Glee (Hour 1) Recap: Being (Rachel) Is Believin' [Updated]

jenna ushkowitzI know even die-hard Gleeks sometimes accuse the show of being implausible and inconsistent and a whole bunch of other not-so-flattering words that begin with “i.” But after almost three full seasons of singing and dancing and angsting, there’s still some magic left in the tank of Fox’s high-school musical, and that point was driven home by hour one of this week’s two-episode extravaganza.

Indeed, “Props” turned out to be a two-Kleenex affair, thanks to terrific work by supporting players Dot Marie Jones (expect another Emmy guest-starring nod) and (more surprisingly) Mark Salling, plus a script that winkingly acknowledged fan complaints that Ryan Murphy & Co. all too often ignore some of Glee’s original players in favor of new and more-hyped flavors.

RELATED | Glee (Hour 2) Recap: The Prize Winners of Lima, Ohio 

In case you bonked your head in a shopping-mall fountain, here’s what you missed on Glee:

* Tina, frustrated by three years in the background of New Directions, threatening to quit before Nationals, suffering a head injury, and discovering (via body-swap dream sequence) that it’s a lot of hard work being the star. Yep, Ms. Cohen-Chang (not Asian No. 1, thanks very much) got a newfound appreciation for Rachel Berry after walking a mile in her saddles shoes.

* Rachel, with an assist from Tina, tracking down NYADA dean Carmen Thibodeaux, and imploring her to come watch her perform at Nationals as part of a second-chance audition. (Yeah, the Broadway vet brushed off the over-eager high-schooler, but Rachel’s speech about her life’s passion — and the fact that, c’mon, she can’t not go to college in the fall — makes me think the duo will meet again (and soon).

* Puck and Beiste unofficially teaming up to work through their issues: Besite comforting Puck over the idea that he wouldn’t be graduating, his spiraling life and his general lack of self-worth, realized she needed to leave abusive Cooter once and for all. The scene of Beiste holding a sobbing Puck, and her subsequent confrontation with her wretched spouse, were pretty remarkable. Where was the hashtag #BeisteIsTheNewSue?

* Oh, and Sue pushed Kurt to dress in drag to counteract Vocal Adrenaline’s transgender sensation Unique. But Mr. Schue finally put his foot down and demanded an end to Sue’s crazy ideas for props and gimmicks as the New Directions crew boarded the bus for nationals.

Anyhow, now that we’ve covered all the pertinent plot details, let’s review the best quotes from the episode:

“You already have the lady gait and the lady voice. You have to start smoking, though, because this dress is a Size 2.” –Sue, trying to convince Kurt to wear a flapper dress for Nationals

“I am your father.” –Sam, flipping up the top of his Flashdance welding mask

“Jennifer Beals is spinning in her grave.” –Sue, witnessing the Flashdance choreography gone awry

“Maybe basic sheet-metal work is just too much for your 12th-place choir.” –Sue, addressing Schue’s concerns that her welding-dancing vision might be dangerous and impossible

“Cooter was in 21 Jump Street?” –Brittany, hearing Mercedes say she saw Beiste at 21 Jump Street with Cooter

“I don’t even know if I’m welcome in Chicago after I body-slammed Refrigerator Perry in a bar fight.” –Beiste, making excuses for not chaperoning New Directions at Nationals

“Without a doubt, you’re the ugliest woman I’ve ever seen.” –Sue, witnessing Puck in drag

“You and me, we’re badasses. Nobody thinks anything hurts us, but it does.” –Beiste to Puck (Admit it, you cried after this one)

“It takes a lot of crystals to make something shine.” –Tina, explaining to Sugar why she shouldn’t resent being a supporting player

“William, I can taste your Axe body spray.” –Sue, not appreciating Will’s close proximity

And now, onto letter grades for the episode’s musical numbers!

Rachel, ‘I Won’t Give Up’ (sung to…herself!) Grade: B

Tina (as Rachel), ‘I’m Everything I Am Because You Loved Me’ Grade: A-

Beiste and Puck, ‘Mean’ Grade: A

Rachel and Tina, ‘Flashdance…What a Feeling’ Grade: A-

I’ll be back to update this post in the a.m. with more plot details, as well as a rundown of the week’s best lines, but until then, I turn things over to you.

What did you think of “Props”? Hit the comments with your thoughts!