brit-Brit no less. Quinn concurs, saying no once gives a shit about them, only for Mike, usually the quiet one of the bunch, to stand up. He complains that the Glee club complains about being mistreated when they don't know what it's like to be ignored by everyone, even their friends. Seems him, Tina, Artie, and Brittany are on the McKinley academic team called "The Brainiacs". We then see them in action against Carmel, led by one Sunshine Corazon. Apparently, Brittany is a substitute, but, demonstrating some Hidden Depths which will become relevant later in the series, reveals basic savant tendencies. In any case, they won a spot in the finals in Detroit, but they'll have to forfeit, because much like ND they can't afford the money to get there. The Brainiacs think the school should pay for them. Will asks for their price tag, and Will adds $250 to the taffy tally meaning it'll now take 21,000 pieces of taffy for them to make it. Refer to the above comment about Will, then hit the Title Card.
Sue's office in the dead of night. She's summoned Vocal Adrenaline director Dustin Goolsby, Terri, and, not seen since near the end of last season, Sandy Ryerson. Seems that with losing the Unholy Trinity, her Cheerio! budget and Regionals as Aural Intensity's coach, she's going for a hail mary play, forming a Legion of Doom in order to destroy the Glee Club for once and for allnote . Cut to Will's place, where current girlfriend Holly is over for pizza. Will is thrilled because it's the first relationship where there's a need for time alone. Holly, after hearing about Will's taffy play, of course says it sucks. She says that Terri messed with his brain to the point where he can't dream. She suggests a Title Drop, a benefit concert, and Will's neurotic neurons light up; sell tickets, and it'll serve as practice for Nationals. Cut to him in the choir room announcing it, and saying that it's only songs by "neglected" artists, those who aren't as appreciated as they should be.
After the break, we cut to Sue and Goolsby. The Lo D's first mission is to break up Will and Holly, Goolsby to step in between. Second mission is for Sandy to sponsor a club Sue created, the McKinley High Heckling Club, consisting of Azimio, Becky and Jacob (GODDAMMIT). Cut to the hallway where Mike and the ND women minus the Unholy Trinity discuss song choices. Tina's doing a song by Lykke Li. Mike is just going to dance. Mercedes intends to do something by Aretha Franklin. Zizes points out that Aretha is hardly neglected, Mercedes specifies that Aretha hasn't been played in glee since her audition. Rachel says she'll be doing Céline Dion's Signature Song. Tina, recognizing an ego play, points out that it's pretty much one of the greatest hits of all time, Rachel confirming that by saying she's the neglected artist. Finn walks in and asks if any of them remember Sunshine. We cut to ND in the auditorium where, after being falsely accused of spying, Sunshine is there offering them her support for the benefit, saying that she sympathizes with the Brainiacs and offers to perform, ensuring that her 600 Twitter followers will all buy a ticket. She then offers to show ND what she can do, flexing vocals and reminding ND why Rachel saw her as a threat. Afterwards, as Rachel offers the token protests, ND agree to put her on the roster, Mercedes seemingly okay with being shuffled around in the concert lineup, while Zizes seems disturbed.
Cut to the library, where we see why. Zizes confronts Mercedes and accuses her of being an Extreme Doormat, and that she needs to reassert her diva attitude. Mercedes agrees to let Lauren be her manager in return for 10% of whatever they can come up with. Mercedes agrees as we return from break to Will finding Emma and seeing her OCD return in force. We pretty much can guess why and she confirms: John Stamos has made his appearances, therefore Carl's divorcing her. A melancholy Emma asks at what age are you allowed to look back on your life with nothing but regret. Will simply takes her lunch, puts on the returning plastic gloves, and cleans a grape for her while saying that he's there for her as a friend. Unfortunately for Will, we fade to the window to see the current girlfriend watching the boyfriend share grapes with the ex. Holly is unamused.
Cut to Fuinn surprising the love of their lives at her locker. Seems the Brainiacs appointed them "benefit heads" for the Night of Neglect, they in turn ask Rachel to be "talent relations". Rachel, after calling them our for "flaunting" their dating in her face, is asked to reign in the one ND member who might have an ego bigger then Rachel's. Yes, seems Zizes, apparently for shiggles, got into Mercedes' head and made her go full tilt diva as we cut to her demanding what amounts to your basic rider. Fuinn stand shellshocked. Cut back to Rachel who does not sympathize, saying stars make demands the way babies make use of Huggies. She says that Mercedes' talent is neglected and since she can apparently relate, she'll try and reign her in. As we cut, Finn smiles while Quinn looks less than pleased at her boyfriend smiling at her woman. We cut to Holly making history fun, giving a lecture on Wallis Warfield Simpson. This will become important later. Goolsby arrives and, after revealing he never gave Sunshine the okay to perform at the Night of Neglect, and offers himself to Holly. She declines, since she has a boyfriend for the moment. Said boyfriend arrives and, seeing both an enemy on his turf and said enemy putting the moves on who for the moment is still his woman, taps into the rare anger and threatens pummeling. Goolsby departs, after which Holly reveals she saw Wemma sharing grapes. Knowing how this ends, she leaves to clear her head, leaving Will flummoxed over a woman yet again.
And now, Mood Whiplash as we cut to Rachel somehow fulfilling all of Mercedes' demands, though minus the puppy. However, Sunshine will go last in the concert as she'll be the one bringing in the funds. Mercedes, through Zizes, agrees with the condition that she be carried in. Yes. After the break, we see Kurt in his old stomping grounds, showing Blaine around the school he'll join next season. Unfortunately, Kurt's mere presence triggers Karofsky to appear; however the calvary arrives in the form of one Ms. Lopez. And since one bad turn deserves another, she gets a message that sends her to the choir room to reveal to the surprise of only those who never worked for RIB that Sunshine bailed out. With only 6 in the auditorium (Klaine and the Heckling Club), ND plan to follow, only for Finnegan to deliver the line that will be immortalized on his memorial plaque:
"The show's gotta go all over the place or something."
After Santana and Brad share a look, we see that Rachel agrees of course, saying 6 or 6000 doesn't matter but what does is that they give it their all. We start with Tina; unfortunately, the Heckling Club strike and in what will turn out to be a slight Running Gag for her, Musicalus Interruptus occurs as she flees offstage. Cut to backstage where she has an understandable breakdown while Will tries to rally by saying that heckling is a part of showbiz. For the moment he does have a way to shut Sue's club up; we cut to Quinn handing out the saltwater (while asking for Prom Queen votes of course, sigh) while Mike shows off the moves. Afterwards, it's Mercedes' turn; however, again surprising no one, per Zizes, Mercedes has left the building. ND begin the search while Holly holds off the haters.
We return from break to see Holly gathered around the Heckling Club in the library where she praises them. Seems they practice on online chat rooms. Holly plays sympathy, saying they're bombarded with images of people better than them and that they tear people down to feel better. She says that despite evidence to the contrary, people do get hurt and that the hecklers could do better if they turned insults into positives. Of course, this all falls on deaf ears. Cut to the rainy parking lot where Rachel finds Mercedes; when told off, she goes into the story of Aretha, singing at a state fair, being handed a tiara and being called the "Queen of Soul". Moral of course is it's the vocals that make you, not the demands. Mercedes turns it around with an Armor-Piercing Question: Why is Rachel the bigger star? She gets solos, the moments, everything. Why not Mercedes? Rachel, after calling her a vocally Worthy Opponent, quotes her own drive to succeed, admitting that she'd rather be a star than be liked, implying what we are well aware of, that it's one of the reasons she alienates people. She dares Mercedes to be better than her and take the spotlight from her. Cut back to the auditorium where Will arrives as Sue recalls Sandy. Holly takes the stage to an audience of one; her performance serving as her telling Will she won't be second to Emma. Will simply sits vocally chastised as we break.
We return to see Sue lecturing Sandy for failing, sending him back to the auditorium. Back in the choir room, Rachel says Mercedes' not coming, of course she is, while Quinn tries to appeal to Zizes. And like clockwork, said diva arrives, and we cut to the auditorium where Amber kills as always. Afterwards, we cut backstage, where she tells Rachel to bring the house down. However, in what is a rare moment, Rachel is humbled enough by her performance that she declares the house already brought down. This will become Hilarious in Hindsight come Season 3.
We start the home stretch with Will and Holly. Holly reveals that she got a sub job in Cleveland, and since it's more clear than ever that Will's still got a thing for Emma, plus her own phobia of commitment, Holly lets him go, tearfully departing as Will stands morose; we won't see her again until Episode 100. He returns to the choir room, where surprisingly, Sandy appears. It seems that watching Mercedes perform, plus a little of his own product, invoked a Hazy Feel Turn and is using his own funds to send Brainiacs' to Detroit. And as this is Sandy's last appearance, it can only be presumed he finally got popped by the cops and is in an Ohio hoosegow. Cut to Sue lecturing her minions, turning to Terri for her only hope. We'll see Terri's plan soon as we end with a Chekhov's Gun firing a Brick Joke: a cut to the academic finals where the teams are in a tiebreaker. The final subject... Hermaphrodite Nazi Sympathizers (i.e., Wallis Warfield Simpson). Artie and Brittany beam at each other, then the camera, and we're out.
Next Time: An extended episode sees a triumphant return, we reveal the backstory of one of Glee's most emotionally fractured characters, and the song voted by gleeks as the best Glee ever did. All that gaga, plus Gaga.
Songs performed in this episode:
- "All By Myself" by Eric Carmen, performed by Sunshine
- "I Follow Rivers" by Lykke Li, performed by Tina
- "Bubble Toes" by Jack Johnson, danced by Mike
- "Turning Tables" by Adele, performed by Holly
- "Ain't No Way" by Aretha Franklin, performed by Mercedes