Glee Recap: Shake, Rattle and Roleplay

In the wake of Glee‘s brutal “Break Up” episode, it’s no surprise that the show’s return from a baseball-induced hiatus proved to be a lighter, low-stakes affair. I mean, it’s not like anybody was going to end up dissolving into a puddle of tears and Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate-Chip Cookie Dough just from finding out which of the McKinley High kids would score the choice roles of Sandy and Danny in the school production of Grease.

In a nutshell, here’s what went down on the first Season 4 episode to completely ignore Rachel and Kurt’s NYC storyline:

RELATED | Exclusive Glee Photo: Blake Jenner and Melissa Benoist as Grease’s Danny and Sandy

* Artie enlisted his creatively adrift pal Finn to help co-direct the school production of Grease, but Coach Sue blew a gasket at the idea of casting transgender teen Unique as Rizzo. The writers tried to paint Sue as less of a bigot and more as a woman concerned that a vulnerable kid might be put in danger on the altar of open-mindedness, but she used a lot of ugly rhetoric to get to her point.

* Speaking of ugly rhetoric, Finn accidentally used the word “retarded” to describe Sue’s baby. Even as a slip of the tongue, the gaffe seemed wildly out of character.

* Marley, Kitty, Jake and new recruit Ryder Lynn (The Glee Project champ Blake Jenner) went out for the Sandy and Danny roles, with Marley and Ryder triumphing after an intense callbacks rendition of “Born to Hand Jive.” Okay, maybe not intense, but energetic?

* Tina freaked out when Mike Chang returned to McKinley (along with Mercedes) to assist Finn and Artie with the school play, while Blaine continued to reel from his split with Kurt.

* And after some counseling from Beiste (welcome back!) Emma admitted to Schue that she really didn’t want to go with him to D.C. — wanting to feel close to her fiance from a long distance rather than feel distant from him right by his side. Well played, Red! Schue is still headed to the nation’s capital to fight for arts education, though, and thus got permission from Figgins to offer the job of New Directions advisor to his favorite teenage BFF Finn. (Okay, so that’s not realistic, but it chugs the plot along, so I’m not gonna kvetch.)

And with that, let’s get to the week’s best zingers:

“Olivia Newton-John is strapped to my chest, and unless you co-direct the musical with me, I’m gonna blow her up.” –Artie, coercing Finn to work with him

“I’ve never seen Blaine so Masterpiece Theatre.” –Artie, responding to Blaine’s post-audition meltdown

“Oh, it was good. Bane was a little hard to understand, but so evil.” –Ryder’s teacher, responding to his statement that he’d been studying so hard, he hadn’t had time to see The Dark Knight Rises

“It felt awesome — like a really good poo.” –Finn, describing how he felt the first time he let himself sing

Sue calling Schue a “strange, weepy manchild who has lotion in his hair but no adult friends.”

And finally, it’s time to grade this week’s musical performances:

Blaine, “Hopelessly Devoted to You”: C+ (it was a little Masterpiece Theater for me, and also a bit peculiar to have Mr. Anderson tackling this particular ballad when he’s the one who cheated)

Marley and Unique, “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”: B+ (not convinced Alex Newell can act, but dang those high notes were good!)

Finn and Ryder, “Jukebox Hero”: B

Kitty and Jake, “Everybody Talks”: B

Mercedes, Kitty, Jake, Marley and Ryder, “Born to Hand Jive”: B-

What was your favorite musical number from “The Role You Were Born to Play”? How did you feel about this week’s main story arcs? Did Sue’s behavior or Finn’s slip-up seem out of character to you? Take our poll below, then hit the comments with your thoughts!

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  1. Anna says:

    I was honestly expecting Finn and Mr. Schue to kiss at the end of that last scene. At this point, no storyline on this show can shock me anymore.

  2. Caro says:

    I didn’t love this ep. The guy who plays Unique can sing but he cannot act and he seems to be a very poor replacement for Kurt. I like the chemistry between Marley and Ryder but the new kids still leave me pretty cold. Finn is always so hesitant when he is saying anything unpleasant so the idea of him calling Sue’s baby retarded is ludicrous. I know Glee did it because they needed a reason for Sue to be angry with Finn because they don’t know what to do with Sue unless she’s angry but as a plotline this doesn’t work. Any ep without Rachel is a bad ep as far as I’m concerned; where were she and Kurt? It was great to see Mercedes and Mike but why didn’t we hear anything about their lives? How is Mercedes liking LA? Singing backup when she was so against doing it at McKinley? She’s supposed to be in night school – is she missing classes to fly back for the musical? And what about Mike? Isn’t he dancing with a professional company? He would have to take class every day and I’m sure he is taking some night or online classes too. Why did he and Tina breakup? I love seeing the original kids but I feel like Glee is giving us token glances to try and get people to watch the newbies nobody cares about which is insulting and offensive! Can we fire Ryan Murphy and hire someone who actually cares about what the fans want?

  3. Jason says:

    Why I am just shocked that the recapper didn’t like Blaine’s song. The day I will be surprised is when he actually has anything nice to say about Blaine.

    • Sui says:

      I didn’t like Blaine’s cover of that song either. IMO, he has a nice voice but not the best. Many of the songs he has sung have been really good, but this one is 1 of a few that missed the mark.

  4. Cate53 says:

    It’s the Finn Hudson show! Unfortunately he is my least favourite character and the idea of him as director and New Directions boss is just ridiculous. Not sure why everyone is up in arms over his use of the r word. Finn has always had a bad habit of saying stupid things – it’s totally in character and no worse that what he called Kurt or outing Santana.
    I just found this episode dull, dull, dull! Possibly emphasised by the long break and the excellence of The Break Up, but for me, Glee is Rachel and Kurt, I missed them!
    Blake from Glee Project has more confidence as an actor than I feared, and he was ok, but his duet with Finn was deathly boring! As was most of this episode for me..
    Anyone else pickup my favourite line – Sue hilariously calling Unique ‘Urethra Franklin’ LOL!!

  5. Lori says:

    What a blah episode. I wish they would just drop the newbies and move the show to NY.

  6. Chelle says:

    I just don’t see Unique as Rizzo. At all. Frenchy, maybe (which — what’s up with Glee ignoring Grease’s third female lead?) I can’t see Unique pulling off Rizzo’s mix of alpha dog bossiness and “worse things I could do” vulnerability. Kitty, on the other hand, seems perfect for Rizzo.

  7. Jessica says:

    Everything has a shelf life I think…and although I’d hate to admit it, I think glee is almost expired.