Tuesday’s “Bash” was a very serious episode of Glee. And by that, I mean an especially serious episode, because this season has brought one intense, emotional storyline after another. Tackling issues like gay bashing and racism, the series proved last night that there’s hardly any challenge that can’t be faced with spontaneous outbursts of song.
“Bash” kicks off with a candlelit vigil through the streets of NYC with Rachel (Lea Michele) and the gang singing “No One is Alone” from Into the Woods. Everyone looks glum as the scene ends on a memorial for Russ, whom we learn later was the victim of a vicious and targeted attack.
At the Funny Girl rehearsal, big-shot producer Sydney gives a speech to the cast and crew that makes it clear the pressure is on Rachel to shine and make the production a hit. We see that between the show, NYADA, working at the Spotlight diner and her weekly potluck dinners, she’s stretching herself too thin.
Cut to Sam (Chord Overstreet) eating cereal out of a giant bowl on the couch watching The Facts of Life. The television wakes up Mercedes (Amber Riley), who joins him now that she’s up. He asks her why they broke up, and even though she goes through a whole song and dance about why they shouldn’t be together, it’s not long before they’re making out on the couch.
The weekly potluck dinner has the whole gang back at the loft. We learn that Russ was the neighbor’s friend, who was beaten up viciously for being gay. The kids chat about the upcoming NYADA mid-winter critiques. Artie (Kevin McHale) catches Mercedes and Sam playing footsie under the table.
Immediately after, we see the star-crossed lovers walking along the East River. Sam laments that they are keeping their relationship a secret and tries to convince her that they should openly be together. Mercedes says she needs time to think, so Sam heads to the apartment alone. This is, of course, the perfect opportunity for Mercedes to sing “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” to herself on a merry-go-round, as one does when one is pondering whether or not to rekindle a relationship with a goody, blonde model.
Mercedes chats with her besties/backup singers over coffee and they give her shit about dating her flame from high school. With super convenient timing, Sam arrives and introduces himself. From Sam’s interaction with them, it appears they are the only black women, aside from Mercedes, whom he has ever met in his life. It’s beyond awkward. The ladies remain unimpressed as Sam explains then that he’s a model.
Rachel sings “Broadway Baby” with Blaine (Darren Criss) for their mid-winter critique in front of Dean Carmen Tibideaux, played by EGOT achiever, Whoopi Goldberg. Madame Tibideaux flunks them both because the assignment wasn’t a duet. But wait — she’s decided to give them a final opportunity to redo the assignment. They have to perform it as individuals this week or else…
In Dean Tibideaux’s office, she tells Rachel that all her instructors say Ms. Berry has been under-performing. The dean says Rachel’s not ready to go out into the world of Broadway. Rachel responds by saying, “I quit.”
Mercedes’ girlfriends tell her she should dump Sam because he’s white. At least they’re nice enough to not point out that he’s also dumb as a brick. Mercedes later walks into the living room of her shared apartment with Sam and breaks up with him. She says she’s worried about what people will think — and specifically about her image as a black female artist. In addition to breaking up with him, she tells him to move out. #WayHarshDude
Rachel joins Kurt for dinner. He immediately tells her she’s nuts for quitting school. They argue and Rachel storms off. On his way home from the restaurant, Kurt stops some bullies from beating up a gay guy in an alleyway, only to be attacked himself and left unconscious.
Back at the loft, Sam tells Blaine about the breakup. Blaine gets a phone call from the hospital about Kurt and the phone tree alerts all the NYC glee kids. Everyone convenes at the hospital emergency waiting room. While severely injured, Kurt’s alive and his prognosis is good. Blaine sings “Not While I’m Around” from Sweeney Todd, which segues into his emotional mid-winter critique performance of the song in front of Carmen Tibideau.
Sam joins Mercedes in the recording studio. She apologizes to him and says that rather than tell him, she wants to sing to him about the way she feels. And like that, Amber Riley debuts her single, “Colorblind,” and Mercedes and Sam are a couple again.
At the hospital, Burt Hummel shows up, furious that his son Kurt didn’t let the cops handle the situation. They have a moment. Fresh out of the hospital, Kurt drops off white roses at the memorial for Russ. In the loft, Rachel approaches Kurt for them to continue their discussion about her dropping out of NYADA. They kiss, make up and are besties again.
The entire gang joins them for their weekly potluck. Mercedes and Sam announce that they’re dating. To prove their point, they make out briefly. At the dinner table, we learn that Kurt’s mid-winter critique is imminent. With his black eye and cuts on his face still fresh, he performs “I’m Still Here” from Follies. He gets a standing ovation at the end and all’s well that ends well fort this week.
So far the stunt of moving the series’ setting entirely to New York is paying off nicely, as its explorations of more adult themes feels like a natural progression while we watch the former New Directions members become young adults. But don’t get too used to not seeing those who were left behind in Lima — an upcoming episode dealing with the opening night of Funny Girl will see the return of a few familiar faces.
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