Glee Season 5 Episode 18 – TV Review
Yes, just 1 episode after the roaring success of her Broadway dream being realised, Rachel decides to throw everything she’s achieved into a garbage disposal.
For a slim chance of being on TV, which was her real dream all along.
Didn’t you fucking quit NYADA, your other apparent dream, to get on Broadway only 3 episodes ago?
TL;DR Rachel does her best to ruin her life because she’s an indecisive fool; Mercedes takes another huge shit all over a record deal; Blaine impresses a tastemaking socialite who can help him further his career; while Kurt is left in the shadows; Santana tries to bring some sense of sanity to things.
But she can only hold out so long against the relentless torrent of brainlessness from everyone else.
So the major plot this episode focuses on Rachel. It’s several weeks into Funny Girl’s run, and Rachel is finding the repetition of stage life to be, like, so boring or whatevs. A Fox executive offers her a chance for a TV pilot, which she jumps at. It requires her to lie to Sidney and shirk one night of Funny Girl, though. Which she obviously does. The audition is lousy, and she is unable to make it back to New York in time for the show, but Santana helpfully fills in for her. Rachel gets chewed out severely by Sidney, but the Fox executive, instead of dismissing her as rubbish thanks to her appalling audition, offers her a development deal. That’s some Hannah Horvath level of unearned fortune. Meanwhile, Mercedes is having trouble coming up with a lead single for her album. After a jam session with Santana, she decides it should be a duet. Her producer tells her to get someone famous, but Mercedes is like “Fuck you, man. I don’t need no record deal to follow my passion-uh. Praise the Lord. And by ‘the Lord,’ I mean my own ego” and insists Santana be the other half. Meanwhile, Shirley MacLaine rests her feet between seasons of Downton Abbey by taking an easy paycheck with a role as a wealthy socialite. She takes a shine to Blaine, but poo-poos Kurt.
I’m not sure if the shunning of Kurt balances out the deity-like praise of Blaine. I’m conflicted.
Out of the last 3 episodes, Mercedes has been the major problem with 2 of them. So I’ll swing over to someone else this episode (I’ll get to Mercedes, though. Don’t you worry about that).
What. The. Fuck. Rachel.
You quit NYADA, your dream, to be a Broadway star. Which was your bigger dream. I presume you should have had some expectation about the work schedule of a Broadway (remember, fucking Broadway) actor. But no. 3 weeks in and you’re ready to leap at the first shitty offer you get from a slimy TV network executive.
And even after Sidney justifiably rips you apart and promises to set your career on fire if you ever cross him again, you get all excited when the executive calls back with another offer.
Make a fucking decision. You’re not Elena Gilbert. Just choose and stick with it.
Why I hate this episode:
While getting a development deal would be pretty fantastic, Rachel would have to skip out on her contract with Funny Girl. Which would be really fucking rude. I only hope that because Glee is primarily set in New York now that we can expect Rachel to do the right thing and honour the contract she’s already signed. But expecting a Glee character to do the right thing is pretty risky, huh?
Mercedes is the other big (tee hee) offender of the episode. I thought we’d already done the whole “Mercedes fucks over her record company because she’s a haughty imbecile” thing. But no. We’re there again. I suppose when the outcome of her ruining her first record deal was to magically get a second, better record deal, she can’t be blamed for playing that game again. Hell, she’ll probably get a third, even better record deal this time.
Santana has a moment of clarity where she rejects Mercedes’ surprise offer of being on the duet. I thought it was because she understood how insane Mercedes was being. But we find out it’s because of Santana coming down with an uncharacteristic case of self-pity. Yuck.
And Mercedes does eventually get a contract for Santana to sign so she can ideed be on the single. It’s not confirmed exactly how much this will piss off her producer, but I imagine there will be consequences for choosing “my friend” over “actually Katy Perry” when you’re trying to sell records.
In another case of uncharacteristic Santana behaviour, she chooses not to leverage saving Rachel’s butt with the Funny Girl thing. Because Santana is learning to become a better friend. So who can we rely on now for unbridled bitchiness?
Really, Shirley MacLaine’s character? With all the decades of talent you’ve seen, Blaine is a shining star to you? Oh, honey. You need to get your hearing checked. And your eyes.
Mercedes originally recruits Santana to help make her album sound more “New York.” This evidently means singing in elevators, bathrooms, and basement carparks. Because those are things that exist only in New York and nowhere else in the world. Every time I go in a lift, use a toilet, or park my car, I pretty much can’t stop myself from singing Empire State Of Mind, either. Nicely done, gang.
Rachel sings a boring version of Avicii’s Wake Me Up when she’s moping about the stress of Broadway life. The only thing worse than Avicii is non-dance versions of Avicii.
Kurt and Blaine choose to sing a One Direction song to impress Shirley when she visits NYADA. And it’s not even one of the good ones.
Eric Roberts gets a nothing role as the random director of a charity event Shirley takes Blaine to. I know it’s only Eric Roberts, but still. Rude.
She and Blaine struggle to sing a duet to solicit donations at the event. Oh, Shirley, why?
The audition room has posters for a bunch of real-life Fox shows on its walls. Smooth cross-promotion, Fox.
Rachel blithely ignores all the executives signalling her to stop her audition. Not a great way to win people over, Rachel.
Blaine keeps Kurt’s exclusion from the showcase Shirley is putting on for Blaine a secret from Kurt. Rachel isn’t Elena Gilbert, and you’re not Bonnie Bennett, Blaine. Leave that rubbish in Mystic Falls, please.
Oh, and fucking Kurt gets to be the voice of reason when Rachel wants to risk Funny Girl to go to the TV audition. Holy hell.
But it’s not all bad:
Sidney’s rage at Rachel at the end of the episode came close to making all the bullshittery worth it. I pray that he is sincere in his promise to destroy her if she betrays him again.
Fox takes a dig at itself when the show Rachel’s auditioning for turns out to be a sci-fi romance mess of a production. It’s believable as a real Fox show.
Fox also takes a dig at ABC when one of the executives describes the show thusly: “With a strong Grey’s Anatomy element.” There is no crueller insult.
They make another one and earn the episode’s second best line when Blaine is feeling guilty that Kurt didn’t get invited by Shirley to attend the charity thing: “Maybe I should just stay home with you and watch Scandal.” It doesn’t get any more banal than staying in to watch Scandal with Kurt, does it?
Best line of the episode goes to Shirley, who seems to share my sentiments on Kurt (though, sadly, not on Blaine): “I know you’re not asking me this, but I am telling you: you should break off that engagement.” Go on, Blaine. Do what the nice meal ticket, I mean lady, says.
Rachel bombs her audition twofold: she sings a song, which they didn’t want; and then she struggles through the absurd script opposite a handsome-but-vacant lead actor. It made me happy to watch her squirm.
Santana got to be in Funny Girl and she didn’t have to eviscerate someone else’s dream to do it. Touché.
Oh, and Shirley looks like she’s having a good enough time. But she seriously better find her wig and go get back on Downton soon.