Glee Recap: Hustlin' Bro

darren crissThings were heavier than a full-grown elephant with an anvil on its back at the end of Glee‘s last new episode back in February. Karofsky had attempted suicide (but thankfully survived). Quinn was involved in a horrific texting-while-driving accident. Rachel and Finn were on the precipice of a poorly thought-out trip down the aisle. And we had to endure another performance from New Directions — sans Blaine. (Gack!)

So you’ll forgive Ryan Murphy & Co. for lowering the emotional stakes in Glee‘s first episode back from a mid-winter hiatus (and, coincidentally the first step to a Season 3 finale/graduation for The Seniors). Quinn returned from her cliffhanger crash — paralyzed from the waist down but hanging onto hope that she’d walk again — and wheeled her way into an unexpected potential love triangle. Blaine dealt with some unresolved sibling issues. And seeds were planted for potentially game-changing story arcs for Finn and Rachel, as well as Sue. Plus, Kurt spent half the episode dressed like an extra for Madonna’s “Erotica” video. (O, wardrobe, where art thou?)

If you got distracted replaying Duran Duran videos on YouTube and missed parts of the episode, here’s how the central story arcs played out:

* Blaine, perhaps the only person on the planet who pairs sweater vests with cardigans and bowties, seemed a wee bit ambivalent about a visit from his big brother Cooper (the crazy charismatic Matt Bomer) — star of a legendary FreeCreditRatingToday.com/Savings ad that served as Kurt’s ringtone. But after popping by McKinley and autographing Sue’s breast, Cooper agreed to visit the New Directions rehearsal space where he fondly recalled sitting in “a sad drab room like this with dreams like yours.” (Anyone else howl when Sue introduced Cooper as “Porcelain’s famous brother,” while Blaine meekly tried to point out the famous sibling was his.) Things got dicier when Cooper agreed to give an acting masterclass to the glee-club kids, musing that “theater is lame and Broadway is dead,” instructing the kids on turning in toward the camera when posing for a head shot, and discussing techniques for taking ownership of a dramatic scene (i.e., pointing, screaming one’s lines, randomly eating a roast-beef sandwich). But after a dustup prompted by Blaine confronting his older sibling about continuously dissing his own merits as a performer, the boys hit the McKinley stage for a Gotye singoff and a subsequent meeting of the minds. Turns out Cooper was hard on Blaine because he saw his potential to do movies, concerts, and Broadway, and just wanted to take a little credit for his development once he got there. Oh, and don’t count out Cooper for a role in the as-yet-untitled Michael Bay film!

* Quinn returned to school, announced her medical diagnosis and instituted a “no tears” policy on what she dubbed the happiest day of her life. (Hey now, don’t quibble: She could’ve been one of those creepy memorial pages in the yearbook.) Still, being in a wheelchair led to a natural connection with Artie that may or may not be headed in a romantic direction. (I kinda hope it does: New, improved Quinn might go for a guy like Artie, yes?) After he pushed her to tackle  the steepest accessibility ramp in Lima — it’s just like having a baby, she cheekily observed — the duo decided to conspiratorially take a pass on spending senior skip day with their buddies and instead hit the skateboard park where they attempted daring new tricks on their own wheels. (I wish some of those extras with prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs had actually gotten a chance to, um, speak like real humans, not just like props for a kicky musical number.) Quinn, though, determined to walk by the time New Directions head to Nationals, wouldn’t entertain the idea that she’d be paralyzed forever. “I’m getting out of Lima, I’m going to Yale, I’m going to walk again,” she told Artie, who just wanted her to consider that a medical miracle might not be in the cards. What’s more, new guy on campus Joe (Glee Project’s dreadlocked Samuel Larsen) told Quinn he was praying for her to accept whatever fate comes her way. Is Quinn about to be torn between two potential lovers while planning her future on the east coast? Stay tuned!

* Sue, who showed up 15 minutes late for the Cheerios’ regional competiton due to a medical appointment, was enraged to find Principal Figgins had appointed obnoxious Roz Washington as co-cheerleading coach. And while I could live quite happily without ever hearing another joke from Roz about Sue’s aging ladyparts — “the doctor had to shine a light up your va-jay-jay to get all the bats to fly out” — the threat to Sue’s position got her to promise Figgins she’d help New Directions work out their choreography woes, and win the $10,000 prize that comes with a Nationals win. After using her hallmark techniques of cruelty and verbal abuse, though, Sue found herself softening when her doctor revealed “irregularities” in her amnio test, and Becky told her she should try to be a little more patient once she becomes a mom. Somehow, Coach Sylvester ended the episode praising New Directions’ “optimisim and decency.” See what having a second heartbeat inside your torso can do?

* Puck tried to convince Finn to move with him to Los Angeles — the land of  800,000 pools needing maintenance. And that chat got Finn wondering — and grilling Rachel — whether she’d ever considered how his dreams fit into her plan for NYADA and Broadway stardom. Fair enough, but last time they were on the subject, dude kind of made it seem like Rachel’s dreams were his only consideration for the future, no? That end-of-episode “are you in love with me or the idea of who you want me to be?” ultimatum seemed way harsh, but I guess that’s the way (overly serious teenage) love goes.

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

“My Droid!” –Mercedes, responding to Sue hurling her cellular device into the auditorium seats

“I have no idea who Porcelain is refering to: I’m assuming it’s gay and niche.” — Sue responding to Kurt’s complaint that she was meaner than Bravo TV’s Tabatha Takes Over

“If Alan Menken isn’t personally writing you a fairytale musical at this very second, I will hunt him down and beat him senseless with a cudgel, because you, sir, are a Disney prince.” –Sue, responding to the general dreaminess of Cooper Anderson

“It’s springtime. I would like to see something give birth.” –Brittany, brainstorming ideas for senior skip day

“It also wouldn’t kill you to let Kurt stop picking out all your clothes.” –Cooper, weighing in on Blaine’s often painful threads

“My nana watches that!” Puck, dishing/dissing Glee’s timeslot competitor NCIS

And now, let’s get on to the grades for this week’s musical numbers:

“I’m Still Standing,” Artie and Quinn
Cute harmonies and wheelchair-ography, though the song choice was a little bit of a groaner, no?
Grade: B

“Hungry Like the Wolf/Rio,” Blaine and Cooper
Too. Much. Auto-Tune. And peculiar choreography.
Grade: B

“Fighter,” Blaine
Xtina’s original is my No. 1 treadmill jam, so it’s hard for anything to compare. Still, Blaine at the punching bag and in the shower had to be a milestone moment/screengrab extravaganza for Darren Criss fans.
Grade: B-

“Up Up Up,” Quinn and Artie
I just kept worrying Quinn was going to lose control and get seriously hurt during this number. I know, I know, I’m a killjoy. But everything else felt secondary, y’now?
Grade: B-

“Somebody That I Used to Know,” Cooper and Blaine
I bought the sibling angst in the room, and Matt Bomer really is a charismatic fella, no?
Grade: A-

Now it’s your turn. Hit the comments with your thoughts about “Big Brother”  in general, and Matt Bomer specifically. And for all the Glee news, views, and interviews your heart desires, follow TVLine on Twitter @TVLineNews.

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