Glee Recap: S03E15: Big Brother

The Matter of Quinn

The suspense of a long break is quickly relieved when it is revealed that Rachel and Finn never went through with the wedding. Quinn’s fate is dealt with just as quickly when she approaches Finn and Rachel in her new wheelchair, Artie at her side. It seems that she survived the crash, but her texting while driving was not without consequences (pay attention kids!). Even though she can no longer walk, Quinn is looking on the bright side of things, claiming that this is the happiest day of her life because she is alive. Cue one of Glee’s ironic songs, as both wheelchair-bound youths join their voices together on Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing.” While most of the Glee club seems to enjoy the performance, many of them still seem to not know how to deal with the situation. Some awkwardness is cleared when Quinn puts some rumors to rest. Her spine was compressed in the accident. Yes, she still has use of her “plumbing.” And with a lot of physical therapy, there is still hope that she will walk again.

How would you vote to spend senior ditch day?

  • A Gershwin-Sondheim scavenger hunt
  • A Footloose movie marathon
  • A non-alcoholic pub crawl
  • Watching something give birth
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Artie helps Quinn adjust.
Artie helps Quinn adjust.

Though many plans had to be put on hold because of the accident, the world continued to move on. The end of the year is fast approaching, which means that the Gleeks have a few traditions awaiting them, like senior ditch day. The Glee seniors gather to determine how they will spend their time on the auspicious day. Many good suggestions are offered (pick your favorite to the right), but Rachel interrupts the festivities and lets everything she has been felling come tumbling out. She blames herself for Quinn’s condition, since the accident happened on the way to her wedding, and she cannot let it go, saying that she cannot go on ignoring what has happened and pretending that everything is okay. Quinn cuts off Rachel’s apology: “My accident, which you did not cause, by the way, does not define me or ruin our senior year. I meant what I said in the choir room. I’m not going to dwell on this and neither should any of you.” The two hug it out, quickly changing the maudlin tone. Things get even happier when Quinn suggests the perfect ditch day location: Six Flags. How she expects to enjoy a day at an amusement park in a wheelchair, I do not know. To be determined.

Some time later, we see Quinn and Artie bonding over their shared wheelchairness. Artie has taken the role of her mentor, egging her on up the steepest ramp in the school. “It’s just like having a baby, c’mon!” he insists as she struggles, then joins in her celebration when she finally makes it to the top. It is Artie who brings up the problems that Quinn might face during senior ditch day at an amusement park. It might be possible, but it is not fun for someone who is not used to navigating in crowds. Instead, Artie proposes a different ditch day, but she will have to trust him, because he will not tell her where they are going.

As the rest of the glee club (including the younger ones, who have joined in the skipping fun) shriek with delight on Six Flags’ roller coasters, Artie and Quinn arrive at their destination: a skate park where every kid doing tricks has some kind of disability. Quinn hesitates to take the leap, but after some urging by Artie, she finally manages to ride down one of the slopes. Triumph! But after a fun and challenging day like this, Quinn’s true feelings finally come out. Artie wanted to show Quinn how much was possible in spite of her disability, but Quinn does not think she has anything in common with the people there. Her disability is temporary. She will be walking by graduation. She will heal. Artie questions her denial, saying, “And what if you don’t? When are you going to stop pretending that this really isn’t happening to you?” Quinn continues to ignore the truth and angrily rolls away from someone who was starting to become a good friend.

Artie is not the only one who believes that Quinn might not be able to walk again. She meets Joe in the hallway at school, where she is failing to reach the books in her upper locker, which she refuses to give up. Joe mentions that he prays for her. She misunderstands, thinking he prays for her to walk again. “I don’t pray for you to walk,” he explains, “I ask God to help you accept whatever your journey may be.” Quinn lashes out once again, but for some reason she will forgive Joe when she would not forgive Artie. Perhaps the message just needed some time to sink in. Either way, Quinn invites the inspirational Joe to join Glee club. That didn’t take very long…

Puck tries to entice Finn into the pool cleaning business.
Puck tries to entice Finn into the pool cleaning business.
Rachel reacts to Finn's sudden change of heart.
Rachel reacts to Finn's sudden change of heart.

Puck’s Master Plan

While Quinn is desperately trying to forget what the future might hold for her, Puck is trying to plan his out, and he believes that Finn may be able to help him. Following in the footsteps of “the Apple guy,” “the Facebook guy,” and “A-bro-ham Lincoln,” Puck wants to break out with a big idea. He wants to take his pool cleaning business up a notch by moving it to Southern California. And he wants Finn to come with him. Finn protests that he is going to New York with Rachel, but Puck has thought of everything. Puck claims that Rachel would be fine in LA, where she would still be able to act, even if it were not on Broadway. The squeaky wheels in Finn’s head start to turn.

When Rachel inevitably talks about her upcoming NYADA audition, Finn decides it is time to ask questions about his own future. Would Rachel consider LA? Rachel is still hell bent on New York because she is not the Hollywood type. Suddenly Finn decides to voice that their future plans have been a bit one-sided. This is true. But it is also true that he has had no future plans to plan around. Really, all of this should have come up much sooner. While his complaints may be valid at some point in time, this is too late in the game for him to throw a wrench in Rachel’s dreams. He needs to figure out what he wants and fast! Will this ruin their plans for matrimony as well?

Sue prepares for some bad news about her pregnancy.
Sue prepares for some bad news about her pregnancy.
Sue's relationship with Becky has always been a special one.
Sue's relationship with Becky has always been a special one.

Sue’s Future

The glee kids are planning for the future, but Sue is very much focused on the now that is her miraculous pregnancy. This threatens her position at the school, however, when she arrives late to a Cheerios competition due to a doctor’s appointment. This leads Figgins to appoint Coach Roz as her co-coach. Someone needs to be focused in order to give the school another National title and the prize money that comes with it. Sue decides to make good on her promise to Will to help the Glee Club win their national competition. She strikes a deal with Figgins; if she brings home that National title, she can win back her control of the Cheerios. Sue gets to work right away and takes over Booty Camp, drilling the kids as hard as she ever did her Cheerios (complete with snarky comments).

Of course this change in plans does not mean that the baby is not still a priority. The all important sonogram appointment is upcoming, and Sue plans to go it alone. Luckily, Will and Emma decide to come with for moral support. When her OBGYN reveals that Sue is having a baby girl, the room rejoices, but the celebration is cut short with the news that the amniocentesis came back with irregularities. Glee does not put into words what this means for the baby, but Sue does tell Becky that she is having a little girl just like her. The possibility a child has birth defects increases with the age of the mother, so it is certainly not out of the question that Sue’s child would be born with Downs syndrome.

This news prompts another change of heart. Sue enters the next booty camp and explains her harsh words. She believes in the kids and wants to push them to help them win. And she wants to learn from them for her baby’s sake. “I am hoping that the miraculous life growing inside of me can soak up some of your constantly annoying yet admittedly laudable optimism and decency,” she states in her sarcastic way. Perhaps she will learn the patience Becky suggests she needs after all.

Meet the devilishly handsome Cooper Anderson.
Meet the devilishly handsome Cooper Anderson.
Blaine confronts Cooper during his Master Class.
Blaine confronts Cooper during his Master Class.

Cooper Anderson's Masterclass Guide to Acting

  1. “Don’t go to college”
  2. “Don’t go to New York, theatre is lame and Broadway is dead”
  3. Turn into a pose
  4. Comedic or dramatic? Feel free to ask these tough questions
  5. Key to a dramatic scene: pointing
  6. “The secret to great acting… great acting? Ignoring whatever the other actor is doing”
  7. Plan your acting ahead of time.

Gratuitous shower scene!
Gratuitous shower scene!
Blaine is tired of standing in his brother's shadow.
Blaine is tired of standing in his brother's shadow.
Blaine and Cooper sing and hug it out.
Blaine and Cooper sing and hug it out.

Brotherly Love

And now we get to the main issue at hand: whose big brother will be the focus of this episode? We receive that answer when Blaine tells Kurt that his brother is in town and taking him to lunch. Did we know Blaine had a brother? Not until now. Blaine has been rather quiet about his brother even to Kurt, who is excited to meet the mysterious man. But Kurt knows more than he could imagine; Blaine’s brother is local celebrity Cooper Anderson, the star of the popular free credit rating commercials. Kurt starts to freak out and quickly expresses his admiration, proclaiming, “Blaine, your brother’s the best looking man in North America.”

Kurt is not the only fan in Lima. Even Sue falls at Cooper’s feet, asking that Cooper sign her breast and commenting that “if Alan Menken isn’t personally writing you a fairytale musical at this very moment, I will hunt him down and beat him senseless with a cudgel. Because you, sir, are a Disney prince.” She even negotiates to bring Cooper to the choir room to spread his extensive knowledge around.

Everyone quickly falls under Cooper’s spell. Even Rachel is blinded by his sparkly fame and dashing good looks. At Rachel’s insistence, the Anderson brothers break into a Duran Duran mash-up complete with choreography. Too much hotness and awesomeness should never be contained. They even both utilize furniture in non-standard ways. How cute!

I could see no problems with the performance, but Cooper has a more discerning eye. “You were a little pitchy on Rio and your moves lacked a theme, though,” he comments to Blaine during dinner, “You have to give into it. Stanislavski says the fingers are the eyes of the body, but he never mentioned that the toes are the ears.” Blaine points out that Cooper only ever criticizes him. Cooper just wants to get to know Blaine better.

It all comes out during Cooper’s Master Class, where the criticism keeps coming. Blaine breaks down and asks Cooper why he won’t support him, but Cooper responds in his current character, pompous acting coach: “I’m sorry. Are you talking to me right now? Because I can’t tell it you’re talking to me if you aren’t pointing your finger.”

Even this display of emotion does not clue Cooper into Blaine’s state of mind. Blindly, Cooper brags about the audition he has lined up with Transformers’ director Michael Bay. Blaine cannot take the egoism any more and refuses to run lines with him. He busts out into song to express his frustration, and to give him a good reason to box and then step into the shower. Thank you writers!

The breach between the brothers seems ever larger, but Kurt steps in and encourages Blaine to talk with Cooper. Giving that they have tried talking and failed, Kurt suggests singing instead. Gotye’s hit “Somebody That I Used to Know” provides the perfect vehicle for expressing all of their hurt. Following the song, an understanding is reached. Cooper admits to driving Blaine hard because of his talent, and for the first time, he shows how much he values his brother. “We’re not just brothers, right? We’re friends too,” he offers hopefully. Blaine accepts with a hug and extends a peace offering when he decides to help Cooper win back his lost Michael Bay audition.

Grading the Songs

What happens when you add Broadway actor Matt Bomer to an already extraordinary cast? Believe it or not, it gets better. If you enjoyed seeing him on screen, check out the awesome television series Chuck and White Collar. If you were a fan of his singing, check out some of the songs below.

I'm Still Standing - A

I have often lamented Dianna Agron songs, wishing that they had given them to almost any other cast member. Either this song is perfect for her, or the magnificent Kevin McHale rights all wrongs. Together they sound amazing on this Elton John classic, which is truly ironic (remember “You’re Rocking the Boat”?) and uplifting. I could listen to this song all day, which is true of only one other Quinn Fabray song (“Papa Don’t Preach,” season one).

Hungry Like the Wolf / Rio - A-

Another mash-up that just threw me for a loop. The transitions sounded forced, and the song overproduced. But then I listened again. And again. And then I saw the Anderson brothers try to outdo each other in the choir room. They even had prepared choreography! This team is a match made in heaven. I cannot wait to see them try to one-up each other again.

Fighter - B+

Do I grade up or down for the gratuitous boxing and shower scenes that Glee throws in to appease the Darren-loving fans? I admit to rewinding key parts of this performance a few times. The vocal on this Christina Aguilera anthem are good, and the performance amidst screens with Cooper’s commercial is smart, but the song is not incredibly special when compared to the original. Sorry, Darren!

Up, Up, Up - B

Again, another Dianna and Kevin duet. Again, better than I would expect. This song is not as magnificent as the first, or as meaningful. The montage that accompanies it is cute, featuring scenes of Six Flags and skate park skip days. Well sung and cute does not stake up, especially when it is plot irrelevant and does not compare to the earlier duet.

Somebody That I Used to Know - A

Glee covers the most popular song of the moment, but puts a spin on it by turning a song about an ended romantic relationship into a song about a struggling brotherly one. I love how Darren Criss and Matt Bomer tackle this one. In some ways, it is not like the original. The voices sound more natural (although still overproduced as Glee likes it these days). I would love to see these two sing together again and again. More Anderson brothers please!

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