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:
* 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.
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* 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!