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Glee: 4.05 – “The Role You Were Born to Play”

It’s been about a month since the show aired its last episode. I almost forgot a lot of things that happened, but you can read through my previous recaps if you need to catch up. The biggest point of interest this week: the introduction of Glee Project winner Blake Jenner to the cast. He’s going to have 7 episodes to prove himself a capable performer. Let’s see what else the show has in store for us this week.

The episode starts as Finn is working at Burt’s tire shop. He’s unhappy, but Artie gives him an opportunity to co-direct the school musical with him. This was clearly apparent in the last episode when everyone thought Finn was a genius for suggesting Grease.

Finn is still unsure about doing it. He’s not very confident even after sitting through quite a few auditions. Artie said that he called a few people to give him support. Mike & Mercedes come strolling through the halls and greet him. They are going to help with the musical too. But what about college? What they hell have they been doing since graduation and why can they stop everything to devote a lot of time to this? (Side note: Honestly, I thought they were two of the people who didn’t graduate.)

Finn goes to the football field and has a talk with Coach Beiste. She talks to him about a player, Ryder Lynn (played by Glee Project winner Blake Jenner), that she finds a little bit lazy but can be great if he tries a little bit. He reminds her of Finn, so looks like a pet project for Finn.

Finn meets Ryder in a study hall period. Finn really wants Ryder to join Glee club and audition for Grease. (Also randomly, the teacher was played by Adina Porter. She is everywhere!) He gets a bad grade on a test and that’s the catalyst to push him to audition. Ryder meets Finn in the auditorium before the auditions. Finn is looking at different jukeboxes they want to use for the set. Ryder and Finn talk a little bit where Finn tries to convince him to join Glee. “It’s awesome, like a really good poop.” Then conveniently, Finn presses a button on one of the jukeboxes. It leads to a musical number where they perform “Juke Box Hero”. It’s a little awkward. It’s one of those surreal performances where there’s a full auditorium of screaming girls and sexy women dancing behind them. And apparently that’s a good enough audition for Finn.

[Note: I’m taking a brief detour from Finn to talk about the love square and Wade/Unique storylines. It’ll make sense before talking about the cast list for Grease.] Ryder talks with Marley in the hallway. They are flirting and are overseen by Jake & Becca. Becca tries to make Jake jealous by pointing out the flirting. I still don’t like that character. She’s a one-dimension bitch and we already have one of those in Sue Sylvester. Becca confronts Marley & Ryder and is a complete bitch again.

Becca & Jake sign up to audition for Grease as a way to hopefully keep Ryder & Marley from playing Danny & Sandy. They are shown auditioning together by singing “Everybody Talks”. It’s a fun performance. It’s just a simple performance of them performing on stage. It’s a nice break from the overproduced numbers we’ve seen so far.

Onto the third storyline involving the auditions. Wade/Unique wants to play Rizzo but can’t because he’s a guy. They won’t take the role seriously if she’s played by a guy in drag. He talks about it in the girls bathroom with Marley. They are interrupted by Sue Sylvester. Sue goes on a long rant about gender confusion and the liberal media. It was long-winded and led to the point that she doesn’t want Unique to play Rizzo. Marley stands up for him and that leads to a musical number, Pink’s “Blow Me (One Last Kiss)”. It turns into their audition. The song is an absolute mess and was forced as hell. Finn, Artie, Mercedes & Mike all loved it though. “That had more energy that every other audition combined”. Marley wants Sandy and Unique wants Rizzo. They are being considered.

After all of the people audition, they decide who they want to cast. Finn wants Unique as Rizzo and Mercedes wants Marley as Sandy. Artie has one of the best lines of the night from that. “A guy as Rizzo and a brunette as Sandy? Who’s directing this? Julie Taymor?” Sue interrupts the meeting and calls Finn to the principal’s office. She’s still upset about casting a guy in the role. It’s a really forced plot line and it brings out the mean-for-no-reason Sue that has never been funny or well-written. While Finn is trying to stand up for himself, he calls Sue’s baby “retarded” and Sue storms out. (Oy vey. I don’t like where this is going.)

Finn offers the part of Rizzo to Unique. He is going to stick-up for Unique if there are any problems. It leads to a teary monologue where Unique talks about how confusing it is to not know your place. “I don’t feel comfortable in the men’s locker room, but I can’t go in the girl’s.” It was a little touching but when the show goes for those moments it feels manipulative every time.

Ryder, Jake, Marley & Becca are called back to the second round of auditions. All four of them perform “Born to Hand Jive” with Mercedes & Mike. Finn & Artie watch and take some final notes. Unique, Sam, Sugar & Brittany join in from the audience. It leads to big a dance-off where they do the hand-jive. Where did Brittany come from all of a sudden? After this performance, the cast list is posted.

The cast list for McKinley’s Grease:
Brittany as Cha Cha
Tina as Jan
Sam as Kenickie
Sugar as Frenchy
Joe as Doody
Wade/Unique as Rizzo
Blaine as Teen Angel
Jake as Putzie
Ryder as Danny Zuko
Marley as Sandy
Becca as Patty Simcox

The end of the episode had a BIG SHOCKER (not even close to one). Will tells Finn that he’s leaving for a couple of months. Finn is a little upset, but Will tells him that he is leaving the Glee club to Finn. “I saw how you stood up to Sue and went out and found Ryder. You’re ready.” Once again, this was completely telegraphed from last week.

Now onto the other storylines packed into this episode. Blaine is not sure if he wants to do musical. He’s a weird mood since he broke up with Kurt. (Was it made clear that they actually broke up? I don’t think so.) Blaine has tried to contact Kurt, but he hasn’t returned any calls or texts. Why are they making Blaine look like the desperate one? Cue song: “Hopelessly Devoted to You”. I have to give the show credit. They can distract me from inconsistent plots with Darren Criss singing. I love this version of the song, I have to admit. The performance was going good until they had walk through the middle of football practice to sing. But then it turns into Blaine’s audition for Grease* and it ends nicely. Artie & Finn tell him that he’s the “Danny Zuko of our dreams”. Blaine turns it down because he can’t play it with all of the crap going on with Kurt. He says that maybe he can play Teen Angel, but even that is iffy. The opening was Blaine-heavy and it looked like it was going to be a major Darren Criss episode. But that was the only time we saw him until the reveal of the cast list at the end.

Will and Emma are still having some trouble with their marriage because of Will wanting to go to Washington D.C. They have a counseling session with Coach Beiste. Will begs Emma to go with him and Emma seems to agree reluctantly.

Later, Emma is in her office looking at apartment choices in Washington D.C. when Beiste stops for a visit. Beiste can tell that Emma is being dishonest and doesn’t want to go to D.C. with Will. Beiste tells her that she needs to be honest with Will and continue to be herself.

Near the end of the episode, Emma finally tells Will that she doesn’t want to go. She has a big monologue where she wants Will to go but doesn’t want to follow him because she might end up resenting him for making her leave the job that she loves. Will understands and knows that they will work it out.

And one completely weird scene shoe-horned into the episode: Mike has a tense conversation with Tina in the hallway. They broke up and Tina isn’t comfortable seeing him around school again. First of all, I forgot Tina was on the show and I don’t remember their break-up at all. It was a weird scene sandwiched into the show that wasn’t necessary.

Overall, this was the weakest episode of the season. One of the things that has been working so well for me this season has been the NYC adventures with Rachel & Kurt. They were completely missing this week and it showed. The show is repeating the West Side Story* production storyline from last year. There’s conflict over roles and it feels like a complete rehash of last season. The show needs to lighten up on the high school stuff and focus more on NYC. Also, it felt weird the way Mike & Mercedes were brought back onto the show. It was so uneventful and those characters deserved better. I liked Blake Jenner on the Glee Project* but I don’t think he brings anything new to the show. I do think Ryan Murphy made a mistake by picking him as the winner of the show. Glee* needs better female characters and Aylin or Ali could’ve brought something new.

Next week: the episode is titled “Glease” and that already annoys me. They are really burning this storyline by having them open the production already. But there are also scenes from NYC and that makes me hopeful.