Welcome to a tribute episode showcasing songs in the key of life.
We start the wonderful proceedings with Rachel telling Will about her Funny Girl call back and how doing the Bootstrapped Theme gave her the power to perform. Will is naturally proud, saying regardless of outcome, she's achieved a dream. Rachel says it's a wonderful thing, and that when she accepts her Tony and forgets to thank him, well... guess what happens in the Grand Finale? As they hang up, Will decides that since this was "wonderful" news, they should do a Stevie Wonder tribute for some reason. Emma, to no ones surprise, has also accepted his re-proposal, while Tina, again, showing off her lack of purpose, says she's on a wait-list for a veterinarian school because yes. Will name drops the major hits of the Wonder catalog as we hit the Title Card.
We see Artie rolling down the halls as Kitty catches up. She, because Becca Tobin has done the Agron well and made her bitchy blonde cheerleader human (god save her soul), wants to know why Artie is so sad. Well, she's not all the way "human", as she uses Foreshadowing to get Artie to admit that he got into Brooklyn Film Academy - which is wonderful news! Except, he can't go because he thinks his mom won't let him into the big, dangerous world. Cut to Bushwick, where Kurt V/O's about his dad's cancer treatment results (remember that?), heading home for support. Cut to him in his old stomping grounds, complete with according Chang and Jones, seems Will has flown them in to help the glee club with their singing and dancing! From there, it's over to Kitty for a number "Signed, Sealed, and Delivered", an amazing routine that needs no improvement. Hell, Artie nearly gets a faceful of Kitty's kitty. Afterwards, she immediately reveals that Artie's not taking an amazing college offer. Mercedes isn't a fan of Kitty's performance and this of course leads the Snark Knight to go after her, followed by Mike reiterating he's there for choreography.
No. Murphy hates you. She then snipes at Kurt, who of course says he's there for his dad and Tina is suitably humbled. Tina, you're an idiot. As ND disperses, we see Artie not too happy Kitty blabbed. Kitty gets encouraging, saying yes it's scary, but Artie would kill it. Cut to the Lima Bean, where Blaine is thrilled about marriage equality in New York. He thinks that's exciting, just wait. Anyway, after Blaine flirts because we know Klaine was getting back together and this is the beginning of that excitment, we find out Mercedes has an album called Catchphrase. She and Mike discuss videos while Klaine flirt and could it BE more obvious. Face Palm. Mercedes mentions the wedding hookup and Mike tries to mention the "vapo-rape" before Kurt snaps, ostensibly over Papa Burt, but clearly also over the reminder that he's not with the man he still loves despite everything. They lock eyes as we cut to NYADA where Rachel runs into the sycophants from earlier in the season, who serve two purposes, one being to rattle her by telling her her call back is at the same time as her dance midterm, the other being to blab about said call back to Cassandra July, in what is sadly Kate Hudson's last episode. And now Rachel not only needs to get Cassie to sign her out but also to reschedule her exam! The blonde with the hots for her (and that would explain everything) is in control of her dreams! Seriously, we're pretty sure that everything's going to work out somehow because Glee I mean Rachel lives outside reality.
After the break, we're in the auditorium, where Mercedes wants to glee kids to start working more outside their comfort zone and up the effort - singling out Marley because she's more perfect than Rachel. We admit, she sorta is. She's scared to do anything, even vocal runs. Of course, one could also be scared of a "Superstition", so Mercedes cues it up, and once again Melissa Benoist shines with the super pipes. Afterwards, we see Mikecedes corner Jake; seems Mike noticed Jake's kick-ass dance moves and conspired with Mercedes to get Puck II in her new music video. This is never mentioned again because Murphy. Cut to Kurt, who is with his family (minus one of course) awaiting Burt's results and no surprise, he's in remission.
After the break, it's back to the choir room for celebration and song, namely "You Are The Sunshine of My Life". This makes very little sense. Afterwards, it's to the NYADA dance studio where Rachel is rehearsing the script for Funny Girl when Cassie walks in. After a very cruel fake involving Barbra herself, she tells Rachel that she's moving the dance midterm to the next morning. She's also going to be taking time out to watch Rachel audition, claiming she wants to see her choke. We're not making it up, this is actually canon. With all Cassie's comparisons with Quinn, you can't help but wonder if all their excuses were the same. (Yes, yes they were.) She also gives her a really hard and hot ballet routine, that will be sure to get her all sweaty before her call back. Back to the choir room for Jake's turn at bat, and "I Wish" we'd see more of Artist and Shum, as they move well together. Afterwards, we're in the auditorium with Kurt and Mike as Mercedes vents; seems that while there's no problem with the vocals, the label wants her to bare shoulders for the cover, otherwise the release is suspended. Shoulders. Refer back to Naked and leave us alone. This exact same plot ran a few episodes ago, seriously. (Off screen she has a crisis over whether to show skin, but decides not to, then returns to broadcasting to tell the glee club and then proceed to sing about it.) Cut to Casa de Abrams, where Mama Abrams (Katey Sagal is that you?) and one Ms. Wilde are talking about his college place. Turns out that Nancy didn't even know he'd applied anywhere. Kitty gives him the bitch-glare she made Quinn teach her at Thanksgiving and he admits that he's scared about leaving Lima and leaving his mom alone after all the sacrifices she's made for him and her hard work. She basically tells him to fuck off to New York, follow his dreams, and isn't that Kitty girl so nice like Quinn was. Artie's mom should've wrote Glee, and appeared in more than one episode. Cut to Rachel, at NYADA early, ready for torture, but finds Cassie and all of her classmates there throwing her a party. She thought these people hated her! Nope, "at NYADA we're family" (and family means no one gets left behind) so they're having a party-boot camp to help prepare Rachel to own her audition, Kate Hudson flexing vocals on "Uptight (Everything's Alright)". Remember earlier in the season how happy Cassie was when a former TA got a major role? Same thing here, cruelty begets toughness. Cut to Mercedes telling ND that the business can be cruel, but it's better to stick to your own guns, such as losing a record deal and selling CD's out of your car Things might not happen at all, but if they do, it'll be on "Higher Ground". Afterwards, we cut to Blaine on stage... with a box ARE YOU KIDDING ME. SERIOUSLY. Papa Burt arrives and Blaine gives him the box... which has a rainbow lapel pin, which Burt proudly wears. Oh thank god, thought that was an engagement ring WHY DID I SAY THAT WHY WHY WHY WHY! Yes, despite NOT actually being with him, Blaine wants to propose to Kurt. Burt says "er, fuck no, do you know how hard it was to unlatch Finn from Rachel's ass!?". Paraphrased, but he speaks for us all WHY BLAINE WHY. Seriously, that is just splitting the Finchel wedding plot in half and giving it to characters who don't deserve this shit. Ahem.
After the break, we start the home stretch with ND reciting the lessons taught in regards to winning Regionals. Artie, motivated after his mom gave the okay for him to move to NY, invites the glee kids to do a song in celebration of him finally hopping on the bandwagon of follow your dreams. Back to NYADA, where we see Rachel have one more conversation with Cassie; since Cassie is Quinn+age she knows she's got to spill her feelings for Rachel before she gets too old and someone younger beats her to it. You're missing your chance, Lucy! Rachel has somehow acquired Debbie Allen's original cane from the film version of Fame, where she played the dance teacher. Cassie is so flustered she blushes and just says that the big moment she staged for Rachel was NYADA tradition (ok, yeah, it probably is) for students getting Broadway callbacks and totally not because she loves her; Rachel wants to thank her for all the effort she put in to pushing Rachel to breaking point all year, because she'd never be ready to take on any sort of role yet if it wasn't for her. This was Cassie's plan all along, duh, because she saw potential, aspiration, and fucking impatience in Rachel on the first day: she needed to prepare her little Schwimmer not only to be wonderful right away but also for all the horrible people she'll have trying to bring her down in show business. Next season will show Rachel remembering and forgetting these lessons simultaneously. They make good over the Brody thing. Even though no, Cassie wasn't helping Santana in trying to get Rachel to give up on horseface, she just thought he looked hot, all Rachel has to say is that Cassie is hotter than Brody. Cut to Blaine finding Kurt and THANK GOD he chickens out and instead asks him to be at Regionals. Then they all go to perform with Artie, in another stupidly lavish empty performance and "For Once In My Life" I'm starting to lose willpower. Don't worry, I'll persevere. We will end with this thought: looking at the episode, it's clear that Dianna has obviously put an old curse on the cast so that even her Quinn expies don't stay bitchy for too long.
Next Time: The Season 4 finale, Regionals 2013, the reveal of "Katie", and the final flight of the majestic Rainbow Bicorn.
Songs (All by Stevie Wonder)
- Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours! performed by Kitty with New Directions
- Superstition performed by Mercedes, Marley, and Blaine, with Kurt, Mike, and New Directions
- You Are The Sunshine of My Life performed by Kurt with Kitty, Marley, and Tina
- I Wish performed by Jake with Marley and Mike
- Uptight (Everything's Alright) performed by Cassie with NYADA students
- Higher Ground performed by Mercedes
- For Once In My Life performed by Artie with New Directions
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Cassie, taking over from Quinn in the "what are her motives because these writers are bad" department.
- Ambiguously Bi: Rachel, proving that her soulmate is not the only one whose eyes have been opened in college:Rachel: But what about the whole Brody thing?Cassie: That was because of his abs.Rachel: But yours are so much better
- Blatant Lies: Cassie claims that she found out about Rachel's call back from Barbra Streisand in a Target.
- Call-Back : Mercedes' album is Hell to the No ; named for the song she wrote in Season 2.
- Department of Redundancy Department: One of Rachel's NYADA groupies refers to Meryl Streep as a "legendary legend".
- Fridge Brilliance: Learning how Cassie never hated Rachel, fans thought up lots of different reasons why she gave her the supposedly-demeaning "schwimmer" nickname:
- As an Affectionate Nickname - she's not mocking Rachel's looks, but just applying it to her and/or thinks it's cute.
- To make her fight harder for what she wants. Yes, it's mean, but it's part of a plan.
- Because in Friends, Schwimmer's character turned his hobby into a very successful career and she wants Rachel to do the same.
- Also in Friends, the character Rachel gets together with Schwimmer's character, so her surname would be this. Yes it's a boring theory.
- A play or corruption of "swimmer", from the tadpole nickname for promising new students.
- "Not Important to This Episode" Camp: Sue, Beiste, Sugar, Brittany.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Heather Morris is missing because she's super pregnant and can't work as much; Naya Rivera apparently enraged Lea Michele/the producers so much they cleared her trailer.
- Reality Subtext: Lea Michele (Rachel) and Kate Hudson (Cassie) absolutely adore each other, which seeps into their later friendly scenes together, making these affectionate.
- The Cameo: Harry Shum Jr as Mike Chang & Amber Riley as Mercedes Jones.
- Title Drop: "I'm trying to be wonderful... sometimes I'm sweet, sometimes I'm sour. Keeps it interesting." - Kitty. And by "it", she means Glee.